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Maroon Bells

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Bell Cord Couloir 
Maroon Ridge T 
Northeast Ridge T 

Maroon Bells  

Photos:  Recent | Best | Popular
Elevation: 14,156'
Location: 39.0708, -106.989 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 36,327
Administrators: Ben Mottinger, Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monomaniac, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: ClimbandMine on Oct 30, 2002
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Afternoon light filters through the clouds, bathin...


Guidebooks will say that the Maroon Bells have some of the loosest rock in Colorado. On the standard route up South Maroon, this may be true, but there are better routes and easier ways to the summits of these peaks. These crown jewels of Aspen host a number of fine snow climbs and a spectacular ridge traverse with some of the finest views in Colorado. Unfortunately, you have to go down at some point, and the descent routes aren't overly enjoyable. Either descend the standard route off South Maroon, or follow the cairns of the North Ridge/North Face Route off North Maroon Peak to get back to Crater Lake and the trailhead.

Getting There 

From Leadville, drive south and pick up Hwy 82 to Aspen. Head through town to the roundabout. Follow the Maroon Bells Rd. up to the ranger station, pay your $10 parking fee and head up to the trailhead. Hike about 1.5 miles to Crater Lake, then follow the appropriate trail to your route.

We got up to Aspen the afternoon before, realized camping in the park is reserved, bought our parking permit, then drove out and over one drainage to the Conundrum Hot Springs trailhead to camp for the night. Call ahead (weeks or months???) to the USFS in Aspen to reserve a camp site in the summer season.

Climbing Season

Weather station 14.2 miles from here

3 Total Routes

['4 Stars',0],['3 Stars',2],['2 Stars',1],['1 Star',0],['Bomb',0]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Maroon Bells:
Northeast Ridge        Trad, Alpine, Grade II   
Bell Cord Couloir        Alpine, Grade II   
Maroon Ridge   5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c     Trad, Alpine, Grade II   
Browse More Classics in Maroon Bells

Featured Route For Maroon Bells
Kelly down climbs a colorful dihedral typical of the scrambling on the route.

Maroon Ridge 5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c  CO : Alpine Rock : Maroon Bells
Guidebooks describe the ridge connecting the Bells as 4th class. Everyone I've talked to who's done it from south to north has rated it from 5.4 to 5.7. If you climb the Bell Cord Couloir first (in my opinion the most enjoyable option, and the fastest), this is how you'll do it. By the way, the rock (at least on the ridge) isn't as bad as they say.From the summit of South Maroon, head back toward the Bell Cord Couloir notch. Either keep to the ridge or to the west side, following cairns as m...[more]   Browse More Classics in CO

Photos of Maroon Bells Slideshow Add Photo
The East face of the Maroon Bells, from the summit of Pyramid Peak.  Snowmass is visible to the right in the distance.
The East face of the Maroon Bells, from the summit...
Launching off the lower rock band on the North Face of North Maroon (Memorial Day, 2004-photo taken by Luke Taylor)
Launching off the lower rock band on the North Fac...
...saw this guy up there...
...saw this guy up there...
Sunrise on the Bells.
Sunrise on the Bells.
Summit of North Maroon at 7:30 a.m., early June 2007; Maroon Peak is to the right.
Summit of North Maroon at 7:30 a.m., early June 20...
Autumn in Maroon Canyon. Photo by Blitzo.
Autumn in Maroon Canyon. Photo by Blitzo.
June 16, 2002.
BETA PHOTO: June 16, 2002.
Anita and spouse John, North Maroon Bell, July, 14, 2006
Anita and spouse John, North Maroon Bell, July, 14...
Bob Ward on Pyramid, Sept. 2007.
Bob Ward on Pyramid, Sept. 2007.
Sunrise over Maroon Lake.
Sunrise over Maroon Lake.
Looking down mid-traverse on a somewhat snowy day.
Looking down mid-traverse on a somewhat snowy day....
Oooo...the Deadly Bells!
Oooo...the Deadly Bells!
The Bells. <br /> <br />Photo by MAKB.
The Bells. Photo by MAKB.
Mike (or was it Scott?) from Aspen makes his way down North Maroon at 8:30 a.m. in early June 2007. It was warm and snow conditions were quickly deteriorating.
Mike (or was it Scott?) from Aspen makes his way d...
Thought I was going solo.... Turns out my climbing partner decided to meet me on the top!
Thought I was going solo.... Turns out my climbing...

Comments on Maroon Bells Add Comment
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By Rob Mullen
Nov 7, 2002
The east chute on South Maroon make a nice snow climb and ski descent, (left most chute in the picture above); although we did not summit South Maroon from this route, due to the quickly softening snow on this east facing route. I would recommend forgoeing the summit on this route in favor of a ski descent in a heart beat.You can easily get 3,000 feet of skiing in on this route, but beware the garbage dump.
By Anonymous Coward
Dec 23, 2003
Bell Cord - great climb with some tricky route finding from the upper col. Do this route early as it becomes a shooting gallery after the sun hits the top. We left the trailhead at 10 pm and summited just after sunrise.
From: Santa Monica, Ca.
Jul 6, 2007
I did the North Face in the 70s. Basically a scramble up very large, very loose rocks. There were times when I was standing on things the size of a freight train car that were teetering back and forth. Do wear a brain bucket, but probably wouldn't help for most of the rocks if they have more than a 5 ft start.
By Monomaniac
From: Morrison, CO
Aug 4, 2009
These peaks are typically accessed from the Maroon Creek Road. During the summer weekends, this road is closed to private vehicles from 9am-5pm. Buses shuttle tourists up the road for $6 a head during this time. Additionally, from 7am - 9am, there is a $10 fee for each vehicle.

So, if you want to climb one of these peaks, plan your departure time so that you will reach the parking lot prior to 7am, to avoid paying any fees.