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Page2 Page3 Page4 Page5 Page6 Page7 Page8ProductionCrewContributorstotheproductionofthispublicationarepublishersJenniferMandavilleandDaleMcCurryofWellSpringPublishingMarketingandPublicRelationseditorcontributorDaleMcCurrycopyeditorcontributorJenniferMandavilleeditorialcontributorsMaryPatHaddockMargoTalbotandMattMinichdesignandlayoutKristinSchroederofAvalancheGraphicsLLCcoverartbyJesseCrockdesignbyKristinSchroederphotographersMarkJohnsonRafalAndronowskiAmyJurriesDebbieWildDebFolsomandPaulMcCreary.AspecialthankyoutoallofthesponsorsandvolunteerswhomaketheOurayIceParkanditscenterpieceeventpossible.Andthankstoouradvertiserswhobringyouthismagazine.FormoreinformationaboutWellSpringPublishingMarketingandPublicRelationspublicationsandservicesgotowww.WellSpringPub.comorcheckusoutonFacebook.SpeakingofIceThereareanumberoactorsthatmakethe2014OurayIceaparticularpleasureorustopublishnonemoresothanthelineupoitsstoriesandwriters.First-timeWellSpringcontributorMaryPatHaddockweavesaascinatingstoryoasamplingowomeniceclimbersromKittieCalhounwhomcompetitiveclimberDawnGlanccallsthegodmotheroiceclimbingorbreakingthegenderbarriertoteenclimberWendyWoodstoheadChickswithPickschickKimReynoldstoour-timeworldchampionInesPapertandmore.OutdoorwriterandDenverPostcontributorMattMinichisbackwithournon-winterstorythistimewithacaptivatingfrst-handaccountoalate-SeptemberhiketothebreathtakingBridgeoHeavenWearepleasedtohaveapieceaboutthebirthotheOurayIceParkwrittenbyounderGaryWildaswellasaQAwithGary.AdditionallyOutdoorResearch-sponsoredclimberpublishedauthorandmotivationalspeakerMargoTalbotisbackwithastoryinwhichshehasthereaderleadingaback-countryiceclimb.Theissueisalsogracedwithdynamicphotosbyanumberotalentedphotographers.Enjoy.DawnGlancinsidethecurtainduringaCanadianclimbcalledCurtainCall.PhotobyDylanTaylorDaleMcCurryandJenniferMandavilleWellSpringPublishingMarketingandPublicRelations Page9OntheCoverThecoverartforthe2014OurayIceisIceClimberbyGoldenColoradoartistandelementaryartteacherJesseCrock.CrocksworkisknownthroughoutColoradoandbeyond.TolearnmoreaboutJesseandseemoreofhisworkgotowww.jessecrockart.com.CoverlayoutisbyKristinSchroederofAvalancheGraphicsLLCinRidgwayColorado.www.AvalancheGrfx.comBetweentheCoversTableofContents10ClimbingwithMargoHangontoyourharnessasglitter-girlclimberMargoTalbotputsyousmackonthesideofamassivepillarofice.12HookedupwomenWellSpringnewbieMaryPatHaddocktalkedwithfourteenfemaleiceclimbers.Readwhattheyhavetosayabouticefamilyandbeingoutside.14TrickledownthisAsareactiontoabloggerstrickledownrevisionisthistoryoftheOurayIceParkfounderGaryWildsetstherecordstraightonhowitallbegan.16FunnyyouaskGaryWildanswersafewquestionswithcandorandhumility.20ASanJuanautumnOutdoorenthusiastandwriterMattMinichleavesanITprofessionalfromtheFrontRangeinhiswakeashemakesbootprintshighintheSanJuanMoun-tainsaboveOuraytoBrideofHeaven. Page10ChandeliersonaBluebirdDayByMargoTalbotYourrighthandispumpedasyouputascrewinhalfwayupthepillar.Asyoucliptheropeintothequickdrawyouseeyourpartnerbelowswingingherlegsalternatelytoforcemorebloodintoherfeet.Theiceisballisticitmustbeminustwentyinthiscanyonyouyellbelow.Itsabluebirddayinthemountainsyouloveitwhenitssocoldtherearecrystalsintheair.Thecontrastbetweenyourwarmbodyandchilledcheeksmakesyoufeelalive.Yourcaristhreemilesawaytuckedintoatinypull-offthehighwayguysalwaysmanagetoplow.Therewasnoneedtotakeoutyourthermometerthesnowsqueakingunderyourclimbingbootstoldyoueverythingyouneededtoknow.Thewindaddedanextrachilltotheapproachuntilyoureachedtheshelterofthegullywhereyouscopedoutthepillarandgearedupfortheclimb.GlassoncopperYouhavereachedthesectionoficeyousawfromthebottomanditsasunconsolidatedasyouthoughtitwouldbe.ChandeliersbreakawayattheslightestprovocationitisthesoundofpiecesofPhotobyRafalAndronowskiAlpineStartImageswww.alpinestartimages.com Page11glassdroppingdownacopperpipe.Youclearawaydebrisuntilyoundthesolidicebehind.Thesituationcouldbenervewrackingbutyouarecalmandpeaceulcondentinyourstrengthinyourabilitytoholdonaslongasittakestogetgoodplacementsandsolidscrews.Youvebeenonleadnowormorethanahalanhourandyoureconsciousoyourpartnerinthecold.HeySandyyoucallbelowhowareyoudoingImnesherepliesbutwhatelsecanshesaywhenshestheonesecurelytiedintothebelayandyouretheonenegotiatingthecruxpitchTakingithomeThesuraceothepillarhasbecomesmoothagainandyouhearthatpleasantthunkotheaxepenetratingsolidice.Youputinabomberscrewandgunorthetop.Thereisaperectspotototherightwhereyouputinthebelay.Youunclipyourdownjacketromyourharnessandputiton.YoucalltoSandysheisonbelay.YouhearSandyspickshittheiceitbecomestherhythmicbackdropasyoutakeinthestellarviewacrossthevalley.TwentyminuteslaterSandyisclippingintothebelayandyouarepreparingropesortherappel.Neitheroyousaysawordyoudonthaveto.Youeachknowthatbythetimeyouareonthecanyonfooryouwillhavedecidedwhichroutewillbeyournextadventure.MargoTalbotisasponsoredathletewithOutdoorResearchandtheauthorofAllThatGlittersAClimbersJourneythroughAddictionandDepression.Shehasmadeithermissiontointroduceasmanypeopleaspossibletotheactivityshesaysliterallysavedherlife. Page12WomenWhoClimbByMaryPatHaddockIn1979KittyCalhoundecidedthelocalskiingneartheUniversityofVermontwasntquiteforherandaskedafewfriendstotakehericeclimbing.Calhounimmediatelybeganlearningallshecouldfromhermaleclimbingpartnerstakinghericeskillstothebackcountryandeventuallybecominganinternationallyrenownedalpinistandmountainguide.Sheclimbedexclusivelywithmenbecausesheknewnootherfemaleiceclimbers.OuraywinterlocalandtwotimeOurayIceFestchampionDawnGlanccreditsCalhounsaccomplishmentsduringthe80sand90sforinspiringthemoderngenerationoffemaleclimberscallingCalhounthegodmotherofwomensiceclimbinganddescribingherascentsasroutesnobodywouldgodoletaloneawoman.WomenconsideringtheintimidatingsportclearlyhadarolemodelinCalhounandfemaleclimberscouldsoonbespottedonicyfacesacrossthecountry.Thirty-fouryearslaterCalhounstillthinksjustthefactthatthewaterfallsfreezeandyoucanclimbemisreallycool.Theinternationalcommunityofwomenwhoclimbincludescompetitorsrecreationaliceandrockclimbersgirlsmountaineersretireesandhomemakers.Despiteahugerangeinclimbingabilityandlifestylesthefourteenfemaleiceclimbersinterviewedforthisstorysharebasicvaluesprioritiesandmotivations.Eachofthemprioritizesconnectionwithherfamilyfriendscommunityandenvironment.Thesemodernon-the-gowomenformandmaintainvaluableprofessionalpartnershipsandsponsorshipsoffertheirfamiliesunconditionalloveandsupportandsharetheirtimeandresourceswiththeircommunities.TheytraveltheglobefromPakistantoNewZealandwriteblogsandmemoirsrecountingtheiradventuresandrecognizebeautyallaroundthem.Theyraisemoneyandvolunteerforlocalwomensshelterscarefortheirfamiliesmaintaintrailsandhikeforcauses.TakeitoutsideThegroupuniversallypreferstospendtheirtimeoutdoorscomparedtoindoors.HeadchickKimReynoldsoftheChickswithPicksiceclimbingprogramsayssheexperiencesbeingoutsideasnaturalaliveandpreferable.CanadianmountaineerandiceclimbinginstructorMargoTalbotfeelsthereissomethingnaturalandlifeinfusingaboutbeingoutdoorsandAnneHugheswithKitt Page13thatitisthewayhumansweremeanttolive.ArielWertenbergerwholivesoutsideOurayandjustbeganiceclimbinglastwintereelslikeshecanbreathewhenoutside.FormerBozemanwomenschampionJenOlsoneelsenergizedandinspiredwhenoutside.BozemanlocalandrecreationalclimberEmilyReinselsayssheiceclimbstoexperiencethesolitudeothemountainsinwinter.Sheurtherappreciatesthaticefowsaredynamicandyoucanneverclimbthesamefowtwice.EchoinghersentimentsGermanour-timeworldchampionandOuray2012womenschampionInesPapertisdrawntothebeautyotheicestructuresthechangesandbeingthereattherightmoment.InfemmewetrustTherisksinvolvediniceclimbingnecessitatethatparticipantsestablishtrustingrelationshipswiththeirclimbingpartnersteachersandstudents.Forwomenwhoarealreadysteppingoutsideomainstreamsocietysoeredgenderrolebytryingtheextremesportthesaetyandsupportoeredwithintheserelationshipsisevengreater.AnneHugheswhotravelsromherhomeinMadisonWisconsintoOurayatleastonceayeartoparticipateinChickswithPicksclinicsndsinteractingwithotherwomentobeaninvaluableaspectotheexperiencedescribingherpeersasareallyungroupowomenoalldierentagesandbackgroundswhoareobviouslyadventurousinspiringyCalhounorangehelmetChicksWithPicksguideonaOurayColoradoclimbcalledTheRibbon.PhotobyAmyJurries.ContinuedonPage18 Page14TheBirthofaParkAbriefhistoryoftheOurayIceParkByGaryWildEditorsnoteWhatfollowsisa2010responsebyGaryWildtoablogthatresultedfromanarticleabouttheOurayIceParkononeoftheclimbingwebsites.TherehavebeensomanythatIdonotrecallthenamesaysWild.Thearticletalkedaboutthedamntrickle-downtheory.Thisismymonikerforthemediarevisionisthistorystorythatafewpeoplestartedtheparkbytricklingwaterfromhoses.InotherwordsthelegalpoliticalprocessIwentthroughdidnthappen.Wedidusehosesconnectedtothepenstockandmadehugeyellow-coloredclimbsbutthatwaswellafterwehaddoneourpoliticalmaneuveringandIhaddrafteddocumentstogettheleasesandinsuranceinplace.WebelieveWildspassionatestoryprovidesanicethumbnailofthehistoryofthisimportantassettoOurayCountyandtheWesternSlope.IamtheoriginaldeveloperotheOurayIcePark.Thestoryisthatseverallocalsbegandrippingwaterthroughhosesandawonderulclimbingvenuewascreated.Whilethevolunteerworkwasverygenerousitwasprecededbyoverayearolegalpoliticalmaneuvering.PriortotheiceparkaleakinadeunctcityreservoircreatedseveralroutesintheUncompahgreGorge.Theywerediscoveredandclimbedinthe70srightJimDonini.Thecliscontainedapenstockthatcarriedriverwatertoa100-year-oldhydroplantintown.Thepenstockand100eetolandthecliswereownedbyapowercompanythatpostednotrespassingsignsandoccasionallyrequestedinterventionbythesheri.ThepowercompanywentbankruptandtheplantlandpenstockandadamonemileupriverwaspurchasedbyEricJacobsen.EricisahydroelectricpowerproviderromTellurideandOuray.In1993overaewbeersEricgenerouslyagreedtograntaneasementorlegaluseotheacilityiIcouldprovideinsurancetosatisytheFederalEnergyRegulatoryCommission.TheAccessFundadvisedmeoaColoradoRecreationalUsersstatutethatprotectslandownersromlegalliabilityitheydonotchargeaeeortheuseotheirland.AterbeinglaughedoutoameetingattheOurayCityCouncilIworkedwiththencountyattorneyMikeHockersmith.WedratedandexecutedaneasementwithEricandOurayCounty.WealsosecuredaneasementwiththeU.S.ForestServicethatownedsomeothelandalongthegorge.Thecountysinsurancecarrierwasamiliarwiththestatuteandprovidedtheneededinsurance.Thefrstyeartheparkopenedweusedriverwaterromthepenstock.Thiscreatedrust-coloredicebuttherigidwatermadeOurayIceParkpioneersBillWhittleftandBillMactiernanonthelipoftheUncompahgreGorgein1991.PhotocourtesyofBillMactiernan. Page15greatclimbsveryquickly.Insubsequentyearsweutilizedsurpluscitywaterthatwasoverfowingintotheriver.ItwasmuchwarmersoIusedshowerheadstocooldownthewaterbeoreittouchedtheground.Theyarestillutilizedtoday.Thesuccessotheparkledtothecreationothenon-protcorporationthatmanagestheacility.Itisawin-winorclimbersandtheCityoOuray.TheparkislocatedwithintheCityandwasdevelopedwithroadsandthehydroacilityassetspresentbeoretheparkwascreated.ItwasnotwildernesslandandthewaterthatormstheicereturnstotheUncompahgreRiverandeventuallytotheColoradoRiver.TheOurayIceParktsmyconsciencequitenicely.ForadditionalinformationabouttheOurayIceParkits19thannualfestivalandtheareaingeneralgotowww.OurayIcePark.comandwww.OurayColorado.com Page16AMinutewithGaryWildOurayIceMr.WildWhatareyoumostpleasedabouthavinghappenedasaresultofyoubeingtheoriginaldeveloperoftheOurayIceParkWildWhenwepurchasedtheOurayVictorianInnBillWhittwasmyyoungerpartner.HewasaclimberandIwasnt.IdistinctlyrememberwheninthemiddleofanotherveryquietwinterhetalkedtomeaboutconvertingtheUncompahgreGorgeintoaclimbingpark.Whileenduringacoupleofyearsofridiculewegotitdonewith1thegeneros-ityandingenuityofEricJacobsenandhismanagerDickFowler2thehelpwiththeoriginalleaseandinsurancebyMikeHockersmiththenthecountyattorneyand3thehundredsofvolunteerswhocametogethertoclearroutescreatecatwalkslaywaterpipeserveontheIceParkBoardofDirectorsetc.TherewasJeffLoweMikeODonnellBillMactiernanMikeGibbs...thelistiswaytoolong.TheansweristhatIamverypleasedwithwhathappenedinOuray.OIInyourIceParkHistoryareactiontoabloggersattackontheparkyouwriteoftheexistingassetswhenaccesswasacquiredtotheparkland.HowhastheparkchangedphysicallysincetheearlydaysWildIthonestlyhasntchangedmuchasfarasvisualsgo.Theclimbingrouteshaveincreasedeachyearandmorethan200routesarerecreatedeachwinter.Inthesummertheroutesaregoneandyouhavetolookcloselytoseetheboltsfortoproping.JeffSkolodasvolunteersteelworkpenstockcatwalkclimbermemorialattheupperbridgeetc.offersmajorimprovements.Soaretheviewingstandsbetweenthebridges.Manylow-impactimprovementsexist.Theyprovideexcellentwinterrecreationandaccesstospectacularsceneryforsummervisitors.OIWhatisyourrolenowifanyintheOurayIceParkWildVerylittle.IliveinMexicoandhaveaGoogleemailsentwhenanymentionoftheparkoccurs.Isometimesgetinvolvedwithrebuttingrevisionisthistoryorstupidblogcom-mentsaboutallegedenvironmentaldamage.Iguessthosesortsofthingsreallytickmeoff.Iwasthere.My2010responsesumsthisupprettywellseepage14.OIYoumentionpastAmericanAlpineClubPresidentJimDonini.WhatcanyoutellusabouttheearlyclimbersinthegorgeWildIwasnttheremuchwhentherstgorgeclimbershadtostepovertheNoTres-passingsignstoaccessafewroutesthatoccurredfromleaksintheabandonedreservoir.JeffLoweandJimDoniniwerethere.TheycananswerthisonemuchbetterthanIcan.IdorememberBillWhittsittingontheupperbridgerailandbeingtapedforaRescue911piece.Therescueoccurredbeforetheparkwasevenanidea.AmuchyoungerBillsportedhisBuffaloBillCodylook.HetookalotofakfromhisOurayMountainRes-cueteammates.Greatstuff.OIWhatwouldyouliketoseetheParkachievethatitishasyettoWildTheIceParkBoardjustneedstocontinuetheircurrentcourse.TheBoardandOurayMountainRescuearedoingagreatjobwithsafetyconcerns.TheBoardiswork-ingwiththeCityofOuraytoconsolidatethemultiplelandownershipissueswhichwillguaranteeanawesomefutureforthePark.IsincerelyhopethatuseoftheParkremainsfreeandthattheColoradoRecreationsUseStatuteiscarefullyadheredto.PhotobyDebbieWild Page17PhotobyPaulMcCrearywww.MainStreetHouseInn.com Page18participants.EvenatahighleveloiceclimbingthebondbetweentwopeerschallengingandencouragingeachotherisvaluedPapertsaysItsevenmoreuntoclimbwithapartneronanequallevellikeIdidwithAudreyGariepyalotThisyearsChickswithPicks15thanniversarylogoeaturesastylishrepresentationotheHindugoddessKaliarmedwithiceaxeandpick.KellieDaythecreativeorcebehindthelogocallsthegoddessShivaanddescribesherasthedestroyerotheuniverseinorderthatitcanberecreated.KaliShivaislikeawildrethatburnsaoresttothegroundcreatingnutrientrichsoilorhealthiervegetationtogrowinitsplace.Dayhasalwayslovedthepoweroherdancebalancegraceandorceandbelievesitisnecessarytopushyourselinclimbingagreatinnerorceandwillcombinedwithcompletebeautyandfow.Ifshecan...Facingandmovingthroughonesdiscomortandearsisacontinuousprocessoriceclimbersbeginningwiththerstclimb.PapertrecallsThersticeclimbwasnotapleasureatall.FrozenngersbecauseothewrongclothingcutsalloverinmyacebecauseomylackoexperiencebutalsotheknowledgeIhadtoocusonthistobecomeabetteralpinist.SoonIhadevensomejoyandlaterIstartedtoloveit.DutchclimberMarianneVanDerSteensaysthecoldandharshconditionsbringherbacktothebareessentialsolietrustandlovewarmthandprotectionhealthandood.NoviceWertenbergerknowssheismoreboldandwillingtotrydierentthingsbecauseshehasstretchedherinternalandexternalcomortzonesclimbingice.OurayCountyColoradonativeWendyWoodswhorstwenticeclimbingatage7withherstepdadremembersherrsttimeiceclimbingasbeingreallyscaryandreallyunatthesametime.NowateenagerWoodsisthankulorallshehasinherbackyardandplanstospendtherestoherlieclimbingthelandandicearoundOuray.FestivalslikethoseheldeachwinterinOurayColoradoandBozemanMontanaoergreatopportunitiesornewclimberstotrythesport.TalbotwhooersOutdoorResearch-sponsoredclinicsatbothestivalsandisthemastermindbehindBitchClimbinganorganizationocusedonempoweringwomenwiththehealingpowerotheearthencourageswomentocometotheestivalssayingThereisnobetterwaytotryiceclimbingthanestivalsbecausegearisexpensiveandcompaniesaretherewithgearandappareltodemowithclinicssubsidizedbytheoutdoorindustryCanadianmountaineerMargoTalbotPhotobyRafalAndronowskiAlpineStartImageswww.alpinestartimages.comContinuedfromPage13 Page19MaryPatHaddockisafreelancewriteroutofRidgwayColorado.ShespendsherwintersteachingskiinginnearbyTellurideandherfreetimeexploringtheSanJuanswithherGermansheperdEvergreen.MaryPatisalsoaproudmomofheradoptivedaughterAnnachaHaddock.availabletogiveanyonewhoisinterestedachancetotryitout.GlanchasorganizedFemmeFestaFebruaryeventinOuraydesignedtoallowwomenwhohavealreadylearnedtoclimbtocometogetherortheweekend.Theladiesiceclimbsocializeandenjoyaashionshowowomensoutdoorashions.Aewluckyladiesevenreceiveaniceclimbinggearmakeover.BozemanrecreationalclimberJeannieWallalwaysseesatleastaewotherwomeninHyaliteapopulariceclimbingcanyonoutsideBozemanandencouragesmorewomentogetoutandtryitwithanotherwomanriend.WallurtheradvisesIyoupickniceweatherdaystostartthedaywillbeagoodthingandsuperun.ArielWertenbergerreportsasimilarlycommonpresenceoemaleclimbersinOuray.Thiscommunityowomenwhocanbeseengraceullyandnotsograceullyascendingrozenwaterallsdonotactuallypossesscomicbookstylesuperpowersinacttheyarejustaslimitedbytheirhumanityasanyoneelseontheplanet.Wheresomeocusonwhattheycannotdothesewomeninsteadgivetheirenergytowhattheycandoanoutlookwhichservesthemonandotheice.Thankstothisamazingassortmentotough-ladyrolemodelsanywomanconsideringfndingherwaytotheicethiswinterorthefrsttimecanembracetheChickswithPickssayingIshecandoitIcandoit.AyoungWendyWoodsclimbingwithstepdadChrisFolsom.PhotobyDebFolsom Page20Theviewisasmuchareliefasareward.AfteralmostanhourofhikingsteepswitchbackstheslopehasgivenwaytorevealtherockycirqueoftheAmphitheatreandthedistantslopesofIrontonValleyandYankeeBoyBasin.Formilesaroundusemeraldaspengrovesshowspotsofautumngold.MyfriendJohnrestshishandonmyshoulder.AnITprofessionalfromColoradoSpringshesnotusedtothissortofhiking.Hesbeenagoodsportbutitsclear1000verticalfeetofclimbinghavepushedhislegsandhislungstotheirlimits.SothisiswhyyoudoitIguesshesaysbetweenbreaths.Iguessitreallywasworthallthattogetuphere.Iwanttotellhimyesthesestunningvistasaretheprizeforallofoursweatandstrain.Iwanthimtofeelkinshipwithgranolaeatersandwoolsockwearerseverywhere.Ido.ButIknowsomethingJohndoesntknow.SomethingImnotsureIhavethehearttotellhim.OntheBridgeofHeavenByMattMinichPhotosbyMarkJohnsonwww.BoxCanyonBlog.com Page21SnapShotsTripHorsethiefTrailtoBridgeofHeavenDistance8.4milesroundtripElevationgain3100feetGettingthereFromOuraydrivetwomilesnorthonHwy550beforeturningleftontoCountyRoad14.Follow14forabout2.5milestothecrossingofDexterCreekthedirtroadnarrowsbeforethispointbutisstillpassablebymostvehicles.Theroadbeyondthecreekrequiresfourwheeldrivesothosewithoutwillneedtohikethefnal1.1milestothetrailhead.SeasonThehikeisbestdonebetweenmid-JuneandearlySeptemberwhentheBridgeisclearofsnowbutcanbetraveledyearround.Werejustgettingstarted.ThetrailtoOuraysBridgeoHeavenclimbs3100eetover4.2milesandwehaventdonehalthat.Idirecthisattentiontoanearbytrailsignwhichreports2.5milesotravelaheadandhedefateslikeawhoopeecushion.AserioushikeForanovicehikerlikeJohnthe8.4-mileroundtriptotheBridgeoHeavenisambitious.Justreachingthetrailheadrequiresarivercrossingandabouttwomilesodrivingonanarrowour-wheel-driveroadandthehikeissteepclimbingallthewayup.Bythetimehikersreachtherstvantagepointthewelcomerespitementionedabovetheyhaveonlytackledaboutathirdotheclimbingandjustlessthanhalothehiking.FromtherethetrailgetssteepernarrowerandmessierasitwindsabovetimberlinetotheBridgeitselaspectacularridge12300eetabovesealevel.ThisistheshortestandmostpopularroutetotheBridgeanout-and-backhikealongHorsethieTrailwhichstartsjustaewmilesoutsidedowntownOuray.Butorhikerswithovernightambitionsorexceptionallystronglegsorboththehikecanbestretchedintoan18-milehighcountrytour.ThisjourneyrequiresacarshuttleHorsethiecontinuespastDicultyCreekandtheAmericanFlatstothe12600-ootEngineerPassbeoredescendingbacktotownbytheBearCreekTrail.Mosthikerschoosetotacklethistripasmulti-daybackpackcampingoneortwonightsonfatperchesalongtheway.OnwardandupwardAboutamilebeyondtherstviewpointJohngivesitup.Theclimbingisrelentlessandthoughthetrailhasenteredashadyroresthisbackissoakedinsweat.AsmuchasIwanthimtopressontothetopIhavethenaggingeelinghesmadetherightdecision.Theclimbingonlylookssteeperaheadandthehighcountryiscoatedinalate-SeptembersnowthathellhavetroublenavigatinginhisReeboksneakersandbluejeans.Wevealreadypassedonehaggardpartyohikersturnedbackbytime Page22constraintsanddicultterrain.IleavehimaCliBarromthebrainomypackandhikeon.Thelastmileotrailisasdicultasitlooks.ThetrailbreaksabovetimberlinewithonenalsetosteepswitchbacksandiscoveredneartheBridgeinsnowmudorboth.BythetimeIroundthenalbendandclimbtothewoodensignthatmarksthesummitmyownlegsandmynervesareshot.TheBridgeoHeavenitselisanarrowrockyridgewithprecipitousdropstoeitherside.TheviewtothesouthotheSneelsRangeandYankeeBoyBasinisrenedbythealtitudeandnowstretchesalmostallthewaytoRedMountainPass.TothenortheastwhichhasuntilnowbeenhiddenbytheslopeotheridgethesceneryopensuptorevealtheiconicCimarronRangeRidgwaysLogHillMesaandthedistantandmassiveGrandMesa.UtahsLaSalMountainsloomnearthehorizontothewest.AlsoattheBridgeareapairohunterstheirmuleshitchedtothelonesignpost.Theylazilyeyeatrioobighornewesontheslopesbelowtheirriferestingunusedbesidethem.Agrouporamsgrazejustovertheridgebutthehuntersaretootiredortoocontenttopursuethem.Itakeaseatwiththemorbrietrailchat.Wetalkabouttheweatherandthetrailandpoolourknowledgeonthelocalhighwaysandbackroads.Thoughoureyesneverbreakromitwedonttalkabouttheview.Wejustsittheretogetherwiththesharedknowledgethatthisiswhywedoit.MattMinichisafreelancewriterbasedinFortCollins.HewritesanemailnewsletteraboutthestatesbestoutdooradventureswhichisavailableatBootprints.com. 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