Peak(s):  Pyramid Peak  -  14,018 feet
Date Posted:  07/04/2009
Modified:  11/07/2009
Date Climbed:   07/04/2009
Author:  jf32
 Pyramid - STD  

Pyramid Peak - Northeast Ridge - Standard
4500ft over 8 miles round trip
Team: jf32 (john), zeekzilch (Roger), and Barb

I was planning on taking a weekend off from climbing but when I saw Roger's post about needing a climbing partner for Pyramid I was hooked. Later in the week Barb joined and we all spent our days analyzing and over-analyzing the weather forecast to see if this trip would be worthwhile and trying to determine if conditions would allow us to summit.

Friday early evening we made the decision to give it an honest effort. We met outside of Golden at 11 and started the drive out to the trailhead. By 3am we were hiking along Maroon Lake with a sky full of stars. We did get rained on for a few minutes in the early morning but were pleasantly surprised by how nice the weather was.

We made good time getting to the trail turnoff to Pyramid - which thankfully Barb saw on the first pass. We then ascended up to the amphitheater. In the amphitheater Barb and I used crampons while Roger elected not to.

Our next challenge was finding and ascending the slope that would put us on the ridge leading to Pyramid's summit

Imagethe slope

There were two snow fields separated by some loose rock. I stayed off the snow (no crampons) while Roger and Barb used their crampons to go up the snow.
Barb coming up the lower snow field

The upper snow field
The sun shining on Pyramid with the Bell's watching

The point we reached the ridge

Once on the ridge we had to cross a cornice (it was in good condition) and we were welcomed with some spectacular views of Pyramid and our remaining route

The cornice and pyramid

The weather was awesome - Capitol and Snowmass in the distance

We followed small cairns and trail segments to the ledges - I didn't think this section was nearly as bad as the pictures looked - it's mostly snow free. (although there were 2 gully crossings that took a fair amount of effort to successfully navigate) One group we passed on our descent was roped up crossing one of these two gullies - we just used our axes.

Barb crossing the narrow section of the ledge

After the second snow crossing we were at the base of the green rock that would lead us up towards the summit
Start of the green rock

The rest of the way was scrambling on Class 3/4 rock that was fairly steep - also the rock was as advertised - loose.

Roger scrambling

Some summit shots - with excellent weather
The Bells

Snowmass and Capitol

Castle and Conundrum

a summit visitor

The three of us atop Pyramid

After the summit we slowly and carefully descended back to the saddle - seemed this part was actually more time consuming than the ascent.

We met Kevin and his dog Chopper on the way down and we all practiced our glissading on the lower snow slope and on the snow in the amphitheater.

Action shot of Kevin coming down the lower slope

The rain did finally arrive as we were within a mile or so of the car - it did not spoil an awesome day on a great mountain.

Roger and Barb - thanks for hiking with me - if you want any of these pics (or the rest of my pictures feel free to let me know and I'll get em to ya)

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

Nice way to spend Independence Day!
07/05/2009 04:20
Super nice TR - looks like y‘all had an ideal day. Thanks for sharing your experience!




Lot less snow...
07/05/2009 20:01
Looks like the snow has melted out quite a bit in the last few weeks. Congrats on a difficult summit.


Nice Summit!
07/06/2009 02:19
Glad you went for it and didn‘t worry about the weather. Awesome day to be in the Elks. Looks like Capitol and Snowmass still have some on them. Hopefully Capitol will melt off enough that we can take the summit. Congrats again on the summit!


Nice meeting you
07/08/2009 22:38
Good job getting to the top and writing a good TR. Starting early is important this time of year. You met me and chopper on your descent. Thank you for the action shot in your TR. Nice meeting you all and I will look forward to our pathes crossing on a summit in the future.

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