The Bells are some of the prettiest peaks in Colorado. In the fall, the yellow aspens and Maroon Lake make for some of the most famous, well known photographs.
I was trolling the Forum on 14er's and saw Tom (tommyboy360) was going up and looking for partners. I said I would go. A few more joined before the trip happened. Diane (dmathis), Jeff (Slimshady), and Luke (Chary) were in too.
We met at the trailhead at about 5:15am on Fri. We packed up and headed off for the traverse....going from Maroon to N. Maroon and down the NE Ridge off N. Maroon. Off we went with headlamps, stayed on trail, and got to the bent tree and the up-climb soon enough. Up is an understatement!
Up to the saddle Passed a group of 3 goats on the way up too. Beautiful animals. We kept on and got to the saddle soon enough.
At the saddle This is when things get good!
We started to work our way around.....interesting terrain.
Handling the Class 3 and 4 in stride The cairns were here and there and we tried our best to stay on track. I was surprised as to how much traversing there is on this route...you go around the mountain a lot before going up.
Around and up...and around and up Things got narrow, exposed, but still fun and we were making good time for a party of 5.
Along the narrow parts..almost there Soon enough we made the summit of Maroon.
Token summit shot!
Now we had the "traverse"....the hard part from what I knew. We saw some climbers on top of N. Maroon and some people down at the bottom of the downclimb from Maroon. We didn't want to knock any rocks down so we waited for a bit for them to clear. Off we went and again I was surprised as to how far we had to traverse around and route finding was not straight-forward...but we found our way.
Nice and airy...Capitol and Snowmass in the background As usually happens...we made the North Maroon summit!
Summit of North Maroon
We chilled for a bit on the summit, ate and drank, then headed off down the NE route back to the lake and the trailhead. The views from up there were awesome....the fall colors kicking butt! Fall in Colorado is a great place.
Throughout the climb, I felt the presence of Pyramid Peak. It dominates the Valley and held a strong position during the climb. It is never far away!
Pyramid in charge!
All in all this route is tough, route finding can be difficult but if you stick with your gut instinct on where to go, it all makes sense. The rock is good in places and very bad in others. Be careful of knocking rocks off on others, take your time and follow the cairns as best you can, and do your homework. There is solid Class 4 and some Class 5 moves on this route..be prepared. Thanks to Luke, Jeff, Diane, and Tom for a nice day in the mountains.
Colors of Fall
Colors of Fall
All on track......
Jeff doing the pose!
Cap and Snowmass..going back on the 24th to finish the traverse!