ElevationAscent: 4,393' 1,339 m
Descent: -4,393' -1,339 m
High: 13,961' 4,255 m
Low: 9,568' 2,916 m
GradeAvg Grade: 21% (12°)
Max Grade: 123% (51°)
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“One of the most demanding Colorado 14ers boasts incredible views of the Elk Range.”— Tyler Prince
Dogs cannot hike Pyramid Peak. It is technical enough to be regarded as a climb more than a hike, and a helmet is required for the upper 1000 ft.
The fastest hikers should expect 6 hrs round trip, with 10 hrs being a reasonable time for the less ambitious.
From the upper lots, walk along the Maroon Snowmass Trail, leaving Maroon Lake and gaining a small amount of elevation along a mellow but occasionally rocky trail. After about 1.5 miles, turn left toward Pyramid Peak just below the upper lake (Crater Lake). Continue through a flat area before the going gets steep. Hike up steep switchbacks before reaching a boulder field below 12,000 ft, known by hikers as "the amphitheater."
This is where the real hike starts. There are some cairns in the boulder field, and the CFI has done a good job building the trail. Continue up the rocks and to the left to find a gully to the east of Pyramid's impressive north face.
The next thousand feet is brutal. This gully is so steep even the fittest hikers will likely have to stop for a breather every few minutes. You'll gain 1,000 ft in about 0.2 miles, topping out on a ridge.
From here, things are much more fun. Turn right and climb over several gendarmes, or traverse them just to the right. Once the grades gets steep again, your goal is to search for cairns to the left of the ridge. Traverse along loose rocks. In a few minutes, come to a spot referred to as the "leap of faith." It's not a leap - just a big step between rocks. Immediately cross some narrow ledges, clinging to the rocks to your right to avoid the exposure to your left. This area is short and underwhelming. Don't be scared!
From here, turn right up a short red gully and follow cairns to the "green gully." The rock here has an unmistakeable green tint, and can't be missed. Scramble up solid rock in this gully for about 300 ft before finding cairns below the summit. Continue scrambling fun class 3-4 to reach a false summit. There are some fun class 5 moves near here that provide a fun challenge for the more experienced climber. Once on the false summit, it's a 1-2 minute walk up to the true peak. Stop and enjoy the views...it's a long way back down!
There are some particularly nimble mountain goats on this mountain. They tend to kick rocks down on unsuspecting climbers, so be careful.
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Land Manager: White River National Forest - Maroon Bells