14er Ski Descents – North Maroon Peak – May 31, 2008
Route: North Face
Team: Christy, Ted, Dirk Bockelmann[Christy here} While there has been a lot of great skiing this spring, nothing would mean more to me than getting North Maroon Peak. For a while now Dirk and I have both pondered whether we were ready for the North Face or not. Ted has skied it a couple of times… Turns out we were ready!
We got started on the trail at 4:15 after seeing Neal Beidleman, Bob Perlmutter, and Pete Anzalone who were headed for South Maroon, catching up with Lou and Louie Dawson who had left an hour earlier. We hiked a mile or so on dirt trail to Crater lake and continued up frozen, supportive snow through one of the most powerful avalanche slide paths I’ve ever seen. At the bottom of the big snow bowl, below the huge north face, we put on our crampons and headed up, climbing the North/West Couloir left of the Gunsight Notch.
Making our way up the couloir we could feel it was getting warm fast. Getting into the shade of the couloir helped keep the snow firm and saved us from getting too sweaty.
Arriving at the top of the gully, Ted pointed to Willow Peak in the distance which had provided a fantastic ski day weeks prior. We were now ready for the spicy back side!
Turns out it really wasn’t that spicy…Up and over we went to a final short snow chimney to put us on the summit ridge.
As we climbed to the summit we gave a wave and yodel to our friends on South Maroon who were just summiting as well.
We hung out and watched them ski the East Face to the Bell Cord Couloir and then got going ourselves.
Here’s Dirk and I at North Maroon’s crux move through the uppermost cliff band. No sweat. We were able to keep our skis on our feet.
Crazy that being May 31, we still enjoyed wintery, soft turns off the top. After getting on the North Face it was nothing but fun!
(having fun with an ultra wide angle lens)
We couldn’t have been happier! For Dirk and me it was a long time coming so to have such an amazingly easy and enjoyable day we were ecstatic. I can say this was one of my most satisfiing 14er ski days ever.
[Ted here] What a day. I remember back when I first pulled this off and what a big deal it was to me. For three years since, Christy has wanted to ski this peak, going so far as to get an AT setup as she thought she’d be better off than attempting it on her telemarks. It was in the best condition I’ve seen, with the two potential rock cruxes still filled in. Add to it the beautiful weather and the excitement of having so many friends around, I think I agree with Christy, this was a great one.
There was a record turnout here today with a really good showing from the Aspen area in particular. Behind us on North Maroon came Pierre, Kirk, John Doyle and Pete Stouffer (and then another group of four from Telluride) and on South Maroon were the Dawsons(Lou & Louie), Neal, Perl, Pete, and Ian (as well as Jordan and his friends Andy and Tyler). With over twenty people on the two peaks it was definitely busy up there, in a good way though.