Yurt Trip
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Since the Lost Wonder Hut was already taken for this weekend Jean found us the Hidden Treasure Yurt to ski/snowshoe up to and stay in for the long weekend. It's south of Eagle and a beautiful area! Despite a wet and heavy snow Thursday evening in Colorado Springs I picked up Rocky and John E. then we headed to Denver to meet up with Jean before heading out to Leadville to stay at John's place and get an early start. The weather was crappy up until around Georgetown and dry after that. Pulling into Leadville around 10:30pm we had a bunch of beers and laughs before turning in. Friday morning, after some breakfast in Leadville and the rest of the drive to the trailhead we were ready to start the 6.5miles and 2200 ft to the Yurt at 11,200ft. Myself and John were on yurt01.JPG (162893 bytes) tele skis with skins carrying backpacks and towing sleds while Jean, John E, and Rocky were on snowshoes with heavy-ass backpacks. The first 4.2miles is along a forest service road and was a nice gentle grade. Rocky soon found out that it ain't easy carrying a case of beer and a bottle of Jager in an awkward backpack with only shoulder straps! The last 2.3miles were on trails, much steeper, and needed to be broken most of the way...it downright sucked at times. Especially when ya think you're close and then there's a sign that says "Yurt, one mile uphill". To fool ourselves Jean and I kept saying "this is nuthin", and "I wish the trail was steeper, the snow deeper, and my pack heavier". It was a beautiful sight once we saw the yurt about 100ftyurt02.JPG (132633 bytes) away, by this time the snow was really coming down as well. The other three were soon there with us after rigging up a sled for Rocky out of a space blanket and rope. Time to start the duties of unpacking, starting a fire, melting tons of snow for water, and chowin' down. We cracked open the beers first of all, of course! Between all of us we were pretty well stocked with a case of Rolling Rock, a 15-pack of Strohs, 5 liters of wine, Jager, Tuaca, and Vodka. The yurt got warmed up real fast and John made us some chicken roundlets, pasta, and string beans that was out of this world! It was an early night since we were so pooped from the 5.5hrs of getting to the Yurt.
Saturday morning Rocky made us some amazing bacon, sausage, and egg bagel sandwiches. Perfect gut bombs for yurt12.JPG (148378 bytes) energy throughout the day! It was pretty cloudy out and still snowing. The plan for the day was to ski/snowshoe up New York Mtn (12,550ft) and enjoy the fresh powder on the way down. As we got to treeline we were completely socked in the clouds and made our way up to the ridge. From here we followed the ridge the rest of the way contouring around a false summit. Occasionally visibility would increase a bit and we would see the giant cornices over-hanging the ridge just ~20ft to our side. Below the final slope to the summit there was a loud "whump" under where I was standing, I turned around in just enough time to see ayurt16.JPG (59329 bytes) giant cornice peel off the ridge and drop into oblivion! It was quite the sight to see, and not something I wanted to be any closer to. Some of the clouds burned off and it turned the area into an oven, but gave us some great views all around! What a beautiful area. Due to the avalanche danger we only stayed on the summit long enough to get our skins off and turn around. Fortunately the slope wasn't more then 20 degrees in most spots, but it was still scary as hell when every few feet you could see and feel the snow "whumping" yurt23.JPG (51194 bytes) under foot. John went down through a bowl while Jean, John E, and I stayed on the same trail higher up on safer ground. Not long until we were socked in the clouds again. Back at the saddle the clouds cleared again and we could see how giant the cornices were along the ridge! From here it was some really sweet tele turns in DEEP powder back to treeline. The snow was amazing and we couldn't ask for better conditions! Sure did make the climb well worth it. Not long after we were back at the Yurt where Rocky was hanging out making water and ensuring the beers stayed cold. The later it got, the more the clouds cleared and we were soon awarded with the warm sun through the trees while drinking beers on the porch. It was awesome! Rocky worked on digging some steps while I tried my hand at digging a snow cave. No easy task! The sunset was absolutely beautiful and soon enough we were chowing down on ham (since it was Easter)yurt31.JPG (192380 bytes) and mashed potatoes that Jean brought. There was no lack of great food despite being so far from civilization! It was a good night for drinking and trying to lighten our loads for the haul out the following day. We managed to finish the beer and drink plenty of Jager Bombs and Tuaca Bombs. Great stuff! It wasn't too late of a night once again.
Sunday morning we woke up and started packing up while Rocky made us some more delicious breakfast sandwiches, before John and myself headed out to the open slopes for some tele turns while Jean took pictures near the bottom and enjoyed the sun. The weather was perfect and we could see for miles and miles all around. Too bad the previous day wasn't like this, but we were glad it was now. We did two runs of skinning to the slope, peeling off the skins, then doing some amazing skiing in knee deep and untouched powder. It yurt39.JPG (107088 bytes) was awesome looking back up at our fresh turns! Too bad we couldn't stay and do this all day, or have a snowmobile tow us back up over and over! Back at the Yurt John E. was celebrating Easter by drinking the rest of the wine while chopping wood and feeding the birds. Not being a big drinker, this proved to not be such a good idea considering we had 6.5miles to hike out soon! It took quite a bit of time to get snowshoes on, then within 100ft of the Yurt he was all over the place and falling in the deep snow not being able to get up! I couldn'tyurt43.JPG (150933 bytes) help but laugh hysterically knowing that we all had been there at some point or another! I took his snowboard, shovel and helmet to lighten his load then the puking began. I tried to help, but was laughing too hard once again! From all the red wine it looked like someone got murdered on the trail! After the purging of his guts and getting his pack off things started to go a little better. John eventually took his pack on his sled while I took some of his other stuff. We slowly made it down a couple miles where more fun began! We accidentally took a yurt47.JPG (142954 bytes) wrong turn so instead of being on the trail we were on steep snow through tight trees. The sled I was towing constantly flipped over and the snowboard got stuck around every other tree. Luckily Jean was there to help flip it over and fix the snowboard because otherwise I would've cut them both loose and let 'em go! After quite a bit of cursing and fighting with this we were back on the road. Just over 4miles of mostly downhill we were back at the cars, thankfully. This was yet another stellar hut trip that I wouldn't trade the world for!

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