Peak(s):  North Maroon Peak  -  14,014 feet
Post Date:  05/16/2010
Modified:  05/17/2010
Date Climbed:   05/11/2010
Posted By:  pioletski


 North Maroon: A Day to Remember   

Climb of North Maroon Peak via northwest ridge; summit ski descent via north face ("Stammberger's Ledges")
Jordan (Jcwhite), Ari, Matt (pioletski)
~8 miles, 4424' climbed, ~3600' skied


This is why we ski the 14ers...



... to seek out glorious experiences like this day on North Maroon Peak. Stimulating climbing, enjoyable weather, excellent skiing, great companionship, the overwhelming beauty of the mountains - this trip had it all.

At 3:30 am, Jordan, Ari and I departed from Maroon Lake, having taken a fast ride up the road from the closure gate. (We are indebted to my good friend Shaine for the loan of his ATVs.) The first stop, as usual, occurred after about 1/2 mile for a clothing adjustment, and the first few photos of the day. Here's Jordan:

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and Ari:

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We hiked in sneakers to the Buckskin Pass turnoff, then donned our boots and hung the trail shoes on the sign. Applying skins to skis, we ascended to the Minnehaha Creek crossing, then booted up a handy couloir to a prominent bench just above timberline:

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A slightly cloudy dawn broke as we attained the bench...

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... lending a ghostly glow to the crags above:

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Rounding the corner and crossing the basin below the imposing north face, we approached our ascent couloir. Here Jordan digs a snow pit, at the beginning of the serious climbing, as Ari takes the lead:

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Our route was the chute to climber's left of the Gunsight Notch, thus attaining the northwest ridge at a point somewhat higher than the notch. We alternated leading...

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... until Jordan reached the ridgeline:

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The spectacular view and the need for fuel dictated a brief stop. The wind, which had had quite a bite to it in the basin below, began to fade away; conditions became more pleasant the higher we climbed.

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We contemplated some rather dicey looking mixed climbing on the crest of the ridge, then looked around the corner to discover that the west face, like the north, was plastered with snow. As it had been hammered by the wind, it made for crisp and reliable footing for our crampons. The joy of climbing on such a perfect surface is hard to describe; fortunately, most of my friends on this forum (that would be you, esteemed reader) are familiar with the feeling.

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At one point, on the block shown here, we set a belay to surmount a mixed move:

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Soon Maroon Peak was looking over our shoulders...

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... as Jordan reached the summit...

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... then myself, then Ari, all in the space of a minute or two.

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Snowmass and Capitol from near the summit - no caption necessary, I can't add anything that the picture doesn't express!

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Same for the view down to Maroon Lake. It's springtime down there...

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... and the incomparable Pyramid Peak. The only thing that beats the view of the Maroon Bells is the view from the Bells.

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Jordan captured the three-way fist bump with his fisheye lens...

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Photo: Jcwhite


... but perhaps his grin better shows the mood at this point:

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Skis on, boots buckled down tight, jacket zipped and we're off. Jordan departs the summit...

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... followed by Ari, then myself.

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A few quick turns down the northeast ridge brought us to the Punk Rock Band, which we skirted around the east end. This brought us onto the white expanse of the north face of North Maroon, beautifully graced with wind-recycled powder snow:

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A couple of ski cuts demonstrated that the snow was bonded well. Steep and deep, in the most fabulous setting imaginable. We watched each other ski, threading our way down the somewhat complex face. Jordan:

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Matt:

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Photo: Jcwhite


Ari:

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Photo: Jcwhite


All too soon we reached Miner's Ski Jump, traversed left and closed the loop on our ascent tracks:

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Note to future skiers: The route down the face is convoluted; it entails traversing back and forth to find open chutes through the cliff bands. On this day, with extensive snow coverage, we had plenty of choices, but that might not always be the case. Take the time to study it from the bottom before you climb.

And finally... North Maroon, in all her glory.

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Thanks for reading! It is my sincere hope that we all experience days like this. Thanks to Jordan and Ari for sharing a great adventure.

PS: Jordan has posted a photo essay of this trip at: http://www.wildsnow.com/3019/north-face-of-north-maroon-peak-elk-mountains-colorado/



Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
 


  • Comments or Questions
BostonBD


SIX STARS!!!
05/17/2010 12:28
Great trip report and pictures. You guy‘s are now making the hard ones look easy. Premium work and sweet skiing! Excellent! Thanks for sharing with us mortals.


skiwall


jealous!!!
05/17/2010 15:19
Beautiful pictures, and geez... I‘m jealous! Nice line, guys.


SchralpTheGnar



sweet
05/17/2010 15:33
I‘m hoping to hit that one soon, looks epic. I was planning on just climbing the face to help with the route finding on the way down. Seems with a face that complex that‘s a good idea for first timers.


Oman


Most excellent
05/17/2010 16:34
Great mix of pix, good cheer, and humility. Good luck on the rest!


otherbrotherdarryl

Gorgeous!
05/17/2010 17:00
What a beautiful mountain!


aHudge


nice!
05/17/2010 18:08
good work!.. man you are really getting after it! That‘s awesome.


cjw


Re: Route
05/17/2010 19:11


mountainmicah83


wow
05/17/2010 20:46
truly awesome guys.


Jcwhite


Yeah Chris
05/18/2010 20:57
Ours was slightly less traversy than that I guess...lots of snow on that face right now, but that‘s more or less it. Great day out there Matt. I wish the weather here in the sierra‘s was as cooperative as that.



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