Avalanche Hazard Information

Colorado is known for its avalanche prone snowpack. A number of the suggested routes to 10th Mountain Division Huts pass through or are next to terrain that may be prone to avalanches. Accordingly, pick the suggested route that most suits your group and its abilities, carry appropriate equipment, and always exercise prudent backcountry travel techniques when passing through avalanche prone terrain. Remember, avalanches can occur in forested areas and can run into forested areas from open slopes. Moreover, a number of huts booked by 10th Mountain, but not part of the actual 10th Mountain system, are situated in the midst of extreme avalanche terrain. Many other huts, while located in more modest terrain, still have access routes that cross avalanche paths.

We strongly suggest that someone in every group be experienced in evaluating avalanche and snow stability hazards and practicing prudent backcountry and winter mountain travel techniques. For up to date avalanche information for all of Colorado, visit the website for the Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC). Another excellent resource is the Forest Service National Avalanche Center website. While this site doesn't have local forecasts it does have a wealth of information on backcountry travel in avalanche terrain and snow science, as well as turtorials on some basic skills and snow science.

Below are listed locations where avalanche debris has been found across 10th Mountainís suggested routes and routes to the Braun huts and Friendís Hut. These observations are described as a person is traveling towards the hut. We do not have any recorded information regarding terrain around the huts or routes that are not marked. Keep in mind that history does not predict the future and that these records only reflect avalanche activity in the years since each hut was built. Routes with no observations listed should still be traveled with caution and prudence.

We recommend that you start checking the avalanche advisory reports (see phone numbers below) regularly before your trip to see how conditions are evolving. Study your maps to see what type of terrain you will be traveling through to see if there are alternative routes that might be feasible if snow stability conditions deteriorate. During most of the winter, travel to the huts is possible with a relatively minor degree of risk. However, if your trip falls within a period or cycle of high or extreme instability, you must make the decision of whether or not to go. The huts are always open. While deep snow, bad weather, and white-out conditions are to be anticipated on any trip, a hut credit may be issued if a trip is cancelled due to avalanche danger associated with an extreme avalanche cycle. To be considered for a hut credit, please send us a detailed letter and we will respond in writing as soon as we can. We are sorry, but hut credits can not be approved over the phone.

Avalanche Advisory Report Phone Numbers

The following observations were collected from staff members, guides and hut users. We welcome new information. Avalanche size/destructive force is based on SWAG-Snow, Weather and Avalanche Guidelines of the American Avalanche Association

Size-Destructive Force

Locations of Observed or Reported Avalanche Activity Along Suggested Routes

(Elevations indicate approx. elevation where slide crossed the trail, not starting zones.)

10th Mountain Division Hut System

Burro Trail to Francieís

-Approx. 2.5 miles from trailhead, slope on skierís right (10,400í). D1.

Union Creek (Copper Mountain) to Janetís

-1.78 miles from trailhead on skierís right. D2.

Vail Pass to Janetís

No avalanche activity observed.

Breckenridge to Section House

No avalanche activity observed.

Como to Section House

No avalanche activity observed.

Vail Pass to Shrine Mountain Inn

No avalanche activity observed.

Commando Run to Shrine Mountain Inn

No avalanche activity observed.

Shrine Mountain Inn to Redcliff

No avalanche activity observed.

Shrine Mountain Inn to Fowler-Hilliard

No avalanche activity observed.

Pando (McAlister Gulch) to Fowler-Hilliard

No avalanche activity observed.

Camp Hale (Resolution Creek) to Fowler-Hilliard

No avalanche activity observed.

Fowler-Hilliard to Jackal

No avalanche activity observed.

Camp Hale (Pearl Creek) to Jackal

No avalanche activity observed.

South Camp Hale (Ranch Creek) to Jackal

No avalanche activity observed.

South Camp Hale (Cataract Creek) to Jackal

-Approx. 1 3/4 mile up Cataract Creek on the Colorado Trail, small bank on skierís left (10,240í). D1-2.

Jackal to Vanceís

No avalanche activity observed.

Tennessee Pass to Vanceís

No avalanche activity observed.

Tennessee Pass to 10th Mountain

No avalanche activity observed.

Crane Park to 10th Mountain

No avalanche activity observed.

10th Mountain to Uncle Budís

Turquoise Lake to Uncle Budís

No avalanche activity observed.

Uncle Budís to Skinner

No avalanche activity observed.

Turquoise Lake to Skinner

No avalanche activity observed.

Skinner to Betty Bear

No avalanche activity observed.

Road 505 to Betty Bear

No avalanche activity observed.

Hunter Creek to Benedict

No avalanche activity observed.

Benedict to McNamara

No avalanche activity observed.

Hunter Creek to McNamara

No avalanche activity observed.

McNamara to Margyís

Lenado to Margyís

Norrie/Diamond J to Margyís

-Approx. 1.5 miles from Norrie along the road to Twin Meadows, steep hillside on skierís right (8,760í). D2-3.

Granite Lakes to Margyís

-Approx. 2.5 miles up from the trailhead along the Chapman Road, gully on skierís left, (9,360í). D2-3.

Diamond J to Gates

No avalanche activity observed.

Spring Creek to Gates

-At the junction of the Eagle-Thomasville and Burnt Mountain Roads (5.6 miles from trailhead), small bank on skierís left (9,320í). D1.

Sylvan Lake to Gates

-At Crooked Creek Reservoir, small bank on skierís right (9,400í). D1-2.

Gates to Estin

No avalanche activity observed.

Yeoman Park (Ironedge) to Estin

Yeoman Park (Hat Creek) to Estin

No avalanche activity observed.

Sylvan Lake to Estin

No avalanche activity observed.

Estin to Polar Star

No avalanche activity observed.

Yeoman Park to Polar Star

No avalanche activity observed.

West Lake Creek to Polar Star

-Approximately Ĺ mile from the trailhead on skierís right at approximately 8400í. D2

Spraddle Creek to Eiseman

No avalanche activity observed.

Red Sandstone Rd to Eiseman

No avalanche activity observed.

Buckeye Gulch to Sangree M. Froelicher

No avalanche activity observed.

Braun and Friends Huts

Numerous D3-4 avalanches cross the trails to the huts each year. Some large avalanches have been observed more than 50 times. Avoiding avalanche terrain is not a possibility when accessing some of the huts.

Sundeck (top of Aspen Mountain) to Barnard

No avalanche activity observed.

Barnard to Goodwin-Greene

-1/2 mile past the Barnard Hut, large gully on skierís right (11,600í). D3.

Ashcroft (Express Creek) to Goodwin-Greene

Ashcroft (Express Creek) to Markley

-At 1/2, 3/4, 1, 1.25 and 2 miles up from Ashcroft there are very large gullies and one area where there was a recorded slide through the trees on skierís left. All D3-4.

Ashcroft to Lindley

Ashcroft to Tagert/Green Wilson

Tagert/Green Wilson to Friendís

Many unavoidable slopes (D2-3) exist as you approach and descend from Pearl Pass. There are many small slopes and gullies enroute whch require expert map, compass, and navigation skills to avoid. Most of the route is above treeline.

Friends' to Crested Butte (Brush Creek Trailhead)

Many D4 slopes exist in the East Brush Creek Drainage. Many D3 slopes and gullies exist in the Middle Brush Creek Drainage.


Avalanche Observation Dates

Observations have been made since the first season each hut was open for reservations:

  • Francieís Cabin 1994-95
  • Janetís Cabin 1991-92
  • Section House 1997-98
  • Shrine Mountain Inn 1988-89
  • Fowler-Hilliard Hut 1988-89
  • Jackal Hut 1988-89
  • Vanceís Cabin 1988-89
  • 10th Mountain Div. Hut 1989-90
  • Uncle Budís Hut 1989-90
  • Skinner Hut 1990-91
  • Betty Bear Hut 1991-92
  • Benedict Huts 1997-98
  • McNamara Hut 1982-83
  • Margyís Hut 1982-82
  • Harry Gates Hut 1986-87
  • Peter Estin Hut 1985-86
  • Polar Star Inn 1987-88
  • Eiseman Hut 1996-97
  • Sangree M. Froelicher Hut 1998-99
  • Barnard Hut 1970ís
  • Goodwin-Greene Hut 1977
  • Markley Hut 1967
  • Lindley Hut late 1960ís
  • Tagert Hut 1963
  • Green Wilson Hut 1978
  • Friends' Hut 1985

In the Field