Peak(s):  Maroon Peak  -  14,156 feet
Date Posted:  08/01/2012
Date Climbed:   07/30/2012
Author:  zephyr_pelicante
Additional Members:   carson_h
 One in every range  

Day 1: Hike in and camp

Total time: 1.5 hr
Distance: 3.5 mi

Members of this trip were Carson (who I climbed Crestone Peak with a few weeks ago) and Ryan (also works for the company I'm working for this summer). We left FOCO at 11:30 and were on the trail by 5.

We had a brief stop for dinner at Glenwood Springs. It was more of an up-scale restaurant than I'm accustomed to, and I ordered a $12 dish called "gnudi" (which, of course, I mispronounced). Now maybe I'm just not very sensitive to the finer things in life, but from my perspective when I looked at the plate they brought me I saw 4 meatballs. Now these meatballs were good, but for $3 a piece I'll pass; I don't care how fancy the name is or how many sneaky silent letters there are in it.

The hike in was on good trail, and we found a campsite near the weird-shaped tree. The campsite we found was across the river, east of the tree and it was large enough to support several tents.

King Soopers photo

Day 2: Maroon Peak

Start time: 3:15 AM
End time: 12:40 PM

Besides the fact that a porcupine ravaged our campsite at midnight eating everything in sight, we got decent sleep (3-6 hr) and were on the trail by 3:15.

I love hiking in the dark, and I'm proud of this in hindsight, but it was quite the workout at the time. About 2/3 the way up to the saddle the trail disappears and the trail gets pretty rough. I thought that the trail was a class II all the way to the saddle, so I brought my flashlight and carried my helmet (was using a water belt instead of a pack) However, I decided I'd rather put my light away and my helmet on and use my hands to climb.

Many people on this site complain unwarranted about the steepness of some trails that aren't that steep (Elbert, Massive, gullys on Evans) so I wasn't really expecting it to be too bad, and most of the hike up to the saddle is tolerable. However, don't expect it to be an easy class II walk up to the saddle. You'll want your hands, especially if you get off the standard route higher-up which is likely.

At the saddle the sun was starting to come up, so we waited a while for a little more sunlight and for some snacks before heading toward the ledges to take us to the Peak.

The route description is dead-on. We first saw the two chimneys, and traversed some more ledges to get us to the 2 gulleys. The only thing notable is that the gullys are actually quite wide and mostly solid, and there are several places to cross over.

Looking back on ledges

Looking into valley from gully

We traversed more and got the big gully, ascended it and took another food break.

Looking down at big gully

Continuing on from big gully (same place as last photo)

Again more ledges, then an sparse trail of cairns leading to the point where you regain the ridge.

Ledges (you can see the "Maroon")

Soon after the regaining the ridge we reached the summit. We thought we had it to ourselves until 2 visitors came along.


North Maroon panorama

Snowmass / Capitol

Looking South

I was really expecting more people on the summit and was surprised to see entries in the summit register from over 2 years ago. I don't usually sign in, but the scarcity of entries influenced me to jot down my name and celebrate #20.

The descent wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be. The hike back to camp has amazing views the entire time to counteract the poor trail.

We hiked back to the car and I was amazed at the number of people on the trail between crater lake and maroon lake on a Monday. This makes me glad we didn't go on the weekend.

After reaching the car and taking off toward home, we stopped at a yelp-suggested barbecue restaurant in Basalt. We watched female olympic water polo, and my new goal as a weightlifter is to become as jacked as those female athletes. The barbecue was far more satisfying than the "gnudi" and if I remembered the name of the restaurant I would definitely recommend it. Thanks yelp.

This was Carson's 50th, Ryan's 2?th, and my #20th. Now I have done a peak from every range!

Great mountain, great times, and a perfect way to spend the paid time off I'd been racking up!

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

08/01/2012 14:11
You are on an absolute tear this season, and I'm assumingit's your first season? Congrats! And how do you find the time?!?!?!


what a boss..
08/01/2012 14:21
now imagine yourself on May 25th or so before your first hikes to even comprehend finishing your #20 with Maroon, nice job


08/01/2012 15:11
Good Job Zephyr. That is one peak I am deathly afraid of. Kudos


early start
08/01/2012 22:18
Awesome write up Zephyr. The section of ”trail” from the valley to the saddle was certainly more nasty than expected. We started earlier than normal due to a 70% chance of rain in the forecast, but I'm glad that we did. I would definitely want to be in the valley and off that section of trail before it rains. (Valley to summit round trip was 7:20 for us).


Darn Porkys
08/02/2012 02:07
Yea, those porcupines up there are hungry! One of them ate the foam strips along the top of my boots one night. Crawled inside the vestibule on my tent to do it too. Grr....

Nice job.


Great feedback guys
08/02/2012 14:21
It's hard to believe I've done 20 already! I caught myself reading the route description for Capitol yesterday.

Carson is correct; for most hikers it's wise to budget 8 hours above treeline to be safe. And certainly be forewarned about the porcupines.


I'd agree...
08/02/2012 15:32
you've really been tearing through these 14ers like butter!
A man on a mission!

Like the shot of Cap and Snowmass. Keep it up dude!

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