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:  09/10/2012
 Date Climbed:   09/08/2012
 Posted By:  SurfNTurf
 Additional Members:   SeracZack, kushrocks, I Man, Emily

 Stayin' High on the Bells Traverse   

MOUNTAINS: Maroon Peak (14,156'), North Maroon Peak (14,014')
ROUTE: South-->North Traverse
RT GAIN: 4,850'
RT DISTANCE: 9.5 miles
RT TIME: 11 hours (1.5 hours on the traverse, 2 hours on summits)
CLIMBERS: Zack (SeracZack), Emily (Emily), Jeff (SurfNTurf), Matt (I Man), Ryan (kushrocks)

The past few weeks have been filled with ups and downs. Most of the ups I have y’all to thank for. The Happy Hour last Thursday was the most fun I’ve had in quite a while; I’m not sure a picture from it exists where I’m not laughing my ass off.

The Bells Traverse was one of Rob’s favorite climbs. He absolutely glowed whenever he recounted it, and I was always more than a little jealous. With South Maroon among my final three 14ers, I had to return to the area, but I wasn’t sure what how my nerves would be and honestly I was planning on a boring jaunt up and down the 2,800 Feet of Suck.

Emily (Emily), Ryan (kushrocks) and Matt (I Man) were having none of it.

Sometimes everyone needs a little kick in the ass. They were happy to provide it. A few Happy Hour beers later, I finally agreed: the plan for Saturday was, without a doubt, the Bells Traverse.

Image
Yikes.


Emily and I met Ryan, Matt and Zack (SeracZack) at 3:30 a.m. in the Bells parking lot. The start time was a compromise between Ryan’s suggestion of 12:30 or 1 a.m. and my suggestion of Ryan, you’re f’ing crazy. We had a bit of trouble locating the S. Maroon turnoff past Crater Lake in the dark as the cairn had been knocked over, but eventually we were on the 2,800 Feet of Suck.

The ascent to S. Maroon’s ridge lives up to its name. I’m just thankful we did it in the dark and I couldn’t see how far we had to go. It’s loose, there isn’t much of a trail, and it goes pretty much straight up. I had one of my closest calls ever as Matt and I hunkered down against an outcropping while a laptop-sized rock whizzed over our heads at full speed. We finally reached the ridge at the same time as the sun.

Image
Sunlight greets us after the 2,800 of Suck.


The upper route was fairly easy to follow, as we’d studied the route and Ryan had been up it before. Before long we were within a couple hundred feet of the summit. The trail obviously snaked around low on loose rock, but given our plans for the day we decided to get warmed up. Staying as high as possible, we climbed a Class 4 wall and walked the ridge proper to the top, which we reached at 8 a.m.

Image
Emily and Ryan leading the way.


Image
Me, climbing a short Class 4 wall to reach the ridgetop.


Image
Emily and Ryan nearing the summit of Maroon Peak.


Image
Pyramid Peak, bathed in sunlight.


Image
Me, Matt and Ryan, honoring lost friends.


“Staying high,” which again was kind of a joke/challenge Rob and I shared, became somewhat of a theme of the day. Looking back, it doesn’t only pertain to climbing. After so many downs and lows in dealing with the deaths of two friends, it’s important to keep your head up and embrace the abundant happiness remaining in all of our lives.

The sun was fully risen, but either the still-chilly morning or the sight of the Bells Traverse left us shivering. We fueled up, had a few conversations, took obligatory goat photos and dropped into the traverse at 8:45 a.m.

Image
The Bells Traverse.


Image
Dropping in.


The initial descent is straightforward, but it’s loose and a few short Class 4 downclimbs must be negotiated. We didn’t see many cairns. Before long we’d reached the top of the Bell Cord and were staring up at the first crux.

The first crux, the way we did it, required a few Class 4 moves and one Matt rated at 5.0. It wasn’t very exposed and didn’t pose much of a problem. We did end up below the ridge proper on the left, following sparse cairns and trail segments. I’m not sure, but I believe we were slightly off-route as the first crux didn’t immediately yield to a catwalk like in the route description. We eventually realized we were too low and found a Class 3/4 scramble up to the ridge and the second crux.

Image
Ryan below the first crux, after crossing the top of the Bell Cord.


Image
Emily scrambling around to the left of the ridge crest.


Image
Terrain where we regained the ridge crest, between the first and second cruxes.


The second crux, in my opinion, required the hardest climbing of the day. We had to link a few Class 5 moves up a nearly vertical chimney, though the footholds were huge and the handholds were solid. It got our adrenaline pumping, but again, no real problems were posed. Anyone on the summits of North or South Maroon may have heard a few yelps of joy when each of us topped out.

From the top of the second crux we walked on the ridge proper toward the third and final wall. A group traversing from North to South met us here, and we watched them rappel as we tried to pick our own ascent line.

Image
Me about to follow Emily up the second crux.


Image #13 (not yet uploaded)


Image
Matt watching the North-->South group rappel near the third crux.


Matt found a face climb he called 5.5, and Emily followed him with only a few seconds’ hesitation. Ryan, Zack and I instead found what we believed was the “standard” chimney around a bit farther to the left. It was short and probably Class 4, but as it tightened toward the top it got a bit awkward for us bigger guys.

Image
The "easy" way up the third crux.


From the top of the third crux we each took a slightly different line. Some went lower on exposed ledges to the right, while I tried to stay ridge proper whenever possible where the rock continued to be quite solid. The exposure lessened the closer we got to North Maroon’s summit. A short Class 3 scramble later, we were done. I beat Emily in the race to the top. She isn’t a very gracious loser, and continues to insist she didn’t know it was a race.

Image
Matt and Zack negotiating an exposed notch.


Image
Emily on the solid ridge crest.


Image
Zack nears the end of the difficulties.


Image
Looking back at South Maroon, from North.


The North Maroon summit, which we reached about 1.5 hours after leaving South’s, was a party. Marcia’s group was already on top, and as soon as they left they were replaced by the CMC group for the Centennial Climb. Just as Zack, Emily, Ryan, Matt and I were beginning to soak in our accomplishment, someone gasped and pointed out a shirtless dude running across the traverse. It turned out to be Anton Krupicka, who ran the South→North Traverse from car-to-car in 3:07:58.

Our climb was no longer cool.

Image
Anton completes the traverse in something like 25 minutes.


Still, seeing as how the day was perfect, we lounged for more than an hour. Dale’s were consumed. It was odd to see Hagerman Peak for the first time since Rob’s accident, and Ryan and I sent it our “regards.”

Image
The crew (L-R Matt, Emily, Jeff, Zack, Ryan).


Image
We approve of the Bells Traverse.


Image
Fall Is Coming.


Image
A toast to Rob.


Ryan and I had both been up North Maroon before, so the descent was fairly straightforward. I’d been only a month ago, and I was dreading the eroded trail and final willow bushwhack. Thankfully, the CFI has almost finished its improvements. The cruddy trail low on North Maroon has been replaced by a glorious rock path complete with "stairs" that completely avoids the surrounding willows. We took time to say Thank You to the still-working volunteers about 100 times.

Image
The new CFI trail rocks.


We got back to the cars at 2:30 p.m., approximately 11 hours after we set out, including two hours on the summits. More Dale’s were opened as we soaked our feet in Maroon Lake, which was astoundingly lacking for tourists. Not that we were complaining.

It’s easy to see why recounting the Bells Traverse made Rob so ecstatic. What a fine route, one that I will definitely repeat in the years to come. Just not ever in 3:07:58 from car-to-car.

Image
Da Bells.



Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
 


  • Comments or Questions
geojed


Awesome!     2012-09-10 13:20:11
What happened to the 36 (or was it 37?) boy scouts and 6 dogs?

Way to get it done! 8) What a beautiful day with not a cloud in the sky!


TheOtherIndian


Congrats all ...     2012-09-10 13:22:59
Tell me about the 2800 feet of suck, I went up and down it ... twice in eight days. FML.

And that shirtless dude! I blinked my eyes for a second and he flew up those gullies up Maroon ....total badass


12ersRule


Shirtless dude     2013-07-29 12:29:11
Yeah, he was freakin' amazing. Couldn't believe how fast he was moving up there. It was great to meet all you guys up near the top of North Maroon. Awesome job!


rajz06


Cool!     2012-09-10 13:48:23
Reading your TRs always gives me sweaty palms, wonder why! :


I Man


Excellent writing     2012-09-10 14:00:58
As always, your report is extremely well written...someone might think you do it for a living

This was an awesome day and a climb I had been looking forward to for a long time. It was an honor to share it with each and every one of you.

Jeff & Ryan - Thanks for letting me take part in honoring our friend.


Matt


Nice report, Jeff     2012-09-10 14:03:07
Way to stay high, all of you.


nomadelmundo


his name was ....     2012-09-10 14:06:36
Anton Krupicka

oh yeah, you guys were awesome too!


kushrocks


”my suggestion of Ryan, you’re f’ing crazy”     2012-09-10 14:22:01
Love it!!! Great write up Jeff and great getting out with everyone my favorite part of the trip was after finishing the traverse raising a toast to Rob . . . . .and giving Hangerman our ”regards”


anasarca76


Awesome job!     2012-09-10 14:42:01
Great write up on a wonderful traverse! I think Anton was up there running when I did it too, pretty crazy!


FireOnTheMountain


Stayin high eh     2012-09-10 15:22:11
I adopted a similar saying from a buddy...”stay proper”.

Anton's time on 4 pass makes mine look silly. Sweet sighting and nice job!


rking007


Solid     2012-09-10 19:01:51
Another solid report, do you even know how to disappoint? Looks like a great day was had by all, congrats on your traverse everyone!


zdero1


Congrats guys!     2012-09-10 20:34:41
Looks like an amazing climb and what a great read this was! Jeff you're setting yourself up nicely for your finisher. Good luck on The Tooth (next week I assume)! Also, awesome tribute to Rob and I can't even imagine what ”sending your regards” entails

Weather in the Crestones not looking too good this weekend so I may hit up S. Maroon. First class 3 more me (if weather holds). Nervous but excited!


Rcizzle


The shirtless dude again     2012-09-10 20:37:42
Once upon a time, back when I was in my prime (last June). I was healthy and thought I was in shape from hiking with weighted vests up some stupid adobe hill in rifle Colorado, enduring session after session of Shawn T telling to dig deeper and go harder, jogging up the Colorado national monument, and running 6 miles weekly. I went to mt. Massive thinking I was bad A. I reached the summit in a timely 3 hours. Then I met that guy who climbed it in 1.5 hours without a shirt, water, nor fatigue. I then I thought to myself, ”wow, I suck” and then he left sprinting off the hill side.


SummitKathy


So motivating!     2012-09-11 08:31:00
You guys are so motivating for me. I love reading about what you guys get up to since it makes me want to push myself harder. Thanks for taking the time to write this up and congrats on finishing a great traverse!


marie123


Awesome report     2012-09-11 09:09:11
I agree with Kathy! Seeing the pics and reading the report is really motivation to keep pushing myself and not be intimidated by greater challenges. Nice work to you all on what I've read is a pretty intense traverse! Oh, and Ryan mentioned that Emily pretty much smoked everyone....just sayin


hr011242


LOVE IT!!     2012-09-11 11:40:00
Did this same thing on Sunday and loved every second of it. Great pics!!


dmccool


The Trav     2012-09-12 09:50:08
Well done to all involved. It's always depressing to see climbers destroy a route that caused me so much mental anguish. Just another notch in the belt, Jeff and Ryan. I can't wait to see where these next years take you guys. Can't wait for The Snef, man. BTW, I thought you already got that summit?


Fisching


Padawan     2012-09-24 09:44:25
I'm glad to see you're doing a good job following in my footsteps. Someday, you'll be a fine hiker.


MountainMedic


Hate to Leave You Neglected     2012-09-12 15:05:03
So here's a comment.


SurfNTurf


Thanks     2012-09-12 16:46:04
Thanks for the kind words everyone. Annie, Ryan obviously had too much wine that night.


BenfromtheEast


Not to burst your bubbles, but...     2012-09-12 17:09:09
I hear this guy's roommate does all his writing for him, and his laundry, too!


Dancesatmoonrise


Congrats     2012-09-14 22:02:02
Congrats, gents. Looks like a great day out.

Stellar report, Jeff.



   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.