As part of our acclimatization for a six-day back country trip in the MAroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness, My wife Blynn and I and our friend Rick spent Two nights of car camping at Difficult Creek above Aspen -with day hikes in the higher country near Independence Pass. We were warned by the campground managers that bears had been a problem. Considering the fact that the dumpsters were not really bear-proof and there was a lot of trash lying around, it was not surprising. We decided to avoid another dinner in the cold rain and grab a meal in Aspen –what a disaster. I spent a lot of time in Aspen during the summer as a kid in the late 60s early 70s and although I knew it had changed a lot, I was totally unprepared for what a monument to conspicuous consumption the village has become. The following day, we drove up CO 82 to the Linkins Lake Trailhead, hiked up to Lost Man Pass and climbed Geissler Mountain via its East Ridge. It was another great hike –above treeline almost the whole walk. We got to the trailhead around 8:30 AM which we figured would give us plenty of time to top out and get back to the car before the afternnon storms hit. The climb was a fairly easy class 2. The view from the top was fantastic. We spiced things up a little on the way down descending north of the fall line. It was quite a bit more exposed and required some fun class 3 moves in a few places. The weather turned on the way down and we had to hike fast/run for the last mile to beat the lightning. All in all it was a great day and we felt pretty good about beginning the backcountry portion of the trip the next day.
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