American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Colorado Climbing Notes, 1937

  • Climbs And Expeditions
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  • Publication Year: 1938

Colorado Climbing Notes, 1937

The Colorado mountaineering season of 1937 started with the usual New Year’s Day trip up Pikes Peak. This is the regular annual trip of the Ad-Am-An Club of Colorado Springs, who each year climb Pikes and initiate one new man (add-a-man) into the club to the accompaniment of a brilliant display of fireworks, which on a clear night is visible from points one hundred miles distant. A solo climb of Longs Peak was also made on New Year’s Day by Ernest Fields, a ranger in the Rocky Mountain National Park.

As the winter progressed, week-ends found crowds of skiers roaming the mountains in the vicinity of Berthoud Pass, 60 miles W. of Denver. On one of these trips a party of two young men was engulfed and killed by an avalanche, within a quarter of a mile of the auto road, their bodies not being found until late in May.

With the advent of summer, numerous climbing expeditions were roaming over the state, some with the intention of making some of the few remaining first ascents, others to climb by seldom- used or new routes up the better climbs. July in particular saw several unusual ascents. A party consisting of Robert Ormes, Jack Seerley, Lloyd Griffiths, Melvin Griffiths and David Lavender, spent the first two weeks climbing and exploring in the Needle Mountains. On July 5th, Elwyn Arps, Harold Popham and Carl Blaurock climbed Capitol Peak in the Elk Mountains by way of the W. face, a first ascent up this side and by the same route which defeated the party the previous year due to lack of proper equipment. On the 17th of July, Robert Ormes and Jack Seerley climbed the E. arête of the Crestone Needle in the Sangre de Cristos, a second ascent, Albert Ellingwood and party having made the first ascent in 1925. Later in the month Melvin Griffiths and party succeeded in climbing Index Peak in the San Juans near Telluride, after having made previous attempts.

On August 2nd, Jack Stickles of Loveland, Col., made a first ascent on the W. side up Chimney Rock, a 250-ft. sandstone butte on the Colorado-Wyoming line. This was followed on August 10th by a second ascent up the S. side by Robert Ormes and Roy Murchison.

During the final two weeks in August, the Colorado Mountain Club held its annual outing in Chicago Basin of the Needle Mountains, during which all the major peaks were ascended. The outstanding accomplishments on this outing were the traverse of the long jagged ridge from Jupiter to Mt. Eolus, by Jack Seerley, and the tedious long day’s trip up Pigeon and Turret by Elwyn Arps and party.

Among the outstanding accomplishments of the season was the climb of all fifty of the 14,000-ft. peaks in the state by Carl Melzer, his son Bob, nine years old, and Junius Johnson in thirty- nine climbing days. Last year this same party traversed the Continental Divide from Wyoming to New Mexico. On both these expeditions a remarkably beautiful record of kodachrome movies was made.

On Labor Day, Mary Cronin and Carl Blaurock made a second ascent of Blanca Peak via the N. E. ridge and face of the peak. Then on the 19th of the month a party of six made a first ascent on the N. E. face of Navajo Peak in the Front Range.

The summer climbing season closed with another attempt on Shiprock, an 1800-ft. volcanic remnant in the desert near Gallup, N. M. The party, consisting of Melvin Griffiths, Gordon Williams, William House and Robert Ormes, after a great deal of difficult climbing were defeated within 300 ft. of the summit, but have in mind another attempt this year.

This is merely a synopsis of some of the more interesting mountaineering carried on during the past season, and does not by any means enumerate all the serious climbing which occurred in the Colorado Rockies. There were numerous trips up the E. face of Longs Peak by various established routes, as well as other climbs throughout the state which lack of space precludes mentioning. Now that the winter season is here again numerous skiing ascents are being planned by the Colorado Mountain Club and individual members.

Carl Blaurock.

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