Sangree M. Froelicher Hut 11,650 feet
HUTSKI.COM FREE MAP: Sangree Hut (see below)
GPS: 391 993 E 43 53 721 N
TRAILHEADS: Buckeye Gulch,Ski Cooper USGS 7.5 min map: Leadville North
10th Mountain Huts map: Pending
At three miles from the Buckeye Gulch trailhead, Sangree is one of the easiest 10th Mountain huts to reach. It is a beautiful building in a majestic setting with inspiring views of the high peaks around the Leadville Area. Day touring and skiing near the hut can be excellent, but such activities are highly dependent on how the snow is reacting to sun and wind, as the high-altitude slopes of this area get much of both.
Sangree Hut is named after 10th Mountain Division soldier Sangree M. Froelicher, killed in action during WWII in Italy. Along with the usual 10th Mountain amenities, the large structure includes a facility known as the Alpine Resource Center, which provides a teaching venue, library, and other educational accoutrements.
Sangree Hut map below connects to Vance's Cabin map on the top left (northwest). If you have trouble viewing the Sangree Hut map below, please try our PDF version. Also, check out our map index if necessary. Also, check out our OrthoPhoto of our Sangree topo, it is a large (wait for download) file but you won't be disappointed.
Buckeye Gulch Trailhead to Sangree M. Froelicher Hut DIFFICULTY: Intermediate
HUTSKI.COM FREE MAP: Sangree Hut (see above)
HUTSKI.COM GPS TRACKS: text fileGPX
TIME: 3 hours up, 1.5 hours down
DISTANCE: 3 miles
ELEVATION GAIN: 1,500 feet
Start from Buckeye Gulch Trailhead with climbing skins and follow snow covered Buckeye Gulch Road up the right (easterly) side of Buckeye Gulch. One mile from the trailhead, turn left (W) on Road 137A. Stay on the snow covered road as it crosses the creek, then follow the well marked (blue diamonds) route as it stays on the road for a short distance, then leaves the road to the left and climbs the valley through timber on the south side of the creek. The trail then swings north and east to the hut. As an option, you can also climb a more direct route to the hut if you're certain of the location or are using GPS.
REVERSE ROUTE : Ski SW from the hut and take care to identify the blue diamonds of the marked trail, which traverses a bit then drops in a wide loop to the drainage, where you pick up Road 137 A and ski snow covered roads out to the Buckeye Gulch trailhead.
[field checked by HutSki 10/07]
Sangree Highroute from Ski Cooper Trailhead DIFFICULTY: Advanced
HUTSKI.COM FREE MAPS: Vance's Cabin, Sangree Hut (see above)
HUTSKI.COM GPS TRACKS: text fileGPX
TIME: 6 hours
DISTANCE: 6 1/2 miles
ELEVATION GAIN: 1, 600 feet
One of 10th Mountain's tougher routes, but worth the effort. Rewards: Amazing views and plenty of true alpine touring above timberline. Travel to the Ski Cooper trailhead. Walk a few hundred feet from trailhead parking to the Cooper Hill Nordic Center, which is located on the southwest edge of the large base area parking lot. You start the route on one of the designated nordic trails, so obtain a trail map at the Nordic Center in case you get confused while navigating. From the Nordic Center, ski the Cooper Loop trail southeasterly. Soon you'll be on a well defined summer road. Note signs for Tennessee Pass Cookhouse at 1 1/4 mile from start, but stay on road . Take care just after Cookhouse to NOT swing southwest, but rather stay on summer road as it continues SE then swings E as a shelf road above East Tennessee Creek. Continue east to cross creek over culvert at 10,750'.
Just past culvert, continue east and north at two road intersections as you continue to climb through timber on a summer road that parallels the right side of the creek. At 3/4 mile from the culvert you'll break into a clearing where you leave the road and make a critical swing southeast. Slightly more aggressive climbing begins here as you head up through forest for a few hundred feet than break into a large logged area. Take the fall line up the logged area. Near the top of the logged area ski a short traverse east and enter a tongue of trees at 11,530' and continue easterly through light timber for a short distance to another open area. Climb the right side of the open area to High Mountain Saddle, 11,645', and turn left (east) to enter the timber again. Climb east up through light timber for a few hundred yards to timberline on the end of a ridge.
Now your alpine tour begins. Looking southeast you're facing a large basin. Take a climbing contour into the head of the basin, eventually reaching a point just below the highpoint of the saddle at the east crest of the basin. Take a definitive swing south here and follow a mostly level route 1/4 mile to Sangree Saddle (12,070'). Drop from Sangree Saddle 1/2 mile south and southeast to Sangree Hut.
Sangree Hut Regional Skiing and Day Trips
Much south facing and wind blasted snow in this area makes it tough to find good skiing. If your quest is for turns, take care to analyze where quality snow might be hiding. After the rare windless snowstorm, vast low angled slopes above timberline might make your dreams reality. Otherwise, explore different exposures below the hut, or check out the lightly timbered area to the northwest of Sangree Saddle (take care here as return to the hut involves climbing out of a drainage. If you're after tours more than turns, summit the various highpoints north from the hut, with an ultimate goal being Buckeye Peak. Given stable avalanche conditions, expert backcountry skiers might find larger and steeper runs in the area of upper Buckeye Gulch. All these areas are obvious on our free HutSki.com map shown above, but we only note them in general terms due to the shifting quality and safety of the snowpack.
(Note, the correct name for this hut is Sangree M. Froelicher. Folks also call it the "Sangree" or "Sangree's," Sangre is the wrong spelling. Sangree is pronounced as in "sang the song.")
Please note: The information in this website is based on the experience and research of the site owners and their sources, may not be accurate, and might not be perceived as accurate by other persons. Therefore, extreme care should be taken when following any of the backcountry skiing 10th Mountain Huts, Summit Huts and Braun Huts routes described in this website. This website is not intended to be instructional but rather is a guide for backcountry users who already have the requisite training, experience, and knowledge for the activities they choose. An advanced level of expertise and physical conditioning is necessary for even the "easiest" of the routes and activities described herein. Proper clothing and equipment is essential. Failure to have the necessary knowledge, equipment, and conditioning will subject you to physical danger, injury, or death. Some backcountry skiing routes for 10th Mountain Huts, Summit Huts and Braun Huts have changed and others will change; avalanche hazards may have expanded or new hazards may have formed since this website's publication.
Mission statement: The mission of HutSki.com is to provide backcountry skiers and other Colorado hut users with a complete set of high quality free topo maps, plentiful how-to information, and brief route descriptions that include alternate routes as well as standard trails.