Wichita, Kansas natives Dave Wells & Dave Burks recently joined CBMG for 2 BIG days of Colorado Fourteener climbing on the Maroon Bells & Pyramid Peak. Coming directly from 1,200′ in the flatlands, The Daves’ immediately tackled Pyramid Peak under cloudy and somewhat threatening weather. A 4:00 am start from the trailhead put us up above treeline as the sun was rising, and gave us a good jump on the weather, and even worse — the crowds. After witnessing another climber nearly knocked off of Pyramid’s upper ledges by a member in their own party knowcking down some rock, we were highly motivated to reach the summit and descend before any other climbers could jeopardize our health and success. The trickiest part of the day seemed in fact to be navigating the crowds of folks whom were lost or off-route on the intricate route-finding on Pyramid Peak. All in all the day turned out with a successful summit and a roundtrip time of 10 hours, and found us enjoying a cold beer at the trailhead by 2:00 pm.
Motivated by our success on Pyramid, the next day found us walking out of the trailhead at 3:00 am, jazzed up to attempt the complete Bells Traverse from South Maroon to North Maroon and back. This long, involved, and intricate technical route requires a strong party, good stable weather, and minimal traffic to be done safely and successfully. Because of good late summer snow conditions still in on South Maroon, we chose a direct line up the “Y Couloir”, to the summit of South Maroon, saving time and distance. On this route we were greeted with almost 3,000′ of good firm summer snow climbing with pitches up to 50 degrees in places. This proved to be the crux of the day for The Daves’, being fairly new to steep snow and crampon climbing, and thus it took us 7 hours to reach the summit of South Maroon. From here The Daves’ were back on ground they excelled on (loose rock), and we were able to complete the technical traverse between the 2 summits under threatening skies and amidst crowds of unprepared and off-route climbers. From the summit of North Maroon we were continuosly chased on the descent by a darkening and menacing sky above…that kept us moving despite being on the go continuosly for over 12 hours and being completely out of food and water. After a 3:00 am start, we were back at the trailhead, dry and still ahead of the storms, enjoying a well deserved cold beer 15 hours after starting.
Overall, The Daves’ logged 10,000′ of vertical in just over 36 hours, and tagged 3 of the most difficult and challenging 14er summits, putting their total at 34 now. This week they are off to the Crestones with CBMG guide Johnny MacKinnon to try and grab 3 more technical summits before heading back to the high altitude training ground of Wichita, KS.
Congrats boys, thanks for a fun and safe adventure and we’re looking forward to hearing about the Crestones…
—Your Guide, Jayson Simons-Jones