A reflective lake sits between two mountains. Yellow leaved Aspens dot the landscape along with green pines. A blissful sense of serenity fills the air. You must be at Maroon Bells, right outside of Aspen Colorado.
More than 300 million years of geologic activity, including sedimentation, uplift and erosion by wind, water and ice, are credited to the creation of Maroon Valley. According to the US Forest Service, the mountains received their distinctive maroon coloring from the weathering of hematite, an iron-bearing mineral, while Maroon Lake occupies a basin that was sculpted by Ice-Age glaciers.
For climbers, however, the beauty belies their difficulty in climbing. Mudstone is very fragile, causing loose rock on the climbing routes. Eight people died in separate accidents in 1965 alone, leading the media to give it its deadly sobriquet. A sign placed by the US Forest Service at the start of the access trail states:
“The beautiful Maroon Bells, and their neighbor Pyramid Peak, have claimed many lives in the past few years. They are not extreme technical climbs, but they are unbelievably deceptive. The rock is downsloping, rotten, loose, and unstable. It kills without warning. The snowfields are treacherous, poorly consolidated, and no place for a novice climber. The gullies are death traps. Expert climbers who did not know the proper routes have died on these peaks. Don’t repeat their mistakes, for only rarely have these mountains given a second chance. DO NOT CLIMB IF NOT QUALIFIED.”
Closest Supercharger Aspen Ca 6.4 mi
38750 CO-82, Aspen, CO 81611