NORTH MAROON PEAK      Scrolling Photos     Back


From the overnight parking lot at Maroon Lake, Jeff and I hiked the 2+ miles to Crater Lake to find a nice 
camp site before it got dark and cook some supper.  On the way up I hailed two runners coming down the 
trail.  The guy saw my Grindstone 100 T-shirt and said to say hello to Clark, ie. Clark Zealand, the race 
director, so I asked him how he knew Clark.  Here I had crossed paths with Scott Jurek and his wife Jenny.
I hadn't recognized him without a pony tail.  He said he was there to pace Tony Krupicka the next day at the
Leadville 100M.  After wishing he and Tony well, Jeff and I made camp and settled in for the evening.

Arising at around 0530 I decided to tackle the hardest of the three peaks around Crater Lake - North Maroon,
then follow it with the others in subsequent days.  Jeff decided his hips would not take the climbing and that
he was still not acclimatized to the altitude, so he settled for being my sherpa and shuttling beer from the
car while socializing with the pretty tourists that frequent this lovely place daily.  While I missed his company 
I knew I could catch other climbers who started before me so that I wouldn't have to climb solo to summit.
All things considered and without bragging about it, I have yet to meet anyone who can ascend, or for that
matter descend, faster than me.

After hiking uphill through the woods from our camp site for a couple of miles I crossed the creek in
Minnehaha Gulch before immediately zigging and zagging across the north slope of the mountain to
quickly gain altitude.  After crossing a rock glacier I wrapped around a break in the cliffs where a family
of mountain goats watched with curiosity, providing opportunities for great up-close photos.  Reaching
a long gully I was able to climb up to and join a group of three engineers/geologists whose company I
shared for the rest of the day.  We picked our route by following cairns, picking up another engineer,
before reaching a chimney with some Class 4 challenges.  

Once we got beyond the chimney we were able to summit by patiently making our way up the mountain.
After a break on top we retraced our steps and were able to descend without incident to add one more
summit to each of our resumes.  

North Maroon Peak is notable as a difficult climb, but I didn't encounter anything that made me hesitate
or become anxious.  To descend solo after crossing the Cord between the two Bells, if one was not 
familiar with the route down, could have been challenging, especially with weather, but our climb and
descent presented no unusual or unexpected challenges.