Buying Gear?  Click Here
Buying gear? Please use these links to help 14ers.com:

More info...

Other ways to help...
 Peak(s):  Maroon Peak  -  14,156 feet
North Maroon Peak  -  14,014 feet
 Post Date:  08/07/2011
 Date Climbed:   08/06/2011
 Posted By:  B[3]

 Last But Not Least--Bells via Traverse   

It's hard to find the words to describe this trip.

We started hiking the 14ers in September 2004. When we started, I never thought I could do the hardest 14ers (Ben reminded me yesterday that when I first saw the Bells, I said, "I'm never doing those.") Over the years, we've worked our way up in difficulty level to where we were able to finish the 14ers yesterday via the Bells traverse.

Last summer, we really got into it, and came within 2 summits to finish; we were disappointed but figured we could do the Bells this summer when the snow melted. Given the amount of snow this year, we had to keep pushing back our summit attempt. While we waited, we spent most of our time rock climbing at Eldo. We had meant to summit some other peaks first to get accustomed to the altitude but ended up running out of time and just going for the Bells.

Friday afternoon, we parked in the lower overnight lot and packed in to look for a campsite. When we got to Crater Lake, the designated sites were full. Luckily, one of the campers offered to share his site with us (Thanks, Jay!).

We got up at 3:30 am Saturday morning, quickly got ready and started hiking. As we were heading up South Maroon, we noticed that it was drizzling. Hmmmm. The weather forecast had called for increase in pressure over the weekend, so we hoped for the best and kept going.

Image
Clouds thinned as daylight arrived.


Although parts of the route were loose, we found some nice solid scrambling on South Maroon.

Image
Past the false summit on South Maroon.


It took longer than I had hoped, but we made the summit.

Image
Summit of South Maroon.


While on the summit, we made a friend (a pika):

Image

We also evaluated the weather and decided the traverse looked doable. While on the traverse, the locals kept an eye on us:

Image

Image

We were trying to go fast, so we didn't take many photos, but here are a few:

Image
Looking down the Bell Cord.


Image

Although we took a rope, we only used it once on the traverse (when we climbed directly up the tower of the third crux). Here is an example of some of the rock we scrambled up. (It's alot more solid than it looks in the picture).

Image

Overall, we found the scrambling on the traverse to be pretty solid, while the "easier" sections seemed sketchier given the loose scree. (Ahh, what a summer of Eldo climbing will do for you! )

Finally, we reached the summit of North Maroon. Celebration time!

Image

Image
Can you tell who has been taking the pictures?


Neither of us had ever done North Maroon before, so we only stopped briefly on the summit before starting down. The trail was fairly obvious in places, but in others we lost the trail and ended up doing some extra scrambling.

Image

It took longer than I had hoped to get down (Looking down at Crater Lake and Maroon Lake--are we still that high up?!), but the weather held and we made it.

Image

The wildflowers were past peak but still beautiful:

Image

Image

Plodding back to the campsite at the end of a very long day (~14 hours):

Image
Tough to backtrack at the end of the day.


The 14er quest has been a great adventure, with the Bells Traverse being a fabulous way to finish. We appreciate all of the condition updates and trip reports on this site, as they have been very useful in our quest. Thanks for reading and happy summits!

Image
Hiking out this morning.



Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
 


  • Comments or Questions
NYRyan

Congrats     2011-08-07 17:13:46
Congratulations. You should be proud.


mountainjam


Congrats!     2011-08-07 17:48:07
The Bells Traverse is a nice way to finish!


cwm191


Congrats     2011-08-07 17:54:58
Definitely a way to finish in style.


HedleyLamarr


An excellent way to finish     2011-08-07 19:24:17
Congratulations on finishing with a big day. You're welcome on sharing the campsite - I know it isn't fun to spend a bunch of time searching for a campsite after the hike in with a big pack. I thought I had recognized you guys somewhere and it was from your helpful trip report on the Needle last summer.


Doctor No



Congrats!     2011-08-07 19:36:55
A good long ending to a long journey!


B[3]


Thanks!     2011-08-07 19:47:57
We really appreciate all of the nice comments!


zdero1


Congrats!     2011-08-07 21:09:02
Congrats on your remarkable accomplishment!


BobbyFinn


We walked by you...     2011-08-08 11:59:22
... on Saturday late afternoon as we were walking back to the car. We recognized you from a previous TR you did. Congratulations!


bandofbrothersomaha


Great achievement!     2011-08-08 12:24:22
Congrats on getting all of them!


KeithK


Great way to finish...     2011-08-08 19:12:17
... congratulations!


lakecityrat


Well done!     2011-08-09 14:54:54
Congrats on your finisher and completing the travers. I did the travers a couple of weeks ago and can attest to what s journey that is. Happy trails!



   Using your forum id/password. Not registered? Click Here


Caution: The information contained in this report may not be accurate and should not be the only resource used in preparation for your climb. Failure to have the necessary experience, physical conditioning, supplies or equipment can result in injury or death. 14ers.com and the author(s) of this report provide no warranties, either express or implied, that the information provided is accurate or reliable. By using the information provided, you agree to indemnify and hold harmless 14ers.com and the report author(s) with respect to any claims and demands against them, including any attorney fees and expenses. Please read the 14ers.com Safety and Disclaimer pages for more information.

© 2014 14ers.com®, 14ers Inc.