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 Peak(s):  North Maroon Peak  -  14,014 feet
 Post Date:  08/29/2005 Modified: 03/26/2006
 Date Climbed:   08/27/2005
 Posted By:  doumall

 N. Maroon Peak - NE Ridge   

Back to the Bells. Having done S. Maroon the previous Saturday I decided N. Maroon this Saturday would be proper. Left Boulder a little later than usual at 2 am due to the tame weather forcast. Arrived at the trailhead and started hiking at 5:50 am. I saw a headlamp of the first group of the day on N. Maroon just entering the first gully. I wanted to do the traverse with someone if possible and I knew catching them would be a chore but they would likely be doing it with their early start time.

Finding the trail break from the Maroon/Snowmass trail was not obvious for me and I made a minor error leaving the trail too early. I backtracked and found the correct route higher up. Heres a tip, wait until you enter a large open area as the trail levels out. There is a small cairn at the junction. This is photo looking from the trail to the South at the junction. The blue line indicates the general route which avoids the scree fields.



I made my way up the route passing a half dozen groups before entering the first gully. Took a rest to apply sun screen, drink gatoraide and remove pants. The route is pretty obvious from here through the second gully and requires only a few class 3 moves. The grassy benches, narrow gullies and red rock make this route an eye pleaser.

The class 4 moves are not as difficult as Little Bears Hourglass but are considerably more involved than Pyramid. They are well protected and not extended. There is loose rock above them though, so be mindful of careless climbers directly ahead of you. Reached the summit in 3 hours at 8:50 am, my goal. Nice. A more pleasing summit than S. Maroon IMO.

The initial group on the day (headlamp seen before) had started the traverse what looked like 20mins before I arrived. Shucks. Oh wait, the weather is building. Oh oh, the traversing group looks stuck at the repel station. Damb, its coming! Get down! The weatherman can breed false confidence as many of you know. This changed a few of my developing ideas about Colorado hikers getting into trouble with weather.

I made steady progress down the class 4 sections but once I reached the first gully I began mountain goating down (I was maintaining pace with some feeing goats!) Hop skip and jump and I was back at the Maroon Snowmass trail in an hour-ten from the summit. Lightning was blasting Maroon Lake and several other isolated areas. This may take over as my favorite from Little Bear, nice mountain indeed. 4hrs45min round trip.

 


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