Maroon Bells

Elevation (feet): 14,156
Elevation (meters): 4,315
Continent: North America
Country: United States
Range/Region: Elk Range Area
State: Colorado
Latitude: 39.0708
Longitude: -106.989
Difficulty: Scramble
Best months for climbing: Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep
Year first climbed: 1890's
First successful climber(s): C. Wilson
Nearest major airport: Aspen, Colorado
Convenient Center: Aspen, Colorado

Maroon Bells are sometimes counted as two peaks, Maroon Peak and North Maroon Peak. The saddle that separates them, however, is only a 234 foot drop, so geologically this is actually a single mountain with twin peaks. In any case, the Maroon Bells are perhaps the most picturesque of Colorado's fourteeners, but they are also the most challenging, offering steep climbing on poor rock.

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.

Trip Reports

NOTE: Trip reports were previously called "Summit Logs" - same feature, new name

There are 52 trip reports for Maroon Bells.

Select any entry from the list below:

  • Log #21783 - by monviso on Oct 01, 2009
    S. Maroon. Arduous and more mentally draining than others, mostly due to all the loose rock. Wonderful weather all day, which helped us complete the entire ascent/descent. Overall fantastic.
  • Log #5226 - by Tamara Bauer on Aug 09, 2004
    Extremely craggy rock, but the ascent was well worth it,because we were followed by an intrigued mountain goat that met us at the summit.
  • Log #5227 - by Chris Knight on Aug 04, 2004
    We took the south ridge trail up to Maroon Peak. It took longer, because we initially missed the south ridge trail where it left the main trail. After an hour or so of bush whacking (not knowing the...
  • Log #5228 - by John Grubb on July 28, 2004
    I thought nothing of it, but it scared the living daylights out of my parents. One day, I hope to go back. The pictures show it hasn't changed much.
  • Log #5229 - by Rick on July 17, 2004
    Another climb up My favorite mointain on my favorite Route Bell Cord, Remember the rocks you see in the snow were not put ther by the forest service . Bring your helemt and hit the coulior before 5...
  • Log #5230 - by Nathan Lowery on July 05, 2004
    Don't take the South Ridge trail back - not really well marked, very tedious after the climb up.
  • Log #5231 - by Dan Wiedrich on June 29, 2004
    It took me 15 hours to climb this peak via the South Ridge! I was the only one climbing it via this route on this day. There is an incredible amount of loose rock on this mountain! The routefinding...
  • Log #5232 - by Chuck Allen on June 18, 2004
    Three friends and I climbed Maroon Peak on June 28, 2001 and have created a very thorough photographic trip report including information on conditioning, safety, equipment lists, preparations, the...
  • Log #5233 - by Joany MOSHER on June 02, 2004
    A friend may marry near by, and I thought I'd like to see the area.
  • Log #5234 - by Frank Reddick on May 05, 2004
    Climbed the Northeast Ridge route with a guide on a gorgeous day. This is not a route that should be taken lightly, start early! Coming down, I shuddered to think what would have happened if we had...
  • Log #5235 - by Frank Konsella on Mar 06, 2004
    climbed and skied s face direct s maroon may 2003 via bellview mtn and frigidaire pass from mt crested butte. gothic road was plowed but gated so we rode mtnbikes to rustler's gulch before skiing to...
  • Log #5236 - by Richard Davies on Jan 23, 2004
    Arrived Maroon Lake trailhead Friday 7pm. Hike in to camp in the marked sites South of Crater Lake. (At this time of year more like "Crater Puddle"). Sites are difficult to find in the dark.
  • Log #5237 - by Erik Etheridge on Dec 25, 2003
    This was my first "classic 14er traverse," and two of the peaks that I am most proud of climbing. The Maroon Bells are probably the most beautiful peaks that I have seen. If you choose to...
  • Log #5238 - by Greg Schultz on Oct 03, 2003
    Everything the guide books say about this peak is true. You need good route finding skills, it is dangerous and the rock is loose! I did enjoy the climb even with all it's downfalls!
  • Log #5239 - by Scott Stelmach on Sep 06, 2003
    Summited North Peak on 09/05/03 than did the traverse to South. The North peak was my first forteener and certainly memorable! As a climber comfortable on 5.10's I can understand the mixed responses...
  • Log #5240 - by Stephen Becker on Aug 04, 2003
    I read some entries from this webpage before I climbed both S. and N. Maroon yesterday, and hopefully I can add some information, especially on the traverse. Some people on this forum gave the...
  • Log #5241 - by Dennis Hartwig on July 26, 2003
    AWESOME PEAKS!!! Started Hiking from Maroon Lake At 5 am and reached summti of N.Maroon around noon. Roach's description up to 12500' is accurate but great care must be taken in route finding from...
  • Log #5242 - by Tom Crosman on July 13, 2003
    19 hours to summit both with the traverse. Following Sat. a preacher fell to his death.
  • Log #5244 - by Chris on Apr 14, 2003
    Looking for a partner(s), local i.e. Denver/Boulder/Aspen if possible, to climb the Bells this summer, 2003. Time, partner permitting I'd like to do other 14ers in the area during this summer. I have...
  • Log #5245 - by craig greenshields on Jan 01, 2003
    know the routes, watch for ice and snow. be in good shape.
  • Log #5246 - by Adam Vakoc on Nov 07, 2002
    harder than u think! especially since i was only 14 when i climbed them w/ my dad
  • Log #5247 - by Matt Loscalzo on Oct 18, 2002
    Along with Pyramid, the Bells were just screaming to be climbed since I first moved to Aspen. Finally set a weekend to do it. Albeit, a few years later. Camped at Crater Lake and got a nice early...
  • Log #5248 - by Ryan Badtke on Sep 05, 2002
    I climbed both of these solo, and left the trail head around 5:00 am. I took the trail to Maroon Peak, then up the ridge. The path up to the ridge gains a lot of elevation, and it will definantely...
  • Log #5249 - by Bob Dawson on Aug 26, 2002
    Myself and two excellent pals (Danielle and Jason) climbed the two Maroons yesterday via. the north-to-south traverse route. What a kick! These were our last two 14ers. We've done ëem all now, and...
  • Log #5250 - by Rob McCammon on Aug 13, 2002
    Climbed both Bells individually (no traverse) over a weekend. South Maroon was much more loose and complicated--had no trouble on ascent, but got off route on descent and into messy 5th class...
  • Log #5251 - by Carl Drews on Aug 09, 2002
    I retrieved the summit register (full), typed in all the entries, and posted it on the Internet at: http://www.dimensional.com/~jambo/lakes/maroon.html Enjoy reading! I also left a new register.
  • Log #5252 - by Sid Hayes on Aug 06, 2002
    I have always found that the traverse from North to South Maroon is pretty easy and not at all like I have read here. It usually takes me less than 25 minutes each way, and no rope! and I have no...
  • Log #5253 - by Dave Fern on Aug 05, 2002
    Warning! I read many of the posts here before this trip and some of these people are suicidal or have a death wish. Be aware. I have climbed 49 14ers and NOTHING compares to the bells traverse. This...
  • Log #5254 - by Derrick on July 22, 2002
    We reached both summits via the north-to-south route. I would just like to say that we did as much research as possible and still seriously underestimated the traverse from peak to peak. The pitches...
  • Log #5255 - by Fred kelly on July 18, 2002
    We summitted Wed evening via the NE ridge route, bivy'ed on the summit of N. Maroon Wed PM (spectacular light show, perfect weather) and then did the traverse Thur AM 11 July. We reversed the...
  • Log #5256 - by Eddie "The Yeti" Mize on July 17, 2002
    Maroon Bells Climb In to Aspen around 6:00pm on Sunday 6-23-02 Went to Grocery and then to dinner at BarBQ place Out to Maroon Lake Walked around until dark because there were a lot of tourists...
  • Log #5257 - by Robby Wood on June 12, 2002
    Bell Cord Coulior! to north maroon. great route, great day, great mountain!
  • Log #5258 - by Steve Moulding on Feb 01, 2002
    Technically easy hike up North Maroon from Crater Lake. I found it much easier than I expected when looking at the mountain from afar. The trail was obvious and zig-zagged all the way to the top. No...
  • Log #5259 - by Mike Roth on Oct 03, 2001
    Soloed North Maroon via the NE ridge in 5 hours, good fall weather. In a variety of ways, this peak is dangerous, most particularly in the DESCENT. Start early, take your time as the exposure...
  • Log #5260 - by Tomas Bartusek on Sep 26, 2001
    I went with my friend Mat. This was an excellent climb. We started late at 10:15am and NORTHEAST RIDGE to North Maroon Peak, it was very steep, but easy to the half of it, but then it started to be a...
  • Log #5261 - by penny smith-cepull on Aug 07, 2001
    My husband george and I summited North Maroon Pk at 10 am Sunday morning 29jul01. This was after an unplanned but not unexpected bivouac at 13,300ft just below the ridgeline on the North face. We had...
  • Log #5262 - by Chuck Allen on July 11, 2001
    We had a great, uneventful climb of the southeast ridge route on Maroon Peak. We postponed the climb one day due to rain before dawn, and drew a perfectly sunny day with no typical afternoon Elk...
  • Log #5263 - by jason mcalister on July 11, 2001
    wear a helmet, drink the snow when it melts, check for storms, eat lots of food, hunt for marmot, put your food up in a tree at night, cell phones work at the top to say hi to mom...
  • Log #5264 - by Mike & Lucy on July 10, 2001
    This peak is serious I now totally understand why more than 50 people have been killed Definately bring a rope and bivy gear read on to see why! We climbed the peak via the Bell-cord Coulior. The...
  • Log #5265 - by Mike & Lucy on July 10, 2001
    Maroon Peak Via Bell-cord Coulior. This peak is no BS! BRING A ROPE! (Thanks Gerry Roach for not mentioning in your seriouly lacking 14ers guide that you might need one!) we did'nt and it almost...
  • Log #5266 - by Chris Fisher on May 22, 2001
    We started the climb at the road closure at T Lazy 7 Ranch on May 20. We hiked in and camped at Crater Lake. The next morning we climbed the Bell Cord Coulior with the snow climb starting at Crater...
  • Log #5267 - by Charles Winterscheid on Dec 31, 2000
    Great day! Camped near the parking lot and set out at around 5 am. Didn't reach the peak until around 1 pm due to some sickness in our party. Ran out of water on the way back down and boy did my feet...
  • Log #5268 - by matt kirk on Nov 03, 2000
    Greetings 14er climbers and enthusiasts. I just wanted to let everyone know that there should be a 14ers forum coming soon at http://www.trailjournals.com. If you have the time, please come by and...
  • Log #5269 - by Anthony Stout on Sep 16, 2000
    REALLY FUN MOUNTAINS!!!! My friend Josh and I hit the trailhead at 5:30 and summited North Maroon at a little after 9am. Its funny as you climb and go through some fairly entertaining stuff I kept...
  • Log #5270 - by Jarrett Luttrell on Aug 05, 2000
    ...After waiting for fifteen minutes or so I could hear the motorcycle's engine again. He came flying around the last corner and into veiw. Halby was dressed in his snow gear, goggles and helmet, and...
  • Log #5271 - by Jason Halladay on Aug 03, 2000
    It now costs 10 dollars per car to drive up into the Crater lake parking area. Drive up the road before 7 a.m. and there isn't an attendant there so it's free. Also, they close the road at 8:30 a.
  • Log #5272 - by Eric Cech on May 31, 2000
    Southwest Face Direct, South Maroon. Super snow climb, harsh, long approach into Fravert Basin. Dawson's guide lies -- it's more than 6mi, or at least it's the longest 6mi you'll ever do. Regardless,...
  • Log #5273 - by Steve Helle on Sep 10, 1999
    I've done 50 of the state's 14'ers so far, and the Bells combination (with the interconnecting ridge) is the toughest of the 50, no doubt.
  • Log #5274 - by Kirk Mallory on Aug 09, 1999
    We did two separate day climbs of these two peaks instead of attempting the traverse. The route on Maroon Peak was long and tedious, but the rock and exposure wasn't too bad. The climb up North...
  • Log #5275 - by Mike Johnston on July 19, 1999
    Not an easy mountain, going down is harder than going up.
  • Log #5276 - by Brian Decker on July 03, 1999
    Attempting the North ridge route up N. Maroon and then ridging over to S. Maroon is an all-day venture in which the weather must be perfect and equipment for repels is a necessity. Not for the faint...
  • Log #5277 - by Chuck Bullard on Dec 21, 1998
    Climbed w/ my buddy Lonzo and some other posers. On our descent from the highest bell, Lonzo jumped into a coulour to the left of the higest Bell. I had jumped first. He slipped and shot behind me...