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111 Rescue 2009-08-14

Mount Holy Cross

Mount Holy Cross is like the Land of the Lost for 14,000 foot hikers. Monday, two hikers went missing. So how does such a popular hike claim so many victims?

When we hiked Holy Cross this summer as a loose group of five we almost had a lost victim.

Jon and Laura started on the trail early so they could take their time and enjoy the climb. Amy and I left camp later and Nick, hiking alone, left even later. Nick passed everyone and was the first to summit. We saw him there and shared the summit for awhile, heading down together. It was not long before Nick left us. He is a bicyclist who only thinks about breakaways when he is hiking!

We met Jon and Laura going down and gave them any beta we might have had on the route to the summit (I think it was go UP, or something like that.) Nick was out of sight but he had gone down to the left, the area that leads to the Land of the Lost. Our two friends proceeded to the summit as we headed down to treeline. I continued to look for any signs that Nick was rejoining us, but it was hard to tell in the trail less boulderfield.

When we arrived at treeline, I told Amy I was a bit concerned about Nick. He had been heading the wrong way. Nick is young but has a good head for outdoors navigation. I really thought that he would eventually turn around and return to the area that he knew, but I was still worried.

While taking a food and potty break, all of a sudden Nick appeared. He had gone too far down left (almost being sucked into the Black Hole), but soon realized it and made a course correction. Not saying much about the error Nick left again on another breakaway scurrying down the hill. We were relieved that he realized his error, corrected it, and ran into us so we did not have to wonder about his whereabouts.

Back to the original question, how does the hike claim so many victims?

The upper section of the trail is trail-less.

Going down to the left looks shorter and easier.

The hikers who went the wrong way don’t have the strength to re-climb the mountain and return to familiar ground.

We were just happy the Nickster was smart enough to say something is wrong and strong enough to re-climb the trail to join us, if only for a minute!

Happy trails.


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