North Maroon Peak Trail Although this mountain is considered one of the toughest 14Ers, many find it totally difficult. It’s fairly simple and short on a clear day. That said, over the years, North Maroon has claimed many lives, including those of many professional climbers. Don’t be too soft on that.
North Maroon Peak Trail Description
Access to the visitor’s site in Maroon Bells is simple, and I’m not going to waste time on that . To get to North Maroon, just take the Maroon Snowmass Trail to Crater Lake, an excellent campsite if you don’t make a day trip. Walk about 0,75 miles from here and look for the turn left to cross the stream. Before coming to a rock glacier (a talus field) of red rock, continue briefly on a trail.
Cross the field of talus, remaining below you and to your left just above a cliff band as you make your way to some cliffs. In this area there may be a few cairns. Walk around the cliff to the south and recover a clear path. Walk about 100 meters and turn right, going up some rock/grass slopes of class 2+ for a gain of 200 ft. Hug some cliff bands to the left at 11,900 ft. and come through a grassy but steep and loose gully.
Travel along the trail to the south and walk along the cliffs. Get 600 ft. out of the gully. When you get out at the top of the cliff, angle to the left. Take a good trail and walk 3-5 minutes to the second gully (12,600 ft). From here on, the route is harder and requires good weather.
The second gully is steeper and rockier, with loose rocks easily crashing down at high speeds (wear a helmet). Follow an unclear trail up the rock band gully at a height of 12900 ft. The red cliffs are solid, but they are loosely covered. To hit the NE ridge, scramble up to 13,200 feet on class 3 terrain.
Prior to hitting a small area of talus at 13,600, scramble class 2+/3 terrain on the ridge crest. The essence of the climb is the cliff bands just above this. A tiny chimney in class 4, 10-12 ft in height, makes some fun moves possible. Continue to break out of the chimney and grade 3 at 13,700 ft. This is a perfect place to rest and enjoy the views, although it is very close to the summit itself.
Once past this point, there is a short class 3 scrambling over a few rock bands, and then the ridge is mostly a class 2+, 300 ft up again. To your south is South Maroon, to your east is the Pyramid, and to the northwest is Capitol Peak and Snowmass Mountain.
You’re never going to hate mountain goats as much as you’re on this path. As you go up steep, loose paths, they kick rocks at you mistakenly. Porcupines are infamous for chewing on brake lines on the lots at Maroon Lake. It is highly recommended that your car be wrapped with chicken wire when staying overnight. Mothballs are a reasonable alternative, but your interior may never smell the same even if you leave them on the floor under your car.