Mint Hut

Built in 1971 it is the most popular hut because of its ease of access, with no technical travel or large elevation gains. Located in a spectacular setting at the headwaters of Little Susitna River. It is a gateway to the beautiful Talkeetna Mountains and offers the traveler a comfortable rest stop on the Bomber Traverse, a base camp to the assaults on the nearby granite peaks, or a destination in itself.



Accessing the hut via any of the glaciers requires glacier-travel skills; although the glaciers might seem benign, they are still dangerous. Use caution.

Via Little Susitna: Foot, ski or bike. Careful time management and solid route finding skills are recommended, although easily accessible, the hut is difficult to find, especially in the dark. Plan accordingly, more than one party found themselves spending the night 300 yards from the hut in the pouring rain. Park at the Mint Trailhead across the road from Motherload Lodge. The trail has been cleared and improved for the first 5 miles in the summer of 2008, making access by a mountain bike very fast. Follow the trail, which at first follows an old mining road, but quickly changes into a narrow path. The trail becomes rockier after about three miles, then winds its way through beaver ponds and next to the river. Long parts have been improved, easing a previously muddy trek. A tenacious cyclist will be able to make it in about 5 miles, shortly after crossing a beaver dam and riding on level gravel shore of the creek. The next obstacle comes in the form of a creek crossing, which can be accomplished at high water with dry feet about fifty yards up the creek and some bushwhacking. At low water the crossing is straightforward. Trail passes some boulders and gains left slopes of the valley. While ascending the boulder field keep track of the occasional cairns, there are at least two. Two options exist for the final push. Recently the more popular, with the more defined trail, but more difficult and not recommended in the snow, climbs the right slopes of the rocky knoll under which the boulder field is located. The trail is clearly visible for the first few hundred yards. It follows a defined narrow bench, gaining altitude quickly; one might scramble at times, constantly following the slope, trending in counterclockwise direction. Finally, one is deposited right at the front door of the hut. The other way is slightly longer, from the top of the boulders round the rocky knoll on the left, trending clockwise, drop into a small valley and turn right, the hut is on the right. Do not access the hut from the end of the Little Susitna Drainage, the slopes are steep and avalanche danger high.

Via Penny Royal Glacier: Foot, Ski, crampons might be necessary. Park at the Reed lakes trail, follow the well worn trail to the Reed Lakes. Ascend northeast up the scree slope towards Bomber Pass and cross to Bomber Glacier. Keep in mind the avalanche conditions on the slopes. Cross the Bomber glacier, explore the wreckage and climb the steep slopes to access the ridge dividing the Bomber from Penny Royal glacier. The slopes are steep, advertise caution and be weary of rock fall. Cross Penny Royal going east and access the low point in the ridge between Tenemint and Hunchback spire. You are at Backdoor gap. (5650 feet, N 61 51.734, W 149 05.761) Drop down the scree slope, mind the high avalanche danger. Follow the valley bottom trending right until you reach the hut. If traveling from the Bomber hut ascend the Penny Royal glacier to the Backdoor gap- the lowest point in the ridgeline, left of the top of the glacier.

Via Moose Creek: From Moose creek headwaters climb up from the creek, through boulder fields, to the moraine which is below Grizzly Pass. Keep climbing and reach the crevasse-free glacier below the pass, continue through the pass towards the Mint Glacier. Crevasse danger exists. Keep right and drop to the glacier proper. Descend towards the right side of Jewel Lake, skirt the lake and find a path along a ridge which will take you down to the meadow. The hut sits against a small knob across from the meadow.


Built on Labor Day weekend 1971 by Bill Barnes, John Samuelson, Bob Smith, Nick Parker, Wendell Oderkirk, Pat Freeney, Steve Hackett and friend Carolyn. Parts were all pre-cut and flown in by helicopter. (Scree, Sept. 1971). The hut was officially named the Rainery Hut in 1974 after the death of Mark Rainery, the 16-year-old Hut Committee chairman, he died in an avalanche while descending Koktoya Peak after having made the first winter ascent on January 1, 1974.

In July 2007 Randy Howell, Mark Miraglia, Greg and Mary Beth Bragiel install slider window 2nd floor, cleaned, organized, caulked, removed junk, cleaned and painted interior walls, painted floor, painted exterior.

The new outhouse was installed in August of 2008 by Greg Bragiel, Tom Choate, Dwight Iverson, Greg Encelewski and Marcin Ksok. In the summer of 2009 Greg Bragiel and crew replaced the roof. In July of 2009 the great roofing replacement project took place where the work crew replaced and insulated the roof and painted the exterior of the hut. Olsen, Childers, Oliver, Haugsven, Bragiel. Eli Morris (Eagle Scout) and fellow scouts and scout leaders. All gear and workers flown in by Pollux aviation and then hiked out.

Hatcher Pass Mountaineering Huts Group

The HPMHG was formed in response to a tremendous increase of snowmachine activity in the spring of 2013 on the Snowbird Glacier and other surrounding areas including the Snowbird Hut, Bomber Hut and Mint Hut. This increase in activity is associated with the implementation of new boundaries in the updated Hatcher Pass Management Plan (adopted November, 2010 and implemented December, 2012). The snowmachine activity on the approach to the huts and in and around the huts constitutes a clear safety issue and certainly changes the experience. The solution to this problem will require effort and understanding by all parties. Our group is focusing on education and outreach as the path to having all users enjoy the bounty of the Hatcher Pass area.

We ask you to assist State Parks in reporting boundary violations on the attached form (Incident reporting form). Please email the completed report to the addresses listed on the form.

Please help and volunteer with outreach, education and reporting. Thank you for supporting the HPMHG, the State Parks and all users of the Hatcher Pass area. For more information, contact Ralph Baldwin, Cory Hinds, Jayme Mack, Cindi Squire or Harry Hunt at:


(673 KB)
2003 Mint Hut Info
Use this information with caution. It is very old. The maps may still be useful.

NOTE: Many of the documents are in PDF format and require Adobe Acrobat Reader for viewing. Acrobat Reader software may be downloaded for free from Adobe Systems, Inc.

The Mint Hut glistens in the winter sun amidst the Talkeetna Mountains. Photo © Travis Taylor Boy Scout Troop 380 and MCA volunteers Stan Olsen and Larry Oliver pose in front of their just finished Mint Hut roof replacement. Nice job. Photo © Greg Bragiel Becky Wang hikes from the hut on a wonderful summer day. Photo © Wayne Todd Elena Hinds, Paul Andrews, Cory Hinds and Michelle Potkin prepare for ski up Backdoor Gap. Photo © Wayne Todd

Previous Article     [ Back to Overview ]     Next Article

[ Back to Regular View ]