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What We Bring

Friday, August 15th, 2014

By Kelly Ryan (who likely will answer the phone if you call the office)

Telluride to Moab 2014 Kellys 1224

I just finished the Telluride to Moab trip with six friends. I feel like we nailed our gear:  we used everything we brought and did not really need anything we didn’t bring. We had everything we needed and our total kits weighed about 10lbs each. This list should vary depending on the weather and your mechanical skill set as a group.  We rode in August with a good weather forecast.


This is what I brought and most group members brought something similar.

1. Rain Jacket (Helium by Outdoor Research). Something that is totally waterproof and about the size of a baseball.

2. Light insulating layer (Patagonia Down Sweater). Last year, when there was more rain in the forecast, I brought a synthetic  Patagonia Nano. A fleece jacket would also work for this layer but I like something that packs down to the size of softball.

3. Long sleeve wool or synthetic shirt. I mainly wear this at the hut in the evening.

4. Arm warmers

5. Synthetic or wool T-shirt or jersey

6. Riding shorts with removable chamois

7. Long underwear or leg warmers

8. Rain pants (I opted to leave these behind as the forecast for our trip looked dry.  This is a risk you will have to assess on your own. I would recommend most people bringing them. They should be light weight and not have too low of a crotch.

9. Underwear. I wear this under my riding shorts in the evening or under my long underwear.

10. Two pair of synthetic or wool socks.

Repair Kit

The repair kit should vary depending on the size of group, the type of riding, and the experience and ability to find creative and safe ways to repair bikes. It will also depend on each groups risk tolerance. These items should be strategically divided among group members. If you don’t have a similar repair kit, you can get most of these items from Hero Kits (www.HeroKit.Com). This list was for our group of 6 riders.

1. One to two tubes per rider.

2. One set of extra brake pads per rider.

3. Two extra spokes per rider (these are very bike specific, ask your bike shop).

4. Two patch kits per group.

5. One extra tire. This is a good item to zip tie to the frame of the bike.

5. Two pumps per group.

6. Triflow (more if it is supposed to be rainy, less if dry).

7. Small bottle of Stans if you have tubeless tires

8. Six zip ties.

8. Two good multi tools.

9. One light Leatherman with pliers

10. One cassette tool (there are adjustable wrenches at the huts so we did not bring one or a chain-whip).

11. Extra derailleur hangers. These are bike specific so make sure all bikes are covered.

12. One extra derailleur. I always bring one on these long trips and this time we used it.

13. Extra cleat screw

Other Stuff

1. Head light with new batteries (two sets of extra batteries per group)

2. Sunscreen.

3. Toothbrush and small toothpaste.

4. One baby wipe per day (throw these in the trash not down the composting toilet!).

5. Four small samplers of chamois cream.

5. Iodine for water purification.

6. Bike water bottle and two liter Camelback.

7. One full group first aid kit and one smaller one.

8. One printed out small deck of Cards Against Humanity.

9. Two cameras for the group.

10. Food and water  for the day

These are the ONLY things I brought and I would highly recommend limiting yourself to something similar. We felt that our packs where not much heavier than they would be on a long remote day ride. Our packs were between 9 and 15 lbs. I used an 11 liter pack (Talon 11 by Osprey) and never filled it up all the way. I also had two some small bags that fit on my bike by Revelate Designs and Red Rock Bags. I like to put heavy dense things on the bike and bulky light things in my backpack. Please feel free to give me a call at the office if you have any more gear questions.

Backcountry Magazine’s Reconnoitering with Joe

Monday, February 10th, 2014

Click here to read Reconnoitering with Joe

Sneffels Traverse 2014 Results

Sunday, February 9th, 2014

What a great group of people, thanks for coming out everyone! Hope to see you all next year!

Place Gender Name Time  Bib #
1 M Scott Simmons 4:37:20 63
1 M Brian Smith 4:37:20 74
2 M Jesse Rickert 4:40:50 55
3 M Pat O’Neill 4:41:50 50
4 M Billy Laird 4:49:43 73
5 M Jeff Deucsh 5:37:45 75
6 M Brendan Trimboli 5:38:15 44
7 M Rick Willis 5:43:12 70
8 M Frank Mapel 5:44:21 61
9 M Don Moden 5:44:40 56
10 M Rich Smith 6:00:10 46
11 M Dave Ahrens 6:28:50 54
12 M David Chew 6:33:35 57
13 M Chris Stewart 6:34:14 71
14 F Jennifer Shelton 6:41:01 43
15 M Scott Winslow 6:42:07 66
16 M Jim Toman 6:49:16 62
17 F Ximena Rebolledo 6:50:49 65
18 M Keith Bauer 6:53:10 49
19 M Brian Miller 6:55:03 69
20 M Josh Williams 7:01:47 59
21 F Miriam Schaffer 7:04:00 58
22 M Otto Krichman 7:06:39 45
23 M Martin Catmur 7:18:30 48
24 M Jaime Palmer 7:21:57 80
25 M Baker Bent 7:23:23 64
26 M John Miller 7:31:45 80
27 M Ben Clark 7:35:20 78
28 M Tom Karpechik 7:42:29 53
29 F Kirsten Kindt 7:42:29 52
30 M Bert Perry 8:08:44 72
31 M Jeffrey Myer 8:09:59 76
32 M Dominic Schiavone 8:12:12 68
33 M Jim Nichols 8:12:20 67
34 M Pete May 9:12:47 47
35 M Matthew Anderson 9:48:54 51
36 M Al Bouchier 9:48:54 60

Check out more photos and ‘like’ us on facebook


Sneffels Traverse

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

February 8th, 2014

Pat O'Neil, Scott Simmons, Brian Smith, Billy Laird, Janelle Smiley

Another great day of skiing is coming to the Dallas Trail. Remember the Sneffels Half Loop Event? As most of you know, that is no more.  Come join us for the Sneffels Traverse. This WILL BE A RACE! The start will be on County Rd 9/West Dallas Creek . Racers will ski south up to the Dallas Trail at Box Factory Park. Once on the Dallas Trail at Box Factory Park, skiers will head east on the trail (familiar terrain for Sneffels Half Loopers).  Aid stations will be at Blue Lakes Hut, Ridgway Hut, and the Burn Hut. New terrain for the race will commence three and a half miles below Ridgway Hut. Instead of continuing down CR 5 and finishing on Miller Mesa where three previous Sneffels Half Loop Events have finished, skiers will continue east on the Dallas Trail. The very exciting descent from the Burn Hut down to the eastern terminus  of the Dallas Trail will be one to remember. We recommend that you go out and ski this finishing section of trail somewhere in mid to late January  as it is a demanding Nordic Trail. “Don’t quit yet, you’re not done.”  From the Dallas Trail Head, racers will ski 1.9 miles to the Ouray Hot Springs Pool/Park.  This final valley floor finish will utilize a snow berm on the mountain side of County Rd 17 for approximately half a mile and then cross the footbridge over the Uncompagre River and finish on the River Corridor Trail with a victory lap around the Pool/Park field.   Please call for more details and to register. Only 50 spots are available, so call soon!

Giving Thanks For Early Storms

Monday, November 25th, 2013


It is not even Thanksgiving and we have a 40 inch, relatively dense, base in the mountains! These past few storms have come in with a lot of moisture and relatively warm temps. To be sure, we still have weak layers of old snow at the base of the pack and we have seen multiple slides, but these warm early season storms are definitely something to be grateful for here in the San Juans. Joe Ryan says, “Who knows, we might see a snowpack reminiscent of ’96/’97. That year with the warm consistent snowfall, a lot of lines where skied with low ‘pucker factor’. These relatively warm, high density snow falls bode very well for a good ski season and already a lot of people are in the hills skiing.” Stay tuned here and look for information for the “Northern San Juans” at the  Colorado Avalanche Information Center.

FREE Raffle for 2 coveted Solo entries for the 25 Hours in Frog Hollow Race

Thursday, October 10th, 2013

As a proud new sponsor of 25 Hours in Frog Hollow Race, San Juan Hut Systems just got two Free Solo Entries to raffle off! These are no longer available for sale as they sold out within minutes!

The venue rests in the shadow of Gooseberry Mesa and Zion National Park just outside the town of Hurricane, Utah. The staging area is known as Frog Town, and it is the hub where all the excitement takes place. The race is on November 2-3rd and is the “Longest 1 Day Race.”

25 Hours in Frog Hollow Race Course Stats

Total Length: 12.8 miles Single Track: 5.7 miles Double Track: 7.1
Elevation low : 3570 ft Elevation high: 4300 ft
Estimated Average Course Speed: 1 hour 25 minutes
Number of Hours in a Day: 25 Hours of daylight: 12 .5 Hours of dark: 12.5
Ave High Temp: 77 degree Ave Low Temp: 44 degree

How to Register to win:
1. Email San Juan Hut Systems and include the following:  your name and phone number, preferred email contact information,  .
2. Like San Juan Hut Systems’ Facebook Page.
3. Sign up for San Juan Hut Systems’ News Letter (don’t worry we won’t spam you).

Raffle will be held on October 17!

Winners will be contacted by phone or email.


Backpacker Names Blue Lakes a Favorite, And We Agree

Monday, May 14th, 2012

As part of its Summer Weekend Planner and latest issue, Backpacker Magazine rated America’s 12 best campsites and our neck of the woods made the cut. Blue Lakes located on the northern flanks of the Mount Sneffels Range was named one the country’s best place to lay your head outdoors. We agree and have our Blue Lakes Hut perfectly placed. So if camping in a tent doesn’t appeal, try a summer hut trip to Blue Lakes.

Blue Lakes Hut

Seven Days in the Saddle: The Reward? Moab

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

Mesa Arch in Canyonlands

You’ve made the trek to the mountain biking mecca and a well-deserved stop following 215 miles in the saddle. Now what’s next…stay a night or two and explore Moab.

Moab never ceases to amaze with its geographic wonder spanning slick rock domes, bowls and fins to high mesas and the La Sal Mountains’ 13,000-foot peaks. The gorge of the Colorado River provides its own beauty and recreation. And, don’t forget Arches and Canyonlands national parks…spectacular.

Best site for lodging options: Check out .



When Does Our Bike Season Begin? Ready to Ride?

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012

Riding to the Gateway Hut mid-summer

Here in Southwest Colorado in spring it’s flip-flop weather one day, Sorels the next. With iffy spring conditions, summer sounds real appealing and perhaps far off. But it’s time to book your bike trip. Do you know when the huts are available?

Both the Telluride and Durango to Moab routes open in June, but dates vary due to high elevation hut locations where snow can fall and linger past the summer solstice.

Telluride to Moab: June 2, 2012 

(High elevation huts include Last Dollar Hut at 11,000 feet and Spring Creek Hut at 9,100 feet)

Durango to Moab: June 15, 2012 

(High elevation huts include Bolam Pass Hut at 11,411 feet and Black Mesa Hut at 10,625 feet)

Remember, too, when booking your hut trip to keep in mind winter can make an early appearance, as early as late August. But late September is generally the time we warn riders most about potential snowfall. Be prepared!

Our summer season is short, but oh so sweet!

How Pre-GPS Homo Sapiens Followed Trails

Saturday, February 25th, 2012

As we enter the modern navigation era of GPS tracks, Google Earth files, and Spot devices, we also want to help our more modern guests with some of the tried and true navigation practices of days gone by. What would you do if your GPS fails? Here is a synopsis, from most to least obvious, of how we have found our way around the mountains for many years.

Trail Signs: It is easier than you think to pass a wooden sign on the side of the trail when your mind is wandering and your eyes are fixed on the trail ahead or the mountains above. Trail signs may refer to the name, number, or destination of the trail so it is helpful to have a good topographic map with you.

Trail Markers: Trail markers of various sizes and colors can be found in many areas along the trails. These vary from blue diamonds with reflective tape in the center, to painted mettle strips hammered into trees, to orange flagging. Trail markers are less reliable than Blazes (see below) as they often fall off, are torn down, or fade in the sunlight.

Blazes: Blazes are etched into tree bark and are the shape of a lower case ‘i’. They are often found about head hight (when there is no snow) and on both sides of trees to mark the trail from both directions. In the San Juans many of the blazes are old and the shape is often contorted, but once you train your eye to find them, you will see them all along the trails. Learning to see the blazes is well worth your time as they are the most prolific and universal trail marking.

Cairns: Cairns are piles of rocks that people have built alongside a path to mark it. Most Cairns will not be visible in the winter but you may encounter a few along windswept alpine ridges. Be aware that Cairns are easy to build and not all who build them are marking the best path.

The Path Itself: Sometimes the path can be hard to see with new snow covering it. Look for an indented ‘snake’ where the snow has been compressed by previous travelers. Also remember to look up, as the path will often be discernible by the space between the trees above.

All of these will help you stay on the trail and find your way with nothing but your eyes. We also advise that you bring a good topo map and compass and know how to use them. GPS and other modern tools can be extremely useful, we just hope that our guests don’t rely too heavily upon them. Besides, following a trail without one can be invigorating and force you to be more aware of your surroundings, the majestic San Juan Mountains. Stay tuned for more on how to make a reliable tour plan.

By Kelly Ryan