North Maroon Peak

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North Maroon Peak

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3

Climbing

Climbing

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Mountain

Lost

Lost

Snow

Snow

Climbing

North Maroon Peak

39.755543°N, -105.2210997°W

Posted on May 2, 2018 by Arthur

What happened?

On our way down from an (unsuccessful) summit attempt on North Maroon Peak, we lost the trail. We knew pretty well where we needed to go, which was across and down a series of cliff bands, but did not know the exact path to take, and to avoid getting stuck on top of cliffs, we decided to descend wherever we could while still traversing in the correct direction. After a while of slow, but relatively steady progress our options kept narrowing, and after a few to many sketchy and committing down-climbs, we found ourselves on a ledge from which we could not safely descend or traverse from. We realized that trying to return the way we came was just as dangerous, as we had already had a number of close calls on very exposed terrain, and trying to climb up that same terrain would be significantly harder in places. After much deliberation, we decided that without more gear (we had decided against a rope as the climb, if we had stayed on route, was mainly 3rd class with some 4th class sections) trying to get our selves out would be very risky. We all knew that the Maroon Bells claim a number of lives every year, and we did not want to add to that toll (and we later found out that only 2 weeks prior a climber had died very close to where we were stuck), so we activated my PLB at approximately 3:15pm. From where we were, we had a clear line of site to the trailhead, and within an hour we could already see search and rescue starting to assemble. After nightfall we were able to make some form of contact with search and rescue by flashing our headlamps at them, and they would respond by flashing lights back at us. After a few hours we heard a helicopter, and a blackhawk made numerous passes above us, but due to the inclement weather conditions (it had been snowing quite hard off and on all day), they decided it was too risky to try and airlift us off from our current position, and instead dropped off a rescue team a few miles away on a more mellow part of the mountain. The rescue team hiked in and repelled to our location, where they set up a belay and had us climb approximately 200 vertical feet up challenging 5th class terrain to a more mellow area from which we were all able to hike back out to the trailhead.

Here are a few articles reporting on the incident (though they don’t give very much information):

http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_26854242/pitkin-sheriff-3-colorado-school-mines-students-rescued

http://www.9news.com/story/news/local/2014/11/03/mines-students-rescued-maroon-bells/18400861/

Three Mines students rescued from Maroon Bells in dangerous, nighttime recovery

Words of wisdom

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Thank you note

Rescue location

Golden, Colorado

Rescue team

Local Search and Rescue

ResQLink™+

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This product has been replaced by the ResQLink View. Learn More It may be small, but it's tough. The ResQLink™+ Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) is a buoyant, GPS-enabled rescue beacon that's suited for outdoor adventures of all sizes (think: everything from hiking and cycling to hunting and fishing). Should you run into an unexpected survival situation, the ResQLink+ PLB will relay your location to a network of search and rescue satellites, allowing local first responders to more easily get you home safe and sound. Be Prepared for the Unpredictable!  
  • Buoyant
  • LED strobe light
  • Self Test
  • 66 Channel GPS
  • Easy emergency activation
  • Antenna clip

WARNING: PROP 65

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