Hells Half Acre
Submitted By: Dobish on January 18, 2010
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As you drop off of the summit, you are on a large convex slope that is about 38°. This face is almost due East, so it tends to get sun pretty early. In the late spring, this slope can easily be corn by 9:30am at the top, so plan to be up there early. There are very few hazards on the top section, as there are no rocks or trees that are really poking through.
Depending on the size of the group, and your time frame, a lot of people will go back up and do multiple laps on the East Face from above the headwall, as this is where the most open terrain is. Once you get to the headwall, you need to keep a vigilant eye for the convexities and the sliding snow. These slopes measure at close to 45° and have been getting sun from the very first light. The tend to slide regularly, but as the snow gets heavier, they could probably do some damage. There are a few descent options to pick, that all wrap around the lake and back to the main gully.
There used to be an old mining cabin, that you can still see the remanants of just above the upper lake.
After the lakes, if you are done for the day, you should head to the right, so you can avoid the willows and connect back up with teh Crystal Lakes Road. You can take the road all the way back down to the trailhead if there is snow.[more]
Hells Half Acre includes a variety of terrain from trees to cliffs to open areas. It is easily accessible, and in general the snow is very good. The terrain is so varied that it allows for everyone to enjoy some of the great skiing without being too risky. This area includes High Trail Trees, Shop Chutes, Hanging Meadow, Sentinel Chute, North Chute, The Choke, The Knuckle, The Fingers, Mines 2, and Mines 1
How to Get There
Drive to the top of Berthoud Pass, and start in the parking area by the warming hut. From the parking lot, head due East from the lot and follow the trees on the left towards the observation equipment at the top of the pass. The approach is about 700' and is moderate.
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