Saturday, February 7, 2009

Barnard Hut

While the blog has been empty for a while, we have still been out there having fun; we've just been a little to busy to tell you about it. In January, we had a chance to head out to Colorado and play in the Rockies for a while.

Our destination was the Barnard hut; part of the Braun Hut system near Aspen Colorado. Our good buddy Bob has taken us out there a couple of times - including our first venture ever on backcountry skis back in 2005. That trip got us hooked and we have been getting out in the backcountry ever since. This time we were ready to show Bob our new shredding techniques that we had perfected in the Sierra Cement out our back door; unfortunately, our buddy was in the midst of a near-death experience - a systemic infection that left him in the hosiptal. The good news is that Bob is OK, the bad news is we had to ski without him (sorry Bob, we did many a turn for you!). Another Kern Valley Resident, Lynn, made the trip with us; a long time Tele-skier and outdoor nut like ourselves. We met in Glenwood amidst avalance warnings concerns for our friend. As luck would have it, Bob was among the living and we had nearly perfect conditions for the whole trip.

The Ski out to the Barnard hut starts by taking the ski lift up out of Aspen, then Skiing a little over 7 miles out along the ridge line. With packs full of stuff for 4 days, the going was a bit slow, but the scenery definitely kept us entertained

Eric about to be consumed by the snow alien

Rebecca and scenery

At the top of "Skin-up" Hill. Only 1/2 mile from the Hut, but still 1/2 mile too far...

The Hut itself is awesome; nestled at 11,500 ft at the base of McArthur Mountain. Actually more of a cabin now than a hut after its remodel back in 2000, the Barnard hut has great picture windows looking to the South, a patio, a wood stove and a cozy outhouse (still waiting for the syncilla seat cover) complete with a towering, frozen poopcicle. There is no running water, so you have to melt snow for water; the end result is that someone (usually me) is constantly running outside to fill the snow-pot. No matter though, the stove kept the cabin super cozy and the brisk air always feels good.

A view of the Cabin and the surrounding area from McArthur Mountain

The patio in the Morining

The Outhouse with a view!

Can't wait to get out and ski

The hut has some great terrain around - we were able to get to most of it. We started off on some low angle stuff until we got a feel of the avalanche danger; our snow pit indicated that things were more or less stable, but there were a couple of slabs forming in the pack. As we got more comfortable with the conditions we started skiing steeper. Still, the desire to not have to use our new beacons kept us off some stuff, including the Bowl on McArthur that we were able to ski the year before.

Pretty Conditions

Earning our Turns

More Blue Skies

The second day left us with some great lines and great times. Nothing left to do but go back to the hut and eat and drink ourselves silly.

Barnard Sunset

Lynn Making some good grub

Eric testing the wine...

Day three and we were starting to see even more stable snow conditions, so naturally we went into wipe-out mode

Eric Post-Big-Air

Rebecca Post-Cartwheel

Rebecca Squeeling into the trees

All in all lots of fun; it's always sad when it is time to go home...

Trekking back

Lunch Stop looking into the Maroon Bells Area

Rebecca Happy to be done with the ski home, and excited for an $8 hot chocolate and liquor