February 11-16, 2006
Leaders: Dick and Judy Opsahl
Trip Participants: David
Chamberlin and Jeri Sullivan, Mark & Lynn Jones, Rick and Shari Kelley,
Kurt Short, Kathleen Gruetzmacher, Josh Siler and Anne Chamberlin, Jeff
Click, Kirsten Boudreau, Dick and Judy Opsahl, and Jan Studebaker
Dick and Judy Opsahl, with editing assistance from
Photo Gallery: Jan Studebaker,
Route Map: click
This year the hut
trip was to the hut called the 10th Mountain Hut. We had done well
in the lottery about a year ago and this one was our first choice
out of about 50 possibilities we sent in. Dates of the trip were
February 11 to February 16. As usual there was a significant demand
for space on the trip and we were full from the date of the first
announcement late March 2005.
Saturday’s drive to
our first night’s accommodation at the Historic Delaware Hotel was
uneventful but a bit surprising because there was almost no snow
until we arrived at Leadville. Our local friend, Orlyn Skrien,
joined us for the evening banquet and Sunday’s breakfast. Our
standard private banquet was exceptional and followed by our
leader’s endless lecture about logistics and safety procedures.
Then, all to bed to be ready for the early start up the mountain
Kurt Short in front of
the 10th Mountain Hut.
Despite the fact
that there was almost no snow south of Leadville, within the city
there was much more than a normal amount and, in fact, so much that
we could not leave our cars at Orlyn’s house. So we reluctantly
decided to leave the cars at the Crane Park Trailhead.
By about 10 AM all
of the logistics were sorted out and all 15 of us were on our way up
the trail. Fourteen were on skis. One was on snowshoes. Not long up
the trail the skiers put on their skins and used them for all of the
steep sections. We kept track of our progress with Rick Kelly’s map
and waypoints along the trail, except for one trail intersection
that was not clear. There a few people took the wrong turn and went
a mile before discovering they were on the wrong trail. The trip in,
for those who didn’t take unintended detours, was about 4.5 miles
along a partly forested route. Snow conditions were good and the
weather conditions perfect with very light wind and blue sky. By mid
afternoon, the hot shots arrived at the hut and made things ready
for the rest of us. A short while later the especially strong
organized a relay to help the stragglers with their heavy packs and
to make sure the 5 liters of red got up without harm.
dinner was smashing and the red abundant. At the same time we began
our adventure with HAPE (High Altitude Pulmonary Edema). One of our
participants from sea level Portland, was fine at 10,000 ft
Leadville but the additional 1400 ft gain put him over the edge with
headache, no appetite etc. We kept close watch but when a day of
rest did not produce much improvement, we decided to evacuate him on
Now back to the
By 10 AM Monday 10
stalwarts were out on the trails once again in perfect weather. Two
besides the young man with HAPE were not feeling well from colds and
stayed home. They rested and did projects and photography around the
house. Kathleen Greutzmacher and Shari Kelly climbed to the top of
Homestake Peak a 13er, on snowshoes. And had good conditions to the
summit. Others skied the slopes near to hut and above, by Slide
Tuesday, the HAPE
rescue party of 4 went down to the trailhead. The 2 with colds
stayed home manning the radio communication. At the lower altitude
of the trailhead he already felt better, and after an easy trip down
he and his companion made a speedy automobile descent to 7,000 ft
Buena Vista where his recovery was soon complete. The other 2 came
back up to the hut, arriving in time for Tuesday night dinner.
Kristen Boudreau in here nearly finished one person igloo.
worked hard all day building an igloo project and the rest of the
group struck out toward Uncle Bud’s hut. The weather started out
with light snow and wind, but cleared during the day. The Tuesday
dinner like all the others was again a smashing success. And, the
red managed to hold out; just barely enough.
we received about 4” of new snow making conditions for the departure
descent on Wednesday perfect. The “slower” people got a half hour
head start and the stronger completed the close up chores by about
10 AM. The new snow enabled the telemark guys, Jan Studebaker, Jeff
Click, and Kurt Short, to get quite a few turns on the way down.
Our playground minutes
from the 10th Mountain Hut.
By 12 noon we were
loaded at the car park (trailhead) and proceeded to Orlyn’s house
for the usual Wednesday lunch feast. The completely recovered HAPE
crew drove up from low altitude Buena Vista to meet us for lunch.
The drive back to
Los Alamos was in a windstorm enough for a traffic advisory. Gusts
were as much as 60 mph. We had had similar windy conditions for the
drive north, but during the “hut” part of the trip Sunday through
Wednesday morning there was practically no wind at all.