Peak(s):  Maroon Peak  -  14,156 feet
Date Posted:  09/19/2009
Date Climbed:   09/18/2009
Author:  scottfarish
 Maroon Peak - where 10 miles feels like 30.  

Josh, Jeff (aka Slim Shady), and I all decided to hit one of the Maroon Bells today. Jeff and I left Littleton at 3am, and we knew we would be flirting with typical Elks Range thunderstorms if we were on the trail by 7am. Nonetheless, we decided to press our luck in order to experience the object of many postcards and calendars - Maroon Peak. We knew that this would be a long hike - 10 miles round trip on the standard class 3 route. But the three of us have done hikes in the past that were well over 15 miles in length. What we learned today was that 10 miles can quickly feel like 30, and after 11 hours of hiking, we should never underestimate the mountain. It will quickly make you feel pain and test your endurance.

The misleading thing about Maroon Peak is that you gain most of your elevation quickly on the grassy slopes, but expect that your last 1000 feet will go just as quickly. This is hardly the case... the last 1000 feet of elevation require intricate route-finding and careful planning. Going off-route can lead you into some precarious positions on cliffs and dead-ends. If you have a GPS, I highly recommend downloading Bill Middlebrook‘s .GPX file for associated route from this site. His waypoints are dead-on, and following his "bread crumb trail" helped us immensely on the ascent and descent. Thanks, Bill!

We finished the 10-mile/11-hour jaunt in pouring rain, but happy with our successful summit for the day. Those peaks could be covered with snow by tomorrow (9/19).

The group before the hike (no, we did not subject the kids to this torturous jaunt!)

The colors at Maroon Lake should be peaking within the next 3 days.

Josh is ready to begin the steep ascent up the grassy slopes.

Slim Shady on the bent tree. Look for the cairn just past this tree that directs you up the steep grassy slopes.

The summit shot. I feel very badly that I did not give Slim Shady the chance to bust out his calling card: cigars at the summit.

The clouds are rolling in... time to get off this summit.

Slim Shady wonders if this is mile 9 or 29???


Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

Excellent hike!
09/24/2009 22:12
Great TR, Scott! Looks like you had a blast. Boy, the rain has sure beat you up the past couple of weeks, huh? ~ Jay

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