Peak(s):  Pyramid Peak  -  14,018 feet
Date Posted:  01/19/2015
Modified:  01/20/2015
Date Climbed:   01/15/2015
Author:  FireOnTheMountain
 Solitude On A Winter Diamond   

Here are the accounts of my solo daytrip of Pyramid Peak via the West Couloir/NW ridge and since I can only add a little to the discussion of the route, I will let the work of the much more articulate Floyd do the majority of the talking. Or not, if you are so inclined.

If Impatient, I recommend fast forwarding to 3:57

I must say, there is something about this range that has always captivated my simple sensibilities. Apart from the striking jagged ridgelines with rock better suited for your dining table (to match the cherry cabinets of course) and the sweeping faces caked in snow, the culture of the Roaring Fork valley and their love of the surrounding mountains is unmistakeable. An area truly born from the mountains where a peak is a great deal more than just a checkbox.

I am usually up to invite the select crew of people I have grown to trust and enjoy their company, but for this go-around it would appear I would be going solo and was actually quite excited to hopefully have the valley all to myself.

Discounting the one or 2 30 second hands-on-pole, head-on-hands naps and the fact that my eyes weren't even open half the time, the 6.2 mile, skin up the groomed road from Lazy T was as awesome as one could imagine (crickets chirping). With no views this time, I valiantly searched for a remedy to the monotony and came up with exhale ice on my coat and Zevon's "Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner" as my only sources of respite (music would probably help this....Mock, yeah. Ing, yeah. Bird, yeah. Yeah, yeah...)

First Morning Rays on Maroon

A track had been laid down between Maroon and Crater lake (bummer ). I would later find tracks on the ridgeline when I topped the gully and very faint ones higher up on the ridge. Wonder who it could have been? Probably just some badass Aspenite on a milk run (even though it appeared they overnighted).


Looking Back Towards Crater Lake

Bushwacked my way a little bit to the gully (the first obvious big one on a topo) and started up. The snow in the bottom portion felt firm and recent slides had left a hard surface with 4-5" on top. I ditched the splitboard in a safe location in case an avy were to roar down the gully (sans me hopefully) and booted up, eventually switching to crampons.



More Up. Standing on Recent slide.


If you try to sit, I'll tax your seat


Made my way probably half way up the gully before I deemed the snow conditions a little too risky then continued my ascent up crappy scree on the left side.




Another View of the Topout


Standing at 12,680 and the Start of the NW Ridge for Me


Batter Up. Went up First Couloir Hooking Left (Taken on Descent)


View towards the NE Ridge across the Amphitheater Cirque. Wonder if that's the bypass I've heard about??

With a little snow cleaning, the 4th class headwall felt easier this time then in March of last year. Unfortunately, the infamous bowl was a little more loaded than what I would of liked. It was the very first section of the traverse that slid on me last year causing Luke and I to turn around. Armed with some new knowledge (been hangin out with too many damn skiers), I proceeded to hurl rocks at this section in a feeble attempt to make it slide. It did not and the thuds sounded as inviting as a 60 year old ice cream truck naturally, off I went.


Crux Headwall, Taken on Descent after Rap


No Way Around This Puppy


Boy Have I Got Just the Popsicle for You!

Once that I was over with and I could breathe a little, I was confronted with the following view.


Summit on the Right

A little disheartening if I'm honest but it was actually pretty fun and probably took me a good 30 minutes (little more work involved than it may appear especially with the snow). Tried to stay left as much as possible to avoid snow.




Some Rise, Some Fall, Some Climb, To Get to Terrapin


A View East



Excitable Boy, They All Said


Climb Up was Fun and None too Serious. Descent with Sugar left a lot to be Desired so just decided to Rap




A Look Down at the Sketch Bowl



The Infamous Bowl on the Return. Notice the Old Crown. Yikes



Looking into the Gullet of the Beast

Glissaded some down the West gully and set off a slow moving wet slide from the top that would end up going down a good 500' on the line. So you're welcome for that.


Well You Wore Out Your Welcome With Random Precision

Stats on the Ride:
Leave Car - 2:45am
Maroon Lake - 5:40am
Topout Gully - 10:15am
Summit - 12:30pm
Car - 7:15pm

Total: 16.5 hours

Mileage/Vert: 21 miles, 6k

Gear: Normal junk and a 30m.

Being the good buddy that he is, Monster5 hiked up the road unbeknownst to me and ran into me a mile later. Even though he had single handedly ruined my solo effort, I gotta admit I thoroughly enjoyed the company for the last bit as gliding down that road was getting horrendously old. We then went over to Luke's for some awesome homemade dinner....thanks fellas! I'll make sure to repay you guys with 9.5 tomatoes next time I see you!

Tread Lightly My Friends.

Couple Skin Laps Up Buttermilk the Next Day and Got to Enjoy This View!

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 33

Comments or Questions

Well done!
01/20/2015 13:19
Excellent climb sir! Thanks for the write up!

I Man

Nice, Abe
01/20/2015 13:56
Terrapin Station. Knocking those winter Elks out. Solid effort, well above my pay grade.


Bomber TR!
01/20/2015 16:24
Gutsy climb, I’m jealous.


Nice work Abe!
01/20/2015 17:07
Glad you got it done this time (sans avalanche)


Beautiful, Abe!
01/20/2015 17:57
But it all still looks pretty scary to me! Glad I can enjoy it through you!


01/20/2015 18:40
Nice work Abe! Thanks for sharing and letting me live vicariously through you. I’ll always be too chicken to try that one in winter.

Dad Mike

Damn dude
01/20/2015 18:43
Fun read, great pics, you’re an animal.


And they called him a next level beast...
01/21/2015 00:19
well at least she did.

If only I could have implemented the sleep walk....I have so much to learn.

Glad you wrote this one Abe.

ap snow

01/21/2015 00:42
Great job Abe! So glad you found the window to get this one done!


Thanks everyone
01/21/2015 04:12
Austin (apsnow, aka one of the damn skiers) nailed it on the head. I didnt just wing this climb. I saw a window based on what weather had been doing and took it. Thankfully it worked out. I’m not even close to a badass in any sense of the word, just a guy willing to explore a little bit of the unknown.

Please dont let my mild mannered writing style come off as carelessness

Anyways, appreciate your comments. She is very much a looker.


Atta boy
01/21/2015 05:08
Nice work and good decision on the conditions. The music wasn’t very good; I always though PF was supposed to be solid. They had the brick song!


01/21/2015 17:52
Beastly effort as always Abe! Well done and nice report man!

Boggy B

01/22/2015 04:40
so yummy

Very impressive.
01/22/2015 16:42
Such an aesthetic mountain, even more so draped in snow. Way to assess the conditions and choose your route. Intimidating challenges.


01/23/2015 17:54
impressive effort. Palm sweating traverse.

James Scott

Great day
01/24/2015 15:28
"The more that you give the more it will that thin line beyond which you really can’t fake."

Love the feeling of returning to a place that got the better of you and finding success. Enjoyed this a lot!

Johnny, strike up the band.
01/24/2015 15:57
It seems fitting that your soundtrack was heavy on the songs of the "honorary coroner of Pitkin County."


01/29/2015 06:09
Solid work Abe!
You know, Kush is looking for partners...


Looks terrifying
04/02/2015 19:45
so I am glad you are safe

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