Hut to Hut/Jackal Hut to Vance's Cabin

Total Mileage


Trailhead Elevation


Cumulative Elevation Gain


Cumulative Elevation Loss



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Route Description

Avalanche activity has been reported along this route. Please see the route description for locations of reported avalanche activity.

HUT TO HUT distances are usually longer than from trailhead to hut. Use winter specific topographic maps. Routes between huts are not often used so may not be tracked; navigation and breaking trail may be particularly challenging.

This 10th Mountain suggested route is the standard ski-through route from the Jackal Hut to Vance’s Cabin.

From the front steps of the Jackal Hut traverse NE several hundred feet to the ridge crest. Descend the ridge E for 3/4 mile to the distinct 11,420-foot saddle dividing the Cataract Creek and Pearl Creek drainages. Continue SE from the saddle over point 11,475 to another 11,420-foot saddle. Drop S from here into the Cataract Creek drainage and intersect the Cataract Creek jeep trail at 10,720 feet. Descend the jeep trail to the valley floor of the Eagle River drainage.

Follow a snow-covered main road for 1/4 mile upvalley. Just after the snow-covered road crosses the East Fork of the Eagle River (no bridge), leave the main road and ski right (S) several hundred feet across a flat area. Swing SW and begin a climbing traverse that leads up a marked trail-cut for 2 miles through timber to Jones Gulch. Stay on the northeast side of Jones Creek and parallel the creek to a marshy clearing at the 10,400-foot level.

Follow the marked trail W along the north side of the clearing, then continue on a climbing traverse NW (on sections of road and trail) to 10,600 feet on a shoulder. Swing S and climb the shoulder to 11,033 feet. From here the trail leaves the crest of the shoulder and follows a long 1 1/2-mile climbing traverse through medium density timber to the lower edge of a burn area at 11,000 feet on the west shoulder of Taylor Hill.

The hut sits at the lower southwest end of the burn on the side of a rise and is hard to see when you enter the burn. However, there are structures near the hut that you can see from a little farther away.

For the most part, the Cataract Creek jeep trail keeps you out of a steep-sided gulch. One section of the road, however, from 10,360 feet down to the creek crossing at 10,160 feet, would take you under a dangerous steep bank. You bypass this to the east on a short route with standard 10th Mountain markings.

Locations of Observed or Reported Avalanche Activity: Avalanche activity has been reported along this suggested route at locations indicated below. Elevations indicate approximate elevation where the slides crossed the trail, not the starting zones.

  • Approx. 1 3/4 mile up Cataract Creek on the Colorado Trail, small bank on skier’s left (10,240′). D1-2.

Avalanche size/destructive force is scaled according to the American Avalanche Association as follows:

  • D1 – Relatively harmless to people
  • 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