Maroon Peak

Date to Climb: July 03, 2009

Date Climbed: July 21, 2009

Elevation: 14,156

Range: Elk

Latitude: 39.07080, Longitude: -106.98900

Route: South Ridge ll, Class 3

Round-Trip Mileage: 12

Pre-Approach Comments

Leave Culebra and go to Leadville. We are going to rest for an extra day before going to Aspen. My wife needs to visit Quincys for her beef fix. Hopefully we will find some energy.

Post-Approach Comments

After climbing Culebra on Saturday, the eighteenth, we declared we needed a rest day before continuing. We went to Leadville. On Monday we went to Aspen and finally (it took a while) found a campsite at Silver Bell. It was a walk-in site, but we were able to sleep in the car, as normal.

Pre-Climb Comments

These peaks have the reputation for being loose, steep, and hard to navigate. I could not think of a better person than Mark to climb with us. He likes loose nasty climbs. Weird, huh? He could not make it though. Ray and Monica will have to do. We hope to start very early. The climb looks hard from below, but looks can be deceiving. Jake will have to stay below, this is no place for a puppy.

Post-Climb Comments

We originally wanted to do the traverse, but decided it would be safer to do the climbs individually.

With Ray and Monica climbing with us, we left for the climb at 4. After driving to the trailhead we started the approach hike. For our first hike in the area we were amazed at how wonderful the trail was around Maroon Lake. As soon as we left that trail (less than a half mile) the trail was dusty, rocky, and rough as we continued to Crater Lake.

After passing Crater Lake the trail for Maroon started straight up and then got steeper. The trail (if you could call it that) was the steepest and hardest walking we had done so far on the trip. Everything was loose and got worse the higher you went.

Maroon slope

Do Not Be Confused, this is Steep

We finally reached the saddle after climbing 2,800 feet, and then were less than a thousand feet elevation to the top. How hard could it be? Pretty tough was our answer. Cairns allowed you to go in any direction. All the terrain looked very similar. There was little elevation gain, so the altimeter did not help either.

Fun times on Maroon

Fun Times on Maroon

We finally made the summit around eleven, but then had to go down. The traverse back to the saddle was as long as it was when we were going to the summit. We finally figured it out, but there was some head scratching going on.

Goat on a ridge

A Goat on the Summit Ridge

The 2,800 foot slope we climbed was endless going down. The creek at the bottom seemed to be getting farter away instead of closer. Our aching knees complained about the steep slope, but thankfully kept bending.

Arriving back at camp at five, thirteen hours later, we found a happy dog, who had been by himself all day. What a joy to have him to brighten up our day.

Luckily we did not have any bad weather. We were happy we made the summit and made it back without serious injuries.

Maroon Peak - July 21, 2009 summit check