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Igloo trail (Crested Butte backcountry)

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

I'll probably cross post this on telemarktips and TGR but wanted to float it here. So, a TGR post on igloo building got me curious last year. I ended up getting an IceBox igloo maker for xmas from the kids. I ended up building a 10 footer in the backyard here in the Butte and the damn thing was bulletproof. Like bomb shelter like. I built it in the sun (mistake) and had the measurements off a bit so the curve wasn't right. But it lasted a good two months before it started to sag. I was worried about it collapsing on my kids so one day I went out to destroy it. I climbed on top, jumped up and down and the thing didn't budge. I used my avy shovel to chop the thing in half and then repeated my Samsonite commercial routine. Again, even though it was cut in half the thing refused to fall. Crazy....


As an aside: I slept in the thing and it was pretty cool. Warmed up nicely, you can stand up in it. Uber quiet and comfortable.


So that got me thinking about planning for this winter. If you build a 9 footer (stronger curve) and you build it in a protected area the damn thing will easily last the winter. A few Crested Buttians and I were sitting around this summer contemplating building one of these at the base of Coney's as a little backcountry "hut". It is totally legit on US Forest land (I checked with a ranger) as it isn't a permanent structure. One beer lead to another and soon we were lamenting the lack of huts in this area of Colorado. You have some good ones over towards Aspen with the 10th but not a whole lot except for the Friends Hut on this side. So we decided to start putting up some igloos around CB this winter. We'll probably put a few up the Oh Be Joyful drainage so you could do a 2 or 3 day traverse from CB to Irwin eventually. The same could be said for a CB - Marble traverse via Washington Gultch and Paradise Divide.


Has anyone had experiences putting one of these things together? It has to have been done before - just too good of an idea. Any locals with IceBoxes interested in participating?






post #2 of 5

Now THAT is a cool idea.


Some of my friends put up a yurt last winter in a spot where we spend a lot of ski days, and it was convenient as all get-out.


We built an igloo in our back yard a few years back and had much the same experience as you.  That said, we were working from zero knowledge and know it could have been a lot better done.


Will check out that Icebox igloo maker - that could be a good time.

post #3 of 5

I have one of those.  We built a few in the yards, but mostly have done snowcaves and dugloos for overnight use in the backcountry because the Icebox Tool is bulky for carrying in my pack.  I do think if you built it well in a protected area it would last the whole season.  I have thought about building a complex of igloos that are connected like a moon base.  The best would be to use a polk and carry the tool and some stocking materials for the early season build.  Then travel in light for the rest of the season.  It takes a long time and is a lot of work to build an igloo even with the tool.

post #4 of 5

First, sounds so very cool.  Second, I have ZERO experience here, but I do know the huts in the Tahoe area.  And the nice thing about them, is that they have second story access points for when the snow level rises.  So if you go for this super awesome idea of yours, how would you guys plan for the big dumps that burry the entrance?  Or is it as simple as maintaining and and just digging them out?

post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 
Penny - ya that's about it. You just keep digging them out. You have to mark them with a GPS in case there is a big dump because after a couple feet they just look like humps in the snow. You usually don't build them until the snow pack is reasonably deep and you can dig the entrance trench to run under the wall rather than through the bottom of it. You do have to worry about the top vent and door vent filling in overnight but unless you are heating it with a stove you're fine aside from digging you way out. Heh.

I'll post some pics and TRs think winter. Can not wait.
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