This route is a very fun alpine climb which features elaborate views of the Maroon Bells. Start from the Maroon Lake trailhead, and hike west for about one mile until you encounter in a small, faint boulder field. From here, hike south-south east to a steep hill leading into Pyramid's north face basin. There are two "notches" that are a possibility when hiking up to this basin, and you want to chose the one on the left (east). Once you have hiked into this basin, you will then hike up a steep hill on the right to gain the northwest ridge. Again, there will appear to be two possibilities when trying to scramble to the northwest ridge. You will want to climb up the one closest (northern most of the two) up to the northwest ridge saddle. Then you will reach a false ridge, and from here you will want to traverse west to the real northwest ridge on Pyramid (class 3). Once you have gained the ridge, hike on the west side of ridge until reaching a faint, but medium sized, rocky couloir. Climb 1/3rd to midway of the way up this couloir, and then traverse west under a large, dominate cliff band.Traverse until you have reached the bottom of a very narrow gully. Climb the gully.There will then be a series of narrow gullies; when you reach the top of one you will traverse west (right) until you reach the bottom of another one. Eventually you will reach the top of the northwest ridge. At this point climb southwest until reaching a very dominate bowl, at the top of a large couloir. Traverse the top of this bowl to reach the south ridge. Once reaching the ridge, climb a steep cliff band on the ridge. Walk to the summit. Most of the climbing is class 3 with an occasional class 4 move. The cruxes are in the first initial narrow gully, and on the steep cliff band leading to the summit on the south ridge. Enjoy, and wear a helmet!
Helmet and a possible handline 30 feet long.
BETA PHOTO: Pyramid's Northeast Ridge route from South Maroon
Andy wandering along shattered ledges on the route...
|Comments on Northwest Ridge
|By George Bell|
From: Boulder, CO
Sep 17, 2004
Yeesh, does it really look like the photo right now? I climbed this route a couple years ago and it seemed well cairned and fairly easy to follow. There is no doubt that this is an extremely hazardous peak, however. It seems to consist of piles of scree perched atop cliff bands.
The very top cliff band seemed the most difficult part of the climb. We didn't have a rope and the choice seemed to be an "easy ledge traverse" over shattered loose rock (along the brink of a 200' cliff!) or a 4th class section straight up the best rock on the whole peak. We chose the latter, and the first choice is the kind of easy looking terrain that can be fatal on this peak. Anyway we were glad we didn't have to go down this route. It's a nice loop to go up this route and down the standard route. There are much less people on this route than the standard route.