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 Peak(s):  Pyramid Peak  -  14,018 feet
 Post Date:  07/03/2013 Modified: 07/04/2013
 Date Climbed:   06/29/2013
 Posted By:  BirdMan

 A Steep Climb in Goat Country    

Having hiked/climbed the 14ers in the Front Range, Sawatch, Tenmile and Sangre ranges it was time to branch out to the Elks. It's been great getting that experience but if I was going to get myself to the top of all the 14ers in the state I knew it was time to put that experience to use on some harder climbs - and Pyramid... I couldn't ignore you any longer.

We spent the night in the Bells parking lot in what I affectionately refer to as the rolling Holiday Inn (Chevy Tahoe). We wrapped the thing in chicken wire to prevent a night visit from porcupines and slept as well as we could. I have to admit the thought of climbing Pyramid weighed on my mind a little but the good thing about not sleeping well is it's really no trouble to get up at 4 am!

On the trail at 5 am and snapped the below shortly after - just above Maroon Lake. Pyramid looking distant and impenetrable.
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A look back at the sunrise over Maroon Lake and the Maroon Bells.
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Still eager and ready to go! Heading into the amphitheater.
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We hiked through the snowfield but on the descent found a trail to the right of the amphitheater in the rocks. Let your preference determine your route here.
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The entire amphitheater is a boulder / scree field. The route out (below) is steep and loose but gets you to the ridge at 12,980'.
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Getting closer to the ridge.
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Once we got to the top of the ridge we had a snack, put on sunscreen and considered our next steps. I knew things were about to get more difficult - time to focus...

The view of the remainder of the route from the ridge.
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Not too much farther on we came to the leap of faith and narrow ridge. I found the exposure on the narrow ridge to be more concerning than the leap of faith though neither were all that bad.
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Past that point the terrain changes to what Pyramid is known for - steep and loose rock with just a sprinkling of exposure!
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Crossing a snowfield prior to the green wall.
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For the most part the route finding was relatively straight-forward. We went slow to make sure we stayed on trail to keep this a class 4 climb. We found the Green Wall to have good hand holds where needed and things never got too dicey.

On the summit at 10:15 - time to breathe a sigh of relief... whew.
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When we got to the summit we met a couple very briefly from Aspen and the woman said Pyramid was her first 14er. To which I thought, what?!? Seriously?!? Ahem, bravo...

The Bells.
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Snowmass (center left) and Capitol (center right).
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But as they say, all good things must come to an end. After a quick bite it was time to head down. The nice thing about the descent is your vantage point allows you see the route more clearly.
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On the way down we came across a marmot that must have been a lion in a past life.
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Steve, out of danger, and almost to the ridge.
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But what's that down on the ridge? More wildlife? We spent time just checking out the mother and kid as this is definitely not something you see every day...
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But Pyramid was not going to let us go that easily. Maybe Mother Nature was a little schizophrenic that day. One minute sunshine and the next rain, thunder and lightning. Oh my... Since we were carrying an ice ax and hiking poles (a.k.a our own personal lightning rods) we beat a hasty retreat down to lower ground.
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Out of the amphitheater and near the woods - we can really breathe easy now.
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Mother Nature at it again. This time playing with the Bells.
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We made it back to the car at 2:30 pm - so, all in all a 9 and 1/2 hour day. We didn't set any speed records - still we were happy to have gone slow and stayed safe - especially in the last, treacherous 1,500 feet of elevation gain.

Then it was time for a post-summit beer, removing the chicken wire perimeter from our vehicle and getting back on the road again - we'd have miles to go before we'd sleep.



Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
 


  • Comments or Questions (7)
ameristrat


Nice report     2013-07-04 08:28:57
You can't go wrong with a measured and safe pace! Nice work on a tough peak and thanks for the report!


MountainDawg


Nice trip     2013-07-04 09:39:14
Nice pictures.


greenwok


+1 +1     2013-07-04 14:11:34
Yes indeed - nice report and fantastic photos!

Congrats on the successful journey!


samoarob


Nice Photos.     2013-07-04 17:33:36
I love the photos. You showed great detail. Glad you guys had a nice trip.


Shawnee Bob


Well done     2013-07-04 19:03:48
Fans the flames a little more to do this one.


waltoncito

Excellent Report     2013-07-07 20:50:07
Thanks for posting and nice work on making it up safely!


summitwolf


Great job!     2013-07-09 16:48:58
Awesome pictures! Looks like you guys had a great day. Way to go!



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