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 Peak(s):  Maroon Peak  -  14,156 feet
North Maroon Peak  -  14,014 feet
 Post Date:  08/25/2009
 Date Climbed:   08/22/2009
 Posted By:  Wentzl

 Maroon Bells Traverse   

On Saturday morning, August 22nd we set out on a traverse of the Maroon Bells from North to South. The weather forecast was for a spectacular day with little chance of afternoon storms and we opted to take our chances starting late to enjoy as much of the day as possible. It was a good plan.
We left the trailhead at 8:00 a.m. and got up above treeline on the standard approach to North Maroon.

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From below the north face the ridge does not look nearly as imposing as from the trailhead.

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The hiker/climber trail is well worn and easy to follow.

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The view back at the trailhead from where the climbing begins to get a little steeper.

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The route circles below the ridge and onto the south slopes giving an impressive and unique view of the Maroons.

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The most exposure on North Maroon comes from the potential rockfall in the gully leading up to the ridge. There seems to be lots of route choices through here.

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The climbing in the gully is steep and care must be taken not to dislodge loose rock.

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Looking up from about 2/3 of the way to the ridge.

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Once on the ridge the climbing is straightforward.

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On the summit the ridge to Maroon Peak looks like a hopeless jumble of rubble.

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There are lots of goats on the Maroon Bells. This one hung out on the summit pretty much ignoring its company. Later on, on the descent from Maroon, a herd would start a pretty good rockslide just a little way off from our trail.

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On the traverse there were two sections to downclimb, about 50' each. There were good rappel anchors on each and we took advantage and rapped past the crux sections of the traverse. A 100' rope is plenty long to get past the difficulties. The next picture is the last bit of scrambling into the notch at the top of the Bell Cord couloir.

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It seemed like there were many options for getting to the summit of Maroon Peak. We found on that had some interesting climbing around the remnant of ice that looked like it would block our passage, but which turned out to be a nice direct access to the ridge not far from the top.

We made the top of Maroon Peak by 3:00 in the afternoon.

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The day was perfect for lounging about and a short nap on the summit was in order. There was no wind and the temperature seemed nearly 70, if that is even possible. The view of Snowmass and Capitol to the north was breathtaking.

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The descent off of Maroon Peak is a maze of options. We tended to stay high and this worked out ok. Here is a view of what most of the ridge looks like.

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When you find yourself on easy trail on the ridge crest there is a well marked trail that drops straight down to the valley floor. It looks unappealing and for the first 1000 vertical feet you will wonder if you made a mistake. We didn't take too many pictures here, but this is looking down from pretty high up.

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There was trail along the ridge and another party descending with us opted to venture further south looking for a better option. I don't know what they found, but I did see them eventually working their way back north across the grassy ledges heading in our direction.

We got back to the car at around 7:00 p.m.



Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
 


  • Comments or Questions
givemejava

great pictures     2009-08-25 16:35:04
I am heading up to camp there this weekend. Thanks for getting me psyched up for it



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