It has been over a year since this climb but I still have a pretty good picture of the climb. I was lucky enough to have my friend Colton come climbing with me and I was stoked.
Colton wanted to try something that involved a lot of scrambeling so I suggested the West Ridge of Quandary, and we went to bed thinking that the West Ridge was our destination.
As with any climb we awoke early and were buzzing about the beutiful forcast and the West Ridge. After loading up into the car, my Dad asked for Roach's book. Out of no where he decides to climb Holy Cross. I was reluctant to comply due to the longevity of the route and the fact that I had school and football practice the next day.
The drive went by and soon enough we were at the Trailhead. The amount of cars were immense due to the fact of the 3 day weekend because of some holiday I don't remember. All of their cars were frosted over meaning that they had been parked there for some time.
I knew that it was going to be a long day but had no idea how long. At about 7:00 we started up, a little late but the weather was promising. We ascended up to treeline and began our descent down the other side of Halfmoon Pass. Our first view of Holy Cross came into view and I was stunned...It looked twice as amazing than pictures.
As we descended I kept thinking, ow man this is gonna bite to climb up on our return trip. We passed numerous camp sites in the valley and began our climb up the North Ridge of Holy Cross. There were a few other parties climbing her too. We were making good time and soon enough we were above the trees.
The climb was class 2, but I had a blast climbing up some of the larger boulders on the ridge. I felt great, my dad felt great, but my friend Colton was falling farther and farther behind. Once we reached the plateau before the final summit slope I elected to stay and wait for Colton, and my Dad would continue on.
After some time he appeared and was stumbling around and sitting down every few steps. I asked him if he wanted to stay behind while I went to the summit. I hit the nail on the head, but he didn't want to give up and look like a pussy in front of my Dad, and not be invited on any more climbs.
So I stayed with him and moved at his pace, his condition must have rubbed of onto me and I started to feel crappy. Next thing I know, I am in almost as bad condition as him. But were are so close to the summit, and the the skies are bluebird so I try to pump both of us up.
As we ascended the final slope, I saw people snacking and talking not to far above us. We both then picked up the pace and then were on the summit in no time.
Colton just threw his pack down and lay down behind the summit rock and fell asleep in minutes. I just gazed around and had my breath stolen away by the Elk and Gore Ranges. After getting a bite to eat I lay on my pack near Colton and fall asleep. This was probably the deepest sleep I have ever been in.
Ow man, time to get up. We ate and drank some more and then took our summit photos and were on our way. Almost immeadiatly I feel better and gleefully hop from one rock to another. Same for my dad and my friend. We reach the platue right away and my Dad thinks that if we descend down one of the chutes we will get back to the car faster.
I was against this move because I knew that things are not as they seem, those boulders down below are not scree, they are the size of cars and bigger.
Other parties told us not to go but everone in my party was game except for me. And my I TOLD YOU SO demeanor began. As we descended the gully, I would say numerous not so polite things to my dad under my breath.
Everything was loose and this was no fun, and Colton was too scared to stand so he just sat down and began to slowly slide down. We took a break 4/5 off the way down, and my dad said it was going to be easy going from here on. Not True!
We reached the immense boulder field and were scrambling around huge boulders and some of theme were not stable at all.
My dad was soon twenty or so feet ahead of me and my freiend and so the complaining began. This was not helped when I stepped on a huge plate shaped boulder that rested on another boulder. I slid off and so did I... face first. I ripped my pants and was bleeding a little so I wasn't happy.
Every once in a while my dad would turn around and say "Is your mangina hurting?" That pissed me off every time. We contiued on and were finally out of the huge boulderfield and into the trees. There were tons of different nature trails that we followed. If I wasn't in such a bad mood, I would have been amazed by the views of the lakes and the peaks.
After a long time of following obscure trails my dad finally admitted that he picked the wrong way. Colton and I elected to ditch football practice the next day. We finally reached the main trail, but the sun was setting. I was starting to get cold and we began up the switch backs up Halfmoon Pass. We actually charged up this and we were on the Pass in no time.
My Dad was in good spirits so he toyed with me and colton's phsyce. The sun finally set as we descended. Colton was fed up so he blazed down the tril and every once in a while my dad would have to tell him to wait up. We reached the Jeep and I was relieved to drop my pack and get outta there.
We took pictures of each other and my black shirt had two white strips from the staps on the pack and the back of my shirt was almost all white from the back pack. There was enough salt in my shirt to fill a salt shaker. My dad said that it was 8:00 at night and we needed to call my mom and Colton's. We hadnt' called home since the summit so they were probably worried sick.
My mom told my Dad that all day she and Colton's mom had been calling each other to make sure that they werent too worried. We ate some McDonalds in Vail and then began the long drive home. I fell asleep within minutes of finishing by burger.
We reached Colton's house at 12:00 and reached mine at 12:30. I took a shower and stumbled into bed at 1:00 a.m.
Of course Colton wasn't at school the next day, or football practice. That was probably the worst football practice of my life.
The Moral of my story, STICK TO THE TRAIL UNLESS YOU KNOW WHAT YOU'RE DOING
1) Yes: Stick to the trail! What were you thinking??
2) I'm not usually one to back up what is considered "PC," but don't you feel inappropriate using a phrase like "give up and look like a pussy," which, simply put, means "give up and look like a woman? How pointlessly insulting to all the capable and brave female climbers out there!
3) You dad's obviously in pretty good shape. Bully for him!