Tuesday, August 7, 2001

Lost Man Lake Loop (8/4-7/01)

Trail: Lost Man Lake Loop
Trailhead Begin: Lost Man Creek Trailhead
TH Begin Elevation: 10,560ft. Trailhead End: Roaring Fork Trailhead
TH End Elevation: 11,520ft. High Point: 12,815ft. Trip Mileage Total: ~19 miles


This backpacking trip involved hiking the Lost Man Lake Loop with a detour to Dead Man Lake and beyond. This was a traditional shuttle hike in that we left vehicles at two locations along CO-82 hiking the loop between them. We began at the lower of the two trailheads at Lost Man Creek. We had planned on five days and four nights but ended up leaving a day early because of poor weather.

August 4

The first day, we got the drop vehicle in its location at Roaring Fork just west of Independence Pass and then headed the four miles down road to our starting trailhead at Lost Man Creek. The hike in followed Lost Man Creek through a drainage for 3.6 miles to a trail junction just south of South Fork Pass. We headed north from the trail junction to South Fork Pass at roughly 11,775. From there it was a 1.6mi descent to Dead Man Lake where we would setup camp for two nights. We found the lake to be in a beautiful meadow at the foot of a steep ridge to the east. We were greeted at this camp several times by deer and could see them walking on game trails on the slopes above.

TODAY'S STATS: 5.5 miles, 1376 ft. elevation
Map of today's hiking


August 5

The second day was a free recreation day to enjoy the Dead Man Lake area. We would not move camp today and would instead seek to get in some fishing, photography, reading, and hiking. Denny and David decided to climb up to the ridge to the east of camp. This was a very steep ascent gaining over 1500ft in roughly a mile. They found the game trails the deer were on on the slope as well as vast fields of wildflowers. On the crest of the ridge they took some great photos of the area.
The rest of us, Bob, Richard, and Mark, headed north on the trail from Dead Man Lake for 3 1/2 miles. We found a makeshift trailhead as well as some water department structures. We didn't get any photos from this portion of the hiking but enjoyed the time on the trail and the explorations there.

TODAY'S STATS: 6.7 miles, 1078 ft. elevation for the trail group. 2.1 miles, 1719 ft for the ridge group
Map of today's hiking

August 6

This, our third day, we packed up camp from Dead Man Lake and headed south once more for South Fork Pass. This would be our last great weather day. From South Fork Pass we headed for the junction with the Lost Man Lake Loop trail and then headed east. We travelled about a mile east towards Lost Man Lake and then found a beautiful campsite in one of the last bunches of trees before the ascent up to Lost Man Lake.
This evening was probably our most memorable ever amongst our backpacking trips. The sky was crystal clear and being so far from civilization as we were, the views were other-worldly. We'd never seen so many stars in the night sky. We could literally see the band of thicker stars through the sky that signifies the Milky Way. We even got a glimpse of the International Space Station roll through the sky. It is noticeable as a very bright star that moves at a noticeable pace. We went about 100 feet from our campsite in the trees to a meadow and hopped upon a massive boulder for our stargazing. Truly, a memorable evening.

TODAY'S STATS: 2.7 miles, 1011 ft. elevation.
Map of today's hiking

August 7

This, our fourth day, had been intended for a leisure day, possibly hiking up to Lost Man Lake and back for fishing. But the weather was not treating us well and we were getting tired so we decided to head out. We made the climb of nearly 1000 feet from our second camp up to Lost Man Lake and from there another 400 feet or so to Lost Man Pass. Lost Man Pass sits between two 13ers and has great views north and south to Lost Man Lake and Independence Lake as well as the mountains. As we descended we started taking on rain and even bits of hail which helped hasten our descent to the vehicle. We all made it to our drop vehicle safely and sent two on ahead to get the other car while we situated our gear.

TODAY'S STATS: 4.0 miles, 1313 ft elevation.
Map of today's hiking


I have reconstructed our track from this old backpacking trip and have put the route pieces along with significant waypoints in a KML file. That KML is available for download.

My Tracks


My photos from this backpacking trip are all in embedded here:

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