Intermediate Snowshoe - MTTA High Hut


Intermediate Snowshoe - MTTA High Hut

Overnight snowshoe trip to European-style hut near Mt. Rainier

  • Sat, Mar 4, 2017 — Sun, Mar 5, 2017
  • Seattle Snowshoeing Committee
  • Snowshoeing
  • Intermediate
  • Adults
  • Strenuous
  • Challenging
  • Mileage: 8.2 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 2,350 ft


This is an overnight snowshoe trip to the MTTA's High Hut, which is a "hut" in the European sense: a large communal building in the alpine with amenities for comfortable (but not luxurious) shelter in the winter. High Hut is large with a great view of Mt. Rainer and the surrounding area.  More info about the hut can be found on the High Hut page MTTA website and in their FAQ.  Pictures can be found using this Google Image Search (though beware that not all of the pictures are actually of the MTTA High Hut.)

This trip is like a winter camping trip in that we will be carrying our overnight gear (minus tents and stoves) 4 miles and 2300' into the winter backcountry, except that instead of staying in tents we will be staying in a heated building with a four-burner stove, an oven, and a large panoramic window facing Mt. Rainier. Though the hut is open to all during the day, we will have the entire hut to ourselves 7pm - 7am.  The Trip Leader has a reservation for 8 people, which is the entire overnight capacity of the hut.

Our snowshoe to the hut will vary in length and character depending on weather and snow conditions, including whether we are able to park at the upper Sno-Park lot (net gain of 1700') or must start down at the lower Sno-Park lot (net gain of 2350'). If conditions are unfavorable we will follow the 4.1 mile long cat track maintained by the MTTA.  If conditions are favorable we will go cross country, making for a shorter and more interesting approach. A very rough estimate of the approach time is 3 - 4 hours, depending on conditions and the speed of our party.  Because we don't need to do the full round trip in one day we can afford the luxury of a non-alpine start, hence the later-than-usual meetup time.

On arrival at the hut we'll likely be sharing it with day visitors - the hut is open to all until 7:00pm.  Depending on the interests of the party, we may do some daytime snowshoes to explore the nearby area, or just hang out at the hut and chat with ourselves and the visitors, etc. Because we will be there to enjoy being there we'll take our time packing up Sunday morning, with a tentative plan to leave the hut around 10:00am and be back to the cars around 1pm - 2pm (again, depending on weather and snow conditions).

Sunset on Saturday is about 6:00p, and sunrise is at about 6:45am.

The elevation gain of this trip makes it a "strenuous" snowshoe trip by Club standards, even moreso because we'll be carrying overnight gear with us.  Please be in good condition and have some fairly recent overnight trip experience.  See the "Leader Permission" section below.

The hut has an unusual combinations of amenities and lack-of-amenities, so please take note of the following before deciding to register:

  • Though the hut itself is heated the outhouse is separate,  One must go outside to use it and it will be cold.
  • Though the hut has a four burner stove and oven, it does not have water so we'll be melting snow.  Note that we'll all be sharing the same four burners, so there will not be resources for stove top cooking, just for melting snow and heating water.
  • The hut has "solar lighting" which may or may not be adequate during the long dark days.  Headlamps are a necessity regardless, and supplemental lights might be a good idea too.
  • Sleeping arrangements are bunkhouse style: a collection of bunk platforms in a single communal area much like the various Mountaineers lodges. There will not be much privacy, and and there will likely be some snoring. (Earplugs are recommended, again much like the Mountaineers lodges.  :-))  Everyone will need to bring their own sleeping bag and pad.  A winter-rated bag isn't necessary - something rated for around 40F should be sufficient.
  • There is probably not cell coverage.

Because we'll be sharing a single common space all night, being considerate of each other will be important.

  • Bringing cards, table games, etc. is totally encouraged!
  • Please, no electronic devices that make sounds.  Bring headphones if you plan on doing music/games/movies.
  • Because of the earlier sunset/sunrise we'll probably also be keeping a somewhat early schedule too.
  • Some wine with a winter dinner is a fine thing, but please no excessive drinking.  No smoking except outside.

Participants are kindly requested to reimburse the Trip Leader $20 for the cost of the MTTA reservation ($15 per person per night) and a portion of the cost of entering the raffle to get them.  Doing so during the trip itself is fine.

Regarding "Leader's Permission":

Before signing up please send the leader a brief email summarizing your current level of conditioning and overnight experience.  Because we're staying indoors, Winter Camping experience is not required, but this shouldn't be your first time carrying all your overnight gear in a backpack.


Snow Bowl Hut, High Hut & The Yurt

Required Equipment

Required Equipment

1) The usual gear for an Intermediate Snowshoe trip with over 2000' gain.

2) The usual gear for a Winter Camping trip EXCEPT:

  • No tent is required.
  • No stove is required (though as a group we will bring 1 - 2 spares)
  • Your sleeping bag can be a normal summer-weight bag.
  • Your sleeping pad does not have to be snow-worthy. We'll be sleeping on wooden bunks so padding is required but it doesn't need to insulate you from the snow.

3) The usual gear for an overnight stay in a Lodge:

  • Clothes to sleep in
  • Slippers or similar
  • Cards, games, etc
Trip Reports