Peak(s):  Pyramid Peak  -  14,018 feet
Date Posted:  07/08/2007
Date Climbed:   07/07/2007
Author:  Chicago Transplant
 The Bells Neighbor  

Pyramid Peak: 14,018'
Standard NE Ridge/Face Route
~7 miles RT and 4500' vertical

Chicago Transplant and Jamie Nellis

All of these Maroon Bells Trip Reports had Jamie N, Jamie P (Shanahan96) and myself all wanting to go too. We had a plan in place to head up there Saturday, but unfortunately a last minute illness knocked Jamie P. out for the day. What to do? I heard a rumor that Pyramid was getting jealous of all the attention the Bell Cord has had in recent weeks and suggested maybe we give that a try. Seeing Jamie P. had already climbed it last year it was an easy decision, Pyramid it is!

We started up the trail at 4am and quickly made our way to the cutoff with the Pyramid trail. Jamie led in the dark seeing as she had just been up Thunder recently and knew where to find the trail split. The CFI trail is in great shape and led us up the base of the amphitheater with no problems. By now the first rays of light were starting to dance on the Bells and Pyramid:



We continued into the base of the amphitheater where gigantic cairns mark the way. We soon came to the large talus basin and climbed on some lingering snow. Here two other climbers caught up to us and quickly moved on towards the Northwest Ridge route. We continued on the talus and began crossing the large basin towards the steep slopes above.


We decided to go with the helmets at this point as we saw three climbers above us. The slope is tedious, and the loose dirt and rock is slow going. There are some braided trails here and we ended up off to the left side along some rocks at one point. This wasn't bad though as the rocks provided a sort of hand rail.


We topped out on this slope and took a nice break at the saddle. From here the traverse to the upper saddle around 13,100' was aided by a nice climbers trail. We met up with the three other climbers here, and they were struggling to continue on. Lucky for all 5 of us Jamie had Bill's route page, and we convinced the other party they needed to go left (they were about to head right). We traversed some nice class 2 ledges, but later realized we were too low. This worked well all the same, and we soon turned a corner around the lower butress to be face with the famed green rock wall. This image looks back at the other climbers from where we came out of the traverse. This was a good 50 feet below the narrow ledges shown in Bill's photos. They were loose and tedious, but were not difficult.


The green face from our vantage point, didn‘t miss it by too much!


We dropped around some rock that is below the standard ledge, and started our ascent of the green rock. The going here was wonderfully straightforward, and the climbing not too difficult. Most of the climbing here we felt was 3rd class, only a few scattered 4th class moves throughout. The next two photos show the conditions on the green face



We soon started to reach an area below a headwall and started looking around for the cairns mentioned in the route description that exit the green face to the left. We found them, and traversed across some broken red rock to reach a nice ledge where we took a short break.


Above us was 500' of complicated route finding on broken gravelly ledges. From below it is hard to figure out where to go and we were not following the easiest route. It wasn't bad though, we typically would traverse a ledge until we found a good way to climb up to the next ledge. We had several 4th class moves throughout this exercise, but most of them were not necessary on descent when the easier route was visible. This section is much easier to descend than to ascend!


The last 50 feet to the summit was class 2 on broken rocks. We met up with the two guys from the NW ridge here and enjoyed the views. We even perused the summit register and were able to find Jamie P. in their from last August, with us in spirit from this bed in Boulder.


Bells - showing everyone's favorite Couloir :


Snowmass and Capitol:


Castle etc:


It was 10am and the skies were great, but we wanted to start our descent before they changed their mind. The descent was a little more crowded, all the other parties that were below us were now navigating through the final 500' of climbing and frequently we had to wait to let them pass. Down climbing to the green face was a chore, despite being mostly class 2 and 3. This was due to all the gravel on the rocks, no matter how carefully we moved it was hard not to shower gravel over the ledges. We descended to the way we came in despite noticing the standard ledge. We just felt better going with the familiar instead of not knowing where to climb back to the saddle. This turned out to be slower due to the loose rock, as a few others passed us on the ledge above. The rest of the descent went quickly and soon we were back at Maroon Lake. The first time either of us had ever seen it in daylight.

Obligatory Bells from Maroon Lake picture to close the day:


Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

Pyramid Rocks!
02/05/2011 00:22
Congrats on's a great summit, yes?


07/09/2007 00:15
Funny how everyone takes that final pic of the Bells as they finish a climb in that area, kind of one last big breath to a long day, it sure feels good to look at them from the parking lot, spent and safe. Nice report.


word on the street
11/30/2010 17:28
says that you were really busting your butt to keep up with my girlfriend through the lower slopes and the ampitheater! guess that means you'll have to work on your speed, mike.


p.s. stop messing with my roommate, he didn't climb pyramid....think you made him mad.


No, no, no,
11/30/2010 17:28
the only butt busting that went on this weekend was when you were trying to keep up with me on 13,500 and Twining today! Mike had no problem matching my blistering pace.
Thanks for the great write-up and pics, Mike. That was a fun day! Sorry I don't have any pics to contribute.

Thanks Mark, it felt kind of strange to be on a Pryamid without you.

Chicago Transplant

11/30/2010 17:28
Thanks, yeah the summit is a pretty cool vantage point!
Yeah that image of the Bells is in everyone's collection, it feels good to ”earn” that view though!
Thanks Jamie for heading up that one with me, seeing as somebody else said he wouldn't repeat We don't know who signed Crestone in, maybe he was really there

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