Taylor Peak’s east face is one of Rocky Mountain National Park’s most imposing walls, but it’s not nearly as famous as the clean rock climbs of the Diamond or Chiefshead, in part because it’s only in decent climbing condition in winter and spring—it’s a proper alpine wall, in other words. Any winter ascent of the biggest face on this 13,153-foot peak is a major undertaking, always beginning before dawn and often ending long after dark. During an attempt this month on the face’s right side, CSU graduate student Doug Shepherd saw two dawns:
I thought to myself, “What if I combine [a] shoulder shrug to warm up my hands with running in place? That will displace less snow than jumping jacks and should keep me warm!” Some unknown amount of time later, my feet were warm again and my hands had finally warmed up. “I’m a genius!” I thought, followed by, “Genius, huh? That’s why you’re about to crawl back underneath a snowy boulder and repeat this process in another thirty minutes?”
I wiped the snow off the rope and tiny foam pad next to my partner, who was passed out under his space blanket and big-ass down jacket. I quickly realized he was the genius, because he hadn’t had to get up once to warm up, whereas I wasn’t even sure how many times I had crawled out and invented new and amusing ways to return blood to my extremities….
Read the rest of Shepherd’s amusing account and see photos and video at his blog.