Editors Note: Jacob Moon is an accomplished photographer, videographer, athlete, explorer, guide, father and storyteller who seeks adventure and the unknown. He inspires others in the outdoor space to reach beyond their comfort zone and experience these spaces with family. He visited Estes Park in June 2021, read on for his adventures.
By Jacob Moon
In my first year as an Athlete in Residence with Estes Park 2 years ago, I ended my trip after a failed attempt to climb Blitzen Ridge on Ypsilon Mountain, one of the amazing peaks accessible just a few short minutes from town.
An iconic alpine climb, the ridge itself curves 2000 ft up, leading it’s climbers to Yspilon’s Summit. Despite beginning our climb at 2am, my climbing partner and I knew Colorado weather would be an unpredictable factor in our journey. Late-season snow complicated our climbing routes and spring temperatures put the mountain at risk for avalanches. By the early morning, we had made it to the upper portion of the ridge and had begun traversing The Four Aces. Like knife blades, the Aces guard the final trek to the top. By the time we’d descended the last one, we found ourselves waist-deep in snow. Just 1,300 vertical feet from the summit, we made the decision to play it safe and leave the route uncompleted.
This summer I returned to Estes Park fired up and ready to give Blitzen Ridge one more go. This time, we were met at the trailhead with beautiful weather that made for perfect sending conditions. After a bivy at the base of the route under the stars, we tackled The Four Aces, summited Ypsilon Mountain, and kicked off alpine rock season with a bang!
Completing this climb was a huge win for me. Not only did I get to check Ypsilon Mountain off my list, but I finally completed my 3 big alpine routes in Estes Park. This year marks my second summer as an Athlete in Residence, and I’m still overwhelmed by the endless number of mountain trails and climbs I’ve yet to explore.
Sharing this trip with my family was important to me as well. For us, Estes Park has always felt like the best of both worlds. Rigorous mountain climbs and family-friendly activities aren’t always easy to find in the same spot. In Estes, I got to complete a 5.4 difficulty alpine climbing route, then the next day, share incredible hiking trails and easy rock climbs that my 4-year old loved.
With many more climbs on my to-do list, and as my daughter gets older, I’m excited to keep returning to Estes Park.