| 40 by 40!
The day before we had climbed North Maroon, so were camping above Crater Lake. We woke up around 5am, broke camp, packed our backpacks and headed down to the start of the trail for Pyramid. We left the big heavy backpacks in the woods and took the small ones for the hike up.
Before starting the trip report I have to explain why this was a special peak for me. I have not lived in Colorado many years, but since the beginning I have had a passion for hiking some of the 14ers. I never had the goal to climb them all, I always felt some of them were too difficult for my abilities, so I was just adding some to my list and enjoying the climbs year after year. So, up to last year, I had on my list 25 peaks, which is not bad. But at the beginning of this year, Mike made a new goal for me for this summer. I am a person who is driven by goals, small ones sometimes, bigger other times, but at the end what matters is to accomplish things and the satisfaction that comes with it. So, my new goal was: to climb 40 by 40, yeah this means 40 fourteeners by age 40. I turn 40 in December, so there was time, but we all know how the weather is in Colorado and that every time more peaks are farther in distance. So, the goal this summer was 15 more 14ers to add to my list. We had only one bad attempt (that was Crestone Needle, because of weather mainly), so things were progressing good. I always kept that "goal" in mind, even though I did not want to get obsess, but you all know how these peaks are… And, of course I had chosen the "difficult" ones for the last. And Pyramid especially, because I had read lots of trip reports and I had studied it very carefully. We were going to climb it last year but the snow came in early and time ran out, so it was always on my sight.
So, our trip to Pyramid started with sore legs from the hike the day before to North Maroon, but that went away on the first steep portion of the trail up to the amphitheater.
Kitten and the Maroon Bells
Across the boulder field at the amphitheater.
The boulder field at the amphitheater
More hikers can be seen, as well as Pyramid peak right in front of us.
Pyramid in front of us
From here, the trail up to the ridge (which is 1,000 feet) is steep and relatively short as it can be seen in this picture.
The climb to the saddle
And, of course, at the top of the ridge who was there to great us?
Are they smiling?
A view of the Bells, it is hard to believe that side is climbable and that we were on top of North Maroon yesterday!
And the views from all directions were spectacular. By the way, there was not even a cloud in the sky that day, the perfect Colorado blue sky day…
Snowmass and Capitol
Pyramid from the ridge
One comment on the leap-of-faith, I must not have much faith because I was afraid to jump. I have short legs and I felt if I missed it that would not be good, so I decided to go in the inside and hold on the rocks and just take a small step from there.
We soon hit the green wall and things look steeper from there.
We carefully made our way up looking for cairns and ways to stay under Class 4. In this picture you can see a hiker (red helmet) down there, he was Ken, we met him on the way up, nice meeting you Ken!
Some rock scrambling…
Again, the views are spectacular in this route:
The Bells on a blue sky day
Snowmass and Capitol
Like with North Maroon there are multiple ways and many cairns, but the route is more straightforward. At the top we chose to go right instead of left. Once we reached the ridge we realized almost everybody took the left side, where there was less exposure. Our side had much more exposure, but we were so focused on making it to the top that it did not matter much. And we finally summited, it took us a little less than 5 hours total:
On the summit
And, my goal was almost accomplished, 40 by 40. I said almost because I always count going safely down the peak. And this one was tricky.
I made it!
Mike and the Tibetan flags
And there is a goat guarding the top!
Isn't she/he cute?
They don't fear the exposure either…
The real kings of the Mountains
Is she posing for the picture?
After spending more than one hour at the top (the longest we have been on a top I think) we decided to head down. The skies were completely blue, not even a cloud, it was almost unbelievable.
The way down was less hard than I expected, we (this time we were 3, Mike, Ken and me) again carefully chose our route and avoided the hard Class 4 sections. Hey, this time I decided to jump the leap-of-faith, I put the rope around me (just in case my little legs failed), and I managed to jump that leap.
And we finally got to the parking lot after picking up our backpacks that we left in the woods and celebrating the accomplishment of my 2010 goal!
Now, my next goal… Mountain Mike will have to post it…
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):