| Pyramid Peak: Northeast Ridge
Peak: Pyramid Peak, Elk Range
Date Climbed: August 14, 2007
Group: Stu (marmotman) and Myself
Route: Standard Northeast Ridge
Stu and I left Boulder at 12:30am on Tuesday the 14th and headed for Aspen with the aim of hitting the Northwest ridge on Pyramid (there has been a lot of talk of this route on this site recently which inspired us to check it out). We arrived at the Maroon Creek TH at 3:30am and decided to take a nap rather than get an early start. Well we ended up oversleeping until 5:30am and upon awakening, found that Stu had left his shoes in Boulder . For a while we contemplated leaving the whole hike for another day and driving home until we found an old pair of Chacos in my trunk. After some discussion it was agreed that the Northwest ridge was probably out of the question (some class 5 climbing required, and neither of us had prior experience with the route) but the standard route...well why not?!
Stu strapped on the sandals (which were 2.5 sizes too large for his Chinese woman feet), we consolidated our essentials into one pack (which I agreed to carry the whole day as Stu had enough to worry about climbing Pyramid in sandals), and headed off for the Northeast ridge under a blue bird sky. The sun had already been above the horizon for quite a while when we started hiking so we didn't get to see the usual spectacular alpine sunrise, unfortunately. We rock hopped through the field of red and brown boulders into the amphitheater and ascended the scree slope underneath the massive looming face of Pyramid's north side. Upon topping out on the ridge we had an amazing view of the Bells and the rolling green landscape to the east, a few clouds had begun to form casting shadows on the surrounding area.
The Bells coming into view
Chacos are apparently pretty fortified as Stu didn't complain too much about them the entire day. We scrambled southwest along the ridge for a bit, eventually crossing the famous ledge which grants access to Pyramid's East Face. We scrambled up Pyramid slightly north of the cairned route which lent us some cool exposure looking over the North Face.
Sandal clad Stu scrambling near the summit
We were having the time of our lives, the weather was perfect and we had gotten back to the solitude of the mountains, scrambling up a super fun route on a beautiful peak.
Awesome views were had
As soon as we topped out it kind of went unspoken that we were going to stay awhile. I ate some chocolate and a sandwich while Stu basked in the sun. I think the reason that I was enjoying myself so much is that the intense, goal oriented nature of being nearly finished with the 14ers had stripped me of my ability to appreciate the simple things which initially drew me to climb them. Finishing "the list" finally relieved me of my peak bagging mentality, allowing me to just enjoy the mountain with no strings attached.
Capitol and Snowmass in the distance
The Bells right across the way
Eventually we began taking summit shots and remembered that Del_Sur commented on our apparent "angry" appearance in all of our previous summit shots. We vowed that anger would never again appear to be our emotional state on a 14er summit, instead releasing our "true" sentiments in the following photographs. These are for you Del_Sur!!
We are so happy!
For some reason we decided to jump around on the summit
More jumping, indicative of our extreme happiness
We descended the cairned route to the exit ledge and Stu dropped the camera off the ledge cliff (he also dropped a sunglass case off this same cliff on the way up). Jeez Stu!!
The exit ledge
Looking up at sexy marmotman on the ledge from below
Climbing back up to the ledge after retrieving said object
The clouds were building fast so we descended with a slight sense of urgency. I did snap a few artsy photos of Pyramid (I like to pretend I'm a real photographer sometimes). We arrived at Maroon Lake and I just had to take a dip...sorry tourists!
Rocks and stuff
Pyramid from the NE ridge
Thanks Stu for another fun day in the mountains, hope those blisters don't get you down too much!
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):