10th (Tenth) Mountain Division Huts and Summit Huts Online Guidebook
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Eiseman Hut
10,970 feet
HUTSKI.COM FREE MAPS: Eiseman Hut (see below), Eiseman Hut East
GPS: 384 079 E, 43 94 893 N
TRAILHEADS: Red Sandstone Creek, Spraddle Creek
USGS Maps: Vail East, Vail West
10TH MTN. HUTS MAP: Gore Range

At Eiseman Hut after a tour in nearby excellent terrain.

The rugged peaks of Colorado's Gore Range form the backdrop for the Eiseman Hut, 10th Mountain's most alpine hostel. Indeed, terrain rules this amazing location: Out the hut door is the best skiing of any 10th Mountain hut, where a short walk up the ridge behind the hut yields a cornucopia of glade skiing. Farther afield, tall Colorado peaks entice with glistening faces and snow filled couloirs.

Primary access to the Eiseman Hut is via two trailheads near the Vail ski resort on Interstate Highway 70. One trail, best for experienced skiers with climbing skins, climbs seven miles up Spraddle Creek and Middle Creek. An easier route, which can be skied with nordic wax instead of climbing skins, follows snowmobile trails up Red Sandstone Creek for a long 10 miles. Alternative "un-official" routes are limited. Aggressive mountaineers might find a way up Booth Creek, then connect to the hut via a ridge-run. Another interesting route could climb Bald Mountain from Spraddle Creek, then traverse a high ridge to the hut.

The best use for the Eiseman Hut, however, is not as a destination but as a base for alpine ski touring and mellow ski exploration. In other words, use the most efficient route to the hut, stay for a few days, and enjoy!

Map below connects to Eiseman Hut East on the right (east) side. If you have trouble viewing or printing the map below, try our PDF version.

Of special note is the wooden porch of the hut, easily the most commodious of any 10th Mountain lodge. You can imagine the "decking" scene on a warm afternoon in March, after a day of hard skiing, with the sun setting behind the distant twin summits of Mount Sopris and glisse alpinists sharing stories of their adventures. The view from the hut also includes the ski slopes of Vail to the south, and an interesting perspective of the huge Flat Tops wilderness to the west.

Red Sandstone Creek Trailhead—Eiseman Hut via Red Sandstone Creek
Difficulty: Intermediate
HUTSKI.COM FREE MAP: Eiseman Hut (see above)
TIME: 7 hours
DISTANCE: 8 miles
ELEVATION GAIN: 2,560 feet

A long and relatively low-angled tour up snow covered and often snowmobile-packed roads, this is a good trip for light skis and nordic wax. Start at the Red Sandstone Creek Trailhead. Ski up the well defined Red Sandstone Road (parallels Red Sandstone Creek). At about 3 miles (depending on exact parking) you'll encounter your first major intersection (9,325 feet). Continue N here rather than heading left. Another 1 1/3 mile of obvious snow-covered road leads you to another intersection (9,704 feet). Take the right fork here, and ski a road that takes you ½ mile N, then swings E and follows a long traverse through a logging area, eventually delivering you to the head of a timbered valley (10,520 feet) just under the Eiseman Hut.

With the hut 660 vertical feet above you, a quick way there is to slap on your climbing skins, climb 1/4 mile SE to a saddle, then swing E from the saddle and climb a short distance to the hut. This direct route is not marked with blue diamonds. With nordic wax, continue up the road N from the 10,520 foot elevation, and take several low angled switch backs to the hut. This latter option is the marked route. The hut is not visible from below.

REVERSE ROUTE DESCRIPTION: Reverse the route above, and assuming you have a good gliding wax job skate the long road out. It's possible to get a good number of turns down from the hut to the road at 10,520 feet elevation.

SAFETY NOTES: With extreme avalanche instability, it's possible slides could fall on the last switchback up to the hut. To avoid such hazard, the direct skin route described above could be a better option. Most of this route shares the trail with snowmobiles.

SUMMER: The roads in this area are fine mountain bike routes.

Spraddle Creek Trailhead—Eiseman Hut via Middle Creek
DIFFICULTY: Intermediate
HUTSKI.COM FREE MAPS: Eiseman Hut (see above), Eiseman Hut East
TIME: 6 hours
DISTANCE: 6 ¾ miles
ELEVATION GAIN: 2,900 feet

This 10th Mountain marked and suggested route is in our opinion the best way the Eiseman Hut. Start with climbing skins at the Spraddle Creek Trailhead. Ski the snow covered Spraddle Creek jeep trail about 1 7/8 miles (depending on exact start), then take a hard left off the road and head N across Spraddle Creek (383 683 E, 43 90 677 N, or 39.65795, 106.35963).

Follow a route that swings W then N around a shoulder, gradually drops ¾ mile to Middle Creek (9,490 feet), then follows the Middle Creek drainage 1 1/4 miles to 10,500 feet. Here the nature of the trail changes abruptly as it swings N and climbs 2 miles of steep switchbacks through timber to the Eiseman Hut. The hut is not visible until you break out of the trees a few feet away.

REVERSE ROUTE: The first section of this route is a steep thrash through dense timber. Novice skiers should consider keeping climbing skins on for the downhill so they can maintain control. Creative experts can find ways to make turns down to Middle Creek, but take care to intersect the marked trail when appropriate. For the remainder of the route, simply reverse the ascent route.

SAFETY NOTES: There are no unusual hazards on this route, and it's avalanche free. Ski timbered downhills with care.

SUMMER: The Spraddle Creek jeep trail is a good place to hike and ride a mountain bike. The 10th Mountain trail up Middle Creek is designed for winter use only.

Download GPS track (GPX)

Eiseman Hut Regional Skiing

Point 11,770 from Eiseman Hut
DIFFICULTY: Intermediate/Advanced
HUTSKI.COM FREE MAPS: Eiseman Hut (see above), Eiseman Hut East
TIME: Several hours to ½ day

For good views and access to ski terrain, you can't beat this ridge run along the rib behind the Eiseman Hut. From the hut outhouse, take a climbing traverse NE to the timbered ridgecrest. Enjoy a view of Bald Mountain. Ski northerly along the timbered ridge. At about ½ mile, ski around the left side of the first major bump to an 11,400 foot saddle. From the saddle, a steep headwall blocks you from continuing along the ridge. Some people boot up this, while others take a series of ski traverses through timber to the left. Either way, follow the ridge after the headwall to Point 11,770. If you like steeper skiing, a good run drops directly N down a bowl at the head of South Fork Red Sandstone Creek. For more mellow skiing, try the timbered face W off the point. It's also possible to continue along the ridge E to Peak 12,390, though this does involve a tricky drop into another saddle. Expert skiers who deem snow conditions to be appropriate can also find several nice gully runs down the easterly sides of the ridge. One good one takes drops from the 11,400-foot saddle. Beware of cornice here. Return from all these descent routes is via a series of traverses back to the hut or ridge.

SAFETY NOTES: The skiing in this area ranges from avalanche safe low-angled timber to dangerous avalanche slopes and cornices. Choose your level of risk and proceed accordingly. It's possible to get somewhat lost in the timber while skiing in this area, especially if night catches you during an evening run. Carry proper equipment and pay attention to your location.

SUMMER: This ridge is a pleasant sub-alpine hike.

Peak 12,390 from Eiseman Hut
HUTSKI.COM FREE MAPS: Eiseman Hut (see above), Eiseman Hut East
TIME: ½ day to full day
DISTANCE: 1 ¼ miles one way
ELEVATION GAIN: 1,390 feet loss: 180 feet

For the ski alpinist, this is the most popular Advanced tour from the Eiseman Hut. It takes the nearest true summit and reaches a plethora of steeper terrain. While it's possible to reach Peak 12,390 via the northerly ridge route from the hut, the route described here is more efficient and yields more skiing on the return. Creative skiers, however, can probably find all manner of routes to and from 12,390.

From the south end of the hut, ski down the marked 10th Mountain trail E for ½ mile to a sharp right turn (11,000 feet). Attach skins here, and leave the marked trail by turning left off the trail and skiing N up through the forest. After a short stint in the timber, you'll break timberline in a beautiful alpine bowl with Peak 12,390 rising to your right. Continue N up the bowl to an obvious saddle, then climb the obvious ridge E to the summit of Peak 12,390. Ski options abound. The most conservative line takes your ascent ridge. Several aggressive descents take the north face. One known as "Lone Tree Gully" heads left from the summit through a slanting terrain feature. Descending slightly left from the summit, then straight down, is known as "Unforgettable." Another attractive feature is the face and bowl SW from the summit.

SAFETY NOTES: This is all prime avalanche terrain. Carry proper equipment, know how to use it, and know how to evaluate avalanche danger.

SUMMER: Head for the summit of Peak 12,390 for a beautiful alpine hike.

Bald Mountain from Eiseman Hut
HUTSKI.COM FREE MAPS: Eiseman Hut (see above), Eiseman Hut East
TIME: Full day
DISTANCE: 5 miles round trip
ELEVATION GAIN: 1,716 feet loss: 1,716

While touring in the vicinity of the Eiseman Hut, you can't help but notice the elegant alpine reaches of Bald Mountain beckoning from the southeast. Go climb it and ski it!

From the south end of the hut, ski the marked 10th Mountain trail E then S down a series of switchbacks to the east end of a switchback at 10,800 feet. Leave the marked trail here, and take a slightly dropping or level traverse towards Bald Mountain. The dense timber obscures views of the peak, so use map, compass, altimeter, and possibly a GPS. Ski the traverse into the timbered bowl below the north face of Bald Mountain. At about 10,700 feet, swing W through the timber and climb through timber to the northwest shoulder of Bald Mountain. Use this shoulder to gain the west ridge of the peak, and follow the ridge to the summit. The most conservative ski line takes the ascent route. For a steep descent, take the north face if you deem avalanche conditions to be suitable. Perhaps the most beautiful line in the bowl is a large obvious avalanche path dropping from the west ridge to the bowl.

For more interesting climbing, the north ridge of Bald Mountain is a tricky scramble from the 11,630 saddle ¼ mile north of the summit.

SAFETY NOTES: Those choosing to ski the avalanche terrain on Bald Mountain should have their ducks in order. Only ski these routes during times of utmost stability. Carry and know how to use your avalanche rescue equipment.

Eiseman Hut regional glade skiing
Difficulty: Intermediate to Expert
Time: Day trip

Because of timber thinned out by logging, and slopes with the correct angles, the Eiseman Hut has the best nearby downhill skiing and snowboarding of any 10th Mountain hut. Of course you have to earn your turns by climbing a foot up for every foot down; but ski lifts are boring.

ROUTE DESCRIPTION: A good run drops from the front porch. Ditto for traverses to the north and south. For a longer trip, ski W and enjoy the glades of the logging area you can see from the porch.

SAFETY NOTES: There is no ski patrol waiting here to help you. Ski with a pack and proper equipment, and keep your return route in mind.

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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