After Capitol Peak Chris and I zoomed over to the Bells trailhead which doubles as a hub for every single tourist in the entire world with a camera. The backdrop to Maroon Lake is two mountains, two very scary mountains. We turned in early with visions of rubble dancing in our heads. Alarms buzzed at 3 a.m. so did the rain, 4 a.m. rain and thunder, 5 a.m. rain, 6 a.m. it starts to die off. 7 a.m. seems like a reasonable time to start Maroon Peak during monsoon season, right? Wrong.
I have seen this shot 4.5 billion times on instagram. I am far more interested on standing a top those two badasses in the background.
For no reason at all we climbed half way up the 2,000 feet of suck (more like 2,800 feet in .9 miles) and decided to try again the next day. If we had kept going we would have been stuck in a storm well before the summit. At least I got “the” instagram shot out of the whole ordeal. We went into Aspen and Chris played endless amounts of Pokemon while I ate fourteen different meals.
Stats – 13.1 miles/5,394 feet of gain (with a summit of 13,753)
Tomorrow, tomorrow, there’s always tomorrow. With our game faces on we set out around 4 a.m. for real this time. In day light we over shot the turn off for Maroon Peak. Cool. Once corrected, the up begins abruptly, and I mean this mountain goes up. My bread and butter is climbing up 70 degree loose dirt rock grass slopes at altitude. I was in heaven. I wish I was being sarcastic but, the more straight up and hellacious, the better. There are goat trails everywhere. There are goats everywhere. We quickly picked our way up until we gained the south ridge.
We crested the south ridge and what lie ahead but a pile of rubble…..
Eventually there is a very obvious and easy class 3 chimney full of rubble. (Both photos taken on descent)
After we rounded about ten more corners full of rubble we were faced with this daunting view.
This is a place to vigilantly route find and not screw up. We chose gully two, stuck to the solid rock on the left side, and exited just before the large patch of snow. It worked out so well we did the same thing on the decent. Below, our route is sketched out in blue. Gully one is an option, I am not sure why?
Notice the goat center stage background. Goats drop rubble bombs from above. It’s quite like a video game. Don’t die in a rubble slide, don’t get hit in the head by a rubble bomb, don’t put all your weight on a rubble hold…test everything, trust nothing. In this video game you only get one life.
After the gully there is another corner, and then another gully, and then another corner, and then a complex face, all covered in…. rubble. If you haven’t rounded 356 corners to consistently discouraging views of where the summit actually is then you have done something very wrong.
There are zero photos from Gully 2 to summit ridge and I am not sure any words can explain it better than Bill and Gerry’s. Just take your time to route find and all will be well. Gaining the summit ridge there is a move marked by a medium sized marmot turd. It is a blind move that requires pulling yourself up, so beware of a shitty situation. The summit is Elk Range beautiful.
The last thing you need to do is everything you just did but in the opposite direction.
Since so much of the route is spent circumnavigating the allegedly insurmountable PT 13,753, we decided to summit it on the way out. And we had a lovely scree surf off of it. We also got a nice view of Maroon Peak from its summit.
I was pretty surprised how fast we descended.
Oh and of course, goats.
I thought Maroon Peak was very fun and I would happily climb it again. As much as I joke, like Pyramid and Capitol, I don’t think it is as loose as everyone makes it out to be. However, Chris and I did have the mountain to ourselves and we are both (for the most part), quick, light footed, and nimble. North Maroon on the other hand……………** shakes fist angrily at sky ** is another story that I will someday tell.
“Motivation is a funny word. I don’t need motivation to do what I love the most.”