Analysing terrain data
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The exposure grade describes the potential consequences of falling or slipping off the path.
Low Exposure: The path is on completely flat land and potential injury is limited to falling over.
Medium Exposure: The trail contains some obstacles such as outcroppings and rock which could cause injury.
High Exposure: Some trail sections have exposed ledges or steep ascents/descents where falling could cause serious injury.
Extreme Exposure: Some trail sections are extremely exposed where falling will almost certainly result in serious injury or death.
Lost Man Trail in the Hunter Frypan Wilderness near Aspen, Colorado is a lightly trafficked trail (though it can get busier in the summer) that is ideal for hikers, trail runners, and backpackers seeking some wilderness solitude and excellent scenery.
Leashed dogs may also accompany hikers on this trail. Lost Man Trail is considered difficult due to the length of the trail, elevation gain, and the high altitudes.
Those not acclimated to higher elevations may experience altitude sickness or need time to adjust to the thinner air.
There are also steep sections and at times deep snowfields, even in summer.
The trail is well-marked so despite the trail name, the path is easily followed.
The western trailhead begins with a grove of willow trees and continues at a gentle walk through a lush meadow full of wildflowers during the summer months.
Hikers will walk the trail as it wonders alongside Roaring Fork River and through pine forests.
Once past this area, the trail steepens and begins a moderate ascent that first passes Independence Lake, then continues on towards to top and finally to Lost Man Lake.
Those who wish to continue on past the lake can hike through a rock-strewn meadow and up a moderately steep slope to the crest of Lost Man Pass.
Here, stunning views of the jagged peaks that run along the continental divide can be enjoyed.
Climbing above the tree line, hikers are rewarded with stunning panoramic views, waterfalls, and sections of rock scramble for those seeking an additional challenge.
At higher altitudes, hikers may some find snowpack at any time of year.
This trail is labeled out and back, though there is a junction at the end of the trail that intersects with other hiking trails and can be combined with these trails to form a loop.
Hikers can leave a car at either end and hike from the bottom up or the top down.
Hikers who have only one car and wish to complete the loop will have a bit of distance to travel along a highway to reach their car once the loop is completed, and this option is generally not recommended.
This trail is best used between June and September.
Due to the altitude, weather in this area can be unpredictable all year long, including the summer months.
Hikers should check weather conditions and be prepared for the possibility of cold temperatures or snow, mud, and slush resulting in wet feet and clothing.