South Maroon Peak from the summit of Pyramid Peak. The Bell Cord Couloir is the thin strip of snow leading to the saddle between North and South Peak
Photo by xskier77
Approach from the Maroon Lake trailhead. Follow the trail up to and past Crater Lake. From Crater Lake follow the West Maroon Creek Pack trail to the East face of the Bells. From here the Bell Cord Couloir is the obvious chute that terminates in the notch between North and South Maroon.
From the West Maroon Creek valley climb the obvious snow chute to the notch between the North and South Peaks. At 1,800 vertical feet with an average angle of 42 degrees, this long steep couloir is very demanding. As the couloir narrows and steepens, it eventually reaches and possibly exceeds 45 degrees. After exiting the chute you still have several hundred feet of climbing to the summit. From the notch the best route up is just around the corner on the west face. Climb this short face, unprotected and exposed class 4, and gain the ridge. Depending on the conditions you may be able to follow the ridge directly to the summit. The ridge consist of class3 scrambling on very unstable rock. In Spring and Winter this ridge can be heavily corniced. Ropes can add peace of mind while climbing this section. The best descent is same route but make sure to place each foot with caution while down climbing as several experienced climbers have met their maker while descending this route.
Ice axe and crampons as well as a light rope will make the route much more enjoyable. Do NOT forget to bring your helmet.
When to Climb
This climb is typically climbable in June after the avalanche conditions have stabalized. It can be climbed earlier but great care should be taken to avoid avalanches. Also, when I climbed the couloir I had to walk from the locked gate at the Ranch which adds a considerable amount of distance to the climb. Into July the climb becomes icy and can present technical ice climbing. Late July and into the fall the climb is melted out and is not safe to climb.