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The Maroon Bells and Pyramid Peak


jgar15
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For the full story and many others of the day of hiking check my blog: freeoutside.com this is just the summary trip report

I woke up in the tent around the trail junction between N. Maroon and Maroon peak and the trip report will start from there as it is a very solid trail up to this point. 

Maroon Peak
The trail around crater lake and up the creek is very nice and straightforward but the cutoff to begin climbing the ridge (ascent 2800') is very difficult to find. In fact I found people walking the wrong direction still looking for this cutoff. There is a pile of rock, but it looks to natural to depend on this to find the trail. If you see the snow over the creek you have gone too far. Worst case you can begin to walk straight up the ridge and you will definitely hit the trail. The climb is long and relentless but definitely manageable as the trail is pretty solid. At the top you cross the ridge and begin the final ascent of Maroon. The advice I would give is to be looking ahead and picking out targets or cairns to climb toward in order to avoid being cliffed out. The reports and pictures on 14ers are also very good resources and that is what I used as the cairns are very hard to pick out some times. The rock is also old and rotten so be careful of your holds. 

Bells Traverse
The traverse is fun and a good mix of class 4 and 5 climbing. If you are smart, the main thing to be sure of is the presence of those around you to avoid getting in their way or kicking rocks on them. There are many different routes and I believe I took a more difficult one on accident, but it seems that if you stay on top of the ridge it is pretty straightforward for the most part. The reports on here were helpful for me as well as following others. There was quite a backup on most of the route due to the high volume of people on it during the weekend. It is smarter to be patient as opposed to trying to climb around people. No one wants to get hurt. 

Pyramid
The route is straightforward up to when you cross the rocks in front of the face. There is not a true trail so any route across to the base of the trail up to the saddle will do. The climb up here is a rough 1000' because of the looseness of the trail. At the top I found many mountain goats along with a mother and her baby that gave me a bit of a hard time. In the end I just gave them space and went around but it got my heart going a little. Check out my blog for the full funny story. The climb up pyramid from the saddle involves a mix of hiking, climbing and route finding. I would be prepared because at one point when you look up and see the summit you will be surprised to see that it is actually a false summit. I was pretty tired after a long day by the time I got this peak but after I was finished my arms were pretty tired so I would be expecting a fair amount of climbing. 

Image

N. Maroon



Image

Pyramid summit



all my pictures are at @jgar15 

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