Partners: Carl Dowdy, Derek Dreschel, Marc Barella
Route: Climb and ski of North Maroon’s North Face
Numbers: 7.2 miles, 4,400 feet
Carl, Marc, Derek, and I met up at the Maroon Lake TH in the predawn hours of May 23rd, 2010. Our goal: the uber-classic North Face of North Maroon Peak on skis. None of us had ever climbed or skied this face before, and given the notoriety of this face and it’s history, we knew we were in for a fun one.
We started from Maroon Lake at 3am under starry skies. With most of the approach melted out, we were able to stay in boots and keep skis on our backs all the way to Crater Lake. Heading north from Crater Lake we found ourselves stuck in a willow field, wallowing for several minutes each in branches up to our necks before finally breaking out below the North Face.
We elected to climb the face in its entirety as none of us had skied the route before. Those who know the way down through the cliff bands have the luxury of taking the ridge to the summit, which is both safer and more efficient.
The snow was getting soft as this face is practically more east-facing than north. An earlier start time would have benefited us greatly. We decided to pick up the pace but we had a tough battle ahead as the snow just got deeper the higher we climbed.
We strolled up the final few feet to the summit and immediately geared up for the ski. By now the snow down lower was likely getting soft and we wanted to get things rolling as quickly as possible.
Next was getting past punk rock, which is considered to be one of the cruxes of skiing North Maroon…
After reaching the parking lot, we retreated to Aspen for burgers and beers. Another classic one checked off the list.
Thanks for reading!