A brief introduction-Well... not so brief.
After being told by my father several times in my life that I was adopted. I have on numerous occasions, attempted to contact the Rockefellers via the U.S Postal service requesting past due allowances owed me for the period of 1956 to the present.
Never receiving any such response, somewhere along the way, it became apparent that I would live my life as the majority do. Working for a pittance and making every moment of my hard earned vacation as exciting as possible. This vacation was to be no exception. Afterall, if your vacation ends up a great disappointment, you may just feel like jumping off one of those mountains you enjoy to climb. This trip started out to look like there was going to be a jumper before the week was over. Everything went wrong.
I began my 2008 vacation plans in hopes of meeting several of the people of Summitpost at the annual SP climb in Silverton, Colorado. Although relocating from California to Colorado a couple of years ago and being far from an actual hillbilly, my warped sense of humor has earned me the appearance to many of the people of Summitpost into believing that I am an honest to goodness redneck. I'm sure that having car problems and not making it to the gathering was a great disappointment for more than myself and my partner Jeff. I'm sure a fun time would have been there for all to enjoy.
Following the SP gathering our plans were to drive down to Chama, New Mexico and circle back up highway 17 to near the Conejos River in Colorado and complete a 60 mile loop hike in the South San Juan Wilderness.
When the vacation started, we got within 20 miles of Silverton (from the Ouray side). We hit a one way traffic control construction zone. Had to stop in a large line of cars. A loud screaming noise as well as smoke(later found to be steam) came out from underneath my hood. Needless to say, we turned around and to no avail got any mechanical assistance in Ouray. We added water in hopes that the engine wouldnt blow up and drove north up hwy 550 with no more set plans in mind.
At this point, we began what I call, "The North/South Tour". Mainly, because we headed north and south on most of Colorados highways that run between the center of the state (at Hwy 50) to near the New Mexico border.
After heading out of Ouray, with no further overheating problems, we headed east and then again south thru Lake City, spending the night in some funky canyon east of Creede and the following day, continued into New Mexico, then north again, back into Colorado. Our hiking trip was becoming nothing but a long old drive to nowhere.
Upon arriving at the South San Juans, we spent one day hiking in 13 miles to a place called Alverjones Lake and became the prime recipients of a massive mosquito target practice session. We got eatin' alive. We headed back out on foot to the car the next morning as soon as we possibly could and drove up thru Alamosa, Saguache and eventually north of Crested Butte to a place called Gothic. My co pilot, Jeff kept pointing and I drove. I had no idea where we were going and what to expect when we got there. I never even knew that we were doing the "Four Pass Loop" until I had climbed over two of them. In fact, up until then, I'd never heard of it.
The Four Pass Loop
Located in the Maroon Bells Snowmass Wilderness of Central Colorado is a loop hike called "The Four Pass Loop". The four passes are: West Maroon, Frigid Air, Buckskin and Trailrider. The standard loop is approximately 26 miles. When doing this loop, the standard route begins southwest of Aspen, near Maroon Lake.
By starting on the Aspen side, one can save a substantial amount of elevation gain by climbing the West Maroon Pass and heading directly over to the Frigid Air Pass or vice versa. When travelling this route, you will only lose 700ft of vertical between the two passes. The route we took, included a minimum of 2500ft elevation gain at each pass.
We, or should I say, Jeff decided to try it from the opposite side of the Mountain, near Gothic(a few miles north of Crested Butte on a dirt road) and not only add about 17 miles to the hike, but a couple thousand feet more of elevation gain.
The elevation of each pass is between, approximately 12,400 and 12,600 feet. We hiked the loop over a three day period, during the last half of July. Each day throughout the summer is a race between hiker and the intense lightning storms that are prevalant on high mountains.
Our photo journey is found below.
Below, you will find three options of viewing the pictures from our Four Pass Loop hike. The first option is a slide show that I've linked to my Webshots page. The second option is to my webshots page as well, but allows you to view photos one at a time. This option also allows you to read any comments or details made on the photos themselves. There are more photos on the Webshots site than on the third option. Which are photos listed directly on SummitPost.
At the bottom of the page, If you click on an individual picture, you will be able to enlarge it, and in most cases, get a brief description of the picture.
For a slideshow:
click here, then choose slideshow on the right
For individual photos with comments or details, click the link above and click each photo separately.
SP Photo Album