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North America, United States, Colorado, Colorado Climbing Notes

Colorado Climbing Notes

The principal event last summer in Colorado Mountain Club activities, was the School of Mountaineering which the Club held in lieu of their usual summer outing. This school, held in the Rocky Mountain National Park, gave instruction in nature study, geology, and all branches of climbing on rocks and on snow and ice. To many members it was their introduction to the methods of serious climbing, and capable instructors were on hand to conduct the work. An average of sixty persons were introduced to safe rock and snow climbing, and were so enthusiastic about this kind of an outing that it is quite probable that another school of the kind will be held in another year or two.

A tragic reminder of the need and worth of experienced and properly equipped climbing parties was shown in the death of Gerald Clarke on the E. face of Longs Peak, which occurred during the time of the mountain club school. Clarke and two companions were essaying a climb up the difficult “second chimney” on the face, when Clarke who was in the lead could find no anchorage or belay for his rope, until he had passed beyond the rope’s length above his companions. Thereupon he decided to go on up alone and his friends descended. Upon reaching the base of the cliff, they heard him shout that he was stuck and could go neither up nor down. They thereupon started for help and four capable Mountain Club climbers came to the rescue. Meanwhile darkness and a rainstorm had come on, and the rescuing party were not able to reach Broadway Ledge, a couple of hundred feet above Clarke until after ten o’clock that night. As he seemed to be in no immediate danger and in a safe place to stay, the whole party waited through the night, which continued stormy, and with the first light of day started down to Clarke. They reached him and lowered him with ropes to the bottom of the cliff, where he shortly expired from exhaustion and exposure. It is another unfortunate incident the lesson of which is quote obvious.

In July, six Coloradoans, consisting of Carl Melzer and his eleven-year-old son, Bob, Elwyn Arps, Joseph Buswell, Robert Graham, and the writer, made a three weeks’ trip to the Pacific Coast to climb California’s thirteen peaks above 14,000 ft. and Mt. Rainier. In the time available they found it possible to climb only ten of them, the four peaks of the Palisades Group being passed up for another time. Within a week of their return to Denver, the Melzers found opportunity to go back to climb the Palisades, and thus they are the first to complete the climb of all sixty-four peaks in continental United States above 14,000 ft. Arps and Blaurock still have those four to climb, when they too will have completed the list. The party brought back a fine koda- chrome record both in stills and movies of their trip.

Winter finds additional skiing facilities ready in the high mountains, west of Denver. At Berthoud Pass, the tow has been lengthened another 600 ft., and 12 miles further on at West Portal a long tow has been built to open up additional ski terrain. All during the fall, skiers and CCC boys have been busy cutting trails from the head of the tow to the valley, so that everything is now in shape for a good skiing season. The first snows have already come and the real season will start about December 1st and last into May. The altitude ranges from about 9000 to 12,000 ft. in that district.

Aspen, Colorado Springs, Gunnison and other skiing centers have also been busy getting ready for the winter activities.

Carl Blaurock.

1 Henry S. Hall, K. A. Henderson, and the writer.