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Mountaineering: Colorado > White River National Forest > Aspen Ranger District

Quick Facts

Pyramid Peak

Beginning Elevation: 9,600 Feet (2992.5 Meters) Maroon Lake
Difficulty: More Difficult
Elevation Gain: 4,418 Feet (1377.2 Meters)
Ending Elevation: 14,018 Feet (4369.7 Meters) summit Pyramid Peak
Length: 6 Miles (10.0 Kilometers)
Trail Number: N7906

Satellite and Topo Map

General Description

Climbers on Pyramid Peak, one of Colorado's most difficult and dangerous climbs
Copyright: Marshall Hall - Interactive Outdoors, Inc.
Climbers on Pyramid Peak, one of Colorado's most difficult and dangerous climbs
Pyramid Peak is one of Colorado's most difficult and dangerous fourteen thousand foot summits. A sign at the trailhead toward the Maroon Bells peaks reads: “The beautiful Maroon Bells, and their neighbor Pyramid Peak, have claimed many lives in the past few years. They are not extreme technical climbs, but they are unbelievably deceptive. The rock is downsloping, rotten, loose, and unstable. It kills quickly and without warning. The snowfields are treacherous, poorly consolidated, and no place for a novice climber. The gullies are death traps. Expert climbers who did not know the proper routes have died on these peaks. Don’t repeat their mistakes, for only rarely have these mountains given a second chance. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO CLIMB IF NOT QUALIFIED”. The information provided here is for general information purposes only and no warranties are made as to its accuracy or suitability for use. This information is not sufficient to guarantee a safe climb. Use at your own risk and do not use if you are unable to assume full responsibility for you own safety.

Start at the break of dawn (or earlier with headlamps) from the Maroon Lake parking lot. Follow the Maroon-Snowmass Trail to within a 1/4 mile or so of Crater Lake. In the middle of a very rocky, treeless section, look for a cairn on the left and the start of an extremely steep climbers trail that takes you up into a large bowl often referred to as the amphitheater. Cross easy snow fields to reach the head of the bowl. On the left side of the bowl another extremely steep climbers trail ascends several couliors to reach a saddle on the east ridge of Pyramid. Following the ridge, skirt to the right (west) to avoid an unnecessary peak let and to reach another often snow covered saddle. Just before the top of the next peak let, a well marked system of ledges skirts to the left (east) of the major false summit. Ascend a light band of rock to reach the summit block. Follow the cairns up a series of ledges to reach the summit, keeping right to avoid the extreme exposure on the left side.

The view from the summit is spectacular, offering a striking, seldom seen view of the Maroon Bells. Enjoy your brief time here and be very mindful of the weather. A descent amidst rain and lightening is not a good idea. Care must be taken on the difficult descent as this is the most likely time for an accident to occur. Check and double check all hand and foot holds. Be very careful not to dislodge any of the numerous loose rocks on parties below.

A successful climb of Pyramid Peak is a very enjoyable and satisfactory experience. However, do not hesitate to turn back if the conditions or weather are not optimal or if you are not having a good day. The peak will always be there for another attempt.

Directions from Aspen: Drive 1/2 mile west of Aspen on Highway 82 and turn left onto Maroon Creek Road at the roundabout. Keep right and continue 9 1/2 miles to the Maroon Lake Parking Area. From mid-June through September, the Maroon Creek Road is closed from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and you will need to take a shuttle bus from the base lodge at the Aspen Highlands Ski Area. You can also catch a bus from Ruby Park in Aspen to the lodge. If you are taking the bus, you are well behind schedule and should wait to attempt the climb on another day. The bus includes an informative guided tour of the valley. Contact the Roaring Fork Transit Agency at 925-8484 for more information.

Seasonal Information:
Normally Accessible: July through September (NOTE: Climbing conditions vary greatly. Experience a must!) .

Current Conditions & Trip Reports
Ranger TipLeave the trailhead at dawn or earlier so you are off the mountain by the time afternoon thundershowers start.

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Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: Climbing report on Pyramid Pk. for 9-28-00. Had 2-8' of snow last 800' to summit. Made for slippery conditions on narrow ledges and chimneys ascending to summit. Weather was mild and partyly cloudy. Went up nw ridge and came down ne ridge. Lots of exposure at top of mountain. Cant get careless on summit ridges. Made summit from parking lot in 3hrs 2 minutes. Best time for me in 5 climbs of Pyramid. Craig Greenshields-Co. Sps. email..... craiggreen@yahoo.com

Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Mountain Climbing A very difficult and dangerous climb.

Related Activities
Maroon Creek Area - The Maroon Bells Recreation Area is located southwest of Aspen and is subject to entrance fees. The most photographed peaks in North America, the spectacular Maroon Bells, are the focal point of this area.

Maroon Creek Road - Maroon Creek Road leads to Maroon Lake and the Maroon Bells, the most photographed mountains in the country. This route is good for taking an all day trip with a picnic stop.

Maroon Peak - Maroon Peak is one of the peaks within the Maroon Bells grouping. It's elevation is 14,156'. This is a dangerous climb that should only be attempted by well equipped and experienced mountain climbers.

North Maroon Peak - North Maroon Peak is the middle peak of the Maroon-Bells range. No one should attempt this dangerous climb without the proper equipment and without advanced mountain climbing skills.

West Maroon Portal Trailhead - The West Maroon Portal provides access to the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness. The Maroon Creek and Maroon-Snowmass Trails start from here.

More Information
Frequently Asked Questions
Email the Local Ranger

Visitor Information:

Aspen Ranger District, 806 W. Hallam , Aspen, CO, 81611, Phone: 970-925-3445


Local Lodging

Stay at the Aspen Square Hotel
Stay at the Aspen Square Hotel

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