Peak(s):  Pyramid Peak  -  14,018 feet
Date Posted:  09/14/2009
Date Climbed:   09/11/2009
Author:  geoffers
 Deathstar Pez and Glenfiddich on Pyramid  

After many, many years I finally climbed Pyramid Peak, my 54th and final 14er! To celebrate the occasion we dug out the 80 litre packs and filled them with Colorado microbrews and a half-bottle of Glenfiddich.

Our trip went something like this :

Day 1 : flew into Aspen, stayed at Silver Bar campground (8500 ft)
Day 2 : drove to Maroon Lake trailhead then hiked to Crater Lake (10000 ft)
Day 3 : climbed Pyramid Peak (14018 ft) and returned to Crater Lake
Day 4 : hiked back to Maroon Lake then stayed in Aspen
Day 5 : flew off

We had read about the loose rock and the "leap of faith" in many of the reports, but in the end they turned out to be fairly minor obstacles. The hardest part for us was the unrelenting slope - from Crater Lake about 4000 ft of very steep UP with no breaks until the summit block.

The weather was perfect on this attempt, and it seems we were very fortunate. The next day it rained a little as we hiked out, and the following day we could see snow on the mountain tops.

We put the BAR in Silver Bar campground!

The usual Maroon Bells photo :

Crater Lake campsite #2. Sites 1 and 2 are small but are closest to the lake and the Buckskin Pass junction. The other sites are quite a way from the lake, although site 6 does have its own stream. No camp fires allowed!

The view from our camp. We spoke to a Ranger on the way out and apparently it is normal for the lake to be this dry in September.

Tim making some final adjustments before we set off at 4:50 am. Some friends from Woodland Park, Jason and Chad, were supposed to leave the Maroon Lake trailhead around 5 am, so that we would eventually meet up somewhere in the amphitheatre.

Lo and behold, somewhere in the amphitheatre we met Jason and Chad! From left to right : Chad, Jason, me and Phil. Phil was also on his last 14er, but set a blazing pace and reached the top well before the rest of us.

Capitol Peak creeping into view as we headed up to the 13000 ft saddle :

The "leap of faith" gap in the ledges. There is quite a drop but the ledge itself is rock solid :

Action hero Tim doing a "stride of faith". If you have long legs it's merely a short step across a narrow crack.

I was climbing so fast there was steam coming out me ears!

Chad taking the lead on some typical Pyramid terrain :

Tim searching for a good handhold :

Just a few minutes from the summit. On the way up we generally stayed on the face rather than the ridge.

Stepping onto the summit of Pyramid with Snowmass and Capitol in the background. Check out the cool vapour trails!

On the "diving board" with 14ers all around :

Tim brought Deathstar Pez to the top of his third 14er :

I carried a more important cargo - 12 year old single malt Scotch!

Pouring a wee dram into a shot glass. This was enough for 7 people - me, Tim, Jason, Chad plus 3 other climbers we had met earlier. One sip is all you need at this altitude.

Back to the more serious business of getting down safely. Jason found an easier route on the ridge, which was well cairned too.

Surveying the boulder field from around 12300 ft :

These three cairns guard the base of the amphitheater :

The aspens were bright yellow in places :

This little pika seemed quite happy to pose for a photograph :

Leave No Trace - we left no trace of the beer nor the bottles!

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

09/15/2009 02:34
It was a pleasure joining you for your final 14er. Here‘s to many more successful climbs together.

Thanks for the scotch....I wish I could have stuck around for more.



09/15/2009 03:57
That is a nice stylish finish.


09/15/2009 04:59
I like your shot glass with the ‘biner on it! Cool!
congrat‘s on your finish.


Very Cool!
09/15/2009 12:26
Congratulations on your finishing the 14er‘s.
Great accomplishment.

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