Peak(s):  Four Pass Loop - 12,500 feet
Date Posted:  07/07/2012
Date Climbed:   06/30/2012
Author:  Carl

 A day on the Four Pass Loop  

Four Pass Loop on Saturday June 30th
Mileage: Forest Service says 28 miles, consensus is closer to 26
Vertical gain: Around 8,000ft


Attempted the loop in July of 1996 as a backpacking trip but it was too snowy so we turned around at the first pass. Long past due for another go at it. Rob and I decided to do the loop in a day rather than carry a heavy pack. Left Maroon Lake at 4:30 a.m. and headed around Crater Lake a little after 5.


Made it to West Maroon Pass in 2:20. Not being a runner, we agreed to only jog the downhill sections and a very small bit of the flats.


Me heading into West Maroon Pass.


Waiting for the sun to come over the ridge.


Up and over Frigid Air Pass at 3:21.


Rob got a nice shot of the columbines.


Our first time in Fravert Basin. Awesome place.


Another shot of Fravert.


Stopping to check out King Falls.


Rob grabbed a shot of the lesser seen side of the Bells.


Stopped at North Fork to filter water since we had our shoes off anyway to cross.


Dropped down to around 10,200ft in Fravert and I started to slow down gaining the vertical up Trail Rider Pass. Rob cruised on ahead.


Looking back from the top of Trail Rider.


Rob and me on Trail Rider Pass, 6 hours 25 minutes into the day.


Jogged down to Snowmass Lake.


Rob nearing the lake. The only other time I had been here was on a wintery day in early May so seeing the area in summer conditions was a treat.


Took maybe a half hour break, pumped some water, and went for a swim.


Hiked back to the trail, reluctantly dropped a couple hundred vertical feet below the lake, then very slowly started walking up to Buckskin. Nice views of Capitol and Snowmass. Not much snow though; can't believe we were skiing these peaks last June.


Me on Buckskin at 9 hours 20 minutes into the day. Having never hiked more than 15 miles in a day and on only two prior occasions ever jogged more than 3 miles in a day, my legs were hurting.


Rob took off jogging down Buckskin while I walked about as fast as I could manage. Apparently Rob was feeling the pain too as I ended up catching him about 4 miles later as we neared Maroon Lake.


Went for another swim at Maroon Lake, 10 hours 50 minutes after leaving the TH earlier that morning. It was a hot day and I was curious if it was the swim at Snowmass Lake that confused the elevation on my new Suunto Core watch (it appears so).


I hadn’t been this excited about a hike that didn’t involve some mountain top as an objective in quite a while. Highly recommend the Four Pass Loop, whether you’re planning to do it as a 4 day backpack or a 4 ½ hour run (current record is an astonishing 4:14 RT from Crater). In planning this trip I noticed that most single day Loops were being made by runners posting impressive times of 6 to 9 hours. For what it's worth, if you go light, walk quick when you can, and only jog some of the downhill and a bit of the flats, like we did, this amazing hike can still be enjoyed in a day. If my blisters heal by next weekend and the weather clears I might do it again.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions
Jeremy Bauman

07/07/2012 07:23
Nicely done! this really shows just how well going ”fast and light” works. Keep up the good work!


Looks like fun..
07/07/2012 11:15
...even though it's mostly walking. I'd gladly join you for a go at the speed record ;)


Good job!
07/07/2012 15:10
My wife and I have been talking about jogging the 4 passes as well, might have to wait until after the monsoon now. It would suck to be stuck half way through waiting for a T-storm to pass before heading up one of the passes. Take a look at the Southern (~16 miles) and Northern (~26 miles) Indian Peaks loops, fun, scenic runs as well.


Nice work
07/07/2012 16:19
Looks like a fun day for sure, way to get it in before this monsoonal flow. Congrats!


Nice hike/jog, Carl
07/07/2012 16:33
Looks like a great day out w/ nice weather.


Nice report
07/07/2012 17:29
Your photos really capture the beauty of the area and the fun you had while did the loop. Too bad it took a whole day!


07/07/2012 19:08
Thanks for posting. This is one I hope to do later this summer.


07/07/2012 21:25
I remember you talking about this on the dead dog trip, nice to see you got it done. Good looking weather.


07/08/2012 16:36
Very impressive Carl. But I'm a little confused...I didn't see any big sticks atatched to your feet


Much Needed!
07/09/2012 14:32
Thanks for posting! Looks absolutely beautiful! I've been needing some ”stop-working-so-much-and-get-outside-and-kick-your-own-ass”'re report seems to have done the trick


07/09/2012 19:24
like a lot of fun! Glad you guys were able to sneak in there before the rain. Wanna do it again sometime?

XC Snowboarder

Another round
07/16/2012 01:38
Just did this yesterday with a group of 4 and had a fantastic day. This is a must do. Nice pics!

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