This 10th Mountain suggested route is the longer trailhead to hut route for Vance’s Cabin. It serves most often as part of the ski-through route from the Jackal Hut, but it also makes a fine tour in its own right.
From the South Camp Hale Trailhead ski E across the flats of Camp Hale (no bridge across Eagle River). Intersect the snow- covered road at the base of the mountain (usually packed by snowmobile) and ski this road for 2 1/4 miles up the East Fork of the Eagle River to 9,560 feet, just past a flat marshy area with a small pond. In winter this pond will be obscured by snow. Turn right (S) off the road just after you cross the East Fork of the Eagle River (no bridge). Continue S for several hundred feet across the 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 not too visible from where you enter the burn. However, several structures around the hut are easier to spot.
Locations of Observed or Reported Avalanche Activity: No avalanche activity has been reported along this suggested route.
Drive I-70 5 miles W from Vail Resort or 55 miles E from Glenwood Springs and turn off at the Minturn Exit (Exit 171) onto Highway 24. Travel south on Hwy 24 approximately 15 miles and look for a distinct parking area to your left with a sign reading “Resolution Road.” This is the Pando Trailhead. You won’t find a bridge over the river, but it might be worth looking for a snow bridge. Such bridges are more likely in mid winter. Your other option to ski 1/2 mile south to a vehicle bridge and then ski back up to McCallister Gulch.
To reach the Camp Hale Trailhead, continue from the Pando Trailhead 1.5 miles S on Highway 24 to mile marker 160. Look to your left for two stone gate posts and a plaque. Again, parking is straightforward and there is a great year-round permanent bridge at this trailhead.
For the South Camp Hale Trailhead, continue S on Highway 24 for .7 miles past the Camp Hale Trailhead. Look to your left for another distinct parking area. Again, you won’t find a bridge over the river, but due to the distance this trailhead can save you, it might be worth looking for a snow bridge. Such bridges are more likely in mid winter. Boggy ground exists in this area as well, and needs a thick mid-winter snowpack for coverage.
To reach these trailheads from the south (Leadville) drive highway 24 over Tennessee Pass to Camp Hale. The South Camp Hale Trailhead is 5.1 miles north of Tennessee Pass on Highway 24. Use the connection mileages above to find the other two trailheads.