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 Peak(s):  Buckskin BM  -  13,370 feet
 Post Date:  09/14/2011
 Date Climbed:   08/07/2011
 Posted By:  jstouder

 Four Pass Loop - Days 1 & 2   

Four Pass Loop - Buckskin Benchmark
Google Map of Route + Campsites

Some quick thoughts about the trip:

- It's not a stroll through Central Park. Best bring your A game for this grueling hike.
- Put your boots inside your tent at night (not in between your tent and rain fly). At Snowmass Lake I was woken up at three in the morning by a porcupine gnawing on my boots three inches from my face.
- Climb the mountains and get their good tidings (amazing and topical John Muir quote).
- Camp in exactly the same locations as we did. See link above.
- Expect some company. We went mid-week and ran into at least 15 hikers a day.

Day 1 - Sunday, August 7th, 2011
Goal: Crater Lake Campsite


We busted out from the La Plata trailhead around three in the afternoon and drove to Aspen. After grabbing some Domino's we parked at the Maroon Bells and headed up to Crater Lake.

Looking southwest past Crater Lake:
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A constant companion throughout this hike, a first of many wildflowers:
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Elevation Profile of Maroon Lake to Crater Lake:
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Day 2 - Monday, August 8th, 2011
Goal: West Maroon Pass + Frigid Air Pass


From Crater Lake looking up at the Sleeping Sexton and waterfalls:
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Crater Lake beauty:
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Sleeping Sexton falls:
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More wildflower beauty:
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Looking south from the edge of Crater Lake:
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Sleeping Sexton from the south, just having left Crater Lake:
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More wildflower beauty:
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On our way to West Maroon Pass, looking north at Crater Lake:
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First of many stream crossings on our trip:
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West Maroon basin, Pyramind Peak is visible:
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Looking southwest at the summit of West Maroon Pass:
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Nearing the crux of the hike to the first of four passes, more wildflower beauty:
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Small stream crossing en route to West Maroon:
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Obligatory Marmot photo:
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Northeast view from summit of West Maroon Pass:
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Trying hard to take it all in:
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View west from the summit of West Maroon Pass:
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We met some incredible people at the summit of West Maroon. A gaggle of seventy year old ladies from Crested Butte had just reached the summit. A hitchhiker from Florida with his aspen staff eating honey and peanut butter. A father and son from Atlanta. All very kind and easy to talk to.

On our way down towards Frigid Air:
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Cue movie soundtrack:
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Nearing the base of the hike between the two passes:
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Wildflower Overload:
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Summit of Frigid Air looking northeast:
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Summit of Frigid Air looking south:
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The majestic, lush, and welcoming Fravert Basin:
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It was three in the afternoon and we had been at it all day. After La Plata the day before and now two passes we were anxious for a campsite. We passed many options on our way down; most were either occupied or didn't meet our high quality standards.

Shortly after this incredible waterfall we found a gentle basin with many ample sites:
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Campsite with a View!
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We crashed hard that night and understandably so. As I drifted off my mind was on my family while my body was welcoming the somewhat gentler hiking day ahead.

CLICK HERE for the rest of our trip report. Four Pass Loop - Days 3, 4, & 5.

Elevation Profile of Crater Lake to West Maroon Pass to Frigid Air Pass to Fravert Basin:
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Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
 


  • Comments or Questions
Gene913


You Know You've had a Great Trip When     2011-09-14 07:50:49
one of the trip photos becomes your new avatar!


jstouder


:)     2011-09-14 08:14:23
Absolutely right! It was over two years old anyway, it needed updated!


gsliva


This is why we work     2011-09-14 09:06:51
I have no response except;damn, I missed it. Great trip report.


MtnHub


Super!     2011-09-14 14:36:31
Gorgeous pics! I'd love to do this loop sometime, but may not get the chance. Thanks for taking me on this one!


fourseasoncyclist


Thanks     2013-03-05 11:51:15
I pulled great information on a trip I'm planning from this report. Thanks for posting it!


jstouder


Absolutely!     2013-03-05 12:22:25
Thank you... for bringing me back down memory lane on a cold work day. Feel free to PM should you have further questions! Awesome, lifelong memories on the loop. You will not regret it.



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