McNamara and Margy’s Huts established by the late Robert McNamara
Obituaries for Robert McNamara, who died today, in the national media understandably focus on his years as Secretary of Defense in the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, as the “architect of the Vietnam War” (which he later admitted was a mistake) and as president of the World Bank — as well as his previous big job as the first president of the Ford Motor Company whose last name was not Ford. These high-profile positions earned him a place on the international stage, but Colorado backcountry skiers also know of him as the benefactor of two early huts in the 10th Mountain Trail system.
Both the McNamara Hut and nearby Margy’s Hut, a memorial to his first wife Margaret, were built above Aspen in 1982. They were the impetus for the creation of a larger system that now spiders across the high country in the non-wilderness whose rough periphery is Aspen, Leadville, Edwards and Vail. The McNamara Hut is set in an area between the Hunter Creek Valley and Lenado in a high valley called the Burnt Hole. The McNamara and Margy’s huts, which are shown on the map near the lower left corner of the map above, are both owned by 10th Mountain and are only open during the winter season to protect the summer range of a nearby elk herd.
The high-country treasure provided by olorado’s 10th Mountain Trail system and its backcountry huts is high in my consciousness these days because I am among a goup of a dozen women hiking up to Uncle Bud’s Hut near Leadville, which is open in summer as well as in winter.
Addendum: “McNamara Had Strong Ties to Aspen” was a July 7 memorial feature in the Aspen Daily News with a lot more details than I had known about. I’m not the only writer who made the connection after hearing he news of his passing.