Nobody considered the possibility that it could happen, especially
to a Hahnfeld. Where could they have gone? Back then, Northbrooks, Colorado was
one of the safest places in the United States. Northbrooks used to bustle with
friendly neighbors and wildlife. Douglas firs peppered the ridge to welcome you
to this peaceful Colorado city.
The jewel of the city was Hahnfeld Ropes. A father and son duo,
Joe and Craig Hahnfeld crafted each rope by hand exactly how their ancestors
had done 50 years earlier. They had a monopoly in the west, and their cables
were now becoming popular in the east too. Their ropes were indestructible.
Every time you entered the Hahnfeld store, the smell of fresh coffee and cream
wafted through the standard-sized shop. Free cookies waited for you right by
the cash register, next to a picture of Hahnfeld and his young son.
As you came to this humble valley, you would be greeted with
smiles and laughter. It felt like home, but after the incident, the area became
infamous and died down to a cell of nothingness.
This dreadful incident happened on August 1st, 1987, a date that
would live in the minds of those that had once called Northbrooks home. A calm
breeze rolled into the valley as the sun arched high into the sky. Bees hummed
as the trees gently swayed back and forth in the wind. The chickadees fluttered
as the majestic city peered up at the great Eppling Ridge. Mr. Hahnfeld and his son, Craig, decided to
climb Eppling Ridge on Colorado Day. The two had done this strenuous climb
several times and were confident they would be done and back in town for the
annual BBQ celebration.
The mountain steep, Hahnfeld told his son, "Awright son," he
exclaimed, while dropping a rope from his harness, "Tie the rope on real tight.
Remember to double back an' put a safety in it."
Craig grinned, slipped on his helmet,
and tightly tied the Colorado renowned Hahnfeld Rope on to his belay loop. As
father gingerly squeezed each boulderous mound of earth, a distant scream rang
in his ear. Hahnfeld glanced down, only to see a mangled rope dangling in the
~ ~ ~
Helena ‘Gypsy' Wilson was determined
to defeat Eppling Ridge. She was a feisty young woman who had climbed every
mountain in Colorado state. Gypsy could defeat every cliff, ridge, mountain in
a heartbeat. Overhangs had become her signature in the climbing world. It had
been 5 years since she had used safety gear and entered the universe of
free-climbing. Fearless, Gypsy suited up in her lucky sweatpants and a T-shirt,
sped out the door, and glared at the mountain before her.
"Ha!" she called, teasing the ridge,
"You call yourself a mountain? This is child's play. Gypsy will show you a
thing or two!"
Gypsy heroically placed her feet on
two masses of land as she traveled up the mountainside. She moved with
ease as if she were half gecko. Her short hair came alive in the breeze like
leaves on a quaking aspen. A noise trickled in her ears. A miniscule pebble
gently plopped on her head when she looked to the sky. Suddenly, a gigantic
boulder slammed down on her leg; she screamed in agony. Her rough hands slipped
and flew up, crying tears of desperate fingers, seeking something to grab onto.
Three months later, after 8 weeks of painful physical therapy and
training that almost defeated her, Gypsy convinced herself that she was ready
to face the mountain once again. She arrived at the same exact spot the
Mountain Emergency Team had loaded her onto the ER helicopter. She greeted the
mountain with a hint of disdain, "Gypsy is ready to face you again!" She sat
herself down in a squat, boosted her body up, and quickly ascended up the
Western slope. Halfway up, she wiped sweat off her brow. Miniature rivers
trickled down the mountain. This was odd. These clouds definitely weren't
nimbostratus clouds. Suddenly, a gush of water flushed under hand, forcing
Gypsy to descend down the mountain and return home, her determination uncrushed
but definitely bruised.
Gypsy was not ready to see the mountain win. Months later, after
rigorous training, Gypsy commenced scaling up the rock to thrash Eppling Ridge.
She was surprised after climbing three-quarters of the way up without any
dangers at all.
"Gypsy must be reaching the top any minute now," she whispered to
Her right hand grasped the somewhat-flat summit as she mantled
herself onto it; she was finally at the top! To catch her breath, Gypsy kneeled
on the sun-kissed rock. To take in her surroundings, Gypsy pushed herself up
and leered at a tiny cross about fifteen feet away. She scuttled across the
rocky area to read, ‘Here lies Craig Hahnfeld. He never reached the top and
lived to tell the tale. Nobody else will either. 1978-1987.'
A large shadow eclipsed the sun just before the wind stopped
whistling a tune. Gypsy slowly spun around to gawk at this strange, elderly man
wearing a ratty t-shirt with ‘Hahnfeld Ropes' printed across the chest.
He scowled at Gypsy growling, "Ahh... so I see you've met Craigy
Boy. What it says on his grave is true. You should have read the signs I gave
you. Pleasant dreams, girly."
The ancient man clutched Gypsy's sleeve and yanked her to the
edge. She kicked high and bared her leg down on her captor's head, knocking him
unconscious. The mysterious elder collapsed onto the rocky exterior. Gypsy felt
tired, but proud. She knew that old man couldn't defeat the mighty Gypsy. With
too much confidence pulsing through her veins, she turned to admire the view
for the first time since she had reached the top. She felt a sudden tug on the
back of her collar. The old hermit was right behind her. He smirked for a
second. Gypsy knew this was the end. The senior drove her body down the
one-thousand foot ridge maniacally as if the very act would bring his son back
Gypsy Wilson's corpse was never found. The news reported it an odd
coincidence that she disappeared the same day Joe and Craig Hahnfeld vanished
twenty-seven years ago.
~ ~ ~
are brave enough to climb up Eppling Ridge, your last sight might just be a
rocky landscape including two graves belonging to Craig Hahnfeld and Helena