July 1, 2012 –
The Glacier Gorge Traverse, in Rocky Mountain National Park, is one of Colorado’s “hard man” classics. It’s really difficult – 19 miles with over 10,000’ of elevation gain, most of which is above 12,000’, and all of which is gnarly and technical. I had been wanting to do it for years, but was never able to wrap my head around the technical crux of the route – the west ridge of Pagoda. This reputedly goes at 5.6-5.7, or some rappelling. It is so remote and difficult it is impractical to scout – you just have to go do it. This is probably why the Traverse might only get done once a year.
So when local legend Bill Briggs suggested we tackle the traverse together, I jumped at the chance. Bill might be the only person who has done this burly traverse more than once, having completed it several times since 1982, with a mind-boggling PR of 7:17. When someone like Bill asks you do join him for a rare gem like this, you are very well advised to agree!