10th Mountain Division Hut
Elevation: 11,660 feet
Time: 4 3/4 hours up, 3 hours down
Distance: 4 miles
Elevation Gain: 2,436 feet; loss: 56 feet
In the early 1940s, the National Ski Patrol suggested that the U.S. Army start to train troops in skiing, winter survival and combat tactics. The chosen site was Camp Hale, located outside of Leadville, Colo. This site became a training ground for more than 11,000 troops.
On a wintry January morning, we found ourselves at Camp Hale, just like the many soldiers that came before us. Yet for us, this was the start of our backcountry ski adventure to Jackal Hut, a wood cabin nestled at the edge of timberline with views of 14,000 foot peaks.
Moonlight ski touring, jigsaw puzzles and sore abs from laughter. Three days at Jackal Hut provided the perfect combination of rest and adventure. We skied hard and slept well. Wool socks warming icy toes, coffee percolating and guitar melodies floating through the hut. This hut became home after only a few days and we begrudgingly left the quiet of the wilderness to venture back into the chaos of the city.