From Opening Windows to God (©1999 and 2006)
Hap Holly | Hi Stampede camper 1969-70, Staff ’71-77
Editor’s note: Readers who don’t know Hap Holly may find his experiences all the more meaningful with the information that Hap came to camp all those years without the benefit of eyesight….
1970 – There were so many of us at the Hi Stampede from August 19-25 that both Round-Up and Sky Valley were used. Those residing at Round-Up enjoyed the use of a new in-ground swimming pool, and every evening we all met as a group in the newly-erected Wyly Lodge….
I scaled my first mountain at A/U’s College Stampede that followed the August Hi Stampede mentioned above. Those not wishing to ascend Collegiate peaks such as Harvard, Yale, Columbia, or Princeton, were given the option to go on so-called cake walks to Harvard Lakes or Brown’s cabin. I reluctantly signed up the night before the climb to abuse my big, fine body climbing Mt. Elbert, Colorado’s highest peak. It was a six-hour, nine-mile struggle that began far too early in the morning at around 8,500 feet at the bottom, ending at 14,432 feet on top. After lurching through boulder fields and sliding backwards through loose shale, nothing was as sweet as that orange, a chunk of cheese, and a brief rest in the rarefied air on Elbert’s summit. Then came a three-hour slide/run descent to a most wonderful spectacle – a waiting bus! How I enjoyed being awarded one of the first Cloud Sitter certificates later that week. Frankly, I would not have met the challenge of the ascent without a lot of verbal, physical, and metaphysical support from my fellow climbers, one of which was fellow Stampeder Todd Herzer.
Elbert was one of four mountains I conquered between ’69 and ’77. The others included: Belford with its endless looping trail; Buffalo Peaks on which staff and Stampeders formed a human chain to help me through the rocky boulder field; Yale, whose switchbacks wore me to a frazzle. I tackled Antero, but pooped out below the saddle. While I’m glad I overcame self-imposed limitation on these five mountains, please don’t ask me to climb one again!
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