About 2 weeks ago I move here to CO from NY and this past weekend I decided it was time to do some climbing. It all started on Friday, I traveled on my WR250R to camp at the Denny Creek Trailhead with the plans to summit Mt Yale Saturday morning.
Loaded up WR250R
I took off from camp around 4:30am and was on the summit a few minutes before 8am. It was a beautiful day couldn’t ask for any better conditions. Seeing grass while climbing was a new one for me; this was my first peak that wasn’t climbed during the winter. All of my peaks prior to this have been climbed during the winter while I was on break from college and just visiting Colorado.
I didn’t spend much time on the summit because my brother was doing some camping at the Crags with some friends and I was supposed to be in attendance. The camping was simple, calm and relaxing which is just was I need for Monday’s excursion.
So for the grand finally of my weekend my brother (Hollamby) and I headed to the Elk range to climb the Bell Cord. We left the car at about 1:30am Monday morning. The temperature dropped below freezing during the night which made the snow conditions of the cord perfect. When the sun began to rise the cord seemed to almost glow red. The pictures do it no justice it was truly an amazing sight when the sun came up.
Myself topping out the Cord
The cord climb went amazing. It was my first time on a set of crampons and my first cord. There was very little rock fall, just a few small ones. By 7:30am we were on top of South Maroon. This is where our trip was supposed to stop, but after a brief deliberation we decided that North Maroon was begging to be climbed as well. Although during preparation for this trip neither of us had said out loud that we wanted to do the Traverse over to North Maroon, but we just happened to have the gear with us to make the crossing. We down climbed South Maroon back to the top of the cord and started the Traverse. We did the Bells Traverse in 2 hours and 5 minutes, and only set up protection at 3 locations.
Brother led the climb so I became the pack mule and carried his pack along with mine
We didn’t have much time to recoup from the traverse once on top of North Maroon; remember our original plans didn’t include the traverse or North Maroon. We snapped a few photos and started our down climb as quickly as possible to get home on time.
Myself after the Traverse
Brother after the Traverse
We took the standard route down. It was a long, never ending down climb (like most are). What made this down climb particularly hard on me was that during one of our repels over a cliff band I was struck by a rock. The picture below was taken seconds before I was struck. I heard my brother yell “ROCK” and saw the rock at the last second. I was just barely able to brace for it. It ended up striking me in the head (thankfully my helmet was on), my right hand, right shoulder and then finally hit my right leg.
I think it was the rock on the left that hit me...
I was not seriously injured but I was (and still am) very sore. Once off the mountain and over the rock glacier the trail became very muddy. The trail was muddy to the point that we decided that if we had the extra time that we would have retraced our steps and took a different trail down. I have no photos of this because at this point we were literally running (and occasionally falling) because we knew we were never going to make it back in time if we didn’t.
After a good days work we finally made it back to the car at 3:20pm. All-in-all we couldn’t have asked for a better day. The cold night froze the cord up solid; we had some sun but it wasn’t crazy hot and there was no wind what-so-ever. It was actually the first time I was on a summit that it wasn’t windy and I couldn’t get over how quiet it was up there.
This wont be the last time ya'll see us
I considered this trip my official “Welcome to Colorado!”