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Why Just Ski a Classic?

A ski mountaineering route that gives you the best view of the classic "North Maroon's North Face" ski descent, and finishes off with skiing it!

Ski Touring Extreme

21 km
2.5 km
2.5 km
1 day +
Low Point
2.9 km
High Point
4.3 km
Why Just Ski a Classic? Map

A ski mountaineering route that takes you to the most beautiful view of North Maroon and then has you ski it!


The day starts at Maroon Lake where you follow the summer trail as if you were hiking North Maroon. Instead of following the trail towards the 14er, veer to the right soon after the creek crossing towards the 13er peak, Sleeping Sexton. Sexton is undoubtedly the most challenging objective of the day due to the tight and steep east couloir ascent, and equally tight and steep west couloir descent. This mountain is definitely easier to accomplish during a high snow year. Climb the steep east-facing couloir which leads to a col. Once you have reached the col at the top of the couloir, ascend the short section of the northwest face towards the summit.

Now, enjoy those views I've been going on about and get psyched to ski North Maroon!

The descent of Sexton starts with a steep exposed section on the northwest face which yields some amazing turns and naturally carries you into the west couloir on skiers right. Take this tight couloir to the basin and assess your next objective.

From here, the route takes you to the UN 13,000' peak that I call the Maroon Snowmass Connection. This peak is undoubtedly out of the way from North Maroon and Sleeping Sexton, but it offers some amazing views of the Capitol Snowmass Massif in addition to the west sides of the Bells and a beautiful panorama of the Elks. This 13er peak is a very moderate climb and ski. Return back towards North Maroon to ascend the west aspect up to the Bells ridge. From here, enjoy a few climbing moves on the classic Bells traverse to reach the summit of North Maroon. Now it's time to ski the classic North Face that you were eyeing earlier from the summit of Sexton. Enjoy!

North Maroon has sections of around 50º so it definitely poses some steep skiing. The primary challenge to skiing the face, however, comes with careful navigation through cliff bands. Do some visualization beforehand to imagine where you should be traversing, how many cliff bands you must squeeze through, and where to make the final skiers left traverse to the safe basin below.

To ski the face, descend from the summit to skier's right. A tricky section lies shortly after the top which requires a moderately-technical jump turn over some exposure, or some careful manoeuvring. If it's a low snow year, you may want a rope. After this tricky rock, carefully navigate left to snag a few turns before squeezing through a first cliff band. Follow fall line down some more through another band. Then, traverse left while enjoying some rather open but exposed terrain once you have reached the final snowfield. This leftward traversing will lead you to a chute on the left that exits into the basin below.

Herein lies some fun skiing, nothing too complicated, but just enough to keep you on your toes!!! Once done, glide back to the parking lot and toast a massive day!



Extreme skiing terrain above 45 degrees. These routes are reserved for experienced experts.

High Exposure (E3)

3 out of 4

In case of a fall, death is highly likely.


3 out of 4

Little chance of being seen or helped in case of an accident.

Best time to visit

between April and May


  • Face
  • Alpine
  • Cliffs
  • Couloir
  • Ski Mountaineering

Equipment required

  • Rope
  • Skins
  • Ice axe
  • Crampons

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area