No View from the Top
I put Mount of the Holy Cross on my calendar a year ago, and I recently climbed it with my son and son-in-law.
Mount of the Holy Cross is an iconic Colorado 14er - that is, it’s a mountain with an elevation over 14,000 feet, and it occasionally has snow in crevices on the side of the mountain that displays a distinctive cross. It’s a tough climb, because it’s long, and because there is a ridge to climb and descend before the actual ascent to the summit.
I had three goals for the trip: Get to the top, get my son-in-law to the top because he had never climbed a 14er, and get home safely without even a sprained ankle. Check, check, and check. Unlike when I spend time alone on the trail, what I am writing right now didn’t “come to me.”
At the top, we were engulfed in a sweeping cloud. It wasn’t stormy, raining, misty or even particularly windy. In fact, it was surprisingly warm. From the reaction of other climbers on the mountain, I could tell most of them were deeply disappointed that there was no view. Nada, zip, zero. At times, I don’t think the visibility was more than fifty yards.
What surprised me is that I could have cared less about the view. Sure, a view would have been spectacular. I’ve heard that Mount of the Holy Cross boasts one of the best viewing platforms of any of Colorado’s 54 14ers.
What I realized more than ever is that I don’t climb for the view, but for the climb. I climb for the route selection, and the logistics of packing the right stuff based on the weather.Continued on the next page