Shrine Mountain Inn Walter’s Upstairs
Shrine Mountain Inn sits high atop Vail Pass, nestled among the pines. At an elevation of 11,200+ feet, it offers spectacular views in every direction. An ideal first hut trip or weekend getaway, the standard routes in summer and winter to these cabins is just 2.7 miles. Whether you are drawn by the brilliant wildflowers of summer or the new powder of winter, Shrine Mountain Inn offers backcountry adventure and solitude for all.
Shrine Mountain Inn is comprised of three rustic log cabins: Jay’s, Chuck’s, and Walter’s. Jay’s sleeps 12 and can be booked by the space, Chuck’s and Walter’s are both divided in to an upstairs and a downstairs unit – each sleeping 6 – you must book all of the spaces in these units. The combined capacity of all 3 cabins is 36.
Jay’s Cabin is named in honor of Jay Utter, who purchased the land in 1960. Jay’s good friend, Chuck Anderson, is remembered by Chuck’s Cabin. Walter’s cabin is named in memory of another long-time Vail local, Walter Kirsch. All three loved these mountains, and Jay and Chuck are buried on the property in the Shrine Mountain Cemetery. The present owners not only have spent more than 40 years in the Vail Valley, but most – including Jay Utter and Chuck Anderson – either shared a background of summers in Wisconsin, growing up in Illinois, or long years of friendships in Vail. Construction of Jay’s Cabin began in the summer of 1987 and ground was broken for Chuck’s Cabin the following year. The newest of the three, Walter’s Cabin, was built in 1997. All cabins were constructed from logs cut near Eagle in the Brush Creek area and the Flattops north of Glenwood Springs.
Summer / Winter
Cumulative Elevation Gain*
1 bedroom with a double bed, 1 bedroom with 2 single beds, and 2 single day-beds in the living area.
*from Vail Pass Trailhead
* Summer only
- Firewood, starter paper, matches, axes
- Propane for kitchen burners, oven, refrigerator and grill on deck
- Potable hot and cold running water in kitchen and indoor bathroom
- Flush toilet, toilet paper, shower
- Wood-fired sauna available year-round, located in separate building near Chuck’s, shared by all 3 cabins
- Firepit summer only, shared by Walter's Up and Down guests
- Pots, pans, potholders, dishware, cooking and eating utensils, French press, salt & pepper
- Paper towels, dish soap, hand sanitizer, cleaning supplies, trash bags
- Mattresses, pillows
Book This Hut
A chance of thunderstorms and rain and snow showers likely. Mostly cloudy. Low around 26, with temperatures rising to around 28 overnight. Southwest wind 8 to 13 mph, with gusts as high as 21 mph. Chance of precipitation is 70%. New rainfall amounts less than a tenth of an inch possible.
Slight Chance Snow Showers
A slight chance of snow showers and a slight chance of thunderstorms before 3pm. Partly sunny. High near 39, with temperatures falling to around 37 in the afternoon. West wind 10 to 18 mph, with gusts as high as 32 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.
Mostly cloudy, with a low around 23. West southwest wind 6 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 24 mph.
Mostly sunny, with a high near 43. West wind 6 to 14 mph, with gusts as high as 22 mph.
Mostly clear, with a low around 21. West southwest wind 6 to 14 mph, with gusts as high as 21 mph.
Sunny, with a high near 48.
Clear, with a low around 23.
Sunny, with a high near 49.
Mostly clear, with a low around 23.
Sunny, with a high near 52.
Mostly clear, with a low around 24.
Sunny, with a high near 52.
Mostly clear, with a low around 25.
Sunny, with a high near 51.
Avalanche Hazard Information
Colorado is known for its avalanche prone snowpack. A number of the suggested routes to 10th Mountain Division Huts pass through or are next to terrain that may be prone to avalanches. Accordingly, pick the suggested route that most suits your group and its abilities, carry appropriate equipment, and always exercise prudent backcountry travel techniques when passing through avalanche prone terrain. Remember, avalanches can occur in forested areas and can run into forested areas from open slopes. Moreover, a number of huts booked are situated in the midst of extreme avalanche terrain. Many other huts, while located in more modest terrain, still have access routes that cross avalanche paths.
We strongly suggest that someone in every group be experienced in evaluating avalanche and snow stability hazards and practicing prudent backcountry and winter mountain travel techniques. For up to date avalanche information for all of Colorado, visit the website for the Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC). Another excellent resource is the Forest Service National Avalanche Center website. While this site doesn’t have local forecasts it does have a wealth of information on backcountry travel in avalanche terrain and snow science, as well as tutorials on some basic skills and snow science.
We recommend that you start checking the Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC) Website regularly before your trip to see how conditions are evolving. Study your maps to see what type of terrain you will be traveling through to see if there are alternative routes that might be feasible if snow stability conditions deteriorate. During most of the winter, travel to the huts, other than those in the Braun Hut System, is possible with a relatively minor degree of risk. However, if your trip falls within a period or cycle of high or extreme instability, you must make the decision of whether or not to go. The huts are always open. While deep snow, bad weather, and white-out conditions are to be anticipated on any trip, a hut credit may be issued if a trip is cancelled due to avalanche danger associated with an extreme avalanche cycle. To be considered for a hut credit, please send us a detailed letter and we will respond in writing as soon as we can. We are sorry, but hut credits can not be approved over the phone.
The following observations were collected from staff members, guides and hut users. We welcome new information. Avalanche size/destructive force is based on SWAG-Snow, Weather and Avalanche Guidelines of the American Avalanche Association
- D1 Relatively harmless to humans
- D2 Could bury or injure a person
- D3 Could bury a car, damage a truck, destroy a wood frame house, or break a few trees
- D4 Could destroy a railroad car, large truck, several buildings, or a substantial amount of forest.
- D5 Could gouge the landscape, largest snow avalanches known.