Peak(s):  North Maroon Peak  -  14,014 feet
Post Date:  09/11/2011
Modified:  09/13/2011
Date Climbed:   09/02/2011
Posted By:  tundraking
Additional Members:   sstratta, Johnson, denvermikey, unclegar, mtgirl

 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:
Boulder Field

I thought the alpenglow to the west was pretty

Up the first gully:
1st 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.
Goat Guardian

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
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
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
descending 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):

  • Comments or Questions

Great report!     09/12/2011 05:03
Congratulations on completing the 14ers! Can't imagine a more beautiful mountain to finish on. Great pictures. And once again congratulations.


Retire the 14ers pants?!?!??!?!?     09/12/2011 16:21
No! Say it isn't so! Nice trip report ... really enjoy seeing mtgirl in some photos. 8) You know, upon reflection, this has got to be my second favorite 14er .. reading this report makes me want to climb it again. Nice photos. Congrats on a worthy finisher! Thanks for posting. Happy trails!


Congrats!     09/12/2011 21:03
Congrats on your finisher! I have a few pairs of pants that look like that - or worse. I was beginning to think I was climbing incorrectly...


Gratz!     09/12/2011 22:43
Must be an awesome feeling to be ”done.” Now you can start all over again!


A great day !     09/12/2011 23:27
Thanks for letting me be a part of your big day, Chris. Such a great group of people to climb with. Confident climbers with ZERO ego.....just the way I like it ! Great conversation and many, many laughs. I really like how you used a few pictures from everyone in your trip report. Hope our paths cross again.


Thanks!     09/13/2011 00:13
For letting my join your group Chris. Congratulations again. Too bad the BBQ joint wasn't open... but the Mexican was good. Thanks too for posting the dorky picture of me! See you out there! I just wish that when we meet again you'll wear those pants again!


Congrats Again!     09/13/2011 02:30
Had a great time with you on your finisher. Good job capturing the climb.


Way to go!     09/13/2011 03:09
Congrats on finishing, you took some incredible shots! I can't wait to climb this one.


Photos     09/13/2011 13:32
Thanks all! Gotta comment on the photos as it was a combined effort. I took a few and used some of them in the report, but Vicki, Gary, and Barry took a lot of great photos which I had to include because they were so good.


Congrats!     09/15/2011 03:39
Nice job on finishing all the 14ers and good report!
I tell you, that goat is the guardian... check this out from last year:

Pic 7, I think it is the same goat!

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