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Backpack around the Maroon Bells (near Aspen)

Folks this will be a five day backpacking trip around the Maroon Bells. It's 28 miles and goes through four passes over 12,400 ft. There will be a layover day on the third day.

We will drive over on the 14th and start the hike on the 15th. We will return on the 19th.

Here is a link to a trip report that was done in '07.

http://www.summitpost.org/four-pass-loop/327228

Here are rough mileages and elevation changes. (For reference Hanging Lake is 1000 ft. up in 1.2 miles):

2600 ft. up in 6 miles

800 ft. down in 1 mile

800 ft. U/1.25 miles

2000 ft. D/3 miles

Level/1.7 miles

2000 ft. U/3.5 miles

1600 ft. D/3 miles

1650 ft. U/2.4 miles

3000 ft. D/4 miles.

We usually camp as high up in the trees as we can and get up and go through the passes in the morning.

The Wal*Mart in El Rancho (Evergreen) seems to tolerate or not notice folks parked in their lot close to the McDonalds so it should be OK for carpoolers.

Before the hike we will stay in Glenwood Springs to facilitate getting to the trailhead early on the fifteenth. A suggestion for lodging in Glenwood Springs is Cedar Lodge Motel: (970) 945-6579. I will make a reservation for me. Others should make their own reservations.


Access to the trailhead at Maroon Lake is somewhat restricted. If we get to the access road gate after 7 am we will need to pay $10 per vehicle. If we arrive after 9 am we will have to park at Aspen Highlands ski area and take the shuttle bus for $6 per person. Shuttles run every 20 minutes but they are slow moving and we might not get on the first one that comes along. Getting an early start on Monday is essential because it is convenient to have our vehicle near the TH both at the start and at the finish of our trip and we need to get on the trail early so we get over the first pass before the afternoon weather (probably) gets us wet.
We can get our free back country permit at the TH.
The first day I expect to get over West Maroon Pass (12,500 ft) which is an almost 3000 foot ascent in 6 miles. I am a slow hiker so I guess it will take four hours to reach the Pass. After crossing the pass we stay pretty high (above 11,500 ft). From the topo map it appears that we may not have water access until we have crossed the pass so we will have to carry ample water uphill.
I have a gravity-feed filter that works well and fast. We can all use my water filter.
After our first day we can hike at whatever pace we like and camp where we find a flat spot. I have no definite ideas about how far we go ach day. However, it is important to get started early so that we have camp set up (preferably in the trees) before afternoon showers start. And getting to camp early puts us ahead of the slugabeds.
I have a set of topo maps of the area we will hike in.
I use a white gas MSR stove. It is good for boiling water. It is not very good for cooking because it does not simmer. I think we should have two stoves: I will supply one or two, if needed. Let me know (each of you) what you intend for cooking. By the way, I suggest bringing some food that is edible without cooking in case we encounter lots of rain, stove malfunction or whatever.
It will rain so bring rain gear and have a way to keep some of your gear dry such as a drybag, plastic bag or something.
We will need to hang up our food at night to keep it out of the reach of hungry critters.
We will probably have a layover day at Snowmass Lake. We will probably not be alone there.
Please give me your emergency contact information if you have not already done so.
Please note that I am not a guide. I have not done this loop hike before. I ask you all to be flexible and cooperative.

There are detailed aerial photos of the area we will hike available on Google Earth. You can give yourself a virtual flight around the area and even see the hiking trail. Or you can just wait and see the real thing.

Recently some friends did the loop and I have seen their photos: We are going to a beautiful place. We are going to have a great time. We might even have an adventure.
If you have questions call me (303)[masked] or use my direct e-mail: [masked]

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  • delilah

    Absolutely wonderful. The views alone made this trip and then add in a great group to hang/hike with. Thanks!!

    July 20, 2013

  • Fran

    Thank you to everyone for making this trip so wonderful. It was strenuous, but stunning. The most beautiful place I have ever hiked.

    July 20, 2013

  • Bill B.

    We had a gorgeous location to hike in, good people and good weather. The trails are rough and the passes are ridiculously steep but the effort is more than rewarded. I cannot say too much good about the other backpackers: strong and filled with good will and humor. They are just unstoppable.

    July 19, 2013

  • delilah

    i am bringing enough food for 5 days (i think : - ). i think bill said it was about 1hr drive from hotel to trailhead but check w/him to make sure. i will see everyone at the hotel later on in the evening. i am leaving denver about 4p and will ask at the front desk for the room under fran's name when i arrive at hotel.

    July 13, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      See you then Delilah.

      July 13, 2013

  • Fran

    I'm going to Grandma's house and I packed: Dinner for M T W Th Lunch M T W Th Fr. Brk M T W TH F. The hotel also as free breakfast.

    July 13, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      Thanks for the info. Oops. Looks like I will have to bring more food. I assume we will be driving on Friday, right? Cause we don't have a hotel that day. Since we must be at the trail head on Monday by 7:00 a.m., I am not certain that the buffet will be spread out. Do you know how far the hotel is from the trail head?

      July 13, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    So I have packed food for 4 days: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday. Is that right? I am guessing that we will not need breakfast on Monday, and that we will need breakfast on Friday.

    July 13, 2013

  • Orson

    I've done parts of this trip. It's a classic that's unforgettable! Lucky are those who can make it.

    July 13, 2013

  • delilah

    what are folks doing for food? i need some ideas. i generally do not like the freeze dried in a bag stuff.

    July 10, 2013

    • Bill B.

      I am a fan of Tasty Bite packaged in an envelope Indian food. It is not dehydrated so it is heavy but it is ready to eat cold (though better warm). Boil in bag rice is good. Instant mashed potatoes (like Mamas) are good. Beans and rice from Mahatma or Zaterains need to be cooked but are good tasting. Look for stuff that has a lot of calories for the weight which means fat and oil. Peanut butter and summer sausage are examples. I always have oatmeal, dry fruit and a granola bar for breakfast. Cheese and crackers and tuna work for lunch.

      July 10, 2013

    • delilah

      good ideas - thanks

      July 11, 2013

  • Fran

    I will be sharing a room with Joan and Delilah. We are all set. All others needing a room please make your arrangements directly with the hotel. Thanks.

    July 11, 2013

    • Fran

      pay pal

      July 11, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      I am not figuring that out. Is there a link somewhere that I am supposed to click on?

      July 11, 2013

  • Fran

    Hi Ladies,
    I reserved a room with two queen beds. Joan has claimed one bed. I would like one other person to join to keep the cost down. We won't be there long. Any takers? It is $86 total and each will pay individually when we arrive. Frig & MW included. If there are 4 people who want to go in on a "family size room" let me know it is $140 and much bigger.

    July 10, 2013

    • lisa k

      No, I don't. Was going to get a room, but would appreciate sharing if you have space.

      July 10, 2013

    • lisa k

      Family size room sounds great!

      July 10, 2013

  • Lynelle

    Sounds amazing. Work gets in the way of fun!

    July 10, 2013

  • Fran

    Ladies,
    do you want to share a hotel room for Sun pm at Glenwood?
    $90 plus tax for two queens.

    July 9, 2013

    • lisa k

      Is there still a spot on this trip? I'd like to go. Who do I contact?

      July 9, 2013

    • Bill B.

      Yes you can still sign up. Please do so. I will straighten out the money with Scott (I am not charging anything).

      July 9, 2013

  • delilah

    Joan and Fran I am going on the trip (took over Debbie's spot) and I am a woman too.

    July 9, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      He Delilah -- have you heard from Bill B? If not, shoot me an email and I will forward his contact info to you. We are very lucky that BB will lead the trip. Whopie. Fun.

      July 9, 2013

    • Bill B.

      I will send you the current information on Wed concerning schedules and so on.

      July 9, 2013

  • delilah

    Scott can you answer some general questions I have about the trip?

    What is the plan for driving? Are we carpooling? Also, where is everyone staying on the 14th (camping where or hotel where?) Is there an option to not stay overnight on the 14th and just meet at the trailhead on the 15th? If so, what time are we meeting on the 15th to start the backpack portion and where is the trailhead where we will be meeting?

    July 9, 2013

  • Fran

    Scott and Bill are discussing the trip. Bill said he would be in touch as it gets finalized. I hope you girls are still in, I am.

    July 8, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      Thanks Fran.

      July 8, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Has anyone heard from Scott or Bill? I have sent several emails but have not gotten a response.... Not sure if I am using the right email.

    July 8, 2013

  • Fran

    Sunday 14th are we camping or hoteling?

    July 8, 2013

  • Debbie P.

    Delilah took over my spot

    July 8, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    My dream trip but, alas, I'll be in Costa Rica.

    July 8, 2013

  • Pam

    I'm sorry, but due to a new job, I will be in training for part of the scheduled trip. I hate to miss it!

    July 6, 2013

  • lisa k

    How do I sign up for the maroon bells trip?
    Does anyone have a light backpacking tent they'd recommend?

    April 9, 2013

    • Pam

      Contact me if you're still interested in my spot, Lisa.

      June 18, 2013

  • Smarty L.

    If anyone drops or has to cancel could I have their spot? I'm not working this summer and making the most of it. Although I've lived in CO nearly 30 years I haven't done much if any, hiking in the Maroon Bells.

    June 17, 2013

  • Debbie P.

    Hi,
    Delilah , you can have my spot. We can work out the $20 I paid already

    April 9, 2013

  • delilah

    Scott can I get on wait list if there is one or Debbie I will take your spot

    April 9, 2013

  • Debbie P.

    If someone wants to buy my spot, I will give it up
    Debbie

    April 8, 2013

  • Kathy M.

    Wish I could go---just found out my cousin will be in town for a wedding then, darn!

    April 8, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Looks good to me. It should be a great time.

    March 28, 2013

  • lisa k

    Please put me on the wait list for this trip. Thank you!

    March 26, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    I have done this trip twice. It is BEAUTIFUL. The first time was by myself and did it in 2 nights. 2nd time was with a friend and it took 4nights. Have fun and enjoy the scenery.

    March 12, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    I would love to!!! But I need a date before I can RSVP

    March 11, 2013

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