Peak(s):  Maroon Peak  -  14,156 feet
Date Posted:  07/20/2007
Date Climbed:   07/18/2007
Author:  joe4186

 Crushing it On S. Maroon- South Ridge  

So, with my buddy Matt leaving for cali in a couple of weeks, we wanted to do something cool. After tossing around some mountains that we could climb we decided that we should try the bells. Knowing that they were some tougher mountains w/ some technical routes on them we read some trip reports and talked to a couple people that had done them in Aspen. We were told that if we took our time and made sure of our moves we could do it.

The Money Shot

Having done zero research on the Maroon Lake campground area, we (I) thought you could just camp at Maroon Lake. Little did I know that the established campgrounds were miles down the road and would require driving up to the lake in the morning and starting there. We thought it would be better to hike up to Crater Lake and camp there for the night and get an early start for the morning. Being unprepared, I had to hike in w/ a small Dakine daypack, having to ghetto tie my sleeping bag to the side of it made for an interesting 2 mile hike in.

Hiking In

Camp Ghetto

It was about 9:45 by the time we set up the tent, took some pictures, stared at the crazy mountains all around us and went to bed around 10:30.

Alarm went off at 3:13, pretty early stuff. Started hiking around 3:45. Straightforward trail through it seemed like 15-20 other tents on the way to bent tree. We thought it was going to be a busy day on the mountain. Climbed up a rather intense steep section that kept kicking us in the face.

Sun Coming up on the way to the Ridge

Making our Way up

Kinda Straight Up

I was surprised that there were no switchbacks, just straight up, across loose rock, mud, and the occasional cliff. It was rather fun.

Looking Down from the Ridge

Got to the ridgeline around 7:30, only saw about 15-20 ft. of the route ahead of us towards some gnarly terrain.

Matt Doing Some California Dreamin on the Ridge

We picked our way around finding many cairns to be helpful finding the route, climbed up through the chimney, continued on following the cairns.

Me Climbing up the Chimney

Chris Climbing the Chimney

Up a Steep Section

Crossed some pretty narrow ledges and continued on.

Looking Down a Loose Gully

More Climbing

More Ledges

In some places there seemed to be a couple of routes that were cairned giving you options on which way you could go.

Matt Checking Bill's Route

I was the first up the second gully and saw that the trail went both to the left and the right. I went 20 ft. or so to the right and decided that it connected to the first gully that we didn't take and turned around.

The Final Pitch

Looking Into the Valley

Reached the summit at 9:36, took a bunch of pictures and saw a solo climber on N. Maroon.

Lone Climber on N. Maroon

So Hardcore

All we saw was blue skies all around us so we enjoyed the summit for an hour and took our time on the way down. On the way back down to the ridge we ran into a couple of guys climbing up and another solo climbing a bit farther down. Theses 3 guys didn't have helmets on, I don't know if that is common, but I'm glad we all had head protection, lots of loose rock and the occasional rock fall.

Chris Looking Cool

Matt Climbing Down the Chimney

Looking Back up towards the Ridge

Got back to the ridge according to Chris at 11:22 and got back to Crater Lake around 1:30. I had to rally and hike out to get back to breck to work at 6. Long day.

Overall I didn't think the climb was too bad, but you have to make sure you are on the trail and make sure the rock you are stepping and grabbing on is solid. My word of advice, start real early, don't mess w/ any weather, and take your time. This mountain, more than any other I've done will bite back hard if you mess up.


 Comments or Questions

02/05/2011 00:22
Nice pictures--will be quite helpful. Kudos also for doing this and then going to work too! (Not sure I'd be up for that.)


Unofficial Camp site
11/30/2010 17:28
The actual campsites at Crater Lake are probably 1/8 - 1/4 of a mile east of where you pitched your tent. The ”campsite” in your photo looks borderline legal.

I'm positive the local forest rangers would have ticketed/fined you had it not been for your early start.


"unofficial camp site"
07/20/2007 22:18
yea, we kinda realized that on the way back, in the dusk it looked like a former campsite.. somewhat of a fire pit, flat area, good overlook... no grass was harmed by the tent, looked as though it would make a quick, full recovery

CO Native

Unofficial Campsite
11/30/2010 17:28
I'm glad someone else said it first. I was starting to think I was the only one who complained about high impact camping.

Anyway, great report with some great pictures. Thanks for taking the time to post all the photos they really make the report interesting.


Nice attire!
07/21/2007 02:33
How much for those socks???

Nice report.


Good Report
07/21/2007 17:32
Nice job on the climb and the report. The images would be useful to somebody who was planning to hike the route soon.


Down-climb question
07/31/2007 14:57
The photos are quite breath-taking - a great report.

Curious, were there any places where down-climbing was easier facing the mountain?


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