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    After the climb - Cordillera Ramada, Argentina
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    Taking in the view from the summit of Crystal Peak - Tenmile Range, Colorado
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Mount of the Holy Cross

July 21, 2001 - North Ridge


We were off to Holy Cross not because we all three of us had never been on the peak before but because it promised to be a very long day.  Our departure for Bolivia was just days away and this promised to be our last training opportunity and the re-ascent of Half Moon pass was, would you believe, a selling point?  We arrived at the campground at the road’s end and soon realized that this peak must draw as many tourists as Longs on a summer Saturday.  Every camp spot was full, every camper had a Coleman lantern lit and it was just a Vail ugly scene.  We found a place to park and put up the tents virtually on the front bumper of the vehicle, hoping for a short night’s sleep as we planned an early departure.  We did not have to worry about sleep as a church group from out of state arrived at midnight and ensured that everyone in the parking lot was awake for the duration.  Gary finally told them off and soon afterward, they headed on up the trail leading to Half Moon Pass.  We saw no reason to pretend to sleep any longer so we too hefted our packs and made for Holy Cross at three a.m.

We crossed the pass in the dark and came upon the large group crossing the creek at the base of the far drainage.  Typical teen outing and we played through the pack and left them behind with ease.  We met dawn just below tree line and got our first view of the summit cone as we followed the well-walked trail upward to the flats below the final summit pitch.  The climb to the summit was fast and we took a leisurely lunch on top as well as the opportunity to check out the upper end of the Cross Couloir, a planned future climb.  After perhaps an hour, we headed down and met up with the goon platoon attempting to make it to the base of the summit cone.  Most were walking but the two we found most amusing were on their hands and knees.  They were a dedicated clan of Cottoneers and I must credit their leader with bringing these deserving fools to near exhaustion above tree line, in the afternoon, on one of the longer 14er climbs, with the pleasure of a 1000-foot climb on the trip “down”  You just have to hand it to the guy, he had leadership skills right out of a “made for TV” movie.

We moved easily down to tree line, through the woods and across the creek to the base of the climb up the pass.  Gary and I were planning a non stop climb fast paced climb from the creek to the pass as a final are we ready for upcoming 20,000 foot elevation challenge in Bolivia?  We proved able, as if we really had a choice at this point in the process.  Back at the car, we caught a quick two-hour nap and then headed for Cheyenne, confident that the conditioning effort for the Bolivia trip was complete and we were as prepared as possible for the upcoming adventure.