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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Boulder, CO
    Posts
    13

    TR: Type 3 Fun (Holy Cross Couloir, Easter 2012)

    This weekend I was apprised of the classifications of fun.
    Type 1 fun: just unadulterated fun.
    Type 2 fun: not enjoyable at the time, but definitely fun in hindsight.
    Type 3 fun: pretty miserable and you’re probably never going back to do it again.

    Once Chris Geary and I were four miles up Tigiwon road on Saturday, we decided that mountain biking up a steep access road in ski clothes with a 60 lb pack classifies as Type 3 fun.

    [After fighting with a stripped pedal (and a hangover) in the morning, it was 11 am by the time we were on our way.]




    Luckily, at this point the sloppy road wreaked havoc on our bikes and we were able to lighten the packs by a pair of skis for the remaining four miles to the summer trailhead.

    [Muck.]




    After briefly resting our sweltering feet, we made good time on the skin up to Half Moon pass (~11,650 ft).

    [Some nice views of the Gore range with a snowpack suggestive of June.]


    From here the standard approach route drops about 1,000 ft into the valley before continuing up towards Mount of the Holy Cross, a prospect on which we weren’t too keen. From the topo map, it looked like we might be able to piece together a traverse along Notch mountain and into the drainage below the Cross, knowing we risked being cliffed out. This possibility came to fruition, and after losing a lot of time tunneling through some very rotten snow during the steep traverse, night fell as we rapped and down climbed toward Lake Patricia.

    [Chris sets up an anchor with Mount of the Holy Cross in the background.]


    [Rappelling into the night.]


    A beautiful night sky with dazzling stars, eventually supplanted by an intense moon, stood watch over our home for the night as we caught some sleep in anticipation of the line that awaited.



    We got underway at 7 am the next morning, an hour later than intended, making quick work of the remaining mile to the apron of the Cross Couloir. This location presented the following view of our objective.



    We briefly contemplated circumventing the crux for the standard entrance, but decided that 30 miles is a long way to carry a rope and trad rack to no avail. While slated as two pitches of 5.5, the climb was a tricky one with crampons on, as necessary for the sections of snow and ice. As per usual, I was dragged along by someone with climbing abilities exceeding my own, and was relieved when I finally topped out into the remainder of the couloir. Some puckered Type 2 fun…







    While it was 1 pm when we finished climbing, the snow was nowhere near saturated and it wasn’t a difficult decision to knock out the remaining 1500 ft for a summit bid. We had come here to ski after all. Two hours and two pairs of tired legs later, we enjoyed our summit beer and panorama view of Colorado’s Rockies.







    The snow on our ski descent was decent but by no means heroic, and after some satisfying turns and two rather rope-stretching rappels, we were on our way down to collect camp.



    [I decided to have a go at one of the rapps with skis on, not ideal on the overhang.]


    The glory of the line we just nailed was somewhat overshadowed by the fact that it was 7 pm and we had 15 miles to cover to the car. Having decided not to attempt any more shortcuts, it wasn’t until we slogged back up to Half Moon pass along some asinine snowshoe tracks that we realized we might just have nipped the approach the day before. Under clear skies and without even a breeze in the air, we pounded out 8 more hours of Type 3 fun for a 3:30 am return to the car, resisting the urge to set up camp and split up a biblical (well, holy in any case) 20 hour day. The result was without a doubt the most strenuous but rewarding outing I’ve undertaken to date.

    - Daan Stevenson
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    Last edited by dutchdoublea; 04-10-2012 at 11:38 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Norwich, VT
    Posts
    1,700
    Wow, that exit sounds brutal!!! Lots o miles, whew... Solid effort though, and it does indeed look like some good fun, even if it's type 3 fun.
    go Go GO!

    Worth Skis
    I like to take pictures.

    13-14: 56ish. 12-13: 51. 11-12: 65. 10-11: 69! 09-10: 65.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Vail, mostly
    Posts
    517
    Nice work taking the hard way. I was thinking of heading up there next week sometime, but taking an extra day and avoiding the cliffs in the couloir.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    7,030
    Oh God Why? Good effort though.

    Seriously, take the ridge and drop in from above. The approach still sucks, but not close to that bad.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    Eagle River Alaska
    Posts
    10,682
    huh that looks fun I guess
    Its not that I suck at spelling, its that I just don't care
    Days on snow 13/14 season: 54
    Vertical Feet Toured: 22,000'
    ER Visits: 1

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Boulder, CO
    Posts
    13
    Quote Originally Posted by MakersTeleMark View Post
    Oh God Why? Good effort though.

    Seriously, take the ridge and drop in from above. The approach still sucks, but not close to that bad.
    I'm not a huge fan of dropping into lines blind since experiencing this adventure:
    http://www.tetongravity.com/forums/s...r-quot-Couloir

    Also, don't think the mileage is much different and climbing the crux was part of the fun!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    9,300ft
    Posts
    13,051
    That is bordering between masochism and insanity. But way to get after it in this lackluster season!
    Quote Originally Posted by blurred
    skiing is hiking all day so that you can ski on shitty gear for 5 minutes.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    JH/Los Andes
    Posts
    2,500
    Sounds rather brutal. Do you have any skiing pictures to share?
    "The idea wasnt for me, that I would be the only one that would ever do this. My idea was that everybody should be doing this. At the time nobody was, but this was something thats too much fun to pass up." -Briggs
    Quote Originally Posted by LeeLau View Post
    Wear your climbing harness. Attach a big anodized locker to your belay loop so its in prime position to hit your nuts. Double russian Ti icescrews on your side loops positioned for maximal anal rape when you sit down. Then everyone will know your radness
    More stoke, less shit.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Boulder, CO
    Posts
    13
    Quote Originally Posted by _Aaron_ View Post
    Sounds rather brutal. Do you have any skiing pictures to share?
    Yeah, they weren't great but I put one in there for ya.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Location
    Impossible to knowl--I use an iPhone
    Posts
    8,521
    Lot of effort. Good job...
    [quote][//quote]

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    The Ranch
    Posts
    3,472

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Eagle County
    Posts
    11,118
    wow that is thin for this time of year and that is a brutal approach
    ROLL TIDE ROLL

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    denver
    Posts
    1,847
    Good effort. Biking with a full pack through mud brings back painful memories.
    I can't believe you are a rando racer because I look so much better in Lycra than you.

    People who don't think the Earth is flat haven't skied Vail.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Golden, CO
    Posts
    463
    Way to throw in a technical aspect to an already painfully long approach. You guys earned this one. Nice.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Boulder/Breckenridge
    Posts
    2,982
    Yup, type 3 for sure. Way to hammer through a brutal day.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Pueblo, CO
    Posts
    1
    .......it wasn’t until we slogged back up to Half Moon pass along some asinine snowshoe tracks that we realized we might just have nipped the approach the day before.

    A) Why am a I an asshole for breaking a trail from Halfmoon pass to Cross Creek?

    B) Why did you follow my asinine route?

    and

    C)What do you mean when you say "...we might just have nipped the approach the day before."? Did you like the snowshoe route or not?

    BTW. I'm asking in jest. I assume I'm not asinine because I own snowshoes, but that you were commenting the steepness of the track, its tight turns through the trees, and its disregard for rocks in the route made it impractical for skiers to follow directly. But, surely, the overall theory of the route was preferable to the Notch Mountain/ rappel traverse.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Boulder, CO
    Posts
    13
    Quote Originally Posted by sgladbach View Post
    BTW. I'm asking in jest. I assume I'm not asinine because I own snowshoes, but that you were commenting the steepness of the track, its tight turns through the trees, and its disregard for rocks in the route made it impractical for skiers to follow directly. But, surely, the overall theory of the route was preferable to the Notch Mountain/ rappel traverse.
    Wow, small world.. Sorry, didn't mean to offend - we were down there in the dark hoping to catch the standard trail back up to the pass and assumed the tracks would be on it. Instead we were met with a pretty dirty bushwack requiring several transitions. I think our approach might have been faster but it wasn't an option on the way out because we'd have had to climb up the rappels..

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Posts
    70
    Nice work, looks fun. By the way, I think we met in RMNP a few weeks ago by Notchtop (Evan & Michelle).

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    COZ033
    Posts
    27
    Phew! Makes my Sunday night seem like a walk in the Park. The fact that the guy above me thinks this looks fun makes me fear for what's in store for me in the future.

    Way to go, thanks for sharing.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Teton Village
    Posts
    50
    That bike ride is awful but it was such a great feeling for me when i got back to the bike and knew i just had to ride down the hill after a super long day.

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Salida, CO
    Posts
    614
    SUFFERFEST YEA!

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