Thursday, August 9, 2007

Day 13: 8/6/07: Mount of the Holy Cross: 14,005


7 miles

Standard Route – N Ridge

Company: Wendy Chi

Wildlife: unknown large bird

2500 feet

Start: 5:30 am

Summit: 8:00 am – stopped at treeline east of creek

Stop: 11:00 am


Rain/dense, low-lying clouds – 4:00 am

No summit. Next time! Awake at 4:00 am after a night-time deluge. We decided: better to try and turn back than to succumb to laziness in the face of iffy weather. It would not have been in the spirit of the project to sleep in just because a few raindrops threatened our comfort. The deal from the night before was:

I will set the alarm for 4:00 am

If fair If miserable

Hike Away! Sleep until 5:00 am and recheck weather

If miserable If fair

Sleep in Hike Away!

Of course we neglected the third option: moderately miserable. Clouds blanketed the sky and dribbles escaped occasionally like a bed wetter just trained off his plastic sheets. After a moment of contemplation, it was decided. This has to be done…or at least attempted! I didn’t spend 2 unshowered weeks in the car exploring my primal urge to wander over 100 miles to let a spot of rain do me in. In the dark, in the mist, in the penetrating clouds, we set off by headlamp. Our damp travail was rewarded by an amazing trail, an out and back hike to tree line on the east side of the creek and one brief glimpse of the stately alp-like Mount of the Holy Cross.

She, the shy peak, briefly lifted her shroud long enough for a photo and abashedly drew back – disappearing for good. We gave her a chance – sitting for a time half hour hunched beneath pine boughs like alpine trolls…waiting it out; waiting for the sun to burn a hole in the thick blanket of cloud; waiting for a window to open so we could see the ridgeline. Alas, no. Turning back toward the creek to retrace steps completed moments before, I would cast an eye over shoulder to catch her lifting her veil. But Mount of the Holy Cross would remain free from our footsteps until another day, a day more welcoming in the future.

It was an interesting way to end these two weeks. A cliffhanger! A sequel worthy of Harry Potter waiting in the wings for another climbing season! A place to start next time I undertake a project of this sort. 14 14ers in 14 days. Awesome.

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