Longs Peak – 9/24/05

Originally written 9/24/05

All pictures taken from the summit down. I left the trailhead at 2:35am, so it was dark all the way up.

So I did something that could be considered ridiculous. After proving that I am better than a 14,259′ mountain, I decided to do it again. Last time it took exactly 5 hours trailhead -> summit. My goal for this round was 3.5h to the top.

Well, that didn’t happen. The mountain tried to kill me.

At the top of the trough, there’s a final section you have to go through. It’s probably 60 degrees, and is wedged between two rocks at an angle to each other. There are some handholds, but they were full of ice. The genius I was, I tried to go the normal way. Almost made it, but I ended up falling on my back and sliding back down, headfirst for probably 15′. I thought I was going to die, but something stopped me. My headlamp got knocked off. This is the view from roughly where I fell to:

Pretty, isn’t it? Well, this is the direction I was headed (the icy chute on the left of this pic):

This is where that chute continues (that’s where I was wandering around lost for 30 minutes last week):

Now, this scared the hell out of me. I wasn’t even sure I wanted to go on, but I found another way around to get on top of the section that almost killed me.

In the narrows, there’s a cool thing called the “black hearse,” it’s a rock formation that looks like…duh…a hearse. It’s about 2,000′ below me here (in the middle of the pic):

I also saw a weasel (on the way back down):

What the hell is that thing doing up there?

I almost gave up at the homestretch, but I kept pushing through and was rewarded with this, after a climb of four hours and twenty minutes – far slower than my goal, but acceptable considering I almost died:

I gave the ozone layer a good punch to teach nature for trying to kill me. On a side note, those self-heating coffees apparently don’t work at 14,000′. Pissed me off.

On the way back down, I had to cross a section of that ice chute that was covered in about 1/2″ of pure ice – no dirt, snow, just a couple tiny rocks peeking through here and there, ended up sliding on my ass trying not to swing around too much on it:

Fun!

Finally, I got back to the keyhole around 9 (note the killing fields behind me):

2.5 hours later, at 11:33 (8h58m) I was back at the bottom. I’ve got a shitload more pictures of the mountain, other mountains, trees, etc. Even a picture of a vole, although that was so small it didn’t come out too well. I’ll upload more pictures if anyone wants to see them.

Probably gonna be at least a few weeks until I do this sort of shit again.

A couple scenics:

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