The Elk mountains, like most of Colorado, is continental snowpack prone to persistent weak layers that threaten backcountry skiers most of winter. Springtime typically brings routine freeze and thaw cycles that help consolidate the snowpack, so it’s go time for skiing the lines we oogle over all winter.
The last four years, we have done a trip to the Braun huts to celebrate my birthday at this same time, and we have been lucky with fresh snow and relatively stable conditions. As we skinned into Lindley Hut on Tuesday evening, snow turned from flurries to full on blizzard. I had opted to bring one of Sven’s retro Descente jackets in lieu of a shell, and of course denim to wear at the hut. Our two hour skin to the hut passed quickly, but it was enough time for my technical denim to properly soak through.
Our group all arrived at the hut by 7pm. Two of our friends, Annie and Drew had to skin out early in the morning to return to work, but the other five of us, Oliver, Nick, Fletcher, Jack, and I had plans to ski a line called “Dr. Evil” on Star Peak prior to adventuring over Green Mountain to Markley Hut. We gathered around the table for some shrimp cocktail, charcuterie, and eventually a couple games of Di.