When I rolled out the door last Saturday morning to go meet Steve Priem by 7:15am, I was not too enthusiastic about the propects for the Arestua work party that day: as I drove in from Lafayette, Boulder looked like Scotland on a bad weather day! It wasn’t raining yet, but the dense fog made it feel like it could start at any time…
But the typically irrepressible Steve took no note of the weather as i helped him load his bizarre variety of gear into my car (two 5 foot lengths of skinny PVC pipe, Steve?): chain saw, carpentry tools, the 2×6 block of wood…yes, all of it was apparently part of the plan, and all necessary to be carried in. So, off we went…into the gloom of a socked in Boulder Canyon.
Then, as we emerged at Barker Resevoir next to Nederland, well, lah-de-dah! the the gloom and doom was replaced by sun and blue sky! Things were looking up…
We rolled in to Rollinsville at 8am sharp, right on time (which Steve said was pretty good for him), and hooked up with rest of the work party crew: an amazing 16 people had shown up, some for the very first time. From the looks of this gathering, it was clear we had a strong work force to tackle getting the hut ready for winter.
We carpooled from Rollinsville with the most 4WD-worthy vehicles we had, because the stretch of the trip was notorious: an 11 miles stretch of the most winding, pitted, rutted, washboarded, deep mud puddle-laden stretch of road you’re likely to find anywhere in the Front Range! Luckily enough, there was space for a fifth in a rugged looking, enhanced Toyota Fourunner, with a rugged looking guy driving, Jared, sporting some serious dreadlocks but with a serious mein about him. He said he helps run the CU Telemark Club. On the ride in, I got to meet his three other comrades, Nicholas, Jack and Thomas. All were young, enthusiastic outdoor folks (avid skiers and climbers), recent college graduates, but had never stayed at the cabin, but were planning to get there this winter.
Once we reassembled at Yankee Doodle Lake, we hefted our packs filled with gear, and began the trek into the hut. Less than a mile and half, the route goes over a bald, just above treeline, with a lovely view of the Needleye Tunnel, Rollins Pass and James Peak. It was a beautiful late summer morning with no wind; in other words, perfect.
Once at the hut, there was a quick group meeting about safety around chain saws by Doug , and a review of what needed to get done by Steve. Then everybody got to work: bringing dead trees to cut up and split, a hole in the deck to repair, the stovepipe to clean, the outhouse to clean, and a big cardboard box to cut up into kindling. The wood cutting and chopping was obviously the biggest chunk of work, but the team was up to it. Over the next three hours or so, they hustled up enough wood to fill the large woodbin more than half full. I had some fun reacquainting myself with using an axe to split wood (after a few near misses).
By about 3 pm, the tasks were all done…or nearly. Steve said he wanted to get one more work party to completely fill the woodbine. But with the new solar station, and the real glass window that was installed several years ago, the Arestua hut is looking in pretty darn good shape for the winter.
Now all we need is about 36 inches of a snow base, and 12 inches of fresh powder!
See all my photos here…
Plus Dave Miller took even more photos, and his can be seen here.
Have you ever wondered how to become qualified to be a CMC trip leader?
Or perhaps you might have a question about an upcoming CMC course, and you would like to ask a question of that instructor?
You can do both using existing email lists on the CMC Boulder website! This little known feature of the website was created primarily to facilitate communication between trip leaders and course instructors, but they can also be used by any CMC member who wants to contact trip leaders and course instructors, for whatever reason. Certainly part of the vision for these email listservs was to encourage those CMC members who aspire to become trip leaders or instructors, but you are free to ask any question you might have.
The email lists for Trip Leaders are:
- A-B Hike Leaders
- C-D Hike Leaders (includes snow climbs)
- Overnight Backpack Trip Leaders
- Rock Climbing Trip Leaders
- Ski Touring Trip Leaders
- Ski Mountaineering Trip Leaders
- Ice Climbing Trip Leaders
The email lists for Course Instructors are:
- Hiking & Backpacking Instructors
- Snow School Instructors
- Basic Rock School Instructors
- Rock Lead School Instructors
- Area Tele Ski Instructors
- Cross Country Ski Instructors
- Backcountry Tele Ski Instructors
- Ice Climbing Instructors
- Alpine Rock Instructors
- Advanced Mountaineering Instructors
How To Subscribe & Benefits of Subscription
All of these email lists are self-subscribing, meaning you yourself create your subscription, and you can also unsubscribe at any time. To subscribe, there is a page for the Trip Leaders, and another page for Course Instructors, which then lead into the various subcategories. These can be found on the homepage of cmcboulder.org in the top menu, under Trips/Trip Leader Email Lists (or click here), and for instructors, under Training/Instructor Email Lists (or click here).
The subscription process is similar for all the lists (because they all use the same open source listserve program, MailMan). You will be shown a webpage that asks your for your name and email, and has other instructions for how to to use the list. You need to create a password for your subscription and register your email; should you ever forget your password, you can recover it using this form.
Using this same web form, once you have been verified as a subscriber to the list, you can see the list of others on the list. Most importantly, you can begin asking questions of the entire group — the real benefit of email listservs. Any email you send to the group is received by all members of the group; and any response is also seen by all members of the group. So, this enforces a certain self-discipline on the communication, since all responses are seen by everyone.
Another purpose of the lists was to offer a place where persons wishing to co-lead a trip could ask existing Trip Leaders if they could co-lead a trip with them, the first step in becoming a qualified Trip Leader.
Benefits of the Lists
These lists were created to stimulate interest in trip leaders and course instructors, how one achieves that position, and the rewards that come from this. There are concrete financial benefits of being a Trip Leader or a Course Instructor, primarily through discounts on purchases of gear; the foremost discount is the Trip Leader discount at Neptune Mountaineering, good for a 20 per cent discount off of any non-sale, non-special order purchase (including multiple items).
But the real benefit of becoming a Trip Leader or Course Instructor are the non-financial ones: the connections with other people, the self-confidence and increased knowledge that comes from leading trips or instructing courses. Of course, there is no way to put a price on that….
If you have any interest in the email listservs, please feel free to email me, Rick Casey, at email@example.com
Thanks to the persistence and dedication of a few local hut enthusiasts, on Tuesday, August 5, 2014 the Arestua Hut acquired a state of the art solar power generating system that will provide a safe and reliable lighting system for years to come. How did this remarkable development come to pass?
I was lucky enough to be part of this historic event because I read about it in the August 4 issue of the GPS stated that it was going to happen, and if you wanted to help call Ray Bly at this number. So I did, and the next day found myself in Nederland, at Ray’s house, helping to pack in the last materials needed for the project. There I also met Mike, Ray’s partner and friend:
It had all started around last February when Ray began making inquiries to the Club about installing a solar panel at the hut. Though initially Ray did experience some confused reactions to his proposal (“You want to do what again?”), he eventually made contact with the right people in the Boulder Group, namely Jason Kintzel, chair of the Cabins Committee. As their goal became clear to Jason, it was deemed a worthy addition to the cabin. One of the worries that the Cabins Committee has is the unauthorized use of candles for lighting in the hut, and starting a fire that burns it down. Fortunately, most users do have head lamps and battery powered lanterns, but the concern is still there. By adding this type of lighting system, that concern will now be greatly allayed.
Ray is one of the owners in OG Power Station, a Colorado company that sells stand-alone solar power station products suitable for small scale power needs — perfect for a remote alpine hut! Two other friends of Ray, Mike and Bryce, make up the rest of the OG Power Station team, also helped Ray in the effort. Although not members of the CMC, they had long been users of this beloved hut, and wanted to donate this system (worth about $4,000 retail) to the hut for the benefit of all.
Together, they had made three previous trips this year, carrying up the larger parts of the system: the large PVC pipe for the support post, the solar panel itself, the metal frame that connects the panel to the post, and, last but not least, a 70 pound battery! On this fourth and final trip, we four drove in on the bumpy Rollins Pass road to Yankee Doodle Lake, which puts you within a mile and a half of the hut.
As we hiked across the bald that leads to the hut via this cross-country approach, the weather was clearly going to be a factor….
And at the hut we were greeted by Steve Priem, a long time previous caretaker of the hut. Steve’s intimate knowledge of the hut and its history, plus his carpentry skills, were sought out by Ray. They had made contact, but today was the first time they got to meet in person. Steve had arrived separately in his usual style: putting his mountain bike on the bus up to Nederland, biking to the Hessie trailhead, and hiking up to the hut from there. (Now that’s a low carbon footprint of a trip!)
Between the five of us, the installation went pretty quickly; which was a good thing, as the rain did start to fall, just as Steve and Ray made the final adjustments to attaching the panel to pole….
Inside, Mike had been busy wiring the new lights:
Finally, here’s how the solar panel appears from the outside, discreetly position above the southwest corner:
To acknowledge this generous gift to the hut, a plaque that commemorates this will be created and placed in the hut. Many thanks again to Ray, Mike and Bryce for this tremendous gift!
To learn more about the company whose product now powers the hut, see OG Power Station’s website: www.ogpower.com
(Photo credits: all photos taken by Bryce Avallone, except the first and fourth, taken by Rick Casey)