Sunday, September 4, 2011


Hey guys, this is a brief post to commemorate the extreme man deeds preformed atop Longs Peak by my brother Isaac and me, both personifications of manliness* in our own right.

*note: Manliness, in this case is defined as the reason men have an 5.3 year lower life expectancy than woman. A roaring Norse Viking charging forward to enjoy paradise after losing his life in battle...

Colorado's Longs peak, at 14,259 ft peak, is the highest peak in the Rocky Mountain National Park and even the easiest route, the Key Hole route, is tough enough to average one death every year during the few summer months it is climbable without special equipment. The recent asylum escapee chuckled after recommending this climb to me during one of my pharmacy classes.

As neither Isaac nor I had ever climbed a peak of this magnitude, we figured we had better play it safe and give ourselves a whole day of rest between climbing Longs Peak and hiking Colorado's highest peak, Mt. Elbert with Clarissa. Sometimes wisdom is the better part of valor.

That said, I'll walk you through the climb with the pictures below. 

 Sunrise view and me, only moderately winded.

Weather changes rapidly on Longs peak, with thunderstorms coming in every afternoon.  Because you become the tallest and most conductable object above the treeline, it is typically recommended one gets to the trail by about 3:00 A.M. in order to get off the mountain by noon.  Thus came forth the roaring viking in both me and Isaac as we got up (which Clarissa classily ignored).  Much of the early hiking was done under the stars and by the time the sun came up, we were already well above most of the surrounding peaks and got a great sunrise view.

Keyhole pass is seen in the distance

Isaac knows were making good time

Record winds at longs are 201 mph

 As can be seen by the beautiful pictures above, we made awesome time, reaching the keyhole pass in just hours.  We sprinted up the mountainside, leaving behind a lot of those slow pokes in their professional gear along the way.  However, more and more snow appeared as we went up, and alas, even young and fit, breathing became more difficult and we became colder.
Keyhole pass
As we went around the keyhole pass, the wind blasted over glaciers, froze our lungs and hands, and then things got manly.  Unfortunately, we mostly just got oxygen deprived and dizzy.  But we pressed on, and took some pictures at some of the cool places that almost destroyed our numb limbs and minds. 

The pegs are part of the trail

This is a downshot of the peg

As we continued, we realized that the "trail" could go up, sideways, or even upside down.

The bullseye is the trail

We trekked our frigid way through the narrows inch by inch, foot by foot, being blasted by cold wind and seeing many of our old friends whom we passed on the way up. But we did get some spectacular views.  I avoided taking pictures of some of the hairier parts for fear of children reading the blog.

Finally, after a near vertical last dash, we sat on the top, remarkably cold and completely worn out, but also triumphant.
Isaac shows his excitement in reaching the top of the peak.

This picture is just to show what others were wearing, compared to us.
Temperatures were merely near death by freezing.

Isaac is once again roused, and ready to head down.

Yeah, I'm ready to head down too.  Thats the altitude smiling. 
I guess you could say I have the right "altitude", yuk yuk.

So we managed to make it completely unprepared, freezing, sunburnt, worn out and sore, to the bottom.  I think I managed to single handedly entice Isaac to never climb a mountain again.  Needless to say, we never did try Mt. Elbert with Clarissa.

Clarissa: I came home from my last day of work to find Isaac passed out on the air mattress and Zach not far behind him on the bed.  For the next two days I listened to their complaints of aches and pains as they did nothing but watch episode after episode of "Firefly".  Normally I would be disapointed that I'd missed out on such an epic hike, but after listening to all the stories and whining, I couldn't feel luckier that I had work that day.  After all, SOMEONE had to look after these manly men after their manly feats.


  1. Hehe!! I forgot about that!! That was a great read. That sounds hellish. Much love for those manly men!:) thank goodness for clarissa...let's be honest she is the bomb.:)

  2. After Long's Peak, Elbert would have been a walk in the park. A long, slow, mildy excruciating walk.