Skinner Hut

The hike to Skinner Hut is long and hard and should not be taken lightly. There is an alternate route which approaches avalanche zones, so I don't care to go near there. Instead I take the long way, with the dreaded losing of 600 vertical feet on a two mile down hill. Skinner Hut was the very first hut that I went to, and it taught me some lessons that I use to this very day: Get in shape for a hut trip, start early, travel light, study maps and have an idea of where you are going as best you can. I learned most of these the hard way, being lost, in a blizzard, in the dark, out of water, trying to find skinner hut. All in all, Skinner Hut will earn your respect, and it's worth the challenge once you get there.
The Hike:
I think the elevation profile says it all, it's long and steep. The good news is that the first 8 miles are all on a road that is well traversed by snow mobiles. I used kick wax on my tele boards to make the climb up easier. While the road is downhill, it's not like you are on a ski run, so there is some work involved. Finally you get to a park where you connect with the colorado trail, and you head into the trees into the start of a steep climb to skinner hut. The trail is marked with blue diamonds, and the last push to the saddle was especially hard for our trip because we were breaking trail.