Avg: 2.9 from 36 votes
|Type:||Trad, Alpine, 4400 ft, Grade II|
|Page Views:||2,441 total, 24/month|
|Shared By:||Monomaniac on Aug 4, 2009|
|Admins:||Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac|
DescriptionThe Northeast Ridge is the standard summit route for Pyramid Peak. Like all routes on Pyramid, there is plenty of loose rock and tricky route finding; however, for competent rock climbers, this is an easy scramble. If you follow your nose and stay on route, the route is fairly tame.
This is a fairly short climb, by 14er standards, only about 8 miles of hiking round-trip; however, there is a great deal of scree & talus hopping, making progrss slow & tedious. This is an alpine summit, so be prepared to deal with altitude, extreme weather, etc.
Begin at Maroon Lake, ~10 miles SW of Aspen. Follow the trail towards Crater Lake, for ~ 1 mile. The trail heads along Maroon Lake, then up a steep hill in the woods. The trail pops out of the woods, and follows a classic moraine for several hundred yards. After ~30 minutes (from the parking lot) there is an enormous cairn on the left marking the new trail to Pyramid Peak. Turn left and follow this trail.
The Pyramid Peak trail begins fairly flat, heading SE across the ancient glacial valley. After ~ 5 minutes, the trail hits the valley wall and begins switchbacking up the steep slope. The trail crosses a number talus fields on its way up to the North Face Cirque. After about 30 minutes of steep hiking, the trail ends at the mouth of an enormous talus filled cirque. This is the North Face Cirque. The impressive N face of pyramid is visible.
Hike due south into the cirque, which probaly has some snow fields. Follow the snow where its safe to do so, otherwise hug the right side of the cirque, following an intermittent cairned trail. After a tedious, steep climb up, a broad plateau is reached, just below the N Face. The NW Ridge splits off here. For the NE ridge, head L (WSW), hopping talus across the basin, aiming for the west wall of the cirque.
Likely the least pleasant section of the route climbs the steep west wall of the cirque via a series of scree-filled couloirs. There is a well beaten trail leading to the correct couloir, and there should be a number of large cairns. Follow this couloir to about half-way up the face, then traverse up & right to the next couloir, which is followed to the top of the wall, to the Northeast Ridge. There is plenty of loose rock in this couloir, so wear a helmet and take care not to knock rocks down on climbers below.
Once atop the wall, follow the Northeast Ridge towards the summit. This route is well cairned, and well-beaten. If you find yourself on untrampled ground, you are off-route.
The first section of the ridge climbs more or less directly on the ridge, with a few short diversions onto the N (right) side of the ridge. Eventually the route turns to the S side of the ridge, and from this point stays to the S pretty much until the summit. The route winds up and down, left & right. Follow your nose, and don't climb over any loose rock. The correct route is totally solid and not sketchy. There are a few key points where down-climbing is required to stay on the best rock, so look down if you don't see the obvious route.
There are a number of short, fun, 4th class boulder problems on good rock that will be required to surmount various rock steps.