This episode started way back in October, when Hans started organizing a trip to the Eisman Hut. There was no way to know at that point what a poor winter it would be, but we lucked out and managed to catch a pretty enjoyable storm cycle.
After a cold but fun day at Loveland on Saturday for the New Belgium Scavenger Hunt, we took care of final prep in Silverplume, and woke up early to get an early start on the seven mile approach to the hut. Unfortunately, various delays added up to us getting started at 10:30 rather than 7:30.
Things started out cool, breezy, and overcast, so progress was reasonably quick, despite the heavy packs.
Things cleared up, and the weather conspired to punish us for our late start. The friction from our skins heated them up, and any time we hit a patch of shade, they glopped up.
As you may imagine, this slowed things down quite a bit. Even frequent applications of glop stopper weren’t enough to keep us moving. As it grew later in the day, things finally cooled off enough that the glopping stopped; several hours after leaving the trailhead, we made it to the hut.
We initially planned to go out for a quick lap after arriving to dig a pit and assess snow conditions, but we were all far too exhausted from the glopping to even consider it.
Instead, we did a few requisite chores and ate a luxurious dinner of pasta, fresh-made sauce, and meatballs. It was an early night; I was out cold by 9pm, though most stayed up a bit later. Because of this, I was up two hours before anyone else and was able to start the fire, fill up the water bucket with snow, and relax with a couple cups of hot cocoa before breakfast.
Things were pretty good on our first lap, only two minutes from the hut.
After this quick shot, we went a little farther out, finding some great views:
And an awesome gully:
Charles saw a 6″ wind lip, and sent the hell out of it:
Fortunately, he had a soft landing:
Lee killed it the whole trip, and this run was no exception.
We went back for another lap.
And there were no complaints.
That evening, a member of our party suffered an injury while reaching for an icicle to chill a drink.
Ouch. Oh well, chicks dig scars, right? Dinner was even more extravagant this time, chicken and tomato sauce over red quinoa. Delicious.
I was up early again the next morning, and found tons of new snow, wind, and cold. I dug out the path to the outhouse, only to find it filled back in five minutes later.
We found out that we made substantially less than half the bacon the first morning; being our final breakfast in the hut, we had to cook up and eat roughly two pounds of the stuff, along with eggs and pasta scrambled up in the bacon grease. Mount Bacon took a while to vanquish, but we managed.
After eating, cleaning, and packing, we went out for a couple quick laps. There was at least a foot and a half of snow, and it was good.
Really, really, really good.
It was agreed: nothing about it sucked.
The sun came out intermittently, resulting in a beautiful trek up the boot-deep skintrack we set the first time around.
We made record time on the next lap around, adding a third because it was just too good to leave.
It was some of the consistently best snow all year.
Sadly, we had to go. We went out to a different trailhead than we came in on, which had several miles of a downhill snowmobile road so gradual that we were kicking and gliding for over an hour. My cross-country ski technique greatly improved on the trek out.
We really lucked out on this trip; great snow and a great crew. I’ve already forgotten the pain from the approach, and can’t wait for next time.