Rocky Mountain Highs on Humboldt Peak

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It was fully dark by 9pm and we had yet to eat dinner. We finally figured out what was going on. Someone from way up on Broken Hand Pass (the standard route up the Crestone Needle) was yelling “Help!” At this point, we saw three headlamps headed into the direction of the SOS signal being relayed via flashlight. I swear Dom was ready to strap on his boots and start going up Broken Hand Pass; however, we discussed it first. We did not know if Search and Rescue (SAR) was already going up to help or if there were some good Samaritans en route to help. Considering we didn’t know the route up Broken Hand Pass, we decided we didn’t want to add our names to the rescue list. Someone was going to help.

I yelled as loud as I could to reaffirm, “Do you need help?” I heard a resounding, “Yes!”  The look on Dom’s face was grave, and I felt like I was looking into a mirror (in regards to my feelings) while we stared at each other after hearing someone confirm, indeed, that they were in trouble.

There was a campsite across a gully from us and two guys yelled over to Dom and I to ask, “What is going on?” We told them we were not certain about the predicament, but were sure someone needed help on a nasty peak. One of the guys said he could get a cell phone signal and asked if he should call Search and Rescue. We debated briefly about this and then we all decided it was best to call them. He called the Sherriff’s Department of Westcliffe and told them someone needed assistance just below Broken Hand Peak. It was 9:15pm when he made this call. At around 10pm, the guys from the campsite across from us went to bed. Dom and I stayed up late, watching the three climbers slowly get to the distress signal. It probably took the three climbers approximately two hours to reach the distress signal. It was nighttime, and the only saving grace up in the pass was a full moon but still, going up Broken Hand Pass at night is not wise.

At around 11:30pm, the headlamps stopped moving and we deciphered that whoever went to help had reached where help was needed. Dom and I were torn, and there was nothing we could do but go to bed. Just before we were about to turn in, a 200lb Billy Goat with large horns was staring me right in the face. It scared the piss out of me, but I remembered Dom telling me he read some trip reports where people had talked about a nice Billy Goat giving them company. He was completely at ease around humans which made me think that someone had fed him.

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