List of Favorites

My running list of favorite experiences and streaks of luck:

(1) Completed a 10 year quest to climbed to the top of 58 Colorado 14ers without becoming permanently crippled or getting killed

(2) Persevered to complete some very hard climbing days:

  1. The Saber in RMNP via Kor’s Route (10.5 miles plus 12 technical pitches [5.9] in 17 hours)
  2. Black Velvet Peak in Red Rocks via Epinephrine (15 technical pitches [5.9] over 24 hours)
  3. Sunshine, Redcloud & Handies (16 miles plus 7300 feet in 13 hours)
  4. Mt. Moran approach & climb (12 miles plus 7800 feet over 48 hours)
  5. Chicago Basin approach & 4 14ers (22 miles plus 9800 feet over 48 hours)
  6. Longs Peak and Mt Meeker via Iron Gates and The Notch (15 miles plus 5700 feet in 12 hours)
  7. Chief’s Head and Mt. Alice (18 miles plus 5300 feet in 14 hours)
  8. Mt. Mummy, Fairchild & Hagues (19 miles plus 6500 feet in 12 hours)
  9. Hesse-Ferguson on Hallett Peak (15 hours to complete 7 technical pitches)
  10. Thatchtop, Powell, and Flattop during lightning storm (14 miles in 11 hours)
  11. Longs Peak Kieners via Lambslide to the summit in 14.5 hours
  12. Longs Peak Kieners via Stettners Ledges in 15.5 hours
  13. Mt Meeker’s Flying Buttress in 15 hours
  14. McHenry’s Dog Star route in 14.5 hours
  15. Little Bear Peak summit from 2WD parking lot (8 miles plus 6400 feet in 12 hours)
  16. Crestone area 5 14ers and 2 13ers (15 miles plus 8000 feet over 36 hours)
  17. Wilson Peak, Mt. Wilson & El Dente (13 miles plus 5900 feet in 15 hours)
  18. Wetterhorn and Uncompahgre (15 miles and 5,800 feet in 8 hours)
  19. Solitude Lake Cirque (12 miles and 5140 feet in over 13 hours)
  20. North and South Maroon from camp (7.5 miles and 5,200 feet in 14 hours)
  21. Blitzen Ridge (10.5 miles and 2,560 feet in 12.5 hours)
  22. The Petit Grepon (10 miles and 2,870 feet in 12 hours)

(3) Climbed my first and favorite 14er (Longs Peak) in all four seasons, and using 9 different routes, so far:

  1. Casual Route on the Diamond (summer, twice): 1994 / 1998
  2. Kieners Route via Lamb’s Slide (spring)
  3. Kieners Route via Stetner’s Ledges (summer)
  4. Notch Couloir (w/ Upper Kieners finish) via Lamb’s Slide (spring)
  5. Cables Route on the North Face (winter)
  6. Backside of the Notch via Gorrells Traverse after traversing from Mt Meeker (fall)
  7. Keyhole Route and the Narrows (late fall)
  8. Keyhole ridge, 5.5 technical route (summer, twice)
  9. SW Ridge via Keyhole, 5.6 technical route (summer)

(4) Had a few memorable experiences, exhilarating thrills & special moments with myself:

  1. Finishing my first technical rock climb (Pear Buttress, 5.9); so thrilled to live and terrified of the experience that I promised myself that I’d never do it again.  I got over it.
  2. Climbing up my first technical alpine climb (Sharkstooth’s NE Ridge, 5.6) in summer light hail; I thought I was going to die (but was okay with it if I could reach the summit first)
  3. Dehydrated, overheated (105 degree day) and lost on a descent from Black Velvet Peak after an ascent of Epinephrine (Nevada desert); wondering how I’d live through it
  4. Drifting off to sleep 1000 feet up the Black Velvet Canyon wall…watching the lights of Las Vegas in the distance
  5. A non-stop sitting glissade (slid on my butt) for 0.8 miles down the snowfield from Snowmass to just above Snowmass Lake; I was flying!
  6. A sitting glissade from below the summit of Quandary to the bottom of Monte Cristo couloir without a stop (1,600 foot drop in altitude)
  7. Rappelling off a dead bush in Nevada desert with no backup (so, so stupid!)
  8. Standing up (no hands!) on the highest block on Sunlight Peak (very scary)
  9. Dropping over the edge of the Maiden summit for a 115 foot free hanging rappel to a 3-foot wide saddle called the Crow’s Nest (it still scares the fool out of me every time)
  10. Cart wheeling down Mt. Huron during a ski descent (not scary as I was busy trying to stop)
  11. Drifting off to sleep underneath 1,000 pounds of packed snow bricks (in an igloo) in the Longs Peak Boulder Field
  12. Drinking a Coors Light while riding the coal-burning train back to Durango after finishing all four Chicago Basin area 14ers
  13. Caught half-way up the 1st Flatiron in a Spring blizzard. Hands completely numb; wondering if I could grip the rope to rappel to safety, as I stepped of the ridge.  Toes were numb for a week.
  14. Traversing the knife’s edge on Capitol Peak with my legs straddling the edge (500-1,000 foot drop to either side)
  15. Attempting to sleep in a rain puddle (in my tent) in the camp ground below Capitol Peak
  16. Awaking to the artillery-like explosions of a lightning storm in the Chicago Basin (below Mt. Eolus) after summit day (had to wait for the train the next morning).
  17. Making a series of unroped, 5th class rock moves to complete a ridge traverse (actually staying on the ridge) between Ellingswood Peak and Blanca Peak
  18. Pulling over the edge to the Crestone Needle summit after free-climbing the exposed 70 foot vertical finish after traversing from Crestone Peak
  19. Sitting on the summit of Mt. Windom, shivering uncontrollably, watching the sunrise
  20. Standing on a Mt Yale ridge cornice in a whiteout (couldn’t see my feet) after self-arresting on two separate occasions after slipping off the edge, and knowing that I couldn’t see where I was going
  21. Watching the sun set from the Boulder Field of Long’s Peak in winter
  22. Stuck in a thunderstorm while traversing the 4th class ridge connecting Thatchtop and Powell Peak and doing some serious contemplation of my future
  23. Huddled under a deep overhang below the Ship’s Prow while lightning blasted the canyon
  24. Caught by darkness descending Green Mountain (Boulder) with no poles or light, unable to see my hand in front of my face, and after several tumbles,  contemplating whether to sit for the night or crawl down to town
  25. Being hit with an upward lightning streamer while on the saddle below the summit of Arapaho during a lightning storm (I was running down the mountain at the time)

(5) Had several streaks go unbroken (or nearly so)

  1. Managed to summit on every 14er first attempt but one; my first attempt on Yale failed due to a Spring whiteout (still took 13 hours round-trip)
  2. My summit success rate on all peaks attempted is close to 99%
  3. After getting sick (threw up) on my first 14er climb (approach for Casual Route climb), I never again threw up on a hike or climb. However, I did feel a touch of mountain sickness on a few other summits: Bierstadt (put my head below my waist while adjusting my boots), North Maroon Bell (started hiking too fast), Belford (just couldn’t get enough oxygen), McHenrys (don’t know why) & Snowmass (don’t know why); I only failed to summit on McHenrys.
  4. Never got a speeding ticketing while driving to do a climb (although I did get a warning one time…thanks CHP!)
  5. Never had to get rescued (although I would have accepted a rescue due to exhaustion while descending from Pikes Peak, Mount of the Holy Cross, and Apache Peak)
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