| Our families 1st 14er!
I arrived at DEN at 11am on Sunday and by 1:30 I was at Elitch's with my family, looking at the clouds over the mountains hoping the weather was going to hold off for our climb on Tuesday. After another perfect weather day spent with family on the 4th, I was getting more nervous about the weather and the fact I did not get to go above 6,500 ft to acclimatize at all.
The alarm went off at my sister's house in Castle Rock at 4am. We were out the door and to the trail head on the pass by 6:30. Everything was going as planned (other than the fact my teeth were still rattling from the gravel portion of Gunella Pass road we come in on). We took 285 and came up from the south to avoid any construction delays.
My Dad (71), Sister and I were so excited and had no idea what to expect on our first climb.
We started off about 6:45 on the trail taking in all the scenery.
I felt great, even though I didn’t get nearly the sleep I would have liked to the night before. Once we started to gain elevation we all started to realized that this was going to take a little work to get to the summit. After about an hour my sister and I also realized that Dad was not going to make it. She was second guessing herself some as well. Surprisingly, with no acclimatization I was feeling great and was not going to be denied. Finally, at about 13,300 Dad gave up, so my sister and I continued on.
At this point it was getting tough, but we were getting close to the ridge and the summit seemed in reach. Once we got to the final 300' and began to climb the boulders to the summit, the climb strangely became easy and tons of fun! It could have been the adrenalin, or the rest between boulders that helped.
Finally, at 9:30am we made the summit! Mt. of Holy Cross was easily visable a look really cool!
The weather couldn't have been better with a few high clouds and tons of blue sky! We took in the views for about 30 mins. During that time I started to get a bit of a headache. I think the altitude finally started to get to me. We started down to meet back up with dad and to get back to the car. The hike down was a lot more difficult than I would have imagined, but still enjoyable even with a pretty bad headache. As we got closer to the car we could see a few clouds starting to build, but nothing that looked threatening. We made it back to the car and headed out. Within 5 mins of leaving it had started to rain. The mountain got really busy as we were making our way down and I have a feeling a lot of people got wet that were on the mountain after noon that day.
I can’t wait to get back out to CO next summer to take down #2 and #3 (hopefully).
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):