Summer 2015 Log, Photo Gallery, Aspen - Snowmass, Colorado
Summer 2015 Log
Aspen - Snowmass
This gallery is a chronological record of my time in Aspen - Snowmass 2015. It follows me and the arc of the seasons from May to November. Each pic represents a day out, and in the order I experienced everything (local trails that I frequented during the week were omitted to avoid repetition). What will I do and where will I be in 2016? I'll tell you next year!
Click here to see a complete list of trails and photo galleries from the Aspen area.
5.16.15. Crater Lake (10.076'), Maroon Bells - Snowmass Wilderness. First day off the boat in May. Short hike but deep snow and cold. Met a pro photog from Idaho with interesting stories about his local wildlife (wolves, grizzlies).
5.18.15. Rim Trail, Snowmass Village. Great local trail less than a mile from my place that I would go on to hike many times this summer.
5.23.15. Hunter Valley, Aspen. Took one of several routes through Hunter Valley before getting stopped by snow near the Hunter - Fryingpan WB. Reality check that I'd have at least another month before snow clears up high.
5.30.15. Sunnyside - Shadyside Loop, Aspen. Nice lollipop up and around Red Mountain. Amazing views across the Roaring Fork Valley, Elk Mountains and all ski areas. I actually have similar views now from my place in Aspen.
5.21.15. Difficult Creek Trail, Collegiate Peaks Wilderness. Saw these elk en route (trail was otherwise just eh). Still tons of snow up high so just waiting it out. Patiently...
5.24.15. Hay Park, Carbondale. Long trail between Capitol Creek and Carbondale with some of the most extensive aspen forests in the valley. Bikes and runners love this singletrack.
6.4.15. Sky Mountain Park, Snowmass Village. Cool local trail system with neat singletrack and amazing views across Snowmass and the Elks. Lots of blooming flowers and brush, but still relegated to low and local trails.
6.14.15. Thomas Lakes (10,248'), Maroon Bells - Snowmass Wilderness. Nice pair of lakes under Mount Sopris. Perfect weather so turned off on the Hay Park Trail for a few miles on the return. Finally felt like summer!
6.17.15. Lost Man Loop, Hunter - Fryingpan Wilderness. Got antsy one day after work so bolted up here to see how far I could get (hit deep snow near South Fork Pass and called it a day). Crossed a few swift creeks that required attention.
6.19.15. East Snowmass Trail, Maroon Bells - Snowmass Wilderness. Friday after noon hike to the deep snow line about 5 miles up. This trailhead was just 3.5 miles from my place and I'd be back here 3 more times this summer.
6.20.15. Williams Lake (10,815'), Maroon Bells - Snowmass Wilderness. This lake famously inspired John Denver's 'Rocky Mountain High'. Long hike up gnarly 4x4 road to reach the trail. Saw only 1 person, a local with useful insight on Pierre Lakes.
6.27.15. Capitol Lake (11,597'), Maroon Bells - Snowmass Wilderness. Had this all to myself, all day. Continued around other side of lake up to a pass (12,078'). Pretty sketchy in places. Saw goats on the return.
6.28.15. Midway Pass (11,841'), Hunter - Fryingpan Wilderness. Long trail that runs N-S across the HFW. Great view of the Collegiates and lots of improvisation across snowfields. Enjoyed watching a large elk herd up high.
7.2.15. New York Creek Trail (12,273'), Collegiate Peaks Wilderness. Reached pass just as dark clouds rolled in. Weather held and I was able to traipse along the Continental Divide with some of the best views I'd have all summer. Lots of elk too.
7.3.15. East Snowmass Pass (12,684'), Maroon Bells Snowmass Wilderness. Amazing valley climb to a pass with great views of the Willow Lake basin. Colors in this valley at peak summer are exceptional.
7.5.15. Lost Man Lake (12,482'), Hunter - Fryingpan Wilderness. Early July and hit deep snow on the last half mile. Followed goat tracks up and actually overshot the lake, which is hard to miss. Felt more like winter in the high country on this day!
7.11.15. Fryingpan Lakes (11,032'), Hunter - Fryingpan Wilderness. Long drive past Ruedi Reservoir, but totally worth it. Would go back in a second. Later in the summer I'd be on the pass above the lakes via the North Fork. Speeding ticket on the return.
7.12.15. Haystack Mountain (12,206'), Maroon Bells - Snowmass Wilderness. Possibly my favorite hike (or at least one of the nicest) all summer. Not a soul. Had trouble staying on track at times, but the detours were awesome. Weather never threatened.
7.18.15. Aspen to Crested Butte (12,465'), Maroon Bells - Snowmass Wilderness. Every step of this 10.5 mile thru-hike is amazing. Went with camping gear and after setting up on the CB side and waiting out some rain, hiked back that same day.
7.25.15. Tabor Pass (12,462'), Collegiate Peaks Wilderness. You don't hear about this one too much (it's off Independence along Lincoln), but wow. It's just stunning. Didn't see anyone all day.
7.26.15. Linkins Lake (12,008'), Hunter - Fryingpan Wilderness. Got cloudy shortly after this shot but no lightning, so cut across the tundra to Independence Lake and took Lost Man back to form a loop. Flowers were peaking.
7.31.15. Grizzly Lake (12,523'), Collegiate Peaks Wilderness. Car would never make it to the TH so rented a Wrangler. Hike was worth the extra effort and expense, though didn't have great light. Still, peak flowers and a postcard-like valley.
8.1.15. Woody Creek Trail, Hunter Fryingpan Wilderness. Bad day not to be up for hiking because this was over 18 miles on a tough, primitive trail. Probably the happiest I was to get back from a hike all summer! Just not into that day.
8.9.15. The Pierre Lakes (12,174'), Maroon Bells - Snowmass Wilderness. Toughest hike all summer (no trail, class 3-4 scrambling, etc), but every superlative you can think of applies. Would go back in a second - if I can make it!
8.15.15. The Granites Lakes (11,568'), Hunter - Fryingpan Wilderness. Longer-than-expected hike with some tough bushwhacking back and forth across steep sections of creek. Got careless and lost the trail early and burned a lot of time getting on track.
8.22.15. Blue Lake (12,435'), Mount Massive Wilderness. It doesn't jump off the map and a lot of people miss it. Loved all the open tundra around it. Weather was perfect and felt good so improv'd up to Fryingpan Pass.
8.22.15. North Fork Trail to Fryingpan Pass (12,438'), Mount Massive Wilderness. Tough but fun x-country trek from Blue Lake to pick up this trail. Even with fire haze it was stunning. Classic U-shaped glacial valley.
8.29.15. Hope Pass (12,508'), San Isabel National Forest. It's on the CDT and highest point on the Leadville 100 race course. Met a bow hunter lower down and a cool couple heading off the pass as I arrived. Enjoyed this tarn just below the pass.
8.30.15. Willis Lake (11,742'), San Isabel National Forest. A number of centennial peaks ring this lake, which has a few really interesting and distinguishing characteristics. Not on everyone's radar though, and just as well. Loved it.
9.6.15. East Snowmass Trail, Maroon Bells - Snowmass Wilderness. Took Labor Day Weekend off to hang with friends. Can't ever go wrong with this trail. Those colors are real, too.
9.12.15. Copper Lake (11,321'), Maroon Bells - Snowmass Wilderness. Connected East Maroon Pass and Triangle Pass to form a 23+ mile loop with a stop at Conundrum Hot Springs. Tarp camping on a cold night with small fire. Very smooth trip.
9.19.15. La Plata Peak (14,361'), Collegiate Peaks Wilderness. Did my one annual (obligatory) 14er. Post-Labor Day so relatively light crowds and just perfect weather all day.
9.26.15. Trail Rider Pass (12,415') and Snowmass Lake (10,980'), Maroon Bells - Snowmass Wilderness. About a 20 mile hike but felt good so just gunned it past the lake to the pass. Lots of folks on the 4 Pass Loop, and I loved hearing everyone's story.
10.3.15. Willow Lake (11,795'), Maroon Bells - Snowmass Wilderness. Willow Lake might have been my favorite hike in 2014 and I was eager to get back. Met a great couple from Leadville on the (chilly) pass and saw a goat.
10.10.15. East Snowmass Pass (12,684'), Maroon Bells - Snowmass Wilderness. When in doubt! Was surprised to see goat hunters with horses teepee camping over 12,000'. Had the pass to myself and all the time in the world that day.
10.17.15. Weller Lake (9,555'), Collegiate Peaks Wilderness. Short trail off Independence, cross it off the list. Saw an osprey glassing the lake.
10.20.15. Government Trail, Snowmass Village. Peak autumn color hike the day before the Golden Leaf Half. Had access to this all summer long living in SM. It was a go-to trail on any given day. I was very lucky.
11.7.15. Hay Park, Carbondale. Great view of Daly and Capitol with fresh snow. Don't miss the Front Range so much anymore..
11.14.15. Sunnyside - Shadyside Loop, Aspen. This trail is practically in my backyard now and views from my place are not too different from this.
11.21.15. American Lake (11,365'), Maroon Bells - Snowmass Wilderness. Actually was about .25 miles short of the lake when I kept sinking to my waist in snow. Little room for error hiking this time of year so turned back. Good decision - it got freezing.