|Peak:||Maroon Peak (14er)|
|Route:||Bell Cord Couloir|
|Date of Information:||05/20/2012|
Couloir is in good shape. With the snowfall the day before (on Saturday), there were a few localized areas of apparently new snow that haven‘t solidified yet, but the rest of the ~2‘000 ft couloir was in good shape for crampons. To our surprise, we encountered very little rockfall (I believe just one small rock that came down around 7.30am), but saw a few localized wet slides on the ridge just above the left side of the couloir.
The western (shaded) side of Maroon peak was sketchy. With the recent snowfall, the ledges were covered in unconsolidated snow with ice underneath and the route (save for a few cairns here and there) was not obvious. The large cornice was "protecting" the final stretch of the route on the left side.
Downclimbing back to the couloir from S. Maroon was ok for the most part with a few sketchy spots, and since we brought ropes for the traverse (which was ruled out once we saw the conditions), we elected to rappel down to the top of BellCord, bypassing the most sketchy downclimb area.
We downclimbed BellCord facing in for the first 1,000+ feet, as it provided for 3 points of contact at all times for safety and the optimal body weight distribution in softening snow conditions. Each of us had either 2 ice axes or ice ax + ice tool. The lower portion of the couloir (~25 degree and below) was plunge stepped and/or glissaded down.
Two separate group of skiers skied both Bell Cord and SE couloir.
On another subject, the porcupines did not touch the cars which were fortified with chicken fence, mothballs and a splash of ammonia around the perimeter. Told rangers at the gate about last week‘s porcupine incident (they were not aware of it), and they said they will set up a trap - probably would make sense to follow up with them. Did not see a bear, but heard him and coyotes. Animals were definitely checking out our camp at the Crater lake, so hide/protect your food well. Will post pictures later.