Peak(s):  North Maroon Peak  -  14,014 feet
Maroon Peak  -  14,156 feet
Mt. Yale  -  14,196 feet
Post Date:  06/13/2012
Date Climbed:   06/11/2012
Posted By:  bhollamby

 Yale & Bell Cord   

About 2 weeks ago I move here to CO from NY and this past weekend I decided it was time to do some climbing. It all started on Friday, I traveled on my WR250R to camp at the Denny Creek Trailhead with the plans to summit Mt Yale Saturday morning.

Loaded up WR250R

I took off from camp around 4:30am and was on the summit a few minutes before 8am. It was a beautiful day couldn’t ask for any better conditions. Seeing grass while climbing was a new one for me; this was my first peak that wasn’t climbed during the winter. All of my peaks prior to this have been climbed during the winter while I was on break from college and just visiting Colorado.


I didn’t spend much time on the summit because my brother was doing some camping at the Crags with some friends and I was supposed to be in attendance. The camping was simple, calm and relaxing which is just was I need for Monday’s excursion.


So for the grand finally of my weekend my brother (Hollamby) and I headed to the Elk range to climb the Bell Cord. We left the car at about 1:30am Monday morning. The temperature dropped below freezing during the night which made the snow conditions of the cord perfect. When the sun began to rise the cord seemed to almost glow red. The pictures do it no justice it was truly an amazing sight when the sun came up.


Myself topping out the Cord

The cord climb went amazing. It was my first time on a set of crampons and my first cord. There was very little rock fall, just a few small ones. By 7:30am we were on top of South Maroon. This is where our trip was supposed to stop, but after a brief deliberation we decided that North Maroon was begging to be climbed as well. Although during preparation for this trip neither of us had said out loud that we wanted to do the Traverse over to North Maroon, but we just happened to have the gear with us to make the crossing. We down climbed South Maroon back to the top of the cord and started the Traverse. We did the Bells Traverse in 2 hours and 5 minutes, and only set up protection at 3 locations.

My Brother

Brother led the climb so I became the pack mule and carried his pack along with mine

We didn’t have much time to recoup from the traverse once on top of North Maroon; remember our original plans didn’t include the traverse or North Maroon. We snapped a few photos and started our down climb as quickly as possible to get home on time.

Myself after the Traverse

Brother after the Traverse

We took the standard route down. It was a long, never ending down climb (like most are). What made this down climb particularly hard on me was that during one of our repels over a cliff band I was struck by a rock. The picture below was taken seconds before I was struck. I heard my brother yell “ROCK” and saw the rock at the last second. I was just barely able to brace for it. It ended up striking me in the head (thankfully my helmet was on), my right hand, right shoulder and then finally hit my right leg.

I think it was the rock on the left that hit me...

I was not seriously injured but I was (and still am) very sore. Once off the mountain and over the rock glacier the trail became very muddy. The trail was muddy to the point that we decided that if we had the extra time that we would have retraced our steps and took a different trail down. I have no photos of this because at this point we were literally running (and occasionally falling) because we knew we were never going to make it back in time if we didn’t.

After a good days work we finally made it back to the car at 3:20pm. All-in-all we couldn’t have asked for a better day. The cold night froze the cord up solid; we had some sun but it wasn’t crazy hot and there was no wind what-so-ever. It was actually the first time I was on a summit that it wasn’t windy and I couldn’t get over how quiet it was up there.

This wont be the last time ya'll see us

I considered this trip my official “Welcome to Colorado!”

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

  • Comments or Questions

Sounds familiar     06/14/2012 04:55
I trundled a huge boulder onto my partner last year, he still climbs with me :-) You can see a picture of his jacked knee in my TR. I think 2.5 hours is pretty damn good time on the traverse, especially coming from sea level. Nice work!


Little more beta     06/14/2012 05:25
Get in the cord early, and try to make sure it is freezing at night. We hAd perfect conditions in the cord but warm temps will ruin that quickly.

Heading up the peaks after the bell cord was snowless on the routes. Set up pro a bit more than normal just because we had carried the gear up, why not use it. Didn't cost us much time setting up, maybe sped things up because we just picked our line and moved.

Oops almost forgot there is/was some snow on the backside of north maroon, instead of route finding a clean ledge system we just rapped the section, again just because we had the gear. Gear wasnt neccessary but handy.


Twins?     06/14/2012 14:31
You can't be. I see there's a three-year age difference. But, good grief -- you two look alike!

Thanks for the info!


Nice weekend!     06/14/2012 17:33
Looks like you guys had a great time. Congrats on a big weekend, and thanks for the info!


Welcome to CO!     06/14/2012 17:42
...and what a welcome it was. Nice climb and thanks for sharing the TR.

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