We had a great run on the Four Pass Loop last Thursday, an ideal escape from the madness of Aspen on the 4th of July. The trails are dry and the flowers were setting up to be in full bloom soon.
As usual, we ran the loop counter-clockwise, which has become our preferred direction for several reasons. You get the big climb up Buckskin Pass out of the way first, and you finish with the shortest climb of the day, up West Maroon Pass. Another reason for the CCW preference is that due to the trail surface and layout of the climbs, the Trailrider to Frigid Air section is easier that way. And if you follow the route clockwise, ascending West Maroon in the early morning can sometimes be a cold and wet proposition, having to pass through the big stands of shaded willows covered in morning dew.