When men climb on a great mountain together, the rope between them is more than a mere physical aid to the ascent; it is a symbol of the spirit of the enterprise. It is a symbol of men banded together in a common effort of will and strength against their own true enemies: inertia, cowardice, greed, ignorance and all weaknesses of the spirit. -- Anonymous
This is one of the highlights of guiding, getting to share this bond with all sorts of people, helping them achieve goals that, whether they know it or not, run deeper than the physical mountain they're climbing. Ahh, the things that mountains teach us.
And there are so many good climbing objectives here in the Park, so many mountains and each one with it's own lesson. For a recent trip report up one such mountain, Pagoda Mtn, check out my blog. There you'll find photos of the route we climbed and surrounding area.
"Just returned from two nights at the Spearhead Bivy and wanted to report on the Arrowhead-McHenry's traverse. We started on the South Ramp route of Arrowhead, which is 3rd-class with a pitch of easy 5th on nice rock. It's mostly walking up talus/grass ramps in the middle of a huge face. Fun and casual. Then we walked from the summit of Arrowhead down to the NE Ridge (aka Arrowhead arete) on talus with low-angle slabs with a couple spots of 4th-class. Things get interesting when the ridge steepens. We stayed climbers' right of the crest to avoid the up/down on the towers and found a lot of 4th-class. The rock gets solid again towards the summit and kicks back to 3rd-class. We descended the SE Ridge, which, with good routefinding, only has a couple of 4th-class sections. We descended Stoneman Pass a bit south of the pass proper, following grass ledges and a couple of 4th-easy-5th downclimbs, all the while trending southeast. We brought axes for this, but could have gotten by without them. This is a great day up high, with lots of variety and awesome scenery."
If you read my trip report on the aforementioned blog, you'll get another shot of Glacier Gorge climbing conditions.
Andrew Councell is a CMS Guide and year-round Estes Park resident