14er Ski Descents – Holy Cross – July 3, 2005
Route: Cross Couloir
Team: Ted (solo)
In 2005 I skied during every month of the year. I had always heard of people in Colorado doing this, traveling to small desperate patches of sun-cupped summer snow just to be able to say they skied all year. September and August can be the toughest to pull off. July was easy, I went to Holy Cross.
The spring wildlife closure of the Tigiwon road had just ended so I didn’t need to bike or walk the eight miles to the Halfmoon trailhead, I drove. As I marched in alone, I have to confess I felt pretty tough. Part of it was the big pack on my back complete with tent, pad, sleeping bag and all of my ski stuff. Skiing the classic Cross Couloir the next morning on a summer day added to it, the hike back over Halfmoon Pass and drive back to Aspen in time for work at 4pmthat night completed the illusion.
That was when I crested Halfmoon Pass and came across two campers/hikers who completely burst my bubble. They informed me that the couloir was skied earlier that morning by two kids, age eleven & twelve (the Klosers). How deflating. It immediately reminded me of a rule I have- always bear in mind someone has likely done what you have or plan to do, only better- either thirty years earlier, in winter, faster, in shorts etc.— in generally better, or tougher style. In other words, seldom are you as big a bad-ass as you think you are, I always consider this when I hear people talking about themselves.
So ended the delusions of grandeur and I quietly marched up to a camp by the Bowl of Tears Lake. Up before dawn, I hiked from camp at 12,000 ft. to the couloir entrance near 12,700, put on the crampons and followed previously kicked steps to the top, from the shortstrided youth. It was an awesome day. The couloir softened early, so I was clicked into my skis by 7:30 and skied back down, avoiding the monstrous runnel that ran most of its length. Other climbers were ascending. Once back at the tent I did a quick camp breakdown and began the trek back to Aspen to make it to work that night.
Thirteen 14ers skied this spring (fourteen with South Massive), not bad.