Frank Konsella, Jordan White, Matt Kamper
Route Description: Ascended south ridge, descended South Face.
Data: Began from Lazy T at 3 am with snowmobiles. Drove snowmobiles over 1.5 miles of mostly pavement and then hit snow. Left snowmobiles at 3:50 am at Maroon Lake (9580'). Ascended north facing couloir to the amphitheater, then gained the northeast ridge and followed the ridge to reach the summit (14,018') at 10:30. Began skiing around 11 am and reached the East Maroon Creek valley floor (4300 vertical drop) around noon. Followed valley back to main Maroon Creek road (8700'). Reached snowmobiles at 1:30 pm. Back to Lazy T at 2:20 pm. Total vert climbed: 4400'. Total vert skied: 5300'. Total time: 11 hr 20 with snowmobiles, 9 hr 40 without snowmobiles.
Relevant Links: TGR Trip Report, 14ers.com Trip Report
I've been antsy since April 1st. Pyramid Peak was the road block in my five year goal of skiing all of Colorado's fourteeners. One of the most intimidating of the fourteeners, it is the only one I've had to attempt more than twice, and I was hoping that the third time was the charm. But April never brought the window I was looking for. Winter simply wouldn't leave. Pow day was followed after pow day. Spring wasn't ready to arrive and I was left wondering if the window would shut before it ever opened. I kept a constant eye on the weather, and repeatedly watched high pressure after high pressure forecasted in the long term crumble into a winter storm warning. I'll admit it, I was stressed, and even grumpy at times. The pressure of getting my last two fourteeners done was weighing on me.
Booting was frustrating up the northern couloir. The snow pack had not yet transitioned to spring. It was still winter there. The first sunlight that pierced the north face of Pyramid was alarming.
Photo courtesy of Jordan White And we cruised through the amphitheater. We found better snow on the northwest face and made good time gaining the northeast ridge.
Photo courtesy of Jordan White Frank and I reaching the saddle of the north east ridge.
Photo courtesy of Jordan White The saddle offers the first view of the Landry line itself. Last year, I stood on this saddle in mid-May but was forced to turn around due to uncooperative weather. I was hoping it would look less intimidating this time around. But that was not the case.
At the saddle, we sadly said our goodbye's to Caleb. Today was simply not his day, and he opted to turn around. But, he kindly hankered down for a bit and took some great pictures. Thank you Caleb! Jordan, leading the way.
Photo courtesy of Jordan White Photo courtesy of Caleb Wray Photo courtesy of Caleb Wray Photo courtesy of Caleb Wray The knife edge almost broke me. The exposure to the northwest (1000 foot cliff) was unnerving. I have the boys to thank for help keeping me level headed. I was glad when we paused for a short break before attacking the east face itself.
Photo courtesy of Jordan White Matt.
Jordan and I making our way to the face.
Though steeper, I was much more comfortable on the east face. Maybe it's the fact that I have only one way to fall down instead of two ;)
Making our way to the crux of the route. The rock band was laden with crumbly stones and sugary snow.
Photo courtesy of Jordan White Jordan and I rounding our way up to the summit.
Frank and I- happy to be together on the summit of the peak that is the reason we met. Long story short, Frank and I met in 2006 shortly after he skied Pyramid for the first time. I was looking for partners to help me ski the fourteeners and his name caught my attention after his Crested Butte crew made the third known full descent of the Landry line- Chris Landry skied this line in 1978, not to be repeated again (at least, that we know) until Chris Davenport and his crew descended it in 2006.
Jordan, with a different view of the Bells behind.
Frank, ready to ski!
And he led the way for us.
Photo courtesy of Jordan White Me.
Photo courtesy of Jordan White Looking down.
Photo courtesy of Jordan White Frank.
Photo courtesy of Jordan White Photo courtesy of Jordan White Photo courtesy of Jordan White Photo courtesy of Jordan White Jordan.
Photo courtesy of Jordan White Photo courtesy of Jordan White Photo courtesy of Jordan White I couldn't be happier as we approached the bottom of the 4300'+ line.
Photo courtesy of Jordan White We sat there at the bottom of the East Maroon creek valley floor, relaxing, and admiring the line from below, in awe of what just happened. The Landry Line is in Davenport's book the Fifty Classic Descents of North America for a reason. It is a classic line. A 4000+ foot sustained steep line like this is nearly unheard of in Colorado. But, here the Landry Line sits in all it's perfection. I would gladly ski it again.
While I relished in the joy of skiing such a fantastic line, my thoughts turned back to my over-arching fourteeners goal. Pyramid was my second to last fourteener I had left to ski, and I had just skied it. In skiing it, I had overcome a hurdle that had been causing me far to much anxiety for the last year. The pressure, the stress - it all magically disappeared in this moment. I was elated. Yet I was sad that this magic moment was now over. Was it all a dream? It sure felt like one. We couldn't have had a more perfect day.
The four of us- Jordan, Frank, me, and Matt. I cannot thank these boys enough!
While I wanted to sit and bask in the sun below the best line I have ever skied, magic moments, like all things, have to come to an end. Smiling, we packed our things, and made our way down the East Maroon Creek valley. We were already making plans for what we were going to ski next.
Photos contributed by Frank Konsella, Caleb Wray, and Jordan White.