Leave the Maroon Lake parking area and walk past the lake on the trail to Crater Lake - Photo #2. Follow the trail for approximately 1.75 miles to a signed trail junction. Turn right on the Maroon-Snowmass trail that heads west - Photo #3. On the new trail, hike just over 0.75 mile through the forest to another trail junction - Photo #4. This is the turn for North Maroon Peak - turn left and follow the smaller trail down to the creek in Minnehaha Gulch. You can now see a broad slope that is covered with a mixture of trees, bushes and small boulder fields - Photo #5. The route zig zags up the slope to gain higher terrain just north of the peak.
Cross the stream (Photo #6) and walk through the bushes on a small trail. The trail is difficult to follow in some areas, so take your time and try not to lose it. Continue up through an open area and then climb up through thick bushes. The trail turns left near 10,900' and enters a small boulder field - Photo #7. Pass through the boulder field and turn right to continue back into trees near 11,000'. The terrain is steep and can be slippery when wet. Climb a small wall (Photo #8) and continue up to some rock outcroppings near 11,200' - Photo #9. Climb between the rocks and reach more gentle terrain near 11,400' - Photo #10. North Maroon is much closer now. Follow the trail through a grassy area to reach the rock glacier below North Maroon's North Face - Photo #11.
Walk over and follow cairns and trail segments onto the rock glacier. Cross the rocks while aiming for a break in the cliffs on the other side - Photo #12. Keeping looking for cairns and you should not lose or gain much elevation as you cross. Continue to the point seen in the center of Photo #13 where you should find a cairn and a more-defined trail. Photo #14 was taken from this point and looks back across the rock glacier. Walk south around a corner and continue on the defined trail - Photo #15. After about 1/10 of a mile from the corner, turn right and climb 200' of steep terrain below some cliffs - Photo #16. Taken from this area, Photo #17 is a view of both Crater Lake and Maroon Lake. Above 11,900', and below some cliffs, turn left and hike to a corner where you get your first look at the next portion of the route - a broad gully that climbs west toward the Northeast Ridge - Photo #18. For the remainder of this route description, this gully will be referred to as the 1ST GULLY because there is another gully that is climbed higher on the route.
Photo #19 is a closer look at the gully, from the corner. Follow the trail south into the gully (Photo #20) and under some ledges. After passing through the center of the gully, the trail turns right and begins climbing the left side of the gully - Photo #21. Your goal is to climb about 600' of elevation before exiting on the left side, below a towering rock formation, seen on the upper left of Photo #21. Albeit faint, there is a trail that zig zags up the gully. Much of this area is steep Class 2 hiking but, as you climb, the terrain becomes more difficult and requires more route-finding through small rock bands. Taken near 12,400', Photo #22 shows the rock formation near the top of the gully. Photo #23 looks back down the gully and Photo #24 looks north across the gully from approx. 12,500'. Well below the large rock formation, follow the trail left. Complete your exit of the gully by hiking to a point seen near the end of the arrow in Photo #25. Turn another corner (Photo #26) and traverse across ledges to reach the entrance to the 2nd GULLY near 12,600' - Photo #27.
Ok, things get a bit more serious beyond this point. This gully is steeper than the 1st and has plenty of loose rock near the top. If the weather is deteriorating, turn back! The remaining route is time consuming and is not a good place to be in foul weather. Follow the narrow trail (Photo #28) along ledges and cross the center of the gully (which requires a couple of steps over some loose rock). Photo #29 is the look back at the entrance. Once on the left side, begin climbing steep, grassy terrain - Photo #30. It quickly becomes obvious that this gully is more difficult than the 1st gully. Carefully follow the faint trail and keep climbing. Above 12,900', the gully gets steeper and there is more loose rock - Photo #31. In this photo, a hump of red rock is seen in the upper right. The route climbs to the left of that hump to reach the ridge crest.
Taken from the entrance to the gully, Photo #32 and Photo #33 show the upper portions of the gully. Your goal is to climb to the ledges below the ridge crest, just left of a small notch in the ridge (seen on the right side of Photo #33). Photo #34 looks down the gully and Photo #35 looks across to the northeast. Continue up steepening terrain to reach the area of the notch - Photo #36. Turn left before the notch and carefully climb ledges below the ridge crest. There are several ways to gain the ridge and all of them require Class 3 climbing on ledges - Photo #37 and Photo #38. Reach the ridge crest at approximately 13,200'.
Turn left to see part of the summit in the distance, but plenty of climbing and loose rock remains - Photo #39. Climb a short distance up the ridge and the crux of the route comes into view - a rock band at 13,600' - Photo #40. Continue up to the rock band - Photo #41. There is a Class 3 way around the rock band by hiking over to the right and ascending easier terrain, but most people climb the rocks directly, using a short, difficult Class 4 chimney near the tip of the arrow in Photo #41. Walk up to the pitch (Photo #42) and carefully begin climbing. Photo #43 and Photo #44 were taken in the chimney. At the top of the crux, turn right and follow easier terrain around some cliffs (Photo #45) before turning left to climb back to towards the ridge crest - Photo #46.
Climb onto a precipice (Photo #47) where you can see the remaining 300' to the summit - Photo #48. Leave the precipice and climb along the left side of the ridge crest on loose rock. Photo #49 looks back on the area. Pass through more ledges (Photo #50) to see the final 150' of loose rock below the summit - Photo #51. Photo #52 is another look back on the ridge. Follow trail segments up to the top - Photo #53. Photo #54, Photo #55 and Photo #56 are some views from the summit.
Photo #57 shows the east side of North Maroon and provides a good view of the route between the 1st and 2nd gullies.