IMPORTANT NOTE: Mapquest has since fixed the mistake detailed below. We will keep this post published for historical and humor.
This mapping MISTAKE is so hilarious I just had to post it. If you go to MapQuest and enter start/end as Crested Butte and Aspen, you’ll get the following directions, which lead you over one of the best backcountry skiing routes in Colorado, and one of the best 4×4 trails in the summer. Good for MapQuest! (Comments on following are by Lou, note that the correct driving route in winter circles to the west, heads down to Gunnison, then from there to Crested Butte).
2: Turn RIGHT onto 6TH ST / CO-135. Continue to follow CO-135. 2.0 miles Map [Summer or winter, make sure you have a fully equipped 4-wheel-drive vehicle — you’re headed into the heart of the Colorado backcountry on one of the state’s tougher 4×4 trails.]
3: Turn LEFT onto BRUSH CREEK RD / CR-738 (Portions unpaved). 3.5 miles Map [Now the adventure begins, in summer, try a bit of high speed “prerunner” driving on the dirt. In winter, be prepared for rutted snowpacked road, and you’ll possibly be ahead of the snowplow. In the event you’re breaking unplowed snow, don’t stop till the plow turnaround.]
4: Turn RIGHT. 4.8 miles.
5: Turn SLIGHT RIGHT. 9.1 miles Map [Better have a GPS if you haven’t been here.]
6: Turn SLIGHT LEFT onto PEARL PASS RD. 2.9 miles Map [Now the fun begins. In winter, if you’ve been using nordic wax up to this point, switch to skins. In summer, shift transfer case to low range, add 5 hours to MapQuest time estimate, offer passengers Dramamine.]
7: Turn SHARP RIGHT onto UPPER CASTLE CREEK RD. 2.9 miles Map [You’ve just done the roughest part of the 4×4 trail. In winter, you’ve been crossing avalanche terrain for the last 3 hours.]
8: UPPER CASTLE CREEK RD becomes CASTLE CREEK RD. 12.8 miles Map [If all you’ve been using are MapQuest directions, you may now be lost. Pull out your topo map and try to get with the program. In winter, this is where you’d better have a car pick you up or you’ve got a long walk down pavement to Aspen.]
9: Keep RIGHT at the fork to continue on CASTLE CREEK RD. <0.1 miles Map [actually, I think this is a left.]
10: Enter next roundabout and take 1st exit onto CO-82. 0.5 miles Map [As far as I know, there is only one roundabout.]
11: Turn SLIGHT RIGHT onto N 7TH ST / CO-82. 0.1 miles Map [Join up with Aspen commuter traffic. At peak times it’ll take you 45 minutes to go the next mile, make sure you’re in a Prius so you can stay warm without guilt. But then, if you’d tried this in a Prius you’d be high-centered up on Pearl Pass, so forget that idea.]
12: Turn LEFT onto W MAIN ST / CO-82. 0.6 miles Map [Ah, you’re actually in the middle of Aspen now. Keep hand on wallet.]
13: Turn LEFT onto N MILL ST. 0.1 miles Map [It appears these directions are leading us to the parking garage. Indeed, the center of any town.]
14: Turn RIGHT onto RIO GRANDE PL. 0.1 miles Map [Look for parking garage, have money ready.]
15: Turn RIGHT onto E BLEEKER ST. <0.1 miles Map [Ignore this. After parking, walk back up Mill Street to Jerome Bar and have a beer or an Aspen Crud to honor the 10th Mountain Division soldiers.]
16: End at Aspen, CO US Map [Write MapQuest a thankyou note for providing adventure.]
Total Est. Time: 1 hour, 50 minutes Total Est. Distance: 40.28 miles [Add at least 5 hours to this estimate for summer, and a day or two for winter. For backcountry skiers, Friends Hut is on the way, as are the Braun huts. For 2-wheel-drive highway routes, consult a road map. Kebler Pass is the prefered summer 2×2 drive, in winter head down to Gunnison then circle west and north to McClure Pass.]
WildSnow.com publisher emeritus and founder Lou (Louis Dawson) has a 50+ years career in climbing, backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering. He was the first person in history to ski down all 54 Colorado 14,000-foot peaks, has authored numerous books about about backcountry skiing, and has skied from the summit of Denali in Alaska, North America’s highest mountain.