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Old 01-11-2010   #1
Louisville, Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 520
Route Question - Gates Estin & Polar Huts

We have a 6 day hut trip next week, two nights at each hut in the following order:
Harry Gates
Peter Estin
Polar Star

There is some disagreement among the 5 member group on routes/trailheads that boils down to whether or not to do a loop trip or a traverse with a shuttle.

Pros for the loop trip (probably from Sylvan lake) are knowing the car is within 12 miles no matter where you are, and you don't have to pay for a shuttle. Cons are an 11ish mile first day "in" with potential avalanche terrain.

Pros for the traverse trip (Montgomery Flats to West Lake /Edwards) are shorter first and last days (6-7 miles), and less avalanche hazard. Cons are that on the third and fourth days the car will be 15 to 16 miles away removing an easier "out" if needed, and it costs about $40 more per person on shuttle.

I have a definite opinion, which I will keep to myself for now. I want to know what route the buzzards think we should take, particularly if you have been there before.

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Old 01-11-2010   #2
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 108
I did Gates from Sylvan Lake many years ago (combined with Estin). It was long, but I don't recall any avy terrain, are you sure about that? The route was very easy, length is the only issue that I recall. I would do it that way and not pay for a shuttle.

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Old 01-11-2010   #3
Avon, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 471
For me a shuttle would be a no brainer. Especially at only $40 a person. Because from Polar Star to Sylan Lake is a hump (at least the route i would be considering...skiing basically back down to Yeoman then back up to the top of the iron edge trail to crooked creek pass down to Sylvan)

Are you leaving a car at Ruedi trailhead (basalt) and car in Eagle somewhere?

I would leave a car in Yeoman Park instead of Sylvan for the last nite....super easy out from Polar Star. Yeoman Park is only 5 miles from Estin if problems arise for some weird reason. Estin to Yeoman Park can be accomplished in 20 minutes !!! (world record).

I could not imagine looping that if you didn't have to. Think about if it snows and you have been doing laps at the hut (tired)...11 - 12 miles from Polar back to Sylvan would hurt.

my 2 cents.

forgot to add...not many folks use the west lake creeker...mucho harder than the Yeoman Park-Fulford route.
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Old 01-11-2010   #4
Louisville, Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 520
If we used West Lake it would be out only, it looks to be mostly down hill. I am wondering what would make it all that much harder than going to Yeoman?

Ideally we would only use one car - and pay for the shuttle saving lots of time for us front range suburbanites. We could do two cars, one at Sylvan and one at Yeoman and not pay for shuttle, and not have to do the hump back to Sylvan.
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Old 01-11-2010   #5
Louisville, Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 520
sandbagger, you went Sylvanlake Gates then back to Estin? or Estin then Gates?
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Old 01-11-2010   #6
Avon, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 471
I would probably leave a car at Yeoman and at Sylvan...screw the paid shuttle then.

The out from Polar to Yeoman is fairly fast (like 1 hour) with a few hundred yards of slight uphill on forest service road (near the hamlet of Fulford). it all forest service road.

I would not do West lake Creek cause the out is not a big ass Forest service road, but a trail. I opt for speed on my way out, as the trip is essentially finished. If you are looking for scenery and something different go for the west laker.

Also the shuttle for you guys from the car at Yeoman to the car at Sylvan is very close.....don't have to drive way into edwards.
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Old 01-11-2010   #7
Porkchop's Avatar
Eagle, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2006
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 144
hey catwoman,

If you need someone to shuttle a vehicle from sylvan to yoeman my wife and i could give you a hand. pm me a specific time frame. we could do it from edwards if had the weekend let me know.
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Old 01-13-2010   #8
Louisville, Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 520
It looks as htough we will be going from montgomery flats to either Yeoman or West Lakes. The shuttle is arranged (thanks any porkchop). I am a happy camper, not just beacuse the 11+ mile ski into Gates would destroy me ( I pictured myself spending the night in my golite hex sitting on pineboughs wearing every once of clothing I had), but because I like the asthetics of a traverse instead of seeing the same terrain over and over again.
I have done Polar* from Yeoman and back, and it is fast. But I would really like to cover some new ground by going to West Lake - we'll see how that turns out. I suppose we shuttle to Yeoman and those that want to go to West Lake could go that way, and the others could go get the vehicle and pick up the west lakers.

Thanks for the input.
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Old 01-14-2010   #9
grandyoso's Avatar
Icebox, Colorado
Paddling Since: 98
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 260
How is the road in to yeoman? Will an all wheel drive wagon get in there?

We are headed to the HT yurts for the weekend. Do your snow dance...
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Old 01-14-2010   #10
Louisville, Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 520
The road to Yeo manis typically very passable, I don't think an AWD wagon would have a problem.

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