Pyramid Peak

Date to Climb: July 04, 2009

Date Climbed: July 22, 2009

Elevation: 14,018

Range: Elk

Latitude: 39.07150, Longitude: -106.95010

Route: Northeast Ridge ll, Class 4

Round-Trip Mileage: 8

Pre-Climb Comments

We did not have to move camp to get another loose, nasty climb! Pyramid is supposed to be a good climb and one of the harder Fourteeners. We hope it will be easy enough to give us somewhat of a rest - relatively speaking after doing the Maroon Peak. The rock is supposed to be better, we hope so. Should be fun.

Post-Climb Comments

Monica decided not to climb with us on Pyramid, but instead was going to take care of Jake. We could not leave him alone for two days in a row. We are so grateful Monica was staying with him.

We did not start until 6 as we were still reeling from our climb of Maroon Peak. With Ray in tow we headed back up the trail toward Crater Lake. Turning off the trail we followed a relatively new CFI trail toward Pyramid. The trail took the effort out of the slope. Without the new trail we could only imagine how bad the approach might have been.

The trail led to a cirque at an upper basin below Pyramid’s imposing North Face. Luckily, the basin was filled with snow. Soon we were making quick progress as we walked across the hard packed snow. If we would have had to cross the boulderfield, which was buried beneath the snow, it would have probably taken us at least an hour longer to reach our destination a nasty scree slope leading to a shoulder.

Pyramid Saddle

Pyramid from the Saddle

Changing gears we crept up the steep slope of loose rock and gravel. It was not a pretty sight. Ray was probably wishing he was still in bed. For that matter we were wishing we were still in bed!

At the top of the scree the climbing began. Suprisingly the route followed good rock and had excellent cairns. Oh, there was still a lot of loose stuff and bits of route confusion, but nothing like what was on Maroon.

After following the ridge for a few minutes we were confronted with the infamous traverse. The move crossing a small chimney or gulley was trickier than the traverse. The traverse was on solid rock, crossing a solid ledge with a couple of bulges thrown in for fun.

Climbing Pyramid

Climbing the Ledges

After the traverse the route weaved its way up a green face and then eventually back to the right and then left to a ridge. Class 3 and possibly 4 moves brought us to the final summit ridge. It was only minutes and we were on top. What a great climb. The good rock route over shadowed the nasty scree slope. We all considered Pyramid to be one of our favorite climbs.

On the summit we met a climber who had passed us on the trail. He was a great guy who worked with the medical services staff of a ski resort. He had climbed North Maroon and told us he thought we would like it, if we liked Pyramid.

On the way down from the summit we met a couple who we had first met on Culebra the week before. We stopped and shared peak news for a few minutes and then were off again.

By picking a better route through the scree, we were able to make quicker work of the nasty slope. We moved even quicker down the sun softened snow and then onto the trail. Amy and I had stopped where the trail began again and were piddling with our shoes. Ray headed for the car, alone.

Pyramid Trail

The Pyramid Trail, marked by Cairns

We could see that Ray was five minutes ahead of us as we switchbacked on the trail behind and above him. Walking at a brisk rate we never caught up with him. A rare day that Ray, who is not know for being a fast walker, had beat us to the car. But, when we arrived at the parking lot, he was not there. After a few minutes trying to figure out where he was, we decided that he must have taken a wrong turn at an inobvious junction.

A few minutes later Ray appeared and asked puzzled, how did you get ahead of me? A navigation error let us beat him back to the car!

It was great to have Monica and Ray with us. We were able to climb a few of the mountains together as well as share camp times when our climbs differed.

They also helped us finish the fourteeners by taking Jake home with them. The climbing was too hard for him and we did not want to leave him in the car again. They volunteered to take Jake back to Nashville and Jon and Laura volunteered to keep him until Diane (Amy’s Mom) got back in town.

Thanks to all.

We decided to do North Maroon the next day.

Pyramid Peak - July 22, 2009 summit check