Peak(s):  Maroon Peak  -  14,156 feet
North Maroon Peak  -  14,014 feet
"Thunder Pyramid"  -  13,932 feet
Date Posted:  09/08/2020
Date Climbed:   08/30/2020
Author:  Will_E
 Bells weekend 2020  

Bells Traverse August 2020

South Maroon Peak is the most fantastic mountain in this state, this is without question. I had 2 summits of S. Maroon prior to this trip, they were fantastic. Summer 2020 I had 2 main goals: Make a sizable dent in the centennials, and complete the Grand Traverses. I made good headway on the centennials (as of now I'm at 80), so started looking at nice weather opportunities for the traverses. El Diente-Wilson was done last summer, got Little Bear-Blanca in July, then did the Crestones traverse earlier in August. I wanted the Bells traverse to be last, because I expected it to be the hardest (it was). I also had to do it last because I waited too long to try and get a parking reservation, when I booked my reservation in early July, late August was the earliest available. Fast forward to late August, and my weekend was here.

I started just before 6am, there were storms predicted in the afternoon, I didn't want to have to skip the traverse because of weather. The day started out relatively warm, despite cold weather (and some rain/snow) the day before. I climbed Bard peak on my way over from Aurora, I wanted to do something short and easy so I'd have fresh legs for a big Sunday effort.

Started out with a headlamp, days are getting shorter this time of year. I took an extra bottle of Powerade with me, and dropped it off at the Pyramid turnoff. I had in the back of my head that if I made good time and weather looked good I'd go for the trifecta and do Pyramid too.


20682_38
Caption Here


20682_01
My objectives for the day, from Crater Lake.


20682_02
Looking back on sunrise.


20682_15
Sun hitting the mountains from avalanche area. I hate waking up early, but sometimes its worth it.

Made my way across the valley floor to the start of the 2800 ft. of greatness.


20682_09
Playing with pano shots on the 2800 ft of greatness.

Didn't encounter any people until I started up the 2800 ft of greatness, passed a few groups there. Reached the top of the 2800 ft of fun in short order. Now the real fun begins.


20682_16
From the top of the 2800 ft of fantastic. S. Maroon is so beautiful. I love that mountain.


20682_10
A few sections had some snowy/icy rocks, but nothing super hazardous.


20682_17
Getting closer.


20682_18
Lame attempt at an artsy shot with a cairn.



20682_03

Reached the summit of S. Maroon in 3:50, pretty good time.

20682_04
Summit of S. Maroon. Best mountain around. Looking at Pyramid.


20682_07
Such a great view.


20682_22
Snowmass, Capitol and N. Maroon all in view.


20682_05
Eyeing the traverse.

When I first started getting into this mountain thing 2 years ago, I didn't think I'd ever work my way up to something like the Bell's Traverse. I've worked my way up to more challenging levels of exposure and physical abilities very progressively. But now I was here, and felt ready to tackle this route.


20682_12
Lots of snow and ice on the down climb off South Maroon. I took it pretty slow.


20682_25
Looking back up the initial down climb off S. Maroon.

20682_29


20682_27
The low point of the traverse is the Bell Cord Couloir. Someday....


20682_30
Time to start climbing up.

The route across the traverse is really pretty straightforward. I'm not the greatest route finder around, but really there's only so far you can wander off this route and live to tell about it. There are cairns here and there, but really its not difficult to figure out where to go. The views, the climbing and the exposure are great up here.


20682_11
Along the traverse.


20682_23
From the traverse. Favorite shot of the weekend.


20682_13
Looking down one of the rock towers I ascended.


20682_20
Looking back as I near the summit of N. Maroon.


20682_19
From North Maroon's Summit.

Made it across the traverse in 70 minutes. I think I could have done it under an hour without the snowy downclimb off S. Maroon. Something to shoot for next time. Descended N. Maroon's standard route and reached the Pyramid turnoff about 2:30. I knew I could get up and down Pyramid in about 5 hours, so I went for it. Made good time to treeline, and then clouds started building. Took my headphones out so I could listen for thunder, and continued through the amphitheater. As I reached the end of the amphitheater, I heard the dreaded thunder. Ugh. Altimeter showed me to be around 12,100, clouds to the west didn't look good, and I was probably 90 minutes from standing on Pyramid's summit. I reluctantly turned back. Getting to see the Pyramid goats on the way back down made it a worthwhile side trip.


20682_08
Turning back is so hard, but the thunder sounded close. Had a few lightning flashes on the way down too.


20682_21
Pyramid goats are the second best. S. Maroon is the best.

The next day I went up Thunder Pyramid, I'll spare the extensive play by play (I didn't take a lot of pictures anyway), and just say that the route is okay until reaching the long gully to the summit. That gully feels every bit as long as Red Gully on Crestone Peak, but its a loose sloppy mess. Glad I was alone in it. The views from Thunder are fantastic, its great seeing the bells and 'regular' Pyramid from different angles.


20682_31
Got off track a bit here, but got a nice photo from it.


20682_32


20682_36
Bells from summit of Thunder.


20682_35
'Regular' Pyramid.


20682_34
Stats from Bell's Traverse and halfway up Pyramid.


20682_33
Stats from Thunder Pyramid

Thanks for reading.






Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38


 Comments or Questions
greenonion

Holy Damn
09/08/2020 23:31
You do have a love for Maroon. Damn beautiful and interesting photos.


Jay521

What Green Onion said...
09/09/2020 10:59
Great pictures and a very solid effort!


climbingcue

Great weekend
09/10/2020 07:11
We climbed Pyramid on 8/30/20, only 7 people climbed it the entire day. It was awesome to have the summit to ourselves for the 45 mins we were on the summit.


ltlFish99
Excellent report
09/10/2020 23:32
What a great weekend and wonderful photographs.



   Using your forum id/password. Not registered? Click Here


Caution: The information contained in this report may not be accurate and should not be the only resource used in preparation for your climb. Failure to have the necessary experience, physical conditioning, supplies or equipment can result in injury or death. 14ers.com and the author(s) of this report provide no warranties, either express or implied, that the information provided is accurate or reliable. By using the information provided, you agree to indemnify and hold harmless 14ers.com and the report author(s) with respect to any claims and demands against them, including any attorney fees and expenses. Please read the 14ers.com Safety and Disclaimer pages for more information.




© 2020 14ers.com®, 14ers Inc.