Sunrise on the Maroon Bells. We left the trailhead around 6:40am.
Standard shot of Maroon Bells reflecting in Maroon Lake.
Looking up Pyramid's north face.
It was turning out to be a gorgeous day in the Elks!
The CFI makes a mean trail!
We opted for the less-standard Northwest Ridge route of 14er Pyramid Peak. This is the loose gully from 12,000' feet.
Ascending the loose gully required using feet AND hands!
Curious mountain goats.
Route finding on the west side of the NW ridge. We're not sure we followed the route beta but it worked just fine.
Ascending a gully on NW ridge.
The NW ridge route takes one up to the south ridge of Pyramid before swinging north to the summit. Before we reached Pyramid's summit we had a chance to scope out the ridge to Thunder Pyramid--a ridge we'd soon be on.
Bill tries to discern the best route on the Pyramid-Thunder Pyramid ridge.
Fifth class action on the way to Pyramid's summit.
On Pyramid at 10:00am. Maroon Bells in the background.
Alright, time to get it done! We took the ridge south from Pyramid's summit to Thunder Pyramid. Intel on this ridge was sketchy and we expected the ridge to be even sketchier.
Downclimbing a short bit of fifth class stuff just after leaving Pyramid's summit.
Passing through the major crux of the ridge traverse. After getting down through this section the ridge wasn't too bad. (That's relative, mind you! I don't mind sketchy stuff too much.)
A little bit more downclimbing but on better rock.
This is looking back at the ridge's crux section. We downclimbed on the right (east) side and it was very exposed, loose and crappy. On the bright side, the rest of the ridge was much better.
Yellow dots showing our line of descent from Pyramid.
Traversing on the ridge's east side on surprisingly good ledges.
A number of times we thought we had cliffed out only to find a way to get down. There was always a way. We never used a rope---the rock was too shitty.
This view pretty much made the whole traverse worth it.
Looking up at the final headwall to the summit of Thunder Pyramid. This also went easier than it looked like it would from afar. There was a short section of fifth class stuff though. Although, that could likely be avoided if desired.
The final low-fifth class section just below the summit of Thunder Pyramid.
Bill celebrates our successful adventure traverse as he nears the summit of Thunder Pyramid.
On the summit of Thunder Pyramid at 12:10pm. The traverse took us 1:35 which was faster than we had expected.
A look back at the ridge and Pyramid Peak.
From Thunder Pyramid we continued onto to Unnamed 13,722' (sometimes called “Lightning Pyramid”)
Relaxing on the summit of Point 13,722'. It was an awesome day! No threat of rain showers.
Descending the west side of ridge back down to West Maroon Creek. This was a tedious and unenjoyable descent. In my opinion it's worse than the ridge between Pyramid and Thunder Pyramid.
Sweet waterfall on the descent.
Back at the trailhead at 5:00pm. A ten mile, 5,600' vertical, 10.5 hour outing. It was grand.