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:
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
The trip down was unremarkable.