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Four Pass Loop in Pictures

 
Four Pass Loop in Pictures

Page Type: Trip Report

Location: Colorado, United States, North America

Lat/Lon: 39.08957°N / 107.01096°W

Object Title: Four Pass Loop in Pictures

Date Climbed/Hiked: Jul 25, 2009

Activities: Hiking

Season: Summer

 

Page By: stinkycheezman33

Created/Edited: Feb 23, 2010 / Feb 26, 2010

Object ID: 599623

Hits: 5680 

Page Score: 82.48%  - 15 Votes 

Vote: Log in to vote

 

Page best viewed in widescreen...otherwise the pictures might look very spaced out!

The Four Pass Loop

What I wish to do in this page is simply bring the reader on a picture tour of the Four Pass Loop, as completed by my wife and I last summer. We hiked it clockwise, which is opposite to how most people do it, but to us it seemed the sensible way to complete the trek. Please enjoy!

The trip got out to a rocky start...

 
The Four Pass Loop Begins...
Here we are, ready to head into the unknown...
 
Wet Tent
After hiking in to Crater Lake in an unforeseen downpour, we were forced to pitch our tent in the semi-dark and wait out several thunderstorms overnight...welcome to Colorado!

Day II

But the next morning showed promise!

 
Crater Lake
Sunny morning the next day!
 
West Maroon Valley
Heading up the valley towards the first pass: West Maroon Pass

 
The Maroon Bells
The view of those beautiful Bells from below
 
West Maroon Pass
Approaching West Maroon Pass from below.

 
West Maroon Pass
Looking north from atop the pass. The red rock is beautiful!
 
Victory on West Maroon Pass
Victory #1

...RAIN!

Once we got through the first pass, rain started to rear its ugly head...

 
Between passes...
Looking down between West Maroon and Frigid Air passes
 
Treasure Mountain
Between passes...rain's a'comin!

 
Storm Clouds
These two shots show how fast the clouds were moving over the mountains.
 
More Storm Clouds
No rain/lightning/thunder/wind but still scary and dark!

 
Frigid Air Pass
Near the top of the pass it started sprinkling
 
Frigid Air Pass
The top of Frigid Air Pass.

 
Frigid Air Pass
Victory #2
 
Flowers atop Frigid Air
Some flowers atop a rock. From here we descended and found a soggy campsite...


We scrambled down from the pass and found a campsite as quickly as we could, above a large waterfall.

Day III

The next morning was beautiful, and we headed for Trail Rider Pass.

 
North Fork Crystal River
The next morning (thank God) was beautiful
 
Waterfall
An apparently unnamed waterfall that we camped about 1/4 mile above.

 
Maroon Bells
A nice view of the valley we were ascending to the pass
 
Trailrider Pass
The trails in this area are slightly confusing, and this sign was a pleasant reminder.

 
Trail Rider Pass
Finally, after a long morning of climbing, we got a glimpse of the pass
 
Trail Rider Pass
I have to admit: this climb almost did us in!

 
Treasure Mountain
Looking south from the top of Trail Rider Pass
 
Snowmass Lake
Snowmass Lake from the pass, our intended campsite for the night

 
Snowmass Basin
The upper reaches of the Snowmass basin.
 
Trail Rider Pass
Victory #3


From there, we descended to our beautiful campsite for the night on the shores of Snowmass Lake

 
Snowmass Lake
 
 
Snowmass Peak
 

 
Snowmass Mountain
Snowmass Mountain + Lake
 
Snowmass Mountain
Taken from near our campsite. Beautiful!

Day IV and Victory

The next morning, we decided to wake up early and hit the trail by 6am. We were treated with an amazing sunrise over the lake/peaks...

 
Snowmass Mountain
 
 
Trail Rider Pass
 

 
Snowmass Mountain
 
 
Getting Ready to Hit the Trail
 


From there, we climbed to our final pass: Buckskin Pass

 
Snowmass Mountain
 
 
Buckskin Pass
 

 
Snowmass Mountain
Climbing to the pass, looking back to Snowmass Mountain
 
Snowmass Mountain
 

 
Four Passes Complete!
Victory #4!!!
 
Buckskin Pass
Victory #4 part II

 
Maroon Bells
The Bells from the Pass
 
Pyramid Peak
Pyramid Peak from the Pass

 
Buckskin Trail
The way down, back to the trailhead.
 
Buckskin Pass
The pass itself was actually blocked with a huge cornice.

 
Buckskin BM
Buckskin Benchmark from the pass...
 
Maroon Bells
 

 
Maroon Bell Flowers
 
 
Buckskin Pass
Looking back up towards the pass

 
28 Miles Later...
 
 
Maroon Bells
 

More Pics/Stories...

Please feel free to see my album of far more photos from our epic trip, as well as a more general trip report of the trip as a whole.

Thanks for stopping by!

Images


Comments


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Viewing: 1-17 of 17    

BombchaserNice..

Bombchaser

Voted 10/10

Great pics...
Posted Feb 23, 2010 3:30 pm

stinkycheezman33Re: Nice..

stinkycheezman33

Hasn't voted

thanks! i appreciate the compliment :)

i highly recommend visiting this area if you haven't already...despite what people say about it being crowded, we went sat-tues and saw far fewer people than we were expecting to see
Posted Feb 23, 2010 3:45 pm

drjohnso1182Nice TR

drjohnso1182

Voted 10/10

...and awesome pictures. Were you tempted to run up Snowmass? It looks so close from the lake... ;)
Posted Feb 23, 2010 7:49 pm

stinkycheezman33Re: Nice TR

stinkycheezman33

Hasn't voted

thanks a bunch! i have to admit: i really wanted to tag the summit in the morning before we left, but my topo map and midwesterner lungs/legs told me different!
Posted Feb 23, 2010 10:15 pm

drjohnso1182Re: Nice TR

drjohnso1182

Voted 10/10

After three high passes with a heavy pack, I bet you would have floated to the top of Snowmass, but then having to shoulder that pack and hike over one more pass would have been some kind of brutal...tough call.
Posted Feb 24, 2010 12:06 am

stinkycheezman33Re: Nice TR

stinkycheezman33

Hasn't voted

haha, yeah that's how my thought process went :)

the deciding factor was the fact that we had to drive back over independence pass yet that afternoon and get to leadville. so much to do; so little time to do it!
Posted Feb 24, 2010 10:11 am

MarkDidierAwesome Photo TR!

MarkDidier

Voted 10/10

Dan,
Just so many incedible pics in here...a great photo TR. Nice job and thanks for posting. Happy Trails, Mark
Posted Feb 23, 2010 8:56 pm

stinkycheezman33Re: Awesome Photo TR!

stinkycheezman33

Hasn't voted

thanks mark!
Posted Feb 23, 2010 10:16 pm

tiogaGreat Stuff!

tioga

Voted 10/10

My brother and I did this loop, the same we you did it, a few years back. Beautiful scenery, probably the best I have ever been in. And I remember climbing Trail Rider and how long of a slog that was. Glad you enjoyed it!
Posted Feb 24, 2010 7:11 pm

stinkycheezman33Re: Great Stuff!

stinkycheezman33

Hasn't voted

yeah, we have been saying that maybe we should have saved that trip after all because it's going to be tough to beat the scenery!
i am sure there are plenty of little secrets waiting to be discovered all over the place :D
Posted Feb 24, 2010 7:22 pm

tiogaRe: Great Stuff!

tioga

Voted 10/10

It looks like Michigan has some beauty to be discovered!
Posted Feb 24, 2010 7:55 pm

stinkycheezman33Re: Great Stuff!

stinkycheezman33

Hasn't voted

yes indeed...you just have to know where to look :)
Posted Feb 24, 2010 10:06 pm

stinkycheezman33Re: Nice pics.

stinkycheezman33

Hasn't voted

it was worth the trip indeed! i had heard it was "crowded" before we went, but we saw far fewer people than we expected, and the scenery was eye-poppingly gorgeous the whole time we were there.
go: you won't regret it!
Posted Jun 24, 2010 8:14 pm

skjmckeeInsight

Hasn't voted

I am looking into making this trek Mid March, do you have any idea what condition the trails would be in? Also, although I have a military background and don't mind long hikes, what recommendations or preparations would you recommend as this is my first official hiking/camping trip. Thanks for any help and insight you might be able to give!
Posted Feb 5, 2011 4:03 pm

stinkycheezman33Re: Insight

stinkycheezman33

Hasn't voted

i have not been here (or anywhere in colorado) in mid-march, but i can only guess that there will be a LOT of snow on all of the trails, and that the passes will be completely (and dangerously) blocked by snow. i cannot say that i would endorse it, but i am not any type of expert on winter travel in the mountains and i would say that you should start a thread on the forums to see what people with more experience might have to say.

that's my two cents...good luck!
Posted Feb 6, 2011 9:13 am

thatgalfromtexasbeautiful

thatgalfromtexas

Voted 9/10

Fantastic photos. I'm planning on this hike the week of labor day 2011. Everyone that I know that has done this hike, has done it in the direction that you did and so will I. I hope that some of my photos will be as wonderful as yours.
Posted Aug 14, 2011 7:09 pm

stinkycheezman33Re: beautiful

stinkycheezman33

Hasn't voted

thank you for the comments. sorry for the late reply, peace corps doesn't really allow for much internet access!
Posted Aug 27, 2011 11:46 am

Viewing: 1-17 of 17