Trip Report: Backcountry Skiing, Winter 2009

Walter's Cabin at Shrine Mountain Inn

This page contains a brief report our backcountry ski trip to Walter's Cabin near Vail Pass. If you want to see a more detailed description of one of our backcountry ski trips check these links:

Photo John, Bill, Howard, and Bob.
John, Bill, Howard, and Bob.

Walter's is one of three cabins at Shrine Mountain Inn (SMI). Although privately owned, reservations are obtained through The 10th Mountain Division Hut Association. You can read about the cabin by clicking the Hut Details Page link or the Guide Book Excerpts link in the sidebar. Unlike most of the 10th Mountain Division Huts, the cabins at SMI have running water, indoor toilets, and electricity.

This year we decided to go self-guided. John, Cindy, Bill, Howard, Connie and I met in Vail the evening before. The next morning we drove to Vail Pass Trailhead. John had previously made arrangements for a snow machine to carry Cindy and some of our gear to the gate near SMI. This included my Granite Gear sled that I had loaded with about 100 pounds of gear, food, and wine. After loading the snow machine, we skied up to SMI in a little less than two hours. I thought it would be no problem to haul the sled from the drop off point the 0.4 miles to Walter's cabin. That proved to be a serious misjudgment. Pulling the heavily laden sled took 0.4 miles took me about 45 minutes and wore me out.

We had the entire cabin, upstairs and downstairs, to ourselves. We spent three nights there. During the days we ski toured the area. We mostly explored the areas south of the cabin below Shrine Mountain Ridge. One morning we toured near the col just south of Shrine Mountain Peak. We stopped short of the ridge because it was so heavily corniced.

The trip down was unremarkable.