After taking a year off from the annual Eiseman trip, we went back to the Ben Eiseman hut with a dozen friends, lots of food, and – new this time – a keg of beer. Thanks to clear weather, an empty hut, and some vacation time to use, Chris and Gary decided to spend an extra night at the hut and head in Thursday afternoon, a handful of us went in late Thursday night to arrive early on Friday, and the rest came in two more separate groups later on Friday. This is sometimes a recipe for disaster, but any major incidents were avoided this time.
The keg of beer I mentioned earlier went up in my pack. While it was only 5 gallons, it brought my pack weight up to 75lb (measured). Five hours and two minor balance incidents later, Hans, Tracy, BJ, and myself arrived at the hut. Chris and Gary were sort of awake, had the hut warmed up, and even had some chili on the stove waiting for us. I was happy to get the keg off my back, some food in my stomach, and a couple hours of poor-quality sleep.
Shortly after we arrived, the snow started and almost never let up. This shot of Holy Cross behind Vail is from Sunday morning, and it was only visible for five minutes or so.
By late Friday morning most of the group went out skiing, with a couple of us staying back at the hut trying to rest a bit. Conditions were good, but were getting better the entire time.
While Hans + Co were out making the most of the snow, I threw a burrito that I picked up on the way to the TH on the stove to heat up, and poured myself a beer. It perfectly hit the spot, and fueled me up for my only lap of the day that afternoon.
My first lap of the trip didn’t disappoint, and was exactly what this hut tends to deliver.
Lauren and Kendall made it in a couple hours after dark, exhausted and happy to have baked brie, smoked salmon, and an IPA waiting when they got to the hut. Jeff and Amee came in after work on Friday, and despite using a snowmobile to make it up a good portion of the Red Sandstone approach, didn’t get to the hut until 4am. They were predictably tired, but in good spirits.
Though still tired, I went out for a handful of laps on Saturday. The snow was great and got better every lap.
By mid-afternoon, everyone was up and feeling good so we did a chinese downhill right off the deck.
That evening and the next morning was typical hut trip hygge – lots of delicious food and plenty of time around the fire with friends. Still tired and worn out I elected to stay at the hut, do some pre-departure chores, and lie by the fire a bit more. The ski out was fun (if a bit challenging) until we hit the road, where it was time to break trail on a slight downhill. Getting to the snowmobile limit – and the packed trail it carried – was great.
Once at Jeff’s truck, we decided to all pile in for the shuttle back to Spraddle Creek. Next time, we’ll leave multiple shuttle vehicles.
This was a great trip with plenty of great friends. I can’t wait for next year.