MCA's first hut, built in 1964, the forerunner of the Eklutna Traverse system of shelters.
Accessing the hut via Eklutna Glacier requires glacier travel skills, beware of inherent risks.
Traveling South: Park at the Eklutna Lake parking lot, follow the Eklutna Lake trail past the East Fork Bridge (mile 11), to Eklutna River bridge (mile 12). Accessing the Glacier is condition dependent (See important update below), in the winter a snow ramp might extend for easy access, There is often rockfall danger from the Mitre in summer months, making access dangerous. The safer route is on the left side of the glacier, before the bridge turn left to Serenity Falls cabin, after the cabin, parallel the river, past rapids to a level section, ahead the river forms short gorges, ascent the glacier scoured bedrock and up scree slopes to a bench located about 120 feet above the river. Follow this bench across scree and boulders, rounding a corner, where the glacier comes into view. Ahead are two fixed bolted lines for accessing the Mitre Might, walk past them, past the waterfall, to a trough next to the ice. Use common sense while on ice, there are nearby crevasses. Reach the glacier, traverse across to the right in order to avoid broken ice. Ascend past the icefall. Begin to traverse left, aim for a hanging valley south of the Mitre. Get off the ice after reaching the left edge of the glacier. Follow the glacial trough until the end, past Ovis peak. The hut is at the top of the steep slope ahead. Avoid the slope due to avalanche conditions and a large crevasse. Get back on the ice, and swing far right around crevasses which guard the hut. Continue past the hut towards Peril Peak, clearing all the crevasses, and finally ascend the gentle slope to Pichler's Perch.
Traveling North: As you descend Eklutna Glacier, past Peril Peak, begin trending to the right side of the glacier, aiming for the lateral moraine which is just west of White Lice Peak. Getting off the glacier is very easy for the next ½ mile. Once off the ice, continue along the moraine ascending until you are on top of the knoll on which the hut is located.
Exiting the glacier via the face might not be possible due to a large cavern, going right is preferable to left. Aim for the long waterfall, the Mitre Might. Pass the waterfall to the bolted line, descend to the bench and easy scree below. Another option is to avoid the glacier, instead head west, ascend the West fork of Eklutna, turn right past Moonlight Mt. and go through Transcendence Pass to the Raisin Glacier. Now you can either get out via Peter's Creek or over Bombardment Pass to Eagle River.
Eklutna Traverse and Pichlers Access Hazard - Update by Wayne L. Todd September 2011
The Eklutna Glacier is rapidly melting and retreating up the canyon. Glacier access is no longer an easy walk up with crampons. Current inherent hazards are deep crevasses, deep undercut bergschrunds, moulins, steep ice, churning water and mud on top of steep ice. The lower route is changing every year. Within two years the ice bridge over the river in the canyon will probably be gone which will create additional hazards and require more route finding.
Climbers should be prepared with steel crampons, two ice tools (or ice tool with sharp snow axe), a rope for climbing, belaying and/or rappelling and the hardware to do such (ice screws, V thread material, belay device, harness, helmet, etc.). Snow may fill in some of the smaller hazards but may just cover the larger ones.
Overall the Eklutna Glacier is thinning which is creating more crevasses, especially below four thousand feet. Roped travel on the snow covered glacier is highly advised.
Built in 1964. The materials were dropped 500 feet too high probably the summer before, since there is a mention of the plywood being blown off over the winter. On July 18 and 19 Paul Crews Sr., Paul Crews Jr., Peter Crews, Dave DeVoe, Kim Degenhardt, Teresa Overfield, Jim Phelps, John fisher lowered and belayed heavy bundles down steep slopes, having one of them get away. On July 25 Joan Samuelson, Helga Eading, Parie Lundstron, George McGuinnes finished hauling lumber to the hut platform (Scree August 1964). On Labor Day weekend 1964 the hut was erected by Joe Pichler, Greg Erickson, Jim Fraser, Dave DeVoe, Dale Nienhueser, Ron Linder, Shiro Nishimae, Dave Meyers, Helga Bading, Dale Hagen. Two sheets of blown-off plywood were retrieved from the glacier to construct the door (Scree, September 1964).
On April 2007 the roof was repaired by Perilla, Garcia, Riggio while traveling the Eklutna Traverse. On April 2009 some more roof repairs were performed by Choate, N. Murphy, Nabinger, Recktenwald, Smith, Bragiel, Taylor. Maintenance done while travelling the Eklutna Traverse. On June 2009 the interior walls and floor were painted by Bragiel and Aho after being flown in by Alpine Air.