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Maroon Peak  
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Route  Conditions Information  Posted By   Posted On    Photos  Comments Likes Dislikes    
2014-07-25  South Ridge  The 2,800 feet of suck still sucks, but the views are rewarding (Image #1). Any snow remaining on Maroon can be avoided (Image #2). The "first gully" is snow free, but the "second gully" has a snowfield blocking its entrance (Image #2). A party ahead of us attempted to climb under and around the snowfield to get to the "second gully" (Image #3), but after encountering difficulties chose to return to the "first gully." This would be my recommendation until after the snow fully melts. The "first gully" is a bit steeper, but if you climb along the rock rib on the right side it is fairly solid. Just keep in mind that this is the Elks, so you can‘t ever fully avoid the loose stuff! Many of the large cairns that I recall being at the entrances of ledges when I climbed Maroon last year appear to have been washed away, so finding the right ledges between gullies was a bit trickier. The viable ledges tend to be fairly wide and obvious though. It is pretty easy to keep things at Class 3, especially if you are willing to retreat a bit if you encounter things getting more technical. However, if you are lazy like me, you can usually get back to a Class 3 route by doing an easy Class 4 move occasionally. If not for the 2,800 feet of suck, this would probably be my favorite 14er. Have fun! Exiled Michigander   2014-07-28 4     Edit Delete 
2014-07-20  South Ridge Descending Bell Cord  Ice axe and helmet. At least two liters of water leaving the upper valley at 10,400. Snow was little option as a scenic route on the ascent. Descending the Bell Cord was "cliff after cliff", "I think see the bottom", "Looks pretty sketch but should be okay after this", "snow is gettin soft watch your feet" 19 hour hike. mtn_climber214   2014-07-24  0       
2014-07-12  South Ridge  There were a few snow fields low on the route that can easily be avoided. The upper route if clear of snow and many cairns have been placed such that route finding is pretty straight forward. gregpeak   2014-07-12  0  2    Edit Delete 
2014-07-02  Bells Traverse  Trail leading to Maroon was great, river crossing isn’t the worst I’ve done so far (Lindsey) this year and is easily done without getting wet if you’re coordinated and the rocks aren’t frozen over. Route itself is mostly snow free but there are snowfields before the ridge, all of which avoidable if you’re keen on climbing rock (class 3). Once on the ridge had to make a few small maneuvers to avoid snow including a large drift (4 feet+) blocking the trail, actually had to climb over it but was solid at 10am. There was one other drift at the top of a gully that needed to be maneuvered by sliding down it 3 feet into rocks, not a big deal. Traverse is pretty much in summer form and was the easiest part of the day for me. Descent of N Maroon should not be taken lightly in any season, but right now it’s just miserable. Crossed a few snowfields using my axe and climbed down ice/melt on the crux (video on flickr later, PM me if you want the link). Finding cairns wasn’t easy, but once I found my way to about 13,600’ it was pretty clear and isn’t bad at all if you know where you’re going. Seems like it’s melting out quickly, but if I were doing anything on N Maroon this weekend I would still want at least an axe. https://www.flickr.com/photos/98188324@N08/sets/72157645441582886/ marcstrawser   2014-07-03 4     Edit Delete 
2014-06-13  Bell Cord Couloir  Great conditions. Snow line crosses the W maroon trail and continues to the col. Be aware that crater lake has consumed a significant portion of the trail on its west side. Also, the streams are running at full tilt. I got an unexpected baptism on my way in. benglish   2014-06-13  0     Edit Delete 
2014-06-12  Bell Cord Couloir  The Bell Cord couloir is in good condition IF you get there early enough. The runnel (s) are fairly deep at 5‘ - 7‘ deep. The cornice the top is significant, so keep that in mind on your way up. Late day sun and rain can make the afternoons deadly - don‘t be there then. John Young   2014-06-13  0     Edit Delete 
2014-05-28  Bell Cord Couloir  Did the Bell Cord on Wednesday and found lots of snow. I‘ve never before seen a continuous line of snow from the Maroons‘ saddle to the valley floor after Memorial day. Nor have I seen so much snow on the trail below Crater lake. Unfortunately, the snow is dirty (Photo 1). It‘s also poorly consolidated. Much of the snow warmed in the sun to become gloppy mush, especially above 13,000 feet. There‘s avalanche debris everywhere (Photos 2, 3, and 4). So I wasn‘t surprised when on my descent of the snow field below the Bell Cord, an avalanche swept down the middle third of the field (I was off on the north edge). Finally, the summit has a cornice overhanging the east face. So stay to the west, a bit down from the apparent highest point, where you know that there are rocks supporting your weight. RWSchaffer   2014-05-29 4  5 1  Edit Delete 
2014-03-05  Bell Cord Couloir  Maroon Bells and Pyramid from the summit of Highland Peak. The Bell Cord looked like it has not had a slide since the last storm cycle. Based on the conditions of the Highlands Bowl (12,162 ft) this would put around 16" of new snow that did not seem to bond well to the existing pack. The storm deposited large wind slabs on east-facing aspects. Skiing in bounds at Highlands we set off a small sluff slide even after extensive avalanche bombing. Highlands Ski Patrol spent several hours bombing the bowl area that specific day. Note the natural slide in the foreground. Cool Hand Luke   2014-03-06 1  4 2  Edit Delete 
2013-12-30  Bell Cord Couloir  Winter TH at T lazy ranch all the way (~7 miles) to maroon lake is groomed road. Made for very smooth sailing. First 2/3 of Cord was pretty good snow. We (MadMike & SummitLounger) traversed closer to the cliff faces as we made our way around the garbage chute to avoid large open faces (after digging a pit that revealed some sketch). Top 1/3 of Cord is waist deep sugar. Felt good underneath us but very grueling work. FireOnTheMountain   2014-01-02 3  1 3  Edit Delete 
2013-08-04  South Ridge  Route Update: While other trail work may be ongoing, it appears CFI has completed a new access point for the east slope on the standard South Ridge Route on Maroon Peak. 3.25 miles from the trailhead, which is .25 miles BEFORE reaching the bent tree, turn right at the location shown in the photos. There is a large cairn next to a bush, and just past the cairn, you will see some large rocks anchoring a gradual trail across the small rock glacier. This trail bypasses the first steep section described in the standard route description; at both the old access, as well as when the new trail and old trail merge above, the old trail is marked as closed for revegetation. Big thanks to CFI and all of the folks who have worked on this. cdgibbons   2013-08-05 2     Edit Delete 
2013-07-04  South Ridge  Climb to the ridge is brutal ... crisscrossing steep trails. Do it early when the ground is moist. On the down-climb expect small rocks in baby powder. Ugh. Hardly any snow along the route, except for one fairly large snow field about 300 feet from the summit just beyond the LARGE GULLY. This appears to be dead center in the middle of the trail, but one Class 4 move to climbers right of the snow field gets you over the snow, then there is a clear route across the top of the snow field, no sweat. Vort. vorticity   2013-07-07  0     Edit Delete 
2013-06-30  South Ridge  Summer conditions. No need for traction or ice axe. Besides an easily passable and rocky ~10‘ snow crossing near the bottom of the SE slope the entire route is dry and good to go. You can easily bypass the snow if beyond your comfort level but considering the choss you‘re about to encounter it shouldn‘t be a problem. JEyez   2013-07-01 4  1  Edit Delete 
2013-06-01  Bell Cord Couloir  Climbed Bell Cord to summit and descended south and onto/into the SE Face/couloir. Departed TH at 2am and summitted at 10am via the heavily runnelled Cord. Unfortunately left me skies here, since the route was so beat up. Variable snow throughout with pockets, ice, good cramponing - a bit of everything. From saddle to summit, minimal snow & ice on the ledges, up to a heavily corniced ridge that extended all the way down the southern route. 11am on the snow was very wet and lots of rock, ice, and roller balls were flying around. Careful to not repeat my timeline and get down well after Noon. ulvetano   2013-06-03 4  1  Edit Delete 
2012-09-15  South Ridge  No snow anywhere on the trail. Small, short areas of mud which do not effect climbing difficulty. Route is still at summer conditions. Dathivas   2012-09-16  0     Edit Delete 
2012-06-16  Bells Traverse  There is no snow that you must cross on the way up Maroon Peak. The traverse is almost competely dry with the exception of a few spots that didn‘t hinder us. I believe we climbed the three cruxes mentioned in Benners‘ route description (or pretty close to them) with no ropes and no protection. DO NOT take this as me saying the traverse is easy. According to two members of the group, two of the crux pitches we took ranked as Class 5.3 and one as 5.4. The last bit of snow you do have to cross is at a saddle right before you start up to North Maroon. There was still snow and ice at the bottom of the 4th class chimney which one of our party members slipped and fell on while descending, but he was uninjured, thankfully. To avoid the chimney, the rest of us found a short downclimb to the right of the chimney (as you‘re looking at it while going down). It‘s kind of a large step, but there is a solid ledge beneath a small overhang that you can place your right toe onto and then step down with your left foot. First photo is of gregory_fischer climbing a dihedral on Maroon Peak. Second photo (credit rjansen77) is of me at the top of the third crux pitch on the traverse. tmathews   2012-06-16 2  9 1  Edit Delete 
2012-06-08  South Ridge  I climbed this on Friday. Rock fall was an issue. On my way day about 20 rocks (basketball size released about 300 ft. behind me and 20 feet above me. A helmet would not have helped. Otherwise, the route has very little snow on it. Nelson   2012-06-11  0     Edit Delete 
2012-06-03  South Ridge  Climbed Maroon Peak on the fabulous June 3rd and the trail from Maroon Lake to the junction with the Maroon Peak boot trail was snow free as was about 99% of the boot path all the way up to the 13,300 foot ridge on that long steep east slope. No traction needed. The south ridge was about 99% snow free with three small snow patches to cross/go around. Not much snow left on this mountain and a couple met us at the summit after doing the Bell cord and said "it sucked!!!" All the hype about this peak being a "loose pile of crap" is way overdone. I was surprised at how solid the ridge traverse and the east slope really was. No rock fall problems at all. Day was so nice we lounged at the summit almost 45 minutes. Traverse to N maroon looked mostly snow free...one party did it this day. PM me in you want more info. Matt Lemke   2012-06-04  0     Edit Delete 
2012-05-20  Bell Cord Couloir  Couloir is in good shape. With the snowfall the day before (on Saturday), there were a few localized areas of apparently new snow that haven‘t solidified yet, but the rest of the ~2‘000 ft couloir was in good shape for crampons. To our surprise, we encountered very little rockfall (I believe just one small rock that came down around 7.30am), but saw a few localized wet slides on the ridge just above the left side of the couloir. The western (shaded) side of Maroon peak was sketchy. With the recent snowfall, the ledges were covered in unconsolidated snow with ice underneath and the route (save for a few cairns here and there) was not obvious. The large cornice was "protecting" the final stretch of the route on the left side. Downclimbing back to the couloir from S. Maroon was ok for the most part with a few sketchy spots, and since we brought ropes for the traverse (which was ruled out once we saw the conditions), we elected to rappel down to the top of BellCord, bypassing the most sketchy downclimb area. We downclimbed BellCord facing in for the first 1,000+ feet, as it provided for 3 points of contact at all times for safety and the optimal body weight distribution in softening snow conditions. Each of us had either 2 ice axes or ice ax + ice tool. The lower portion of the couloir (~25 degree and below) was plunge stepped and/or glissaded down. Two separate group of skiers skied both Bell Cord and SE couloir. On another subject, the porcupines did not touch the cars which were fortified with chicken fence, mothballs and a splash of ammonia around the perimeter. Told rangers at the gate about last week‘s porcupine incident (they were not aware of it), and they said they will set up a trap - probably would make sense to follow up with them. Did not see a bear, but heard him and coyotes. Animals were definitely checking out our camp at the Crater lake, so hide/protect your food well. Will post pictures later. nkan02   2012-05-21  0  2    Edit Delete 
2011-07-30  Bells Traverse  South ridge still has a little bit of snow on it on the ascent from the West Maroon trail. In the dark, it can be difficult to see a way around it. You can skirt it to the hiker‘s right (above the snow). The rest of the ascent to the summit of Maroon Peak is mostly free of snow (some large snow areas can be avoided by staying close to solid rock to the right of the snow. The traverse is snow-free whether you take the ridge proper or skirt the first two cruxes to the west (left) of the ridge. There are a couple of areas of wet rocks on the descent of North Maroon, but not a lot to be worried about. tmathews   2011-07-31  0  5    Edit Delete 
2011-07-25  South Ridge  There is only one necessary snow crossing of about 15 feet on the lower half of the East Slope below the South Ridge, but it is melting fast. There is no other snow obstructing any part of the trail. First gully is completely clean and the second gully only has snow on the far side (not part of the cairned route). No snow gear necessary at all. Small snow pile on the summit, but easily avoidable. Joey   2011-07-26  0  1    Edit Delete 

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