Alfred A. Braun Hut System & Friends Hut
The Alfred Braun Hut System and the Friends Hut are located in the Elk Mountains be-tween Aspen and Crested Butte. They are independently owned and operated by two small local nonprofits. You can learn more about Colorado’s first hut system and how to support its work at www.braunhuts.org You can learn more about the all volunteer run Friends Hut here, Friends Hut History.
These intimate huts provide a unique human powered experience in the heart of one of Colorado’s most rugged mountain ranges. All beds in the huts are booked by a single party and groups often spend several days at one hut or link the huts together in hut to hut tours through the dramatic and challenging alpine terrain of the Elks. This hut experience emphasizes simplicity and self reliance for the experienced backcountry skier/rider.
Trip Planning, Avalanche Information, and Backcountry Risks
Trips to the Braun and Friends are a serious backcountry endeavor which demand careful planning, and the trained skills of travel and decision making in remote, avalanche terrain. These trips are not to be taken lightly even for the most experienced backcountry skier/rider. If you and your group do not have the equipment for and substantial experience with: decision making, and travel in serious avalanche terrain, and the use of navigation skills and tools in difficult conditions, choose another hut system or hire a professional guide.
Warning: In addition to the backcountry risks described below, the Alfred A. Braun Huts and Friends Hut are located in areas of serious avalanche terrain with recurring avalanche cycles. Routes to and between the huts are not marked or maintained.
Review all of the trip planning information on huts.org with your entire group Here are aded information and tools for your trip.
- Braun and Friends Winter Information
- How to Plan a Hut Trip
- Purchase or Download Maps
- Waivers & Info Sheets
- Or Hire a Permitted Guide
Access to all of the Braun Huts and the Friends Hut travels under or through serious avalanche terrain. (The only exception where skilled travelers can avoid exposure to avalanche terrain is accessing the Barnard Hut via the Aspen Mountain Gondola and Richmond Ridge Road). Information regarding avalanche danger and snowpack is found at:
- Colorado Avalanche Information Center
- Crested Butte Avalanche Center
- Avalanche FAQ
- Avalanche Cancelation Policy
- Because the Alfred A. Braun Huts and Friends Hut are located in areas of serious avalanche terrain with recurring avalanche cycles, an additional opportunity to cancel due to avalanche danger exists for these huts. Groups with reservations in these huts may cancel on the scheduled day of their trip (or the next business day) if the avalanche danger is higher than what their group feels comfortable with. These groups will be given a full hut credit for a future hut trip. This credit is not transferable between huts in the Braun Hut system (including the Friends Hut) and huts in the 10th Mountain system. No refunds will be given at any time, for any reason. Visit Colorado Avalanche Information Center's website: http://avalanche.state.co.us for up to date avalanche information. If you or members of your party are generally uncomfortable traveling in serious avalanche terrain, consider alternative huts in the 10th Mountain system.
Skiing and wilderness travel in the Elk Mountains have inherent risks, hazards and dangers that cannot be eliminated; they are very real and not to be taken lightly. People have died or been seriously injured traveling and recreating in this area. A partial list of risks, hazards and dangers a backcountry user can encounter using these huts include:
- Hazardous mountain environments with serious avalanche terrain where avalanches occur and where additional wilderness hazards exist that may not be obvious or visible (such as cliffs, hidden streams, etc.) where weather is changeable and unpredictable and can be extreme.
- Route finding and skiing in a wilderness environment where routes and slopes are not marked, maintained, controlled or patrolled, where snow conditions vary and change, and where above tree-line travel can be extremely difficult or impossible.
- Altitude sickness and exposure, especially if your groups become lost, delayed, or separated and members do not reach the hut.
- Travel in remote areas and use of simple huts where outside help will be slow to arrive, cannot be communicated with, or is unavailable due to conditions.
- Human factors, especially those related to group decision making and perceptions of expertise and differences in physical condition and skills.