"Thunder Pyramid"  
Condition Updates  
Route: West Face
Posted On: 2022-07-05, By: Danger_D
Info: Followed the West Face route described by Roach. Crossing W. Maroon Creek required taking off my boots and fording, but you might be able to find a place to rock-hop if you go further up or down stream. Two small snow patches between the main trail and the white gully, microspikes helpful but not strictly needed. In the white gully proper there are two long and thin snowfields covering about 700ft of vertical. Snow is kinda rotten for the climb, but it made plungestepping on the way down easy. I added a more detailed Trip Report if you want more info 
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Route: Thunder/Lightning couloir
Posted On: 2022-06-11, By: Geckser
Info: Went up the couloir between a thunder and Lightning Pyramid. It was a very nice day and I am quite happy to have one of the more worrisome centennials out of the way. We camped at crater lake the night before and started moving around 5:30. The lake was very full and required some avoiding. The river crossing has a stable snow bridge for now but it is melting fast. Gaining the upper basin was mostly trivial with pretty solid snow in the morning. The snow from Lenshoemaker to the ridge was still descent but melting extremely fast. When we ascended 8:30 ish it was solid enough for decent cramponing up. Thunder Pyramid from the pass was fun and airy 3/4th class. We headed back down and bagged Lightning. The descent got a little sloppy with the snow growing significantly more slippery as the day progressed. The stretch down to Maroon Creek was even worse with soft and slippery snow even at 12:30. Generally good day. I don't think this route will have worthwhile snow in 2 weeks but some still holds on for now 
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Route: West slopes
Posted On: 2022-06-05, By: Trotter
Info: Trail is basically clear all the way to turnoff. We crossed the avy debris logs just after the south maroon trail turnoff. Snow was extremely hard and icy at 6 am, had trouble getting crampons and axes to bite. Took one of the gullies until we could get onto the waterfall ledge, then took the more solid rock ribs to about 13,000, then got onto snow. Took the standard right path, it ends about 200 feet below the ridge with some extremely loose rock and scree. Ridge is basically snow free, and doesn't exceed class 3 in my opinion. On way down, couldn't glissade or even plunge step top half of snow due to it being too hard and icy still. Was finally able to glissade some near the bottom. Snowshoes not ever needed. This peak is serious. 
Route: West slope
Posted On: 2022-05-28, By: jbealer
Info: Some snow on trail after crater lake, lots of streams running through trails. Used downed trees to cross stream and avy slope of downed trees to get to first snow field where we put crampons on. Snow was hard all day but does not reach top of ridge, shitty loose scree accent at end. Ridge is dry to summit. We lucked out and the 40+ winds did not show up today! Storm did look like it was moving in for tomorrow. Only 3 of us ladies and a father son team on the peak today. No avy signs on thunder but lots of activity on the bells side. 
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Route: West Slopes
Posted On: 2022-05-16, By: Flyingfish
Info: The trail to Crater lake has large amounts of snow still coving it which was generally supportive even on the decent around noon. Probably not very supportive mid afternoon. Muddy around the lake and had to follow through avalanche debris above the lake. The snow bridge is a snow super highway at a couple hundred yards wide. Complete coverage up the headwall. only the farthest south gully still has snow coverage at the entrance. Some rock and tundra ribs to cross but they are easy. Good coverage to the ridge and essentially dry on the ridge. 
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Route: White gully to direct branch
Posted On: 2022-01-23, By: blazintoes
Info: From Lazy T 7 ranch it's a 10k to the main TH. My partner and I were passed by two skiers on a snowmobile by 0500. I biked, he skinned but biking is faster. The hut is now locked. In years past it was open with propane tanks so you could boil water. The snowmobile skiers put in a nice track all the way to the Bell Cord. We spotted them going up the Garbage Chute on South Maroon. The Bells looked fat with snow and awesome to ski with good conditions. We continued past Minnehaha Gulch and onto West Maroon creek where there is more downhill than up. Skis win. West face direct on Pyramid is full of new snow for those itching to climb Pyramid in winter. We approached Thunder Pyramid via the white gully and the fresh snow had a thin layer of ice underneath because it rained first then snowed so slippage occurred often. Snowshoes win. It took a long time to get above tree line and when we did we decided to take a nap since we were both sleep deprived from the awful drive to Aspen from the Front Range the night before. I70 was a mess. The sun was warm and wind nil so we took a 30 minute power nap. We took a long look at the face and there are 3 ways to go. The standard right branch, left or direct. We chose direct because it had a longer continuous snow line for skiing. At this point we are 0.75 miles from the summit but 2500' below so with 2 axes and crampons we trudged on up. We punched through to our knees the whole way and got on rock when we could to practice dry tooling. The final section was painfully slow. By 13,000 my partner decided to put on skis and have the best ski descent of his life. I don't blame him. Winter mountaineering is dumb. I watched him float away and I scrambled on rocks to the top and didn't enjoy my summit because the sun was setting and I wanted to get down ASAP so I could plunge step in the soft snow vs. wait until it froze. The scramble down and plunge stepping were fun. I took some screen shots from the one video I took then didn't stop until our trails merged with the Bells skiers tracks. Skis won on the descent! The snowshoe hike back sucked big time and there is more uphill on West Maroon trail. Every time I've been on it in winter it always puts me in a bad mood. I finally got my bike and blasted back to my car. Bikes win on the road. The Elks are still fresh after the recent storm and another coming on Tuesday. There's a sweet track all the way to the Bells and most of the way to Pyramid for the 14er seekers. But I think it'll be perfect next weekend. 
15 3
Route: west face
Posted On: 2021-08-22, By: ScottLovesRMNP
Info: Still full summer conditions. Even with recent reports in hand, I had a few issues with the route down low near Maroon Creek, trying to find the right path through the willows to the gullies that access the basin above. Fortunately, it is probably only 100-200 yards of bushwhacking through willows from the creek to the rock field if you aren't really able to figure out a good trail. Once above the vegetation, the route (white gully) is in good shape all the way. No harder or more dangerous than Pyramid or North Maroon in my opinion. 
Route: West face / white gully
Posted On: 2021-06-13, By: SionaRW35
Info: Snow is melting fast. Two groups on this peak climbed the snow w/ crampons & ice ax and found decent, but not ideal snow despite it being very warm. I however stayed off the snow on the way up and instead climbed the rock rib to the right of the gully to about 13,450' where I crossed 15 feet of snow as I dropped into the gully. From there to the summit was dry. Summitted at 9:30am. I did use crampons & ax on the snow on descent. Snow bridge is fading, but was still solid at midday. I suspect it'll last 1 week. 
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Route: South Ridge to West Face
Posted On: 2021-06-07, By: Anima
Info: I did the "Tour of Thunder" by climbing up the South Ridge and descending the West face. See Lightning Pyramid report for information on the approach to the lightning/Thunder Saddle. The Ledges on the South Ridge were completely dry but the scree gully was still full of snow. I climbed up rock on the right side of it until I was forced into the gully where I found snow with a slurpy-like consistency. Gross. Once back on the ridge It was completely dry to the summit. The West Face route still has plenty of snow and is quite a bit simpler than the South Ridge route. The bottom 200 feet of the west face are now completely melted out but easy class 2 ledges/grass slopes will get you to the beginning of the snow. 
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Route: West Face
Posted On: 2021-06-02, By: Wentzl
Info: No need for snowshoes. Snow bridge over creek should be good for another week or even two. Crampons used on early morning ascent, but just plunge stepping down in afternoon. Started 6:30 a.m. summit at Noon and back to car by 3:30 p.m. Tricky route. Trip report to follow. 
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Route: West Face - white gully
Posted On: 2021-05-29, By: Koy
Info: It's no longer possible to get parking permits, so you'll have to bike up to Maroon Lake. We parked at the turnout just before the welcome station and biked up from there (5 miles). The trail is clear all the way to the snow bridge where you cross the creek and begin your ascent. Great snow conditions right now if you want to avoid the summer talus/scree. We ascended/descended the white gully. Sun hits the face just before 10am so you'll want to be descending by around 11 to have firm snow for the descent. 
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Route: West Face
Posted On: 2021-05-16, By: rachel
Info: Started at 0400 from Maroon Lake TH with a group of 4. Crossed a snow bridge at about 10,400'. Firm, supportive snow for the climb up. Used crampons and 2 ice axes. Ascended the west-facing White Gulley. Lots of debris from previous wet slides. At about 12,800' took the climber's left branch to the northwest saddle. Attempted to follow the ridge-proper, but difficulty appeared to increase to class 4 or 5. Considered taking a high traverse from about 13,700', but the sugary snow was not supportive enough. Down climbed about 100' and traversed to a rib that connected with the southwest ridgeline. Route-finding was straight forward after that to the summit. Summited at 1330. Descended the more southerly branch of the 40+ degree slope. Front pointed (facing in) most of the descent as snow was globbing badly to the crampons. Glissaded the lower-angle slopes lower down. Used snowshoes on the exit and even post-holed with snowshoes on. Snow on trail is patchy from about 10,300' down to about 10,000', then dry below that. 
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Route: Standard Thunder Peak Route
Posted On: 2020-10-04, By: bryanpeck3
Info: Still no snow on this route as long as you head up Thunder (rather than Lightning which seemed to have a little bit but was probably also fine). 
Route: White Gully
Posted On: 2020-07-11, By: dwoodward13
Info: I rebuilt the cairn marking the turnoff from the trail. Not too bad to find, its just after the trail crosses the creek. Route up to Len Shoemaker Basin is marked pretty well. Upon reaching the Basin and making the ascending traverse on grassy ledges to reach the white gully the mountain or a goat sent down a mini fridge sized rock that was bouncing way high in the air. Even though you aren't in the gully, be on the lookout for falling rock. White Gully is pretty solid actually. Stayed on it until 13400, then crossed the gully and picked our way to the ridge. Stuff is the loosest in here, but not terribly bad. We didn't have much of an issue kicking stuff down, so if you are careful it is possible. There are no easily visible cairns so make sure to have route finding skills on point. Kept to left side of ridge to summit, which is probably the easiest way. There is a small amount of snow deep within the recesses of the gullies, but no reason to go there. Brought both traction and ax and there is no need to lug them up. 
5 1
Route: Over from LP, down white gulley
Posted On: 2020-06-20, By: dcruz654
Info: LP and TP couloirs are in excellent conditions for climbing right now as is the traverse. Nice and firm all morning, on snow at 6am off it by 1030 and it never softened for me. I could have started my hike an hour later and been fine. Thunder has snow from about 12300 to 13600. Will post a more detailed report with pictures when I get home. Just wanted to do a quick report for anyone looking to get out soon. 
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Route: West Face (white gully)
Posted On: 2020-06-16, By: bunny256
Info: W. Maroon Creek trail is free of snow. Creek crossing is tedious but passable over large avy debris field shortly after S. Maroon trail cutoff. The route up through the cliff bands is mostly free of snow, just wet in places. Continuous snow in the gully begins around 12,200' until 13,600' and was in good shape minus a few thin and rotten areas near the edges. There was a bit of fresh snow/graupel on the rocks exiting the gully but nothing serious. Summit ridge is completely dry. Summited at 11am, snow softened perfectly for glissading or plunge-stepping on the descent with a few areas of postholing. Things are melting FAST, I wouldn't give the snow in the gully more than a week or so. 
8
Route: West Face
Posted On: 2020-06-15, By: angry
Info: Maybe we made the summit. Maybe it's the refraction horizon parallax theory. Maybe it's Maybelline. 
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Route: West Slopes (White Gulley)
Posted On: 2020-06-05, By: jeffdmar
Info: Road still Closed to Maroon Lake TH (until June 8th) so I biked in 5.5-miles the night before and bivied by the TH. 2:45am wake-up and headed up. Found a good snow bridge just up-river from where the map shows West Maroon Trail crosses the creek; quickly over to get to the east side of the creek, bushwacked a little through some willows in the dark seeing the lowest snowfield at the bottom of the cliff-band. Trail was dry to that point. Snow begins not too far up from the creek. Was able to link about 4 snow-fields/gulleys to get up to Len Shoemaker Basin at about 12,000-feet. Crampons and ice-axe needed for sure as it gets steep. From the basin, gaining the main snow gulley leading to the summit was fairly obvious by getting above the cliffband by going looker's right and traversing over to the left. It was turfy enough that I stayed in my crampons during that dry bit. Once in the gulley, it's about a 1600-1800-foot snow climb in crampons, with just one short gap about 1/4 of the way up. Snow was firm with a few soft spots near the edges, but climbing was good and efficient. I exited very near the top by jogging right out of the main gulley. It's steep up there and definitely a no fall zone, as a self-arrest would be unlikely. Stepping off the snow about 150-200 feet below the summit, I took off the crampons and finished a pretty straightforward Class 2/3 scramble along an arrete and then the summit ridge. Note your exit/entry point to be able to regain the couloir on the descent. Summitted at 8am, 5-hours after starting. Descending was like descending a long ladder; I faced into the slope and had my climbing axe in one hand and a Whippet in the other for added safety. I liked this system a lot; first time using it. Front pointed almost all the way down. Snow was soft at 9am below the basin, and my crampons slid more and built up with snow-balls. Those lower gulleys are still steep and the snow was getting rotten, so I kept it safe and mostly front-pointed down the steeper parts with axes in both hands, although I was able to walk and side-point down some portions. Back at TH at about noon and a fast downhill bike back to the car! My take is that this is a good time of the year to do this peak as a snow climb, but time is running out this year as it was quite warm. I wouldn't have wanted to do this on the dirt and loose rocks; firm pre-dawn and early-morning snow made it pretty fun and safe! 
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Route: white gully
Posted On: 2020-05-26, By: cottonmountaineering
Info: Photos of Thunder and Lightning pyramid conditions as of 5/23, pretty dry in this area 
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Route: West Face
Posted On: 2019-10-06, By: Grover
Info: In the words of jscully205, from last week, "Be ready for a choss fest." Nothing could be more profound. If you are thinking of getting this peak before snow falls, it is dry as of this posting. 

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