Christmas hut trip w/ kids - Mountain Buzz

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Old 11-21-2012   #1
Louisville, Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 520
Christmas hut trip w/ kids

We have booked 10 spots at Peter Estin for the nights of Dec. 23rd and 24th. Currently 2 families are going with two 10-12 year old boys (6 people total). So, there are 4 spots open for this trip. The ski in, based on the 10th Mountain winter trail map (New York Mountain), is 4.4 miles and gains 2,140 feet on the Iron Edge trail. This trail is very steep between miles 1.5 and 3.5. Alternatively, there is option to snowmobile on the road quite close to the hut, but not all the way there. The skiing at the hut is excellent assuming there is snow. I have two days to cancel the spots or fill them. Anyone interested in Christmas without cell phones and televisions? PM me.

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Old 11-21-2012   #2
Dave Frank's Avatar
Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
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Regardless of whats allowed nearby, I'm pretty sure any form of sled access to 10th mnt huts is way frowned upon.

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Old 11-21-2012   #3
Louisville, Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2009
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Yeah, snowmobiling to near the hut is likely to get the driver/rider a ration of crap and asked to carry in a case of Modus or TenFidy.
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Old 11-22-2012   #4
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Westminster, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1980
Join Date: May 2012
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Found that pulling a kid's sled with a homemade harness worked well for bringing in gear; nice, non-motorized alternative to humping it all on your back...attached a guide rope in the back (managed by sweep skiier) to minimize sway on steep descents.
"If you understand, things are just as they are; if you do not understand, things are just as they are."
Zen verse
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Old 11-22-2012   #5
Louisville, Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 520
We have a homebuilt pulk (like a ski patrol toboggan but made from a kids sled). We plan on rehabbing it before this trip as it has seen some miles, and we have some ideas for improvement. Maybe I will post a photo when we get it fixed up. We usually put food and bedding in dry bags in the pulk. The only time the pulk can't be easily handeled by one person is when skiing across the fall line of a steep pitch.
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Old 11-26-2012   #6
oarframe's Avatar
Gardnerville, Nevada
Paddling Since: 00
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 482
pulks are worthy of their own thread. Almost as much fun as rigging boats. In fact lots of boating equipment can be used on a pulk.
Here's a few lessons learned over the years.
Runners (or short skis) attached to the bottom of a cheap sled help with tracking
Seakayak paddle leashes make great tow straps because of the bungi action inside.
Touring sprayskirts make great pulk snowdecks to keep the kids warm and dry.
Skiing downhill with a pulk sucks.
Skiing across any slope with a pulk sucks

I'll see if i can find some pics of pulk Mark IV and post them..... generally pulk outings tended to end tangled up in webbing, dogs, kids, stuffed animals..... can you say entrapment.
more snow = more water
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Old 11-26-2012   #7
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Kalispell, Montana
Paddling Since: 1997
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The 10-12yo boys are old enough to pull a lot of their own weight and be moderately self-sufficient. They're going to have a great time!!
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Old 11-26-2012   #8
Avon, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 506
Sounds like a great trip.

I have been there multiple times with and without sleds.
If you can't fix your pulk before the trip, Costco (in Eagle at least) has a bad ass pulk for sale. I forgot to check the price but it would be excellent for snowmobile travel. I have tried twice to make my own from rocket boxes & quality kids sleds, but we have busted both getting to the hut. These are very similar to what resorts use to pull gear around the mtn. Something like attached photo (this was sold by costco in 2009)

That iron edge trail is pretty straight to the head. But definitley the way to go for non-motorized travel. Lower the head and get after it.
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Old 11-26-2012   #9
Lawson, Colorado
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 27
You may snowmobile to most 10th huts on trails that are perfectly legal for snowmobiling. When you arrive there is a non-motorized envelope that surrounds the hut: park outside the envelope and haul in your stuff.

Other posters are correct that this might be frowned upon. However, we have been using this method for about 10 years and have accessed many of the huts including Estin. We always reserve the entire hut, drive & park legally, and do our best to minimize impact on other trail users.

The main reason we do this is that we are able to bring all the beer, good food, etc. that we need for our group trip. We usually assign a few of us to snowmo duty (only need 2 sleds for a group of 16), the remainder carry their sleeping bags, safety gear, and other personal items. Be warned that the haul from legal snowmo parking to the hut can be tough-our snowmo team usually earns their keep. However, in the end the entire group is less fatigued meaning more energy to go skiing around the hut. We leave the snowmos parked until it is time to go home.

In regards to the ethical considerations, I find that 10th Mountain is a bit two-sided on this issue. They clearly discourage using snowmos in winter, but seem to have no problems with people using a 4x4 to access the huts as a support vehicle for summer biking trips. What is the difference? If anything a 4x4 will leave more impact...snowmos ride on snow that melts. We've also met 10th staff while at the huts on numerous occasions and they had no problems with our trip plan.

I've also heard the argument that one snowmo will bring more: this might be true, but that isn't a valid argument since the trails in question are all legal for snowmo use. Case in point at Estin: we were far from the first people to be snowmobiling in the vicinity of that hut! The rest of them were there to snowmo, not for the hut. Fortunately there is plenty of legal wilderness right behind the hut and we were able to find all the fresh we could eat

For those who would say that any snowmo use, legal or not, detracts from their back country experience: well, I agree that they can be annoying. The good news is that there are many, many places where you may find solitude since no snowmos are allowed! For Estin...just try the Ironedge trail. For trails where mixed use is legal, best to let everyone enjoy as they see fit and do your best to get along.
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Old 11-27-2012   #10
Louisville, Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2009
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The boys are going to have a great time! I think it may be an easier ski in for them than for me. Thank goodness my hubby will likley do much of the uphill pulk handling. Don't get me wrong, I can do it, it will just be much slower if I do.

Last time I went down Iron Edge with the pulk, it did require some repair at the bottom - the metal pole had cut through the cord. It was a quick fix and we duct taped the cord to prevent further pole-on-cord damage. Our pulk has alot of "sway", but I don't want to compromise the plastic by bolting skis to it, so we have some other ideas to help. I will post photos. The pulk has gone 60+ miles with only that one repair. The time we towed it behind a snowmobile in the Snowy Range was hillarious - it was not stable at those speeds.

I think the exclusion of snowmobiles from the huts is mainly the same reason you should only pee in the outhouse - the snow is melted for drinking and cooking. I am sure a secondary purpose is to protect skiable terrain from snomo trampling.
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