Peak(s):  North Maroon Peak  -  14,022 feet
Date Posted:  02/26/2017
Date Climbed:   05/30/2016
Author:  mojah
Additional Members:   jmc5040
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 Adventures in Routefinding   


And FFS, don't fall



2016.05.30
Stammberger Ledges/North Face ski descent
~4,800' Vertical
~7.75 Miles


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Quite a bit late getting this thing written up, but I'd lost all my photos from the day and lost interest in writing one up last year. Been looking at objectives for this spring, so I scrounged up some of Jordan's pictures from the day, and with quite a bit of free time, I figured why not.

In 1971 few people knew the secret of Maroon Bells snow, but Stammberger did. On June 24 he cramponed up the north face of North Maroon Peak (the north Bell), donned his planks, and skied back down. Even by today's standards the descent wasn't easy: Stammberger fell over a 15-foot cliff, and skied a narrow section exceeding 50 degrees. Moreover, he used no ropes and had no support team. Stammberger's feat amazed the locals and was trumpeted in the Aspen newspaper. Yet as with the coverage of Bill Briggs's Grand Teton ski that same spring, the Maroon Bells ski descent was too far from North American ski reality to receive much mainstream press. - Lou Dawson

More on Fritz Stammberger here

Fresh off my success on Pyramid the week prior, Jordan messaged me about North Maroon for the following weekend. We made the drive to Aspen, got a couple hours sleep in the parking lot, and started up the dry trail towards North Maroon. We were able to boot a short section of steeper terrain across the creek before finally putting skis on for the traverse and final climb into the basin.

We arrived in the basin before the sun rose, and we were confident we'd make it up with plenty of spare time before the face warmed up too much. Funny enough, since we got into the basin before first light, we didn't get to properly scout the face. We had cut left too early, and were faced with a perplexing maze of impassable cliffs. We'd looked at the beta, and while we'd read about some possibly sketchy sections, these cliffs looked way spicier than they should have been. We started to climb up what looked like the easiest ways up one of the chimneys, but skis on the pack quickly made us abort before making too much progress. Without a rope, that was probably a good thing. We waste over two hours poking around before finding the correct (and obvious) way up. At least we were treated to a nice sunrise.

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I was worried that we FUBARed this trip. We should have been close to the summit by now. In addition to wasting so much time dicking around like a confused sloth on a glacier, the warming snow would further slow our progress up the face. I was ready to call it a day, but Jordan was still hopeful. So we continued on.

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We wallow up softening snow, with no further routefinding snafus. It was pretty tiring climbing though, and with the sun beating down, we were racing the clock. Overripe corn isn't the most enjoyable to ski, not to mention the threat of wet slides that could sweep us over the many cliff bands on the face. We make it to the summit before having to take the Nope Train to Fuckthatville, albeit a bit later than I'd have liked. I was skeptical at first, but we made it. It's almost like Jordan knew we would!

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Without wasting too much time, we head down. There was good snow higher up, but surprisingly, a slushy surface hid a section of very firm snow that I wasn't prepared for. I lose control and slide face first for maybe 50 feet before coming to a stop. Holy cow. THIS IS NO-FALL TERRAIN FOR CHRISTS SAKE. WTF WAS THAT??? Jordan got some photo evidence. I insisted he delete it immediately.

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We retrace our booter back to the basin, where the snow was definitely much too slushy, just happy enough to complete the line despite a couple hiccups.

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My friend Ben happened to be showing some family the area that day.


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The proper route in green, and the various cliffs we poked around on

My GPS Tracks on Google Maps (made from a .GPX file upload):




Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19


Comments or Questions
XterraRob
User
Jomah & Jordan
02/27/2017 13:29
That is pretty bad ass, congratulations!


gunnison_garrett14
User
Nice work!
02/27/2017 14:43
Sounds like quite the day! You almost made it over to the plum bomb variation when trying to find the route.


lodgling
User
Falls
03/01/2017 00:22
It's good to have an occasional fall in no fall terrain. It being subjective and all ... 🥓


blazintoes
User
WOW!
03/09/2017 07:18
Just read this and was bragging about you last night to my buddy Tony telling him about you skiing the Elks last spring. I remember you telling me about this on our drive up to the Gores last summer. Beautiful and stunning!


jmc5040
User
Springs a coming!
03/10/2017 04:16
Looking forward to another good spring. This one ranks high up there!


myfeetrock
User
Sticker!!! I'm in love!!!
03/12/2017 11:55
I happy to see those stickers are getting around!!! That's the first one I've seen seen since they were made. Thank you Darrin!



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