Thursday, January 24, 2008

Vance’s Cabin Snowshoe

Distance: 6 miles round trip
Elevation: 10, 550-11,120 ft
Elevation gain: 1,040 ft
Dogs: Not near the cabin
Date snowshoed: 19 January 2008
Bathroom at Trailhead: In the ski resort
Tags: #snowshoe, #coloradooutdoors, #skicooper, #tenneseepass, #10thmountain, #hut

Standing on the back of Vance's Cabin, near Ski Cooper (Leadville)
A trip to Vance’s cabin near Ski Cooper/Leadville is a moderate snowshoe with potentially spectacular views of nearby 14ers as well as the Continental Divide. On this trip most of the views were diluted with low hanging clouds. Since the cabin is well used in both winter and summer this is not a trail for total solitude. Vance’s cabin is the smallest hut in the 10th Mountain Division’s hut system.

From the Ski Cooper parking lot head up the side road to the obvious sign and take a left.
After making the left at the sign, the route travels up a small drainage towards are large meadow.
The trail to Vance's cabin starts at Ski Cooper, at the top of Tennessee Pass. From the parking area there is a maintenance road heading east with a prominent red sign that reads “Vance’s Cabin” in 2000 pt font.

Turning left (west) and heading up a large meadow.
The first half-mile of the trail is along a well-groomed road bordered on the left by a creek and the right by drifting banks. An equally prominent sign marks the next turn off. This one has a large arrow pointing to the left.

Approaching the far end of the meadow.
After this well-marked left turn, the trail crosses a creek and heads up a wide valley. Mid-way up the trail turns sharply upwards to the left and climbs 300 feet. At the top are two large meadows that are perfect for power hopping. I would have killed for a clear day because this spot must contains some lovely views to the east.

After the meadow, the trail spends a part of time in the trees.
After the meadows the trail continues for 1.5 miles through the trees. Modern art sculptures abounded as the copious “snow blobs” transformed both tree and stump into mythical creatures.

The final pitch to the cabin is down a broad slope.
The trees end at the highest point of the trail, which resides at 11,300 ft. From here descend down a broad slope to the cabin. The slope is dotted with the burnt out remnants of a long forgotten fire.

The interior of Vance's Cabin

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