Peak(s):  Maroon Peak  -  14,156 feet
Date Posted:  06/22/2008
Date Climbed:   06/21/2008
Author:  Carl
 Maroon Peak - Skiing the East Face   

For over a month we had been planning on climbing the bell cord and doing the traverse on the 21st of June. We changed plans mid week in light of the incredible amount of snow the Elks is holding onto this year and opted for an equally rewarding ski descent of Maroon Peak. Thanks to those who sent pictures and info on this route.

Preferring to climb what we intended to ski, we heading up the bell cord, traversed to the east face, and found a nice line to the summit. The route:

The group consisted of me, Dayna, Brian (lordhelmut on 14ers), and Marc.

The three of us with boards left Crater Lake about 3:30am. The trail was wet. After taking this shot of Brian, I went for a quick dip - luckily I was already in my plastic boots.

Starting up the cord as the sun comes up.

After a few thousand feet of snow climbing, we neared the top of the bell cord. Significantly more snow here than this time last year.

This is where the climb got interesting. Although we could see our route from the parking lot, in planning I hadn't found any accounts of the face being used as an ascent route on Maroon Peak. We eyed a snowy path that headed towards Maroon's face, and started traversing. It was steep.

After a time consuming traverse, we rounded the corner and climbed the face to the summit. I measured the traverse at 57 degrees. I didn't measure the face, but it felt a little steeper.

The summit was calm and the views breathtaking. The rest of the group had been here a couple times, it was my first.

North Maroon Peak

Snowmass Mountain and Capital Peak

The snow was quickly getting soft and I was anxious to ski.

Ultimately Marc decided to go first. Skiing from the summit was sweet.

Skiing from the summit ridge was intimidating. Trying to forget how intense this face looks from Maroon Lake.

Marc riding Maroon's east face:

Following our boot track back towards the bell cord.

We found better snow skiers right of the cord. Marc paying the small entrance fee to get there.

Pausing to enjoy the view.

Brian met up with us in the bell cord and we descended from there together. The heavy rock laden snow with numerous runnels and occasional cracks a few feet wide and up to fifteen feet deep made for some of the worst ski conditions I've experienced.

Marc flirting with aforementioned crevasse like feature:

Apparently they didn't groom anything overnight. We exited skiers left and found more runnels, rocks, and cracks:

Enjoying the final of our almost 4,000 vertical feet of skiing on the first day of summer. Day 75 of the season for me. I think I'm going to cut back for the next few months.

We grudgingly donned the heavy packs, met up with Dayna at camp, and headed back to Maroon Lake. If this is your beaten but obviously loved nalgene strapped to my pack, I hope you had enough water for your climb, I found it full at the bottom of the bell cord. Pick up available in Golden.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

What? No grooming?
02/05/2011 00:22
I‘ve been wondering about this TR since I talked to Brian on Friday. It does not disappoint. Thanks.


Amazing TR
06/23/2008 06:05
Thanks for sharing!!


06/23/2008 12:48
Wesley - Thanks for the TR. It was good to see you in Aspen. Unbelievable ski -- strong work.


06/23/2008 17:01
congrats on the summit and ski! solid work. we did the bell cord + S-N traverse a year ago this weekend, definitely a lot more snow this year!


06/23/2008 17:18
you guys are tearing it up. What a fantastic day Saturday was... I climbed the, uh, err... Lincoln Headwall.

Scott Rogers

06/23/2008 18:37
Glad to see you guys made it on the East face there, it looked a little sketchy when we were climbing up the backside. We did get to watch you ski the whole way down from the traverse though. You made it down a lot faster than we did! Good work! I‘ll have to pick up that water bottle sometime, my partner dropped it out of his pack near the bottom of the couloir and it slid away into the darkness.


Great job guys!
06/24/2008 00:54
It was nice to see you all in Aspen and talk about your trip in person! Great report, Carl. You‘ve had quite a season! Any interest in skiing it again next seson?!


Next time
05/02/2011 14:23
Caroline, I think we're going to shoot for N. Maroon next season! It's a sweet ascent route on Maroon though - being able to climb snow the entire time is definitely my preference. I would do it again, but the rockfall threat makes me nervous. Brian yelled rock as I was skiing the cord just in time for me to turn, see it, assess, and slid to the side as it shot by . Good thing he was on the lookout.

Thanks for the comments guys. Nice bumping into a few of you in Aspen.


Intense Man!
11/30/2010 17:28
Congratulations Carl! So on a scale of 1 to 10 - how would you rate this trip compared to the others you've conquered?


06/25/2008 03:52
First day of summer and still gettin after it. Great TR, photos and ski.

Nice Axe

Congrats on #75!
06/25/2008 04:07
Thanks for the mighty fine TR! The bell cord was one of my most memorable climbs and you made a great show of the descent!

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