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Pyramid Peak Trail

Very Difficult
 5.0 (3)

A brutal trail up the difficult 14er Pyramid Peak.


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Map Key

2.5

Miles

4.0

KM

Point to Point

13,958' 4,255 m

High

10,141' 3,091 m

Low

3,818' 1,164 m

Up

0' 0 m

Down

29%

Avg Grade (16°)

119%

Max Grade (50°)

Dogs No Dogs

Features Fall Colors · River/Creek · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Located in the Maroon Bells Wilderness with access from Aspen, restrictions in this area vary year-round. Due to overly curious bears, camping at the upper Crater Lake is often off limits, even with a bear can. There is a pay-to-park ranger station on the way up the road, with a self-serve station if you drive up at strange hours.

Dogs cannot hike Pyramid Peak. It is technical enough to be regarded as a climb more than a hike, and a helmet is required for the upper 1000 ft.

Description

From the Maroon Snowmass Trail, turn left below Crater Lake onto Pyramid Peak Trail. Signs are poor - just look for a rocky, flat area, with Pyramid Peak rising up on the left.

Continue through a flat area before the going gets steep. Hike up steep switchbacks before reaching a boulder field below 12,000 ft, known by hikers as "the amphitheater."

This is where the real hike starts. There are some cairns in the boulder field, and the CFI has done a good job building the trail. Continue up the rocks and to the left to find a gully to the east of Pyramid's impressive north face.

The next thousand feet is brutal. This gully is so steep even the fittest hikers will likely have to stop for a breather every few minutes. You'll gain 1,000 ft in about 0.2 miles, topping out on a ridge.

From here, things are much more fun. Turn right and climb over several gendarmes, or traverse them just to the right. Once the grades gets steep again, your goal is to search for cairns to the left of the ridge. Traverse along loose rocks. In a few minutes, come to a spot referred to as the "leap of faith." It's not a leap - just a big step between rocks. Immediately cross some narrow ledges, clinging to the rocks to your right to avoid the exposure to your left. This area is short and underwhelming. Don't be scared!

From here, turn right up a short red gully and follow cairns to the "green gully." The rock here has an unmistakeable green tint, and can't be missed. Scramble up solid rock in this gully for about 300 ft before finding cairns below the summit. Continue scrambling fun class 3-4 to reach a false summit. There are some fun class 5 moves near here that provide a fun challenge for the more experienced climber. Once on the false summit, it's a 1-2 minute walk up to the true peak. Stop and enjoy the views...it's a long way back down!

Flora & Fauna

Expect wildflowers and mountain goats up high. The latter kick down lots of rocks...be careful, and wear a helmet!

Contacts

Shared By:

Tyler Prince

Trail Ratings

  5.0 from 3 votes

#855

Overall
  5.0 from 3 votes
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Trail Rankings

#138

in Colorado

#855

Overall
3 Views Last Month
705 Since Sep 10, 2015
Very Difficult

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Photos

Snowmass and Capitol from the summit. The Maroon Bells (not pictured) rise majestically on the left, and the views into valleys a mile below are incredible.
Sep 10, 2015 near Snowmas…, CO
Worth bringing some microspikes for the snow.
Feb 13, 2020 near Snowmas…, CO
Got to love a goat party!
Feb 13, 2020 near Snowmas…, CO
Finding the path of least resistance through the massive talus field below Pyramid's north face.
Nov 30, 2015 near Snowmas…, CO
Most of the route is visible from the saddle at 13K. The light green rock composing a rib from the summit, AKA the "green gully" is a major route finding landmark.
Sep 10, 2015 near Snowmas…, CO
Just past the "leap of faith," the ledges make for some fun navigation around protruding rocks.
Sep 10, 2015 near Snowmas…, CO

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