South Maroon Peak - 14156' - South Ridge Class 3
I called up Stephan in mid June to see if he wanted to do a quick 14er. Since he wasn't too busy with summer field session at the time he agreed and we met up at the Genesee park and ride around 2am on a Saturday. We drove over in the dark and got to the Maroon Lake Trailhead right as a group of 4 sped up and dashed out of the car and began running up the trail. I was disgusted at their attitude but I managed to find out they were going to do the Bells Traverse. They didn't seem to care too much about what was around them. We took our time getting to Crater Lake and I shot some really nice sunrise photos. We continued up the Maroon Creek Trail to the bent tree which marks the boot path heading up the east slopes of South Maroon Peak. So after a quick snack we started up. The up never seemed to end as we kept ascending. I was feeling great since I had been doing this for a month now but Stephan hadn't climbed anything in awhile. The final 500 feet to the crest of the south ridge was the worst part. The rocks here were pretty loose but it was nothing that bad. It certainly didn't live up to the loose rock reputation as I was expecting. Once on the South Ridge we made a right turn and followed the well marked ridge up through chimneys, notches and over lots of nice third class sections until we topped out on the summit. The last hundred feet was simple and offered many route options. It was about noon when we reached the top and we saw a few people on the traverse. I was surprised that the couple we saw in the Bell Cord Couloir as we crossed the garbage chute well below hadn't reached the top yet. Once they did we mentioned we saw them way above us on the way in and they said they had never climbed so slow in their lives. Apparently the couloir was a real pain and basically out of season. After a nice summit rest we descended in about half the time it took us to get up and Maroon lake was crawling with tourists and it was hot. The AC at the car never felt so good!