Hut Trip: Betty Bear Hut

Betty Bear Hut is one of sixteen 10th Mountain Division Huts, placed along the historical 10th Mountain Division training route between Aspen and Vail. As the crow flies, it's 15 miles from Aspen, and only 11 miles from Leadville, but that belittles its true remoteness. The hut is located at the very end of the Fryingpan River Valley, just behind Mount Massive. From the trailhead, it's a 1.5 hour drive to Aspen, and over a 3 hour drive to Leadville. Once at the trailhead, it's a 6.2 mile hike that gains over 2,200 feet of elevation; over half of that elevation is climbed in the very last mile of trail, topping out at 11,200 feet. The hut itself is perched high above the valley and faces south into the Hunter-Fryingpan Wilderness, surrounded my a myriad of unnamed peaks. On Saturday, March 13, 2010, 11 of us hiked (well, two of us skied) up the trail on a beautiful and warm sunny day. A storm followed us in to the hut, so Sunday we laid pretty low - sledding and skiing just outside of the hut. Our hike out on Monday was another clear sunny day, yielding more spectacular photos. While at the hut, we ate wonderful food (that we hauled up on our backs), played lots of Hearts, lounged around, and had a great time.