Friday, August 17, 2012

Longs Peak...Success!

It took us 13 hours trailhead-to-trailhead, but we summitted and made it back. Aside from total exhaustion and several vows never to do Longs...or perhaps any 14er...or, for that matter, perhaps any hike whatsoever...again, we ended up with only one broken wrist, one bad cut, and one case of altitude sickness...  The broken wrist was due to stupidity on the part of a peripheral member of the group doing something stupid.

This was the most physically grueling thing I've ever done, largely because I simply wasn't acclimated to the altitude (though I wasn't the altitude sickness victim). I got hit with some kind of crazy allergy thing when I hit Denver, and had to skip my training hikes. Turns out that running in Denver is no substitute for getting up some 14ers...I knew that but just couldn't pass up the chance to hike with this group.  The Longs trailhead is at 9k, the summit at around 14,250. I live at around 1300' and hike and run no higher than about that's a big difference...

The thing is mentally taxing, too, if you're not used to the constant threat of injury and the occasional threat of death. There's lots of exposure, and several places that are pretty scary. I have occasional fantasies about learning to actually climb, but doing Longs may have put those to rest...

Glad I climbed with a group with lots of experience, including a couple of people who had summitted Longs before.

It's a fantastic hike/climb, but you need to be in really good shape, need to acclimate to the altitude, and it would be really good to have more than haphazard, 15-years-dormant rock-climbing experience. Without knowing the little bit I do know about climbing, It'd have been much harder and scarier.

I bonked, largely, I conclude, from the altitude, on the descent at the ledges, and got to a point such that I knew I simply couldn't trust my own judgment. I've never been so happy to see anything in my life as I was to see the Keyhole again.

Anyway. Longs is NBD for some people who are skilled and really fit and acclimated. If you don't fall into that category, it's truly awesome...but not to be taken lightly...


Blogger Random Michelle K said...


Be careful please.

We lost my cousin last month in a mountaineering accident.


4:51 PM  

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