Ärestua Hut

General Info

Owned and administrated by the Boulder Group of the Colorado Mountain Club (303-554-7688), under agreement with the U.S. Forest Service, Roosevelt National Forest district. David Miller is the present volunteer Hutmeister, maintaining the calendar and coordinating seasonal preparation and upkeep of the Arestua Hut. The Boulder Group built the Arestua Hut (aka Guinn Mt. Cabin) in 1969 (for documentation see here), a cozy and secluded relative of the better-known Brainard Lake Cabin. This hut is located at 11,000 feet on the north side of Guinn Mountain, and provides a winter shelter for Nordic & backcountry skiers, snowshoers, and shelter for summer hikers from afternoon rainshowers. The Arestua Hut has breathtaking views of the Front Range and the high plains.

Access

Jenny Creek/Guinn Mountain route

During the resort ski season (traditionally late November through mid April), the hut is usually accessed from the Jenny Creek trail that starts near the Eldora Nordic center, located between the downhill and cross country trail areas at Eldora Mountain ski resort. Overnight parking should be performed east of the stone wall entrance to the resort. Access through Eldora Mountain makes use of private land owned by the resort and its neighbors, so it is requested that users pass through during the ski resort's hours of operation. The Jenny Creek route is usually well tracked and passes through a minimal amount of avalanche terrain, making it the preferred winter route, especially during/after a big storm. Take the right path at the two forks up from Jenny creek as you approach Guinn Mountain. The Jenny Creek route is marked (blue diamonds and signs), with a few short steep and narrow sections near Guinn Mountain. The approach for the winter season route is about 4.5 miles distance and 2000 feet of elevation gain.

Lost Lake-Pipeline route

Throughout the entire year, the hut may be accessed via the Lost Lake-Pipeline route in the Indian Peaks wilderness area. The Lost Lake-Pipeline route is 4 miles in distance and 2000 feet in elevation gain, but with 1 mile added when the road between Eldora township and the Hessie trailhead is closed in the winter season. Users should be aware that the area at and above Lost lake is known avalanche terrain during the winter season. To access Bryan mountain, follow the old mining trail above the southeast corner of Lost lake. Expect some bushwhacking through the forest in the middle part of route. The latter part of the route is relatively level and follows the cutout through the forest above the natural gas pipeline.

Calendar and Notifications for Overnight Use

Calendar and Notifications for Overnight Use The Arestua Hut is not day-hosted, but is open to day visitors dropping by to break to recover or warm up. The hut is available for overnight use on a first-come, first-served basis. The hut nominally accommodates up to eight people overnight with sleeping mats on the built-in bunks and in the loft. Larger groups should remember to bring sleeping mats for the floor. It is a crowded night or a long ski out when many visitors show up to stay at the cabin. To keep from being the one who sleeps on the floor, please look at the Notifications Calendar to coordinate overnight use. The calendar indicates the number and size of the groups intending to stay at the hut for the night of each day. Groups staying overnight at the hut should expect other visitors during the day or in the event of an emergency.

Please note that the CMC's hut operating permit with the USFS does not allow us to maintain formal reservations. However, we ask that you honor the community tradition of the shared use environment that has been established through the hut's history. Other points to keep in mind:

Amenities

Wood stove

The hut has a wood-fired stove, proven to warm the cabin on the coldest winter nights (where the outside temperature on windy Guinn mountain can get below -20 F). A supply of wood is prepared each autumn for the winter season. Overnight visitors are advised to bring fire-starting essentials for the stove. It helps to keep the door open when lighting the stove. The door should be shut soon after a fire is burning, so that the stove will run more efficiently. Once the door is shut, the slider on the bottom of the door may be adjusted to control the burn rate

Fires

Please do not create fires or construct a fire ring near the hut as this goes against our operating permit with the Forest Service. A fire extinguisher is provided at the hut in the event of issues with the wood stove, cooking of food, or should you encounter a nearby fire. Additional information is provided here for those that may be traveling through the nearby wilderness areas. Note that Stage 1 and Stage 2 fire restrictions do not apply the hut (which uses an indoor wood stove, with a spark arrestor installed). -Those camping in the nearby Indian Peaks or James Peak wilderness areas may wish to consult the USDA Forest Service website regarding fire restriction orders and maps by clicking: Forest Service. Active advisories will be listed in the “Alerts and Notices” box on the right. -Additional CO country specific fire restriction information may be found by clicking: CO counties.

Water

During the winter season, water is obtained by melting the snow around the cabin. Snow melting does not require treating the water, if brought to a rolling boil for 3 minutes. For additional information on water and its treatment in the Rocky Mountain backcountry, can be accessed by clicking: CDC). Some visitors may prefer to bring a water filter to remove contamination (pine needles or soot deposited from the cabin stove). During the summer season, the closest water source is roughly one half mile east along the Guinn mountain trail at the springs near the base of the steep uphill to Guinn mountain (look near N39.93955 W105.63489 at 10,665 ft elevation). Visitors often find the trek to obtain water in the summer does limit summer visits to the hut.

Food and cooking

While the wood stove works well for warming the hut and melting snow, it is not sufficient for cooking. Overnight visitors are advised to bring a separate backpacking stove for meals. A basic supply of cookware (pans, dishes, and mugs) and eating utensils is stored at the hut. Please do not leave food at the hut (mice).

Solar panel, LED lights, and USB charger

The CMC is grateful to the OG Power Station company in Boulder for donating an LED light system, supported by a solar panel and battery. To be prepared for travel to a remote wilderness location, and because prolonged winter weather can drain the light system, all visitors are advised to bring an emergency light (headlamp). PLEASE DO NOT BRING CANDLES TO THE HUT.

The electrical system may also be used to charge devices from the dual USB outlet. To prevent draining the battery during extended bad weather, the 120V AC outlet is normally disabled except for work projects (using power tools) at the hut.

  1. Please always leave the two big red switches “on”. They are designed to separately disconnect the solar panel or battery for maintenance or in the event of an emergency.
  2. The system will give a warning if the battery voltage becomes too low (9.5V DC on the meter above the USB outlet). The system will automatically shut down for lower voltage (7V DC) to prevent damage to the battery. Please email the Hutmeister in either event.
  3. The solar panel will not work if it is covered by snow or shaded by a snow drift. The effectiveness of the panel is greatly reduced even when it is partly covered by snow - for example, just the bottom row of cells.
  4. Please remember to clean the entire panel (use a broom) and create an adequate cutout in the drift (shovel is OK) on the roof (free from shadows through the day) before you leave. Small amounts of ice may melt off if snow is removed from the panel.
  5. If there is substantial snow accumulation, the chimney may need to be unblocked too! (or it will smoke out the cabin).

Outhouse

A separate primitive outhouse is located southeast of the hut. After each use, each user should remember to add a scoop of sawdust to the outhouse to aid the composting process. Two signs that can be seen from the east deck of the hut indicate the location of the outhouse. As a reminder please do not pee elsewhere near the cabin, because that area is the source of the snow to melt for drinking water. Overnight visitors are advised to bring their own toilet paper for the outhouse facility to be sure paper is present.

Door and latch

The hut door features a weighted self-closing mechanism. The door also features a freeze resistant traditional latch in the style of other Nordic huts. The mechanical nature of the latch mechanism can malfunction in cold weather, potentially locking you out. In such a situation, in order to discourage breaking the door, access the cabin via the window as alternate entrance (the window lock has been removed for just this situation). Please email the Hutmeister if you encounter any problems with the door.

Rules of Use

The guidance for visitors posted at the hut is also listed here for reference. In addition to these rules, visitors are reminded of the general guidance to act as good stewards of the hut. For example, please shovel snow off of the east deck to limit its weight and prevent damage to the deck.
  1. DO NOT LEAVE A FIRE IN THE WOOD STOVE UNATTENDED
  2. COOK STOVES MAY ONLY BE USED ON THE PROTECTED KITCHEN COUNTER TOP
  3. DO NOT SPLIT OR CHOP FIREWOOD IN THE HUT OR ON THE PORCH
  4. SUMMER USERS MAY NOT USE FIREWOOD; IT IS PREPARED FOR WINTER USE
  5. USE THE OUTHOUSE: DO NOT POLLUTE THE SNOW (THE SOURCE FOR DRINKING WATER IN THE WINTER)
  6. DO NOT DISPOSE OF TRASH IN THE OUTHOUSE
  7. PACK OUT WHAT YOU PACK IN
  8. DO NOT LEAVE FOOD, BECAUSE OF MICE
  9. BEFORE YOU LEAVE, CLEAN AND TIDY UP FOR THE NEXT GROUP, AND TO PREVENT MICE
  10. USE FEE: $1/DAY, $5/NIGHT, PER PERSON

Forest Service Permit

The original “conditions of occupancy and use for the Guinn mountain hut” are reproduced here to document and summarize the operating agreement:

“In accordance with the special use permit issued to the Colorado Mountain Club on June 24, 1969, and the regulations of the Secretary of Agriculture (36 C.F.R. 251.24 and 251.25), the following conditions of occupancy and use for the Guinn Mountain Hut are hereby established:

  1. No person, party, or organization shall occupy said hut for more than three consecutive nights.
  2. The use of said hut shall be available to the general public as well as the Colorado Mountain Club members on a first-come first-served basis. No reservations are required or permitted.
  3. All non-burnable refuse shall be removed from the national Forest. Garbage or trash shall not be buried.
  4. First Aid and other emergency equipment provided and maintained by the Colorado Mountain Club shall be used only when appropriate and necessary.
  5. Open fires are not permitted within three hundred yards of said hut except in the stone and concrete fireplace provided and maintained by the Colorado Mountain Club.
  6. Use only dead or downed timber for firewood.
  7. No fireworks or firearms may be stored within three hundred yards of said hut except in the stone and concrete fireplace provided and maintained by the Colorado Mountain Club.
  8. The conditions are necessary to promote public health, safety, welfare, and convenience. A violation may result in a fine not more than $500.00 and imprisonment for not more than six months, or both.”
Photo of the signed agreement, dated February 16, 1970

Snow & Weather Reports

Skiing and Recreation

Day visits

In the winter, the hut is often used as a day destination for skiers using the Jenny Creek route. The trails are marked (blue diamonds and signs) and you will typically find the trail broken in by hut visitors. Recent snowstorms or snow drifting from the wind may, however, require trail breaking along any section of the approach. Even a day visit can be a worthy and rewarding trip. Day users should keep an eye out for highlights along the trail, including views of the mountains ahead along the downhill section from Eldora, the icy (in winter) section along Jenny creek, the natural tunnel of trees at the end of one the biggest uphill sections, and the ruins of the miner's cabin near the crux uphill onto Guinn mountain.

Day destinations from the hut

It's well worth starting your trip early enough in the day to venture above the hut. Great views of landmarks including James Peak, Needles Eye tunnel, Yankee Doodle lake, and South Arapaho peak can be taken in from the summit of Guinn mountain or the ridge to Hell Hill. The view of the sunset on James peak is memorable from Guinn mountain, but don’t forget the shadow of the Continental Divide is cast early in the winter. Yankee Doodle lake, Jenny lake, and Forest lakes off of Rollins Pass road are good day destinations for those making an extended stay at the hut. Visitors should expect to find the infamous winds of Indian Peaks wilderness are a true equalizer relative to the coldest US winter locations, and are reminded to bring plenty of clothing to stay warm and prevent frostbite.

Backcountry use

Backcountry skiing may be found near the hut, e.g., the southeast side of Guinn mountain. The south facing gully between Guinn and Bryan mountains offers a ~1000’ descent from the Pipeline trail to Jenny creek. Bryan mountain has become a popular backcountry destination. Skiers are reminded that the high altitude area near the hut contains avalanche terrain. For example, on November 28, 2001 one of two skiers were drowned after being swept under the ice by an avalanche while descending the steep slopes above Yankee Doodle Lake. A report on that incident may be accessed, by clicking: avalanche.org.

Eldora-Winter Park/Fraser traverse

The hut may be used as a base camp or as a resting point for those touring between Eldora and Winter Park. Information on the long ski touring routes crossing the Continental Divide may be obtained by clicking: Touring Information. Visitors should expect to find the infamous winds of Indian Peaks wilderness are a true equalizer relative to the coldest US winter locations, and are reminded to bring plenty of clothing to stay warm and prevent frostbite.

In the Event of Emergency

Intermittent cellular phone service (including an internet connection to this webpage) may be achieved at the hut through the tower at nearby Bryan Mountain. The quality of connection typically does not improve higher up on the summit of Guinn Mountain. More consistent reception may be obtained along the Lost Lake trail closer to Bryan mountain at 1/3 mile from the hut at N39.94273 W105.63914 at 10,956 ft.

Dogs

Because the area near the hut is commonly sourced for the snow melted for drinking water, it is requested that visitors not bring their dogs to the hut during the winter season, which runs from November 1 through May 31.

Guest Books

A series of guest books has historically been kept at the cabin. Those books have been scanned to provide a history of the hut guests and sense of the atmosphere at the hut. The electronic archives provide an exact record of the guest books; they have not been filtered or censored. The electronic archives reflect the hut guests and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Colorado Mountain Club. Each pdf file may be accessed by the clicking the links below, which identify the range of dates for each of the guest books. Thanks much to Art Roberts and Peter Stout for their help scanning these in!

Directory of the Arestua Guest Logs:

Guestbook entry by Otto Verdoner in Feb 19, 1982

Lost and Found

Occasionally there are items that get left at the hut. Inquire about lost and found items with the Hutmeister.

Upkeep and Events

The hut is solely maintained by users and volunteers (i.e., YOU!).

The suggested donation to cover maintenance costs and the supplies related to operation of the hut is: Day Use $1, Overnight $5 per person. No cash? Donate on PayPal via email to brainardcabin [at] gmail [dot] com. Please note 'To Arestua hut' in your PayPal donation to make it easier to recognize, and to put your donation towards the cabin.

PLEASE attend the fall work party to prepare firewood and ready the hut for use through the following year. Contact the Hutmeister (arestuahut [at] yahoo.com) for an invitation, take an information card (available near the donations box at the hut), or add your own email to a card and leave it in the donations box. Each year there are typically a few separate days in the summer or early autumn related to specific projects at the hut. Check below in early summer, especially if you cannot attend the fall work party.

Major upcoming events at Arestua Hut
Date Event Activities
TBD (summer 2018) Arestua Projects Day Specific repair projects
Sat Sept 8, 2018 2018 Annual Work Party Season preparation, split & stack wood for winter

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** Alternative formats of this information are available on request to people with disabilities.

In accordance with the Federal law and U.S. Department of Agriculture policy, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.) To file a complaint of discrimination: write USDA, Director,Office of Civil Rights, Room 326-W, Whitten Building, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call (202) 720-5964 (voice and TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

Any other questions? Send an email to the [protected email address]