Peak(s):  North Maroon Peak  -  14,014 feet
Date Posted:  07/14/2018
Date Climbed:   07/13/2018
Author:  ronbco
 You can avoid the chimney and other musings  

As many experience, we did not think to take a good look at the chimney from the top so we could recognize it on the descent. So we wandered around a bit when we could not find an easy way down not realizing we were at the chimney.

in the looking around I found an easy, safe way down just a short distance right (as looking down the slope). I did not take a pic but here is my recollection. There is a ledge/slab that you have to swing around but then you see a couple steps down to a drop of just a few feet, definitely not class 4. Seems a better choice than hiking way around as described. One of our party still chose the chimney just for fun but was glad to have one of us spot/guide him.

Now a word about my overall rating of this peak. Everything I had read gave me the impression this would be comparable to Pyramid and a bit more than Maroon Peak. I’ve climbed all but Capitol and Little Bear. So I have some context. This was much more exposed than Pyramid and more dangerous and unsettling than say the Wilson ridge.

I now consider N Maroon as the most dangerous of all I’ve climbed. The 2nd gully is very steep and takes quite a bit of time. If you fall and roll once it will be over. We stared at it not seeing a trail and not fathoming how it could be safe to descend. Of course when you steel yourself and start on it the trail reveals itself a short distance or a cairn at a time. The chimney itself after you get to the ridge is no big deal to upclimb but it is awkward to find the right moves. But beyond that there were at least a couple other places requiring class 4. Overall it’s just a lot of hours of exposure that wears on you.

on the return down the 2nd gully I would have crossed over the rib to the 1st too soon but fortunately my more aware sons had taken a mental picture on the way up. It was a lot further down than I guessed.

As usual the descent was not even a hint of as worrisome as we feared. But certainly if it seems likely any moisture will come then don’t start up. Of course that would be a really difficult choice after finishing the first gully.

bottom line of this report...this peak is underrated in terms of exposure and the amount of class 4 climbing. But you can easily avoid the downclimb of the chimney. Hopefully some one else will find this and take a pic and correct any of my misremembrance to help future climbers.

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