Join us April 30th-May 4th, 2019 for our inaugural Ski Mountaineering "Aspen Haute Route" Hut Adventure. This is without a doubt one of the most impressive hut-to-hut traverses in all of Colorado. This year we are going clock-wise around Taylor, Star and Mace Peaks. This trip follows a similar route as our "Aspen Haute Route" hut-to-hut adventure, but with an emphasis on ski mountaineering and big mountain summit skiing along the way. We will be using crampons, axes, whippets, ropes and harnesses to safely ascend and descend steep Elk Mountain summits that are adjacent or en-route to the huts we will be staying in. Departing from the ghost town of Ashcroft, our first night is at the Opa's Taylor Hut, then over Star Pass to the famed Friends Hut, culminating with an epic link up over Pearl Pass to the Tagert Hut for two nights and three days of peak ascents/descents. We will ski from hut to hut over three 12,000' high mountain passes off the shoulders of Star, Taylor, and Pearl Peaks.
Day 1 - Meet at our shop at Aspen Highlands for gear check and finalize the food packing/ distribution. Relocate to Ashcroft and skin up Express Creek to the Little Italian basin and Little Italian Pass (12,184'). Here we pull skins and have a mostly down hill run to the impressively beautiful and newest hut in the system - The Opa's Taylor Hut (11,850'). With 280 degrees of high peak views from inside the hut, ski lines appear in every direction. Easily accessed tune-up objectives from the summit or shoulders of Taylor Peak (13,435') are options. Snacks and dinner prepared by our guides.
Day 2 - After an early morning breakfast we depart Opa’s for a quick descent into the Taylor Creek valley. Transitioning to skins, we ascend to the top of Star Pass (12,330') situated between Star and Crystal Peaks. From here we may choose to ascend Star Peak (13,521') and ski the South Face or "June Couloir" for an epic technical descent to the famed Friends Hut (11,370') (http://www.huts.org/The_Huts/hut_history.php). For the super motivated, we may ski tour again that evening off of one of Star Peak's fabulous shoulders back to the Friends Hut. Snacks and dinner prepared by our guides.
Day 3 - From the Friends Hut we ascend to the top of Pearl Pass (12,705') with a possible summit of Pearl Peak (13,362'). Here The 360 degree views of the Central Elks offer mind-blowing views of countless imposing steep faces such as Castle, Cathedral, Pearl, Star and Mace Peaks (to name a few), with Crested Butte lying just off to the south. Pulling skins we have an epically long descent to the Tagert Hut (11,240'). With quick and easy access to great skiing behind the hut a late afternoon/evening ski-tour will surely be in order. Snacks and dinner prepared by our guides.
Day 4 - Perfectly situated at the Tagert Hut, we are in quick striking position for a possible ski ascent/descent of Castle Peak's (14,279') famously renowned East Face. This is an all time technical ski descent of the Elk Mountain's tallest 14'er in the range. A bucket list must-do for any ski-mountaineer! If conditions do not allow for a Castle Peak descent, there are countless worthy objectives surrounding this hut that can be attained in most conditions such as - Mace Peak's north couloirs, Pearl Peak's north face or any of the many couloirs coming off of the Castle Peak ridge.
Day 5 - With a quick 6 mile/1,780' downhill ski all the way to the trailhead (and libations at the Pine Creek Cookhouse), we have options of a leisurely morning or an early ski objective before departure.
You should have previous backcountry skiing experience, strong uphill fitness and strong technical downhill skiing abilities. This trip will include steep boot-packing, use of crampons/axe, and steep technical ski descents.
Price starts at $2,500 per person based on a max 3:1 ratio. Price includes AMGA/AIARE trained/certified guides, 3% USFS surcharge, private huts for our group, all needed Alpine Touring gear (including avalanche safety equipment – beacon, shovel, probe), harnesses, helmets, crampons, axes, and new The North Face backpacks/lightweight sleeping bags. All food, planning and shopping are also included on this epic trip.
Please contact us via phone at 970-925-7625 or email/form to book your trip or to request more information!