This weekend I will be on a special climb of a 14,000 foot Colorado mountain, Handies Peak in the San Juan Range. I have already climbed this one but this time it will be with my good friend and 14er buddy, Robert LeClair. This will mark his completion of climbing all 58 of the 14ers, a goal he set 14 years ago. So with this occasion I thought it was be a good time to take a look at the hills that serve as my playground, training course and source of immense pleasure. What is a 14er? Colorado has 58 continue reading
The fear of anyone living in the mountains is fire. While there are many ways to protect your home from the onslaught of a raging wave of fire, sometimes there is nothing you can do. This past weekend, the residents of Northern Colorado saw such a fire develop and it continues today, 4 days later. The High Park Fire has gained notoriety and priority due to the explosive size and location next to an area of 250,000 people. Started by a lightening strike deep in the Roosevelt Forest, it started as a smolder but soon grew to 2 acres, then continue reading
If you have ever climbed a Colorado 14,000 foot mountain the odds are you used a guide book or perhaps an internet site to research your climb. Well, it is also highly likely you used some of Gerry Roach’s famous research. His famous guide book simply called Colorado’s Fourteeners: from hikes to climbs is the premier guide book for all things 14ers describing 250 routes in sufficient detail for most people to make the summit. Now he just released the 3rd edition of his famous book and I wanted to ask him about it. In total, he has authored 15 continue reading
Any article about death on a mountain is difficult to write. I am concerned about getting the facts wrong, perhaps offending family and friends. However, it serves a purpose of exploring the reason for incident and reminding everyone that mountains can be deadly. The best source year after year is the American Alpine Club’s – Accidents in North American Mountaineering published annually to members. This article is a partial overview of the tragic events thus far in 2010. Many people associate death in the mountains with the well publicized events on the big climbs like Everest or K2. But each continue reading
For not being a goal, the satisfaction I feel for just completing climbing all 54 Colorado mountains over 14,000′ is deep. As I posted last week, I went to southwest Colorado’s San Juan range to climb Windom Peak (14082′), Sunlight Peak (14059′), Mt. Eolus (14083′) and North Eolus (14039′). I was fortunate to have my regular partners, Patrick and Robert along and some new friends, Anne and Kevin plus John Little from Houston, Texas. There are new trip reports for all the climbs on my main site. Mt. Eolus and North Eolus Windom Peak Sunlight Peak The plan was to continue reading
Sometimes a goal is not a goal until you near the end. That is my story for climbing all of Colorado’s Mountains over 14,000 feet. My first 14er was Longs Peak in 1992, then a few more in 2002. I got serious after meeting Patrick Vall and Robert LeClair. They both wanted to climb all the 14ers and I needed the training for my Himalayan climbs throughout the decade. Thus one by one, we started climbing them all. This weekend I will travel to an area named the Chicago Basin and climb three of the ranked 14ers thus competing my continue reading
Colorado has 4 so-called Great Traverses: the Maroon Bells, Little Bear to Blanca, Crestone Needle to Peak and the ridge connecting El Diente to Mt. Wilson. With the Bells completed a few years ago, this summer, I added two more to my list. Traverses are special climbs in that you usually climb to the summit of one peak and take a more or less direct route across a connecting ridge to another high peak. In these cases all the peaks are above 14,000′ or a 14er in Colorado parlance. They usually involved more difficult climbing moving into the high class continue reading
Mt. Meeker is the poor cousin of mighty Longs Peak. Just missing out being a 14ers by a mere 9 feet, Meeker is the mountain you see from Denver, not Longs At 13,911′ is is one of the highest 13ers but is often passed by with climbers going for Longs, the highest in Rocky Mountain National Park, at 14,256′. I know this since I have passed it by while on my way to Longs on multiple occasions. So on this mid July day in 2010, I set out to pay homage to this peak, little did I know she would not make this a trivial “tag”.
Sometimes it is the little thing. I have climbed on Longs Peak perhaps 70 times in all kinds of weather by multiple routes. But one small goal has eluded me for years. You see, way back in the early days of Rocky Mountain National Park, an enterprising ranger named John Clark decided to help out his fellow climbers by painting an arrow directing climbers to the saddle between Longs Peak and Mt Meeker. The area is a rock filled gully and can be very confusing so some type of semi-permanent sign would have been useful. Of course today that would be illegal and considered graffiti!
Late June 2010, I teamed up with my regular 14er partners, Patrick and Robert to complete some unfinished business. The 14er combination of Castle, 14265′, and Conundrum, 14060′, stand outside of Aspen at the end of a long mining dirt road. I had completed both in 2009, (see the reports for last year’s Castle and Condundrum) while Patrick had climbed Castle with me and Robert had been thwarted twice for both peaks. So as a team, we took on the pair to check them both off once and for all. The early summer of 2010 had been hot with periods continue reading