Dean M. Chriss
Maroon Bells, Autumn Reflections

Maroon Bells, Autumn Reflections, Colorado

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Maroon Peak and North Maroon Peak comprise the pair of mountains known as the Maroon Bells. Both peaks are in excess of 14,000 feet high and they are separated by about a third of a mile. Maroon Lake is situated in Maroon Creek valley at the base of the mountains. The area is protected as part of the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness of the White River National Forest. It is easily among the most beautiful spots in Colorado.

The Maroon Bells are composed of metamorphic sedimentary mudstone, which is responsible for the Bells' distinctive maroon color and their deadly nature. Mudstone is weak and fractures easily. A U.S. Forest Service warning sign on the trail to these mountains states: “The beautiful Maroon Bells have claimed many lives in the past few years. They are unbelievably deceptive. The rock is down-sloping, 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.”  The Maroon Bells received the nickname "The Deadly Bells", in 1965 after eight people died in five separate accidents.