North Face of North Maroon Peak, Elk Mountains, Colorado

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Editor’s note from Lou: We’ve covered nearly every square foot of our house in Carbondale with Denali gear. By tomorrow we hope it’s all in our cargo trailer and we’re down the road burning mass quantities of diesel. We’re not sure where our first stop is, but the Sierra is tempting. We’ll pass through the Pacific Northwest then on up through the Yukon. Our glacier flight for Denali is scheduled for May 30, and we’ve got to get there a day or two before that to do red tape stuff and last minute food shopping, so that’s our schedule. Starting this weekend we’ll be blogging the road trip — hopefully from some somewhat different perspectives. I’ve been out skiing quite a bit, but nothing too exciting. Jordan had a run down the North Face of North Maroon Peak the other day that involved some amazingly good conditions for this time of year, so between gear mods and packing we put a bit of a photo essay together that perhaps shows the stellar day he and his buddies had up there. Enjoy.

North Maroon Peak Backcountry Skiing

Regardless of how many times I find myself up high, I never tire of the beautiful site of the sun rising in the east. My father wrote a song once calling it the Red Moon Rising.

North Maroon Peak Backcountry Skiing

The first rays of sunlight to hit your face in the morning are a warming reminder of why we spend time up high. Skinning on the apron of the North Face.

North Maroon Peak Backcountry Skiing

For me, the climb means as much, if not more than the ski. Here Ari Adler and Matt Kamper climb up the last bit of ridge before the summit.

North Maroon Peak Backcountry Skiing

Powder turns are a bonus to what is already one of the best days in the mountains I have had in years. Here, Ari enjoys soft recycled pow.

North Maroon Peak Backcountry Skiing

Matt getting a taste of why we climb mountains, and why we carry our skis with us.

North Maroon Peak Backcountry Skiing

Myself, getting in a last bit of Denali training.

North Maroon Peak Backcountry Skiing

This time of year is interesting, one starts with the skis and boots on the back, trail shoes on the feet, and past the dry and melted out area below, we finally get to put on our skins and skis, only to strap them to our pack again for metal spikes to climb the frozen spring snow.

Comments

14 Responses to “North Face of North Maroon Peak, Elk Mountains, Colorado”

  1. Jon Jay May 14th, 2010 12:53 pm

    Awesome pictures! Does this mean the gate is open for easier access now?

  2. Jordan May 14th, 2010 1:10 pm

    Sorry Jon,
    Wish I could say yes. We used alternative methods….

  3. Anton May 14th, 2010 3:21 pm

    This is an off topic question for Lou:

    The plastic piece of my Dynafit Vertical ST where the boot rests in horizontal touring mode broke off on Mt Rainier. Have you seen this happen before? Implications?

  4. Lou May 14th, 2010 3:58 pm

    Hi Anton, yes, that happens on occasion. It’s not good as your heel is then resting on the brake during each step in flat-on-ski mode, and various sorts of wear may ensue.

  5. Chris May 14th, 2010 4:15 pm

    Jordan:
    When did you ski the north face, this week? I’m trying to coordinate a climb/ski as well some time soon and am wondering if you have any thoughts to share on the snow conditions at this time.
    Chris

  6. Jordan May 14th, 2010 5:14 pm

    Hey Chris,
    We skied it on tue of this week. I’d say from a stability standpoint it was good for us. I would have a hard time commenting now though since i think it has been snowing/raining the last couple days.
    J

  7. Martha May 14th, 2010 5:25 pm

    good luck breaking out of carbondale. look forward to reading your road posts.

  8. Sb May 14th, 2010 5:57 pm

    Does anyone know when the road will open? Is it free of snow cover?

    I assume a bike ride in is a good option for approaching the bells. I don’t know if I’ll do it this year, but Maroon peak is high on my list.

  9. Jordan May 14th, 2010 6:33 pm

    Road is dry.

  10. SteveG May 14th, 2010 7:29 pm

    Anton,
    You should give Salewa customer service a call about warranty replacement. They have been very helpful with me on issues with their gear.

  11. joseph szasz May 14th, 2010 10:34 pm

    Gods speed lou, cant wait to read your updates. kick butt up there…well be praying for ya

  12. Mike T May 17th, 2010 3:08 pm

    Nice….

  13. Tony Dixon May 27th, 2010 3:22 pm

    I sure wish I could go to Colorado and just sleep on top of the biggest Mountain up there, that is one of the things to do on my very long to do list of the accomplishments for my Life. . .Well the list of things I would truly love to do before I die!

  14. Tony Dixon May 27th, 2010 3:33 pm

    I’ve only been at the most to three other States before in my whole entire Life, though I’ve never been to Colorado ever before! Though I know one thing before I die I can and will go to Colorado, along with seventeen other States and seven diferent Countrys. I mean I’m only twenty years old so I have quite a few years ahead of me so I might as well get started on putting a little Adventure into my Life right now!

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Welcome to Louis (Lou) Dawson's backcountry skiing information opinion website and e magazine. Lou's passion for the past 45 years has been alpinism, climbing, mountaineering and skiing -- along with all manner of outdoor recreation. He has authored numerous books and articles about backcountry skiing and is well known as the first person to ski down all 54 of Colorado's 14,000-foot peaks, otherwise known as the Fourteeners! Books and free back country news and information here, and tons of Randonnee rando telemark info.

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