Margy’s Hut 10th Mountain Division – 3.20.14 – 3.24.14
Really just epic snow this year throughout the 10th Mountain Division Hut system, and Margy’s was no exception. We started with warm weather in Gypsum where we all met for an early breakfast before the ascent to Margy’s.
Built in 1982, Margy’s Hut (along with the McNamara Hut) was one of the first two huts in the 10th Mountain system. The building of these two huts represented a major step for the fledgling organization, which had to promise the Forest Service that the huts would be razed if they were not used. Hut construction was funded by Robert McNamara (former secretary of defense) and friends, in memorial to Robert’s wife Margy.
Layout and capacity: Bunk room that sleeps 4 downstairs, one private room with a double bed plus 10 single beds in a communal sleeping room upstairs Capacity 16.
Margy’s Hut is located on a lightly treed hillside just below timberline at 11,300′, about 10 miles northeast of the city of Aspen, Colorado. The hut has beautiful views of the Elk Mountains to the south.
Elevation at Trailhead: 8,640′ (elevation gain: 2,660′)
Route: Via FS 103, Johnson Creek Trail and FS 526
Total Mileage: 6.3
The main winter route into Margy’s Hut follows FS 103 to the Johnson’s Creek Trail. The trail climbs Steeply up Johnson’s Creek until it intersects FS 103. The route then follows FS 103 to FS 526 and on to the hut. You can also ski in from the Fryingpan River Valley but this route is seldom traveled and crosses through a wilderness area where we are limited in how 10th Mountain Division can mark the trail.
Although we had great weather going in, we were blessed with an awesome spring storm once we arrived. This would turn the next few days in to a total winter paradise. We opted for Mount Yeckel North & South aspects on the second day. The conditions couldn’t have been better.
The endless lines on the north side of Mt Yeckel could be explored for days. The conditions rapidly deteriorated as the sun baked the southern aspects, but the morning snow was amazing. We moved to the northerly aspects in the afternoon and extended the conditions longer.
From the back of Margy’s Hut ski the 10th Mountain marked trail about 200 yards to a distinct snow-covered road. Instead of following the 10th Mountain route left (W), turn right and travel the general route of the road N through an open area, then E over point 11,648. From here follow a snow-covered jeep trail NE down a short hill, then up to the summit of Mount Yeckel. The return is via the same route. You’ll find excellent downhill skiing in the north-facing bowl of point 11,648; this is known as Yeckel Bowl. There is also good skiing off the summit of Mount Yeckel down the open west face; this is called the West Face of Yeckel.
Stay away from Yeckel’s steep, cliff-studded northeast face. See the CIAC avalanche report about a dangerous avalanche on Mount Yeckel.
Although Margy’s is an older hut in the 10th Mountain Hut system, I would highly recommend it.