January 23 2021

My first backcountry outing of 2021 was a major success. Sophia, JM, Noah, and I spent four days playing in the snow just outside of Aspen. When the trip was all said and done we’d travelled ~26 miles, climbed ~7k feet, and spent three nights in huts belonging to the Alfred A Braun Hut System.

Comically, we made the approach to Barnard via Little Annie and Upper Hurricane Road rather than the standard route which involves taking the Silver Queen Gondola to Richmond Ridge. Aspen Ski Company informed us that because of COVID they were not allowing non-downhill travellers to board the gondola prior to 1:45pm. On our bonus lap down Aspen Mountain back to town, we learned that the previously mentioned restriction was not being actively enforced. Oh well, we probably needed the extra 2+k vert of exercise with full packs on anyway.

A touch of new snow was an unexpected surprise on day one.

The crew at Barnard hut.

Same crew, different day. On the summit of Gold Hill.

Selfies at Goodwin-Greene hut with my fiancee who absolutely crushed her first hut trip!

Bit of route finding. The weather was infinitely better than the snow quality on this ridge.