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Uncle Bud's Hut
ELEVATION: 11,380 feet
GPS: 378 854 E, 43 50 964 N
TRAILHEAD: Turquoise Lake

USGS 7.5 min map: Homestake Reservoir
10th Mountain Huts map: Galena Mountain

Uncle Bud's Hut

Uncle Bud's Hut is similar in aspect and construction to the 10th Mountain Division Hut. Views from the south window-wall include a panorama of 14,421-foot Mount Massive.

The hut was built as a memorial to 10th Mountain Division veteran Bud Winter (1925-1945), who died in Italy during World War II. Bud was a "born skier and mountaineer" who participated in the famous Trooper Traverse from Leadville to Aspen in 1944.

Uncle Bud's Hut , combined with the Skinner Hut and Betty Bear Hut, allows travel west over Hagerman Pass to the Frying Pan drainage, thus forming a huge loop that strong skiers can enjoy. Uncle Bud's Hut is very accessible from Leadville via an easy trailhead to hut route from Turquoise Lake Trailhead. Use this route to reach the hut quickly, then spend a few days base skiing. Or if you’re learning backcountry skiing, use this mellow route as a steep on your ladder of learning.

For ski-throughs to the north and south from Uncle Bud's Hut you can use sections of the Main Range/Colorado Trail. Regional skiing at the hut ranges from mellow glade skiing to euro-style couloirs on Galena Mountain.

Uncle Buds Hut Map below connects to 10th Mountain Hut on the top (north), 10th Mountain Hut West on the top left, and Skinner Hut on the bottom left. If you have trouble viewing or printing the map below, please try our Uncle Bud's PDF. Also, you can view an index of our maps here.

Note that trails in this area may have confusing names and signs. For details please see our Uncle Bud's Hut page.

Turquoise Lake Trailhead—Uncle Bud's Hut
DIFFICULTY: Intermediate
HUTSKI.COM FREE TOPO MAP: Uncle Bud's Hut (see above)
TIME: 5 hours up, 3 1/2 hours down
DISTANCE: 6 miles
ELEVATION GAIN: 1,640 feet; loss: 20 feet

This 10th Mountain suggested route follows easily navigated snow-covered roads through beautiful lodgepole pine forest. Begin with Nordic wax at the Turquoise Lake Trailhead. Ski west up a main snow-covered road. At about 3 1/2 miles from the trailhead (exact distance depending on where you parked) leave the main road by turning right (N) onto a well-defined road-cut. There is a stake here with the road number 107, but this may be covered by snow. All the following mileages are measured from this turn.

Uncle Bud's Hut - early winter.

Put your skins on and follow Road 107 as it climbs N through conifer. If you notice, just 1/4 mile after turning from the main road you'll pass an intersection at 10,570 feet. Be sure to stay north on Road 107 here. It can be all too easy, especially on an overcast day, to lose your bearings.

At 1/2 mile from the main road you'll pass under a power line at 10,730 feet. This is a good landmark and altimeter calibration point. After the power line the road climbs N a short distance, swings W for about 1/3 mile, then makes a short steep climb N several hundred feet to a mining area in some flats (11,000 feet). Stay on the road in this area, as several dangerous open shafts may be hidden by snow. Though most mine evidence will be obscured by snow, you'll see lots of unnatural looking mounds and some wood ruins.

Ski W on Road 107 through the mining area, then begin a climb NW for 1/2 mile (still on the road) to a clearing at 11,280 feet. The road to this point follows the ridge between St. Kevin Creek and Turquoise Lake, so as long as you're climbing you're on the route. At the 11,280-foot clearing the 10th Mountain suggested route leaves Road 107 and takes a climbing traverse another 1/4 mile NW to Uncle Bud's Hut (11,380 feet) at the top end of the clearing. The hut is visible from several hundred yards below. The possible mistake here would be to stay on Road 107 and traverse below the hut. You can see the hut from Road 107, so keep looking uphill for it. If in doubt use your GPS as you get close.

REVERSE ROUTE: Descending Road 107 can be quite a thrill as a series of tree-lined "toboggan chutes" test your ski legs. From the front of Uncle Bud's Hut take a descending traverse SE through a clearing. Intersect Road 107 at 11,280 feet. Stay on the road as it takes you downhill along the crest of the ridge between St. Kevin Gulch and Turquoise Lake. Swing N then SE through a flat area at the 11,000-foot level, then climb a small hill to a mining area. Find find the road-cut at the east end of the mining area, where it makes a right turn (S) down a steep hill. From here the road-cut is easy to follow down to the main Turquoise Lake Road. Turn left (easterly) on the Turquoise Lake Road and follow it to your parking or pickup point.

SAFETY NOTES: This short route could lull you into false security. The problem is that many snowmobiles and backcountry skiers use the area, so trails may lead everywhere—and nowhere.

SUMMER: Road 107 is a fine horse, hiking, or bike route.

"Uncle" Bud Winter's memorial engraving on the 10th Mountain Division monument on Tennessee Pass.

Uncle Bud's Hut to Skinner Hut via Turquoise Lake Road and Glacier Creek
HUTSKI.COM FREE TOPO MAP: Uncle Bud's Hut (see above)
TIME: 8 hours
DISTANCE: 7 1/4 miles
ELEVATION GAIN: 1,660; loss: 1,420 feet

The section of Main Range/Colorado Trail that connects Glacier Creek and Uncle Bud's Hut can add much time and effort to reaching the Skinner Hut from Uncle Bud's Hut, especially if new snow requires breaking trail. This alternate is frequently a better choice.

To begin, you can follow the marked 10th Mountain trail back on Road 107 to the Turquoise Lake Road. But a possibly better route is to simply ski down the drainage south of Uncle Bud's Hut. Doing so allows you to intersect the Turquoise Lake Road at its high point of 10,680 feet, and eliminates some distance. To ski the drainage, simply head S downhill from Uncle Bud's Hut. Stick with the drainage down to the last lake at 10,800 feet. Ski W from the lake several hundred yards, then drop S down a headwall. You'll pass under power lines here. Continue down the drainage keeping west of the stream. Several hundred yards above the Turquoise Lake Road you'll intersect a road-cut through the forest. Follow this to the Turquoise Lake Road.

Once you're on the Turquoise Lake Road, ski the road 2 1/2 miles W to the start of the Glacier Creek trail. Put on your skins here. The point where this trail leaves the Turquoise Lake Road is not obvious, and many parties have skied past it. For sure identification remember that the trail leaves the road at the upper north end of a curve that starts out heading W and turns S. Thus, if you find yourself skiing S you have missed the trail. Also, the start of the Glacier Creek trail is marked with blue diamonds. You'll see a Forest Service trailhead marker (for the Timberline Lake Trail) after you start up the trail, but the marker can't be seen from the road. See our Skinner Hut page for the remainder of the route up Glacier Creek to the Skinner Hut.

SAFETY NOTES: Due to avalanche terrain and steep climbing, the Glacier Creek leg of this route is one of the few 10th Mountain suggested routes with an advanced rating. Yet Intermediate backcountry skiers can manage this trail provided they are accompanied by more experienced skiers to help them. Skins are a necessity.

SUMMER: The trail up Glacier Creek is a bit of a bushwhack, and the route down the drainage from Uncle Bud's Hut has no summer tread.

Uncle Bud's Hut to Skinner Hut via Main Range/Colorado Trail and Glacier Creek
HUTSKI.COM FREE TOPO MAP: Uncle Bud's Hut (see above)
TIME: 9 hours
DISTANCE: 7 miles USGS MAP: Homestake Reservoir
ELEVATION GAIN: 1,930; loss: 1,690 feet

The first leg of this route follows the Main Range/Colorado Trail. Finding this route may be difficult, and the trail may cross potential avalanche slopes. While this route may appeal to advanced ski mountaineers who are loath to shuffle along the Turquoise Lake snowmobile track, we do not recommend this route as a standard connector. Instead, if you need to reach Skinner Hut from Uncle Bud's, we recommend using the Turquoise Lake Road to reach Glacier Creek (see route above).

Ski SW and W from Uncle Bud's Hut a short distance down into the clearing in the drainage (Bud's Gulch) west of the hut. Cross to the west side of the clearing and locate the obvious Forest Service "double post" trailhead sign (11,240 feet); this marks the Main Range/Colorado Trail.

Ski W out of Bud's Gulch on the Main Range/Colorado Trail. It takes a short climb up over a timbered rib, then traverses 1/4 mile to the top of a clearing at 11,240 feet. Ski downhill a short distance, then ski between north and south Galena Lakes. Continue W then SW to pass the south edge of a small lake and climb via several switchbacks to timberline (11,400 feet) on the south ridge of Galena Mountain.

From timberline descend an open slope W and SW and take care to find the trail as it enters the trees. Descend this trail 2 miles through forest to 10,040 feet in the Lake Fork drainage. Here you join the Glacier Creek trail that climbs to the Skinner Hut from the Turquoise Lake Road. It's very important to find this trail, since it follows the only feasible route to the hut. See our Skinner Hut page for the remainder of the route up Glacier Creek to the Skinner Hut.

SAFETY NOTES: This route is long and requires expert orienteering. The climb up Glacier Creek is one of the steepest trails in the 10th Mountain system. Climbing skins are mandatory. Take care when passing below avalanche slopes in Glacier Creek. Groups on this route should carry avalanche rescue equipment. Remember that trail in legal wilderness is marked with tree blazes instead of blue diamonds.

SUMMER: All maintained trails on this route are good hiking and equestrian routes. Most of the Glacier Creek trail to the Skinner Hut is only a marked winter route. For a summer hike to the Skinner Hut, follow the Glacier Creek valley up high to its intersection with the Hagerman Pass Road, then take the road back to the hut.

Uncle Bud's Hut to 10th Mountain Division Hut via Main Range/Colorado Trail
HUTSKI.COM FREE TOPO MAP: Uncle Bud's Hut (see above)
TIME: 8 hours
DISTANCE: 7 1/4 miles
ELEVATION GAIN: 1,450 feet; loss: 1,460 feet

This 10th Mountain suggested route is the only practical route between Uncle Bud's Hut and the 10th Mountain Division Hut. The route is long and difficult. Unlike unlike most "valley" and "road" 10th Mountain routes, this trail cuts through many drainages. You'll enjoy plenty of good views on this route. The 14,000-foot peaks of the Mosquito Range loom to the east and the majestic Continental Divide rises to the west and south. The route uses sections of the Main Range/Colorado Trail. The 10th Mountain suggested route deviates in places from this trail for more efficient skiing and to avoid avalanche slopes.

You can begin this route by skiing westerly from the hut down into Bud's Gulch then swinging north, or else take a more direct northerly route from the hut (after figuring things out using a map.) Either way, climb NE to a sparsely timbered saddle at 11,680 feet. From the saddle climb W for 1/4 mile up the ridge to 11,800 feet. This is the high point of the route and a good place for a long session with map and compass. Remember these wilderness trails are marked with tree blazes. Having a GPS set up for the route is a good idea as well.

Strip your skins on the ridge, then take a dropping traverse NW into Porcupine Gulch. To avoid avalanche terrain, this traverse starts above the marked route of the Main Range/Colorado Trail, then drops down short switchbacks through a strip of timber into Porcupine Gulch. Sticking to this timber avoids avalanche terrain to either side. You may find some options for downhill turns in this area, but pay attention to avalanche safety. Cross Porcupine Creek at 11,240 feet. Next, climb up the north side of Porcupine Creek to a broad flat saddle at 11,480 feet (with several small lakes). This short climb is hardly worth re-skinning for; try a bit of cross country wax under the middle of your ski, or just herringbone.

From the broad saddle, drop N via two switchbacks into Longs Gulch. Cross Longs Creek at 10,900 feet, then follow the Main Range/Colorado Trail down through intermittent clearings on the north side of Longs Creek to 10,740 feet. At this point your route (still on the Main Range/Colorado Trail) climbs NE out of Longs Gulch, then around the shoulder that separates Longs Gulch from the West Tennessee Creek drainages. The Main Range/Colorado Trail continues E here but your route travels N, so leave the Main Range/Colorado Trail when it starts to drop E (10,880 feet), and take a climbing traverse N to cross the south fork of West Tennessee Creek at 10,990 feet.

Climb up another shoulder N out of the south fork of West Tennessee Creek, then descend N past a small lake (11,140 feet). After the lake continue N a few hundred yards, then traverse W through dark timber and across a marshy clearing. Swing NE and drop 1/4 mile into the clearings of the main West Tennessee Creek drainage. From 10,980 feet in West Tennessee Creek climb NE then N over a small shoulder into the North Fork of West Tennessee Creek (11,100 feet), then N onto a sparsely treed hillside. Climb the west side of this clear area to a small lake at 11,340 feet.

You will now be in another relatively flat area. From the east side of the lake, ski E several hundred yards through timber, then swing NE and ski through 1/4 mile of intermittent clearings to a large flat clearing just south of the hut. You can see the hut from here; the trail crosses the clearing.

SAFETY NOTES: With care to avoid avalanche slopes you can travel this route safe from avalanches. Slight deviations from this route, however, will expose you to slide danger. Allow plenty of time for orienteering this complex route. GPS suggested.

SUMMER: The Main Range/Colorado Trail is a fine hike or horse ride. Most of the trail is in designated wilderness, where possession of a bicycle is a heinous crime. The sections of the 10th Mountain route that deviate from the Main Range/Colorado Trail have no summer tread.

Uncle Bud's Hut Regional Trips

Galena Mountain from Uncle Bud's Hut
DIFFICULTY: Advanced/Expert
HUTSKI.COM FREE TOPO MAPS: Uncle Bud's Hut, 10th Mountain Division Hut
TIME: 1/2 day
DISTANCE: 4 1/2 miles round trip
ELEVATION GAIN: 2,000 feet round trip

Rising to the west of Uncle Bud's Hut, Galena Mountain (12,893 feet) is sure to tempt mountaineers. While lower than the 13,000- and 14,000-foot peaks that stud the Continental Divide in the Leadville area, Galena offers good variety and is easy to reach from the hut.

There are two good routes for this climb. One option, rated expert, ascends the prominent east ridge from 11,680 feet on the Main Range/Colorado Trail. The first part of the east ridge is a simple ridge run. After a deep notch (12,600 feet), rope-work is necessary to climb a vertical step. In the winter you must ascend this step to avoid avalanche danger on the northeast face. But in the spring, provided the snow is frozen spring corn, you can avoid the technical climbing by traversing onto the northeast face. This option requires expert snow climbing skills.

The longer winter route is rated advanced. Follow the Colorado Trail to timberline on Galena Mountain's broad south ridge (see Colorado Trail to Skinner Hut route described above). Leave the trail here and follow this ridge to the summit, either sticking to the right hand ridge crest or following the broad ridge. Your choice would be dictated by avalanche conditions. Whatever your ascent route, this ridge is a good way down.

Expert mountaineers enjoy the beautiful couloir that ascends to the summit of Galena Mountain from St. Kevin Lake. At 48 degrees maximum angle, this couloir makes both a good crampon climb or "extreme ski" during the spring season on compacted spring snow. The most straightforward route to St. Kevin Lake follows the Bear Lake drainage from the Colorado Trail.

SAFETY NOTES: All these routes pass through avalanche terrain and thus are safer on a spring "melt-freeze" snowpack while the snow is frozen in the morning.

SUMMER: The east ridge of Galena Mountain is a fine summer climb and the south ridge makes a good alpine hike.

Galena Lake from Uncle Bud's Hut
DIFFICULTY: Intermediate
HUTSKI.COM FREE TOPO MAP: Uncle Bud's Hut (see above)
TIME: 3 hours round trip
DISTANCE: 2 1/2 miles round trip
ELEVATION GAIN: 310 feet round trip

This short branch route takes the Main Range/Colorado Trail to Galena Lake. Use it as a scenic tour, or get some turns in the glades west of the lake.

From Uncle Bud's Hut ski W down into the clearing in the drainage west of the hut (Bud's Gulch). Do not ski up Bud's Gulch, simply cross to the west side of the clearing and locate the obvious Forest Service "double post" trailhead sign (11,240 feet); this marks the Main Range/Colorado Trail.

Ski W out of Bud's Gulch on the Main Range/Colorado Trail. It takes a short climb up through timber, then traverses 1/4 mile to the top of a clearing at 11,240 feet. The Main Range/Colorado Trail takes a dropping traverse from here, then passes between north and south Galena Lakes. For a better ski route, take the fall line down to the flat marshy area where the clearing widens, then ski fairly flat terrain SW a short distance to Galena Lake. Take some time to explore the area; include Bear Lake in your quest. For the best downhill skiing, stay on the Main Range/Colorado Trail W then SW past the south edge of a small lake, then climb to timberline via several switchbacks. Pick your glade. Return via the same route.

SAFETY NOTES: This is a mellow excursion with no unusual safety problems. Remember that the Main Range/Colorado Trail is marked with tree blazes because it's in wilderness. Pay attention to your map, since it's likely you will deviate from the summer trail. Ski in control.

SUMMER: Enjoy this route as a hike.

Nearby Ski Tours from Uncle Bud's Hut
DIFFICULTY: Intermediate
HUTSKI.COM FREE TOPO MAP: Uncle Bud's Hut (see above)

Several popular ski runs are accessible from Uncle Bud's Hut. Close by, the glades of St. Kevin Gulch can be reached by climbing N up the ridge behind the hut, then dropping E for the skiing. You can get back to the hut without skins by taking a short climbing traverse at the 11,300-foot level. For your first trip use your altimeter to find the traverse. Another fun ski is point 12,313 on the east ridge of Galena Mountain. Enjoy the terrific view and the superb downhill skiing. Point 12,313 is worth several trips up and down. On the last trip try cutting over to St. Kevin Gulch for the final ski to the hut.

SAFETY NOTES: Ski downhill with care. Stay clear of the drop-off on the left (north) as you're descending from the top of point 12,313, and watch for rocks on the upper section.

This book goes great with our maps, highly recommended for any hut skier.
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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.

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