North Maroon Peak - 14014' - Class 4
Sleeping Sexton attempt
I had wanted to do North Maroon since I had done South Maroon with Stephan earlier in the month plus I wasn't going to let josh go to Colorado without seeing the Maroon Bells. So I found time to head over to Aspen and once again I camped at the Maroon Lake parking lot and we woke up before sunrise to start of the trail. However we messed around at the lake a little bit and was able to get a beautiful sunrise photo of the famous reflection. So we continued to Crater Lake and up the valley. This time though we turned right and took the trail up towards Buckskin Pass. We found the boot path heading to North Maroon and followed it as it crossed the creek and climbed steeply up to North Maroon. I was amazed how far up the mountain class 1 terrain led to. We continued all the way to the NE ridge and slightly further before the trail petered out enough to call it class 2. Up the gully we went just to the left of the crest and on to the crux chimney. This 15 foot chimney is class 4 but it was almost a joke. Just a couple easy moves and we were up. Beyond that it the views of the Elk Mountains really started to come out with Snowmass and Capitol just to the west. the final 100 feet Josh felt the need to race me up to the summit which I won (sorry Josh). Finally once on top I was able to see the traverse to South Maroon. Since I climbed both peaks separately I didn't get to do the traverse but someday I will do it. Another warm day allowed us to sit at the summit for a half hour before making the trip back down to the Buckskin Pass trail. Since I also wanted to try Sleeping Sexton, we walked a little bit further up the trail and aimed for the giant gully to the north and east of the northern sub-summit. I knew the true summit is the nose and I had to find some secret ledge to access it. We ascended the talus ridden gully to where the terrain became cliffed out and cut south and scrambled up the class 3 east ridge following cairns to the summit of the false summit. Josh decided he was done and headed down a little to rest. I kept going and descended 100 feet to the southwest towards the true summit and looked for the ledge (getting off route a few times already). This ledge is key to making the traverse to the true summit but when I got to it I chickened out as it was so tiny with hundreds of overhanging feet below and big bulges to pass that could make you fall. So I just tuned around and met up with Josh again and we made the long haul out to the car. Just as we reached Crater Lake I saw a few friends from the swim team at Mines headed up to ascend South Maroon. I gave them some beta since I recently did it and they were off.