Peak(s):  Maroon Peak  -  14,156 feet
North Maroon Peak  -  14,014 feet
Date Posted:  07/05/2009
Date Climbed:   06/15/2009
Author:  warg

 Maroon Bells - Cord ascent with traverse  

Where to begin with this story? It was June 14, and I still had to get the Maroon Bells hiked before "the" date arrived – June 27, when I had scheduled my last 14er hike. (I saved Mt Princeton for last. It's a beautiful mountain, it's close enough to invite friends to go and it's kid friendly – my two are 9 and 10 years old!)

I am telling this story three weeks after the events took place, and already they are a bit fuzzy! Here is the best I can remember. I drove up to the Bells Sunday night (14th) and crashed in the car for a few hours before a 2am start. Would have been the perfect situation except I had a rodent of some sort CHEWING ON MY CAR every 30 minutes or so. I would bang and yell and it would disappear for a few more minutes of shut eye.

I had an attempt on Pyramid two weeks before, and a summit on Pyramid one week before, so the trail was getting familiar. The hike up to the base of the Bell Cord was an uneventful one. I don't have the numbers exactly, but that snow hike gives you almost 4,000 feet of elevation gain within 1.5 miles. Something crazy like that. About halfway up the sun came out – a nice view of sunrise over Pyramid, and looking back down the Cord. Image Image

I decided to summit Maroon Peak, return to the top of the Cord and then decide about North Maroon. Here is the summit of Maroon Image as well as what North Maroon looked like. Image On returning to the top of the Cord I was in a dilemma. I wanted to do the traverse, but the sun was warming up the snow and the standard traverse was not going to happen. I decided to push forward, staying on the west side of the ridge crest. I found some cairns along the way, so someone had been that way before. I am not sure what the route would have been like with no snow, but with crampons and frozen snow it was perfect. All the way to the top of North Maroon (coming up the West face at the end), with NO class 5 at all. It was so good that I descended that same face (West) and joined the NW ridge descent a ways down. Here's a picture of Maroon from the top of North Maroon. Image

The descent was a blast! I had to edit the track a bit to clean it up, so it is not 100% accurate. But you get the idea. All in all a great day – great adventure, and almost done with a first ascent of all the 14ers!
Image Image

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions
Dad Mike

What a difference 3 weeks makes
08/12/2014 23:13
Great pictures. I can‘t believe how much snow there was in that picture of South Maroon. My wife and I did a similar route (cord to north to south and down the southeast couloir) on the 4th and had completely different conditions. We also ended up on the west side of the ridge, but had no fun at all. It was loose, wet, and nasty. Stayed on the ridge for the return and had a much better time.


Good info
07/07/2009 02:48
Thanks for the heads up on the west side of the ridge. Must be more of a snow route.

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