A Ritual to NASA's Finest

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kingof14ers
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A Ritual to NASA's Finest

Postby kingof14ers » Wed Feb 02, 2005 12:02 pm

I had submitted a proposal to name the unnamed centennial UN13832, Columbia Peak to be dedicated to the astronauts of STS-107. While the CMC was simultaneously stonewalled for there proposal to name the peak after their founder Blaurock by the BLM, a thought occrurred to me. The centennial "Kat Carson" was a nickname for years, but was not an official name. How fitting it would be to name the other sub peak of Kit Carson, Columbia Point. After some coorespondence with the BGN, I was added to a proposal to co-author the naming of 13980' Columbia Point.

The other author was an astronaut in Houston originally from Evergreen who has climbed all but a handful of the 14ers here. We conversed about matching the feat of installing a plaque similar to Challenger Point and I was added to the roster for the dedication ceremony in August. I ordered the plaque from the same company in Fort Collins and took the first pictures of the plaque in my living room prior to the trip down to Westcliffe.

The night before the trek into South Colony Lakes Basin, we had a banquet dinner with 5 of the 7 families of the lost astronauts including the youngest child being 5 years old. We played a DVD of the scouting trip we did a week prior to drill the time consuming holes for the plaque on the summit. The video illustrating the route and the nearby scenery.

The following day, about 50 people including 4x4 volunteers from other parts of the state, NASA families, astronauts, NOLS and CACO personnel, and several local friends made the journey with ham radios to communicate up tothe previously established camp in the basin. Some people had never been camping before let alone climb a Colorado peak having come from sea level.

On the third day, a team of 3 went on to install the plaque. Safety concerns due to inclement weather, barred safe passage of the numerous family members from scrabbling across the ridge between Humboldt Peak and the Bear's Playground. So a dedication ceremony at the saddle ensued.

Looking across the basin to the Crestones, not a sound was heard as an F-16 squadron passed by all the participants. As they approached Kit Carson, one fighter rocketed straight up into the sky finishing the missing man formation. Evelyn Husband, wife of the Columbia commander Rick Husband, was able to thank the squadron leader via a ham radio dialed into their aviation frequency. No they didn't summit the peak dedicated to their lost loved ones, but they saw it when they scrambled half way up the western flank of Humboldt.

It was the perfect tribute to the finest and humblest breed of people I have ever met and to this day remains the best experience I have ever had in our mountains. It was the perfect 3 days to commemorate the human spirit of exploration.

The following year I met up with my astronaut friend for yet a 3rd time to repair some vandalism inflicted on the plaque. To date I have a pending proposal for the official naming of the nicknamed bicentennial peak, "American Peak", located in the San Juans near the 14er Handies Peak.
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Nathan Hale
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Postby Nathan Hale » Fri Feb 11, 2005 1:08 pm

I really liked reading this, thanks for posting it.
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Gurbi
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amazing work

Postby Gurbi » Wed Apr 13, 2005 9:27 pm

Thats an awesome story-
i wish i could have been there when F16s flew over at dedication ceremony. - please send me a private mail if you plan any more dedications
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Grant
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Postby Grant » Thu Apr 14, 2005 10:23 pm

Sweet
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Grant
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Postby Grant » Thu Apr 14, 2005 10:26 pm

Sweet
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glodder
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Postby glodder » Wed Jun 01, 2005 2:12 pm

Very good story, kingof14ers. Sounds like a great trip to one of the most special places in Colorado: South Colony Lakes.

Good luck on your future peak-naming activities, namely "American Peak".

Do you know if there are any plans to officially name the "Holy Cross Ridge" centennial 13er? Unless I'm mistaken, I don't think it has an official name. I absolutely loved the Halo Ridge route via Notch Mountain, and I'd be interested in any official naming activities going on there.
kingof14ers
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Postby kingof14ers » Fri Jun 03, 2005 11:39 am

glodder wrote:Very good story, kingof14ers. Sounds like a great trip to one of the most special places in Colorado: South Colony Lakes.

Good luck on your future peak-naming activities, namely "American Peak".

Do you know if there are any plans to officially name the "Holy Cross Ridge" centennial 13er? Unless I'm mistaken, I don't think it has an official name. I absolutely loved the Halo Ridge route via Notch Mountain, and I'd be interested in any official naming activities going on there.


Thanks. In answer to your question, Holy Cross Ridge actually is offically named. Go to http://geonames.usgs.gov/dgnp/dgnp.html Click on Query GNIS US and Territories, enter Holy Cross Ridge and select Colorado. It's in there. :D
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Postby glodder » Mon Jun 06, 2005 6:56 am

Thanks, good to know.

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