Trips to the Braun and Friends’ Huts 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.
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.
Avalanche Cancellation 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: https://avalanche.state.co.us for up to date avalanche information. If you or members of your party are generally uncomfortable travelling 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.
The Huts > Alfred A Braun Hut System > Opa’s Taylor Hut
Opa’s Taylor Hut
The Opa’s Taylor Hut is part of the Alfred Braun Hut System is located in the Elk Mountains between Aspen and Crested Butte. You can learn more about Colorado’s first hut system and how to support its work at www.braunhuts.org.
Named for Fred Braun, the German-born namesake of the Braun Hut system, Opa’s Taylor Hut is a fitting legacy for this hard-bitten, old mountaineer. Opa is a nickname for “grandpa,” by which Fred was known. Braun not only founded the hut system, he ran it with an iron fist. Attesting to his humanity, however, Braun also founded Aspen Mountain Rescue and answered many calls for mountain emergencies through Aspen’s early backcountry ski days.
Artfully built in the style of a fashionable mountain home, Opa’s is a showcase for functional beauty. The views from the decks and windows make Aspen real estate brochures pale by comparison. Opa’s can be difficult to find, perched as it is on a nondescript promontory. But once found, it’s hard to leave no matter how good the skiing. And there is plenty of good skiing right out the door.
Opa’s access is most popular from Ashcroft, up Express Creek and over Little Italian Pass. From the hut, one may ski to the Goodwin-Greene to the east and the Friends’ Hut to the west. But caution must applied because there are terrain perils and route-finding challenges in both directions. And when the weather closes in with whiteout conditions, it’s best to stay put, stoke the stove, and heat up a pot of tea.
Alfred A Braun Hut System
The hut sleeps 8 and has 3 private rooms, each of which sleep 2 people, and 2 day beds out in the common area.
Outhouse, Covered Walkway
** Winter only
- Firewood, starter paper, matches, axes
- Propane for kitchen burners and oven
- Cooler for cold food storage
- Snow collection buckets and large pot for melting snow on wood-burning heat stove (bring your own filter)
- Pots, pans, potholders, dishware, cooking and eating utensils, percolator or French press, salt & pepper
- Paper towels, dish soap, hand sanitizer, cleaning supplies, trash bags, toilet paper
- Solar powered lighting
- Mattresses, pillows
Book This Hut
The Opa’s Taylor Hut can be accessed via Express Creek and is also equidistant from the Goodwin Greene, Lindley and Friends huts. Routes are not marked or maintained. The route into Opa’s Hut in particular presents serious route finding and terrain challenges and should only be attempted by experienced backcountry travelers.
The Alfred Braun Hut System was designed to be a back-country SKI system. As such the Alfred Braun Hut System strongly discourages the use of snowmobiles for access to the huts. The hut system was created for non-motorized travel. As such, snowmobile use can often detract from this unique experience. Our huts are located on U.S. Forest Service land, and each hut has unique travel management restrictions as governed by Forest Service Travel Management Plans. Around the immediate environs of each Alfred Braun Hut is a USFS developed recreation site envelope with snowmobile restrictions. Access to and from each hut is managed within the Developed Recreation Site Boundary. Snowmobiles should not drive to the front door of any hut. There are no snowmobile play areas within the Developed Recreation Site boundaries. Snowmobiles are not allowed in Wilderness Areas, or on private land without permission. In the winter of 2010-2011, the fines for snowmobiling in the Wilderness Areas were $550 per snowmobile. You must know where you are if you expect to remain legal and safe. PLEASE DO NOT RELY ON A SNOWMOBILE TO GET YOURSELF OR YOUR EQUIPMENT TO A HUT.
Opa's Taylor Hut from Ashcroft Trailhead
Today : Sunny, with a high near 34. West wind 10 to 15 mph.
Tonight : Mostly clear, with a low around 6. West wind around 10 mph.
Thursday : Sunny, with a high near 36. West wind 10 to 15 mph.
Thursday Night : Mostly clear, with a low around 10. West southwest wind around 15 mph, with gusts as high as 25 mph.
Friday : Sunny, with a high near 36. West southwest wind 15 to 25 mph, with gusts as high as 40 mph.
Friday Night : Partly cloudy, with a low around 14.
Saturday : A slight chance of snow showers between 11am and 5pm, then a chance of snow showers and patchy blowing snow. Mostly sunny, with a high near 36. Chance of precipitation is 40%. New snow accumulation of 1 to 3 inches possible.
Saturday Night : A chance of snow showers and patchy blowing snow before 8pm, then blowing snow and snow showers likely between 8pm and 5am, then snow showers and blowing snow. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 14. New snow accumulation of 6 to 10 inches possible.
Sunday : Snow showers and blowing snow. Cloudy, with a high near 24. New snow accumulation of 3 to 7 inches possible.
Sunday Night : Snow showers likely and areas of blowing snow. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 1. New snow accumulation of 1 to 2 inches possible.
Monday : A chance of snow showers. Partly sunny, with a high near 24. New snow accumulation of less than half an inch possible.
Monday Night : A slight chance of snow showers. Partly cloudy, with a low around 3.
Tuesday : A chance of snow showers. Partly sunny, with a high near 31.
Tuesday Night : A chance of snow showers. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 6.