After a brief meeting and food portioning party the night before, our crew of eight assembled at the Ashcroft trailhead sometime around 9:30 a.m. (we're not here to smash any records) to begin our skin into the Lindley Hut. The crew consisted of local Aspen photographer extraordinaire Tony Prickl, Folsom Custom Skis athlete and ski-builder Mike McCabe, Aspen ski bum and nifkin slayer Jeremy Rubingh, Squaw local Hunter Claxton, the token girl Courtenay, and the TREW crew: Tripp, John, and Stink.
The skin into the Lindley hut is only about four miles and your gaining less than 700 vertical feet, so it shouldn't take a group of healthy, young, twenty-something year-olds (well I guess Tripp’s like thirty) more than a couple hours to reach the hut. Nevertheless, we strolled at our leisure, soaking up the sunny sights and laboring under the weight of heavy packs (stuffed with liberal amounts of beer and Beam).
We arrived at the hut with the sun still high in the sky, and after a quick lunch we loaded up some camera gear and set out to explore the glades and pillows that littered the horizon beyond the hut. We followed the skin track of a previous group (I think Eliot might have gone on that trip?) up the steep and treed face to the southwest of the hut. A short, steep pitch with some rocks and small cornices towards the top of the rolling mountains beckoned to be ridden and photographed. After yo-yoing the face a couple of times, we packed up our gear and started coasting on back to the hut.
We descended the last, steep face before the hut one-at-a-time, but the second skier managed to set-off two slides in his wake. The slides were voluminous and caused considerable worry for the remainder of the group still waiting to descend. We decided to traverse above their lines and head skier's-right towards a heavily treed section. Stink led the traverse and while cutting the top of a slope, sent that to the ground as well. All slides were on a northeastern facing slop that was very shallow and rotten because of previous early-season slides. Everybody returned to the hut unscathed and washed down that healthy shot of reality with several shots of Beam.
It could have been an apparition, but I'm pretty sure Aspen local Fletch Yaw skate-skied his way into the Lindley Hut armed with booze, ammunition, and his 37mm for a solid night of debauchery. None of us are really sure because he skated out the same night in order to show up in time for work the next morning, and we awoke to foggy memories of playing Jenga, spoons, and some backyard target practice.
We spent our second day at the hut doing lots of digging. We dug pits at several different aspects and due to a less than stellar performance by a couple persistently weak hoar layers; we spent the rest of the afternoon digging a giant kicker. We even squeezed in a few hits to a varying amount of success before we lost light.
The activities of our final night in the hut involved a game called "assassin," in which people were assigned a target, a weapon, and a location and you have to lie, scheme, and backstab until you were the last man standing. I'm just glad Fletch brought the handgun the previous night or else things might have gotten a little too real...
The final day the group split up. Those who wanted to get a head start on showers and clean clothes skied out, and those who wanted to session the kicker a bit stuck around. The landing stayed soft, but the light played finicky games all day and never really came out and popped. Which is fine, because when 6'4" 200 llb JP sends a forty-foot lawn-dart wearing the TREW yellow PowFunk and the teal TREWth bib, you don't need the sun.
Mega props to photographer extraordinaire Tony Prickl. For more photos and to check out the TREW threads please visit www.trewgear.com.