| North Maroon - NE Ridge -Fun Finisher
It's been a long but very satisfying and enriching journey to get to the point where I was about to climb my last 14er. I saved this beautiful peak for my last climb for a variety of reasons, and it was a great peak to finish with.
I was fortunate to have a fantastic group of climbing companions, a couple of whom I had l climbed with before, and some who I had not yet met. It was an incredible day on an exhilarating and beautiful peak!
Group members were DenverMikey (Mike), Unclegar (Gary), Johnson (Barry), MtGirl(Vicki), Kerry, sstrattan (Sarah), and myself.
On Thursday we arrived at various times during the evening. Vicki and Kerry managed to snag the last available campsite at Silver Bells CG which several of us crowded into while the remaining climbers stayed in the overnight lot. We met up at 4 am in the Day Use parking lot and were underway by 4:15 am as planned. We arrived at Crater Lake at 4:50, then proceeded up to the N. Maroon trail junction at 10,750 ft. on the BuckSkin trail, arriving there around 5:15.
We took a quick break, then crossed the creek, proceeding up the N Maroon trail with Gary in the lead. The nature of this hike soon becomes apparent. It is relentlessly steep. The first part of this trail winds through willows and trees while steadily climbing upward.
We soon got a glimpse of Maroon Lake in the distance shimmering in the pre-dawn light.
Maroon Lake early morning
A short while after we got our first look at the sunrise close to Pyramid Peak.
Our group crossing the boulder field:
I thought the alpenglow to the west was pretty
Up the first gully:
Do we take the time to look back often enough?
Looking back at the lakes below
This goat followed us up the first gully, then waited for us at the entrance to the 2nd gully, as if he were guardian of the gullies or was showing us the way.
A dramatic view of Maroon Peak opens up
Maroon Peak (South)
Working through the upper gully
high up in 2nd gully
Here is Mike at the top of the upper gully. Lots of loose slabs here.
Mike at top of second gully.
Sarah and Barry also at top of upper gully. More loose rock.
Sarah and Barry
A tricky section
We ended up missing the chimney. We went up the class 3 section to the climber's right when ascending because most of the rock was wet, seemingly from the rain during the night. Gary found the Class 4 chimney on the way back down and it was dry.
On top of precipice – Now close to summit – Fun climbing!
on top of preciplice
There's the summit! A short but loose climb remains to get there.
short climb to summit
On summit at 9:45
Front row from left – Vicki, Kerry, Sarah
In back, from left- Chris (me, kneeling), Gary, Mike, Barry
We stayed on the summit for 45 minutes, eating, lounging, taking summit pics, talking and generally enjoying the view.
on summit at 9:45
A summit shot with most of us (Chris, Sarah, Mike, Gary, Barry)
summit shot with most of us
The others (Kerry and Vicki), plus a fantastic backdrop!
Kerry and Vicki with great background
A great view of Maroon Peak
Here we had just finished descending the minor summit difficulties.
Finished descending summit difficulties
Here's Gary looking back at the summit. I think he wants to go back up!
Gary look back up at summit
Barry's feeling strong now
The precipice is such a dramatic feature
great shot of precipice
Here is Vicki negotiating a short downclimb section with Kerry and Sarah right behind.
A good look back at the upper gully after descending it
a good look at the upper gully
Our goat friends watching our crossing to the lower gully
Goats watching our descent
Descending a short slab
A shot back at what we had climbed
Look back at N Maroon Peak
Group back at Maroon Lake at 3:00
Froms left: Chris, Gary, Sarah, Mike, Barry, Kerry, Vicki
Group back at Maroon Lake
I think its finally time to retire the 14er pants.
time to retire the 14er pants
I have learned a lot over the years through all of these hikes and climbs and have gotten to see incredibly beautiful places and meet fantastic people.
Great climb, guys! Thanks for making this a great and unforgettable experience!
Note--Credits to photos go to Vicki, Gary, and Barry. I used some of my own photos, but they had a lot of really choice shots.
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):