Not a whole lot of writing to be said here, just pictures to update. Christine and I came up with this grand plan to bike from Aspen to Crested Butte on a Saturday then back on a Sunday. We knew it would be a big undertaking, but we significantly underestimated just how big it would be. One day I’ll learn to overestimate mountain undertakings.
After staying the night in Edwards, we drove into Aspen in the morning and tuned up our bikes to prepare for the big day. Then we proceeded to drive up to the American Lakes Trailhead where we would begin our undertaking. We thought that having a couple of miles of paved road to warm up on would be a wise choice.
In about a mile we were off the road and climbing up Express Creek Road. The riding was fun and technical but getting increasingly steep. We stopped after a creek crossing as we looked to our right and were greeted by a stunning view.
Looking at the above picture of Castle Peak, a general view of our return route is available. The summit of Castle is the highest ridge in the picture and we returned just underneath that mountain.
After all of the hike a bike and riding, we made it to the summit of Taylor Pass in 2:40 minutes. We were greeted with amazing views in all directions and a network of alpine lakes flowing through the basin to our south.
After enjoying some time up top, we headed down to one of the lakes for lunch. We ended up sitting on the edge of what we termed “God’s infinity pool.” The lake fell out into a slow downhill stream overlooking the Sawatch Range.
We wrapped up lunch and excitedly headed on our way. At this point, we knew we had to go over Star Pass but didn’t think too much of it. Just had to follow along the slopes of a few mountains and then up and over. We were wrong. Very Wrong.
5.5 miles later with another 800 feet of gain or so and we reached the top of Star Pass. At this point in time we were exhausted, but thrilled to be done with the climbing. At this point in time we hopped on the 400 trail and free fell into Crested Butte. We were so ready to be done, I didn’t stop to take any pictures or such. Just rode as fast as we could.
We eventually reached the neighborhoods south of Crested Butte and completely bonked. We took the road into town but it seemed to be a utopia that we could never get closer too. I’m not sure I can think of any other time I’ve been so tired. At this point, we were debating if it was going to possible for us to ride back the next day.
First day totals:
Miles: 31 (Garmin died going into town)
Elevation Gain: 4,024 feet (8,910 to 12,362 feet)
Total Time: 8.5 hours