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  1. #1
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    Four Loop Pass, Colorado

    Hey guys, me and one of my friends are driving to Colorado mid June and planning on doing the Four Loop Pass around the Maroon bells. Does anybody have any experience with using hammocks throughout the hike? We would like to do it in 4 or even 5 days. Is there enough places to set hammocks up for the night? Would it be wise to go clockwise or counter-clockwise from the trail head? I was thinking about going counter clockwise, but it looks like we would have to do a really long hike on day 3 to find a campsite. We are in good shape and young and can hike a long day with elevation no problem, but I don't want to get in a situation where we have to stop and camp somewhere because of weather or something and not have anywhere to go. We do have tarps and sleeping bags and pads, but don't plan on bringing any type of poles to set our tarp up as a tent. I think we will be fine even in the event of an emergency with the gear we have, but I want to plan it out as best we can. We do have a small backpacking tent we will at least bring in the car, but I don't really want to use it lol. I know people have done the hike with hammocks, but I haven't found a good trip report that shows where they camped out. I am worried about the southern and western part of the trail. It looks like it's pretty bare along the trail around those areas.

    On another note, after four loop pass we are planning on doing two other hikes.

    1.) http://www.protrails.com/trail/333/r...eodessaferncub

    2.) http://www.protrails.com/trail/109/r...k-thunder-lake

    We have never been to Colorado, but these seem like some awesome hikes but if there is something better feel free to suggest it. I really want to do a 14er, but my buddy is not crazy about climbing maroon peak because of the exposure at some points. It would be difficult to go to Colorado and not do one though, so I was thinking I could talk him into doing this one:

    http://www.alanarnette.com/co14ers/sunlight.php


    Any help is appreciated. Thanks

  2. #2
    Herder of Cats OutandBack's Avatar
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    There's gong to be 10'-20' of snow up there next month. We have a snow pack of 140-160% this year.
    Most don't attempt thses passes until mind August.
    I'd google some local outfitters and get some realtime info on the passes and any 14er you do before heading up there.

    Good luck and be safe.
    I grew up in Huntsville by the way. Graduated from Butler 1973

    PS: HF member mcallaghan lives in Aspen. Hit him up in a PM for a snow report.
    O&B
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  3. #3
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    If I were you, I'd consider asking to get on this hang with some experienced locals: https://www.hammockforums.net/forum/...ighlight=aspen
    I held a moment in my hand, brilliant as a star, fragile as a flower, a tiny sliver of one hour. I dropped it carelessly, Ah! I didn't know, I held opportunity. -Hazel Lee

  4. #4
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    Thanks for the help guys! I am not too worried about the snow. I will be tracking the weather of course and have some pretty good gear to get me through any tough times. I am pretty experienced when it comes to backpacking and we won't head out if the conditions aren't looking good. I will look into getting in touch with some of the HF members they live around that area and see what they think.

  5. #5

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    I'm planning a trip to the Four Passes Loop in mid July as well and was wondering about the ability to hang at designated camp sites.

    David

  6. #6
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    Have you ever been at Elevation before? You'd be amazed at how much of an affect it can have on you. Aspen is around 8000 ft and first timers (and even I am still) get winded just going up stairs or on short hikes. People who come out to ski here are often fine in town, but get altitude sickness at 12000 ft (the top of the mountain) - usually in the form of nosebleeds and headaches etc. I would certainly plan an easy hike or two your first two days out here. The altitude is the most challenging thing up here. (note: I am not in the best shape myself, but even the pro-riders on the AmGen Tour suffer in Aspen).

    Another thing you'll notice is that the trees can be rather thin (both in diameter and sparsity) up in the mountains. Aspen trees are (obviously) very common but are often not very sturdy - they move when you move. For your loop hike, I'd certainly be prepared to have to go to ground. You should be able to find trees, but they might not be suitable to hang from. My spot up Hunter Creek is like this - lots of trees, but you have to look to find two good ones the right distance apart.

    Most importantly, drink lots of water up here. It is a High Alpine Desert - very dry (in regards to weather) though plenty of streams and lakes from all the snowmelt. A gallon of water on your first day out here will help a lot.

    We had snow in town last week - part of that storm that dumped a foot of snow on Denver - though only a couple inches - so at least double that, if not more, in the higher elevations. I am thinking about heading up to around 10,000ft this coming weekend to my ''spot'' to check it out - the forecast this week is 60's and even up to 70'f at some point. So will be a bit cooler up there in the valley. Mostly going to check on the snow situation and test out my summer gear.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by mcallaghan View Post
    Have you ever been at Elevation before? You'd be amazed at how much of an affect it can have on you. Aspen is around 8000 ft and first timers (and even I am still) get winded just going up stairs or on short hikes. People who come out to ski here are often fine in town, but get altitude sickness at 12000 ft (the top of the mountain) - usually in the form of nosebleeds and headaches etc. I would certainly plan an easy hike or two your first two days out here. The altitude is the most challenging thing up here. (note: I am not in the best shape myself, but even the pro-riders on the AmGen Tour suffer in Aspen).

    Another thing you'll notice is that the trees can be rather thin (both in diameter and sparsity) up in the mountains. Aspen trees are (obviously) very common but are often not very sturdy - they move when you move. For your loop hike, I'd certainly be prepared to have to go to ground. You should be able to find trees, but they might not be suitable to hang from. My spot up Hunter Creek is like this - lots of trees, but you have to look to find two good ones the right distance apart.

    Most importantly, drink lots of water up here. It is a High Alpine Desert - very dry (in regards to weather) though plenty of streams and lakes from all the snowmelt. A gallon of water on your first day out here will help a lot.

    We had snow in town last week - part of that storm that dumped a foot of snow on Denver - though only a couple inches - so at least double that, if not more, in the higher elevations. I am thinking about heading up to around 10,000ft this coming weekend to my ''spot'' to check it out - the forecast this week is 60's and even up to 70'f at some point. So will be a bit cooler up there in the valley. Mostly going to check on the snow situation and test out my summer gear.
    Thanks McCallagham, I finally just got back to this thread and found your response.

    David

  8. #8
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    No problem. Also, wear lots of sunscreen. I played soccer for 2 hours yesterday and got burned to a crisp. The sun is quite powerful up here, even on a rare cloudy day.

  9. #9
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    Mcallaghan...I'm gonna be traveling to Blackhawk, CO Aug. 20th and staying until the 26th. I plan to do some backpacking through Arapaho Pass and up around Brainard Lake. Can you help me know what type of overnight temps I should be prepared for? Also, do you know if I need any permits to stay overnight on those trails?
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  10. #10
    Senior Member trailryder42's Avatar
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    Info on the web says all overnight camping in the back country requires a permit. We had to have one a few years ago when we hiked the north loop.

    THFKAfood can tell you where to get permits.

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