Peak(s):  Pyramid Peak  -  14,018 feet
Post Date:  09/12/2007
Date Climbed:   08/11/2007
Posted By:  astrobassman

 Pyramid Peak Standard Route   

I have been mesmerized by Pyramid Peak ever since I first laid eyes on it while vacationing in Aspen last fall. The ex-girlfriend I was with was much more impressed by the beauty of the bells, but they just don't excite me that much. It doesn't surprise me that she could relate to such bitchy mountains…beautiful from a distance, but plagued with paths leading you the wrong way, unstable ground, and general irritation…but I digress. Stephanie ( user name Slynn4_13run) picked me up at 3am in Denver and we arrived at the Maroon Lake Trailhead a little after 6am. It was too dark to see Pyramid as we drove up the road from Aspen, which was a bit of a disappointment. We were on the trail at 6:30am and maintained a fast pace. Steph let me lead so she wouldn't get too far ahead on the trail section. We got up to the amphitheater in an hour or so and crossed the big boulder field. That was probably the crappiest part of the day. Here is the first view we had of Pyramid just after sunrise.

After crossing a few boulder filled ditches we made it to the bottom of the steep 1,000 foot gulley leading up to the saddle.

Since climbing the gulley wasn't very fun we high tailed it up in 30 minutes and arrived at the 13,000 foot saddle at 8:30. We took a break and talked to some other climbers. The views of the Elks were incredible:

Here is a good view of the remaining route of Pyramid from the 13,000 foot saddle:

Some of the climbers we met on the saddle weren't too comfortable leading on class 4 terrain, so they decided to follow my lead to the summit. I led them down some wrong paths at times; but generally the route finding wasn't too challenging. After relaxing on the saddle we skirted along the ridge and crossed some rugged ledges before we made it to the green wall. Steph and I missed the notable ledge crossing because we were too low. We went around a lower ledge, climbed a loose gulley, and then scrambled up a 10 foot wall to get back on route. The others were smart enough not to follow me on this part. Once we were at the bottom of the green wall I stashed my coat, 2 extra bottles of Gatorade, and extra few pounds of beef jerky. Scrambling is a lot more fun when you're not hindered with the burden of a 25 pound pack. The green wall is just a lot of fun class 3 and 4 scrambling on solid rock:

It was fairly easy to find the exit cairns on the left after a couple hundred feet up the green wall. I would say the last 500 feet to the summit was the crux of the standard Pyramid route. This was where most of the class 4 climbing came in.

Generally you just try to find the easiest way up a series of 5 to 10 foot ledges. I personally didn't think the exposure was that bad at all…it just added a bit of excitement to everything. However, once or twice I had to turn around and find a better route because I got on some low class 5 rock. We made the summit at 10am and relaxed for a good half hour. A group of 5 of us descended together…we took our time because the weather was so nice and we were having such a good time. Once again, the down climb wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. I just took my time and found good solid holds…I don't think I ever felt uncomfortable like I did while descending a few sections on Capitol. Here is a picture of Steph down climbing a class 4 section:

And here I am crossing the ledges:

Going back across the boulder field was a pain in the ass…but all in all Pyramid didn't seem to abuse my body on the descent like other mountains have. We arrived at the parking lot at 1:30 and went off to Aspen to down some much needed beer and ribs. Overall this mountain exceeded my expectations…Pyramid is a mountain I will definitely return to climb someday.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

  • Comments or Questions

Nice TR!     02/05/2011 00:22
Looks like you had a sweet day!


Pyramid     09/12/2007 22:11
Great photos and report--I climbed Pyramid on July 18th, with 3 tag along guys (Jeremy, Jason and No), who caught me up on the ridge approach, and whom I caught up just above the green wall. We then proceded to the summit together. On the way down we found a traverse route above the green wall which bypassed it altogether. Disappointing as I was looking forward to the downclimb. Pity you were not around on July 20th when I had to solo Capitol. I also enjoyed your trip report of this one.


Cool     11/30/2010 17:28
I was climbing Pyramid that day and remember seeing you and your friend in the parking lot after a perfect day, weather no issue, everyone got down in one piece, and a fine scrambling route in the books. Beer and Ribs is what I should've got, Subway was not. Have a good one.


nice TR!     09/13/2007 00:05
and very poignant digression in the beginning



good stuff     09/13/2007 02:43
Nice job up there, Colin and Steph. As long as plans go accordingly, Jen and I will be up there this Friday. Glad the snow all melted.


beer and ribs...     11/30/2010 17:28
are a sweet combo. Nice rep man. You've been busy this season. I look forward to this climb in a couple weeks.


nice job Colin!     09/13/2007 17:13
Sounds like you had a great time. Good job on the TR!


Goog goin'     09/13/2007 21:19
Sounds like you made excellent time! Do you consider yourself a fast hiker/climber, or is this still a feasible prospect for short fall days for mere mortals (provided the weather holds...)?


Thanks for comments     11/30/2010 17:28
Lordhelmet: I've seen you on a few mountains this summer. We'll have to do a climb one of these days. I'm getting tired of 14ers, and the last trip reports you've posted are where I want to be going.
Aubrey: You and Jen are probably up on Pyramid as I type this, so good luck! I wish I could be there instead of in this office.
Maverick: I've been busy, but nowhere near as busy as you. You've turned into a beast. Got any interesting plans for the fall?
cftbq: I guess I'm a fast hiker. I don't usually have trouble maintaining a fast pace hiking, but I slow down a bit on exposed ridges.


Nice!     11/30/2010 17:28
Nice job finishing one of the tough ones. There's some awesome scenery in the Elks, isn't there?

Ridge runner

Sweet -     02/01/2011 00:24
Nice write-up Colin. That was such a fun peak - it definitely got me hooked on the harder climbs. Great job on leading and congrats for knocking out so many this summer!

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