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Chapter 3
Over West Maroon and Frigid Air Passes, Fravert Basin








We woke up early the next day to a cold morning. We quickly packed up our tent and gear and headed up the trail. You want to get an early start so you can get up and over the passes before any afternoon storms develop. (All week long we were getting up early every morning! . . . . some vacation!) We soon came to the second crossing of West Maroon Creek. The cold air over night had all the wet rocks in the stream coated with a thin film of wet ice making them very dangerous. We had to step on the submerged rocks that were only wet and not iced.

Diane gingerly crosses the iced over stream

Continuing up the trail we started to see what was ahead of us, a tall solid wall of a mountain ridge. I'm wondering; "Where's the pass? A pass is supposed to be a low spot along the ridge!". As we get closer to the ridge the trail gets steeper and the altitude increases. Coming from sea level along the east coast just 2 days ago, I'm not prepared for the thinner air at altitude. I'm slowing down and panting more. Fortunately, Diane is having an easier time of it.

My panting position!



I assume this position a lot as we continue the climb up to West Maroon Pass. The altitude is getting to this sea-level dweller.


Wet Maroon Pass is just up ahead!

West Maroon Pass is just up ahead. It's the low spot to the right of center.

Eventually we make it to the pass! The views out both sides of the pass are fantastic and well worth all the effort! The photos below show the fabulous views from West Maroon Pass.

Eastward view from Maroon Pass

This is the view from the pass back down West Maroon valley towards Crater Lake.


Westward view from Maroon Pass

This is the view beyond the pass. We drop down into this valley and follow
the right side slope till we get to Frigid Air Pass.

Frigid Air pass is UPHILL !Unfortunately, we still have to make it over Frigid Air Pass today. After a short rest and snack, we head down the backside of West Maroon Pass and traverse the valley over to Frigid Air Pass. Soon I see what appears to be the pass up ahead. But before we get there, we come to a trail junction at a small pond. (See photo to the right). The sign tells me that the low easy pass I see up ahead is for Hasely Basin, Frigid Air Pass is 1/10 of a mile straight up the hill to our right! :-(   I'm totally devastated! How am I ever gonna make it up this short steep climb? I drop down into my lowest gear and just start trudging up the trail. I trudge along for 20 feet, then stop and pant. I keep repeating this process till we eventually make it to the top!! Again, the views are fabulous, well worth the effort to get there. I look down into Fravert Basin. The tree line is about another mile down in the valley. All we have to do is get down into the woods and look for a good campsite. Fortunately the trail was a nice gentle slope down from the pass. Note my frequent use of the word down. My legs and lungs needed it. The photo below shows the view from Frigid Air Pass down into Fravert Basin.

View into Fravert Basin

This is the view from Frigid Air Pass down into Fravert Basin. All we have to do now is
drop below the tree line and look for a campsite.
(Click on photo for full 360 degree panoramic view, caution 250 meg file size!)

I was never so happy as when we found a campsite for the evening. It wasn't the greatest, but it was off the trail and fairly flat and level. The next day when we continued on further down the valley we found better sites. Oh well ! We had a nice view of the valley and the mountain ridge on the opposite side. From our "dining room table" we could look across the valley with our binoculars and see mountain goats on the far ridge line!

Fravert Basin campsite

Here's our dining room in Fravert Basin with a panoramic view across the valley!



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last revised : December 1, 2006