Climbing Long’s Peak – the Short Version

Look up!  It is the mountain that presides over this site.  At 14,259 feet, it is the only “fourteener” in RMNP, the northernmost fourteener in Colorado, and the most prominent landmark for the vast surrounding area.

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I climbed Long’s Peak :

Because it is there.  (Well, OF COURSE it is there!  Sheesh)

Because I can, was my thinking before I knew what it would take.  (Well, maybe I can.  It’s within the realm of possibility.)

Because it kept looking at me.

Because it is visible to me, day or night, wherever I go.  ( O^O )

Because I am getting older fast and wanted to do it while my legs, etc, still work.

Because I wanted to see the top before the beaver-rat eats it. (It is sniffing at it right now. See it on the left slope, near the summit?)

Because it transmits a siren-song in my frequency.  (It calls to me)

Because it somehow MADE me do it.

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Things the attempt required :

Hours of research to determine what I was getting into and what to do once I did.

Good planning.  Mental conditioning.  Ummm, people die up there …

Good fortune (luck), or blessings.  Only 3 out of every 10 climbers who attempt the summit actually make it.

The proper equipment and clothing.  Adequate amounts of food and water.

Knowledge of alpine weather.  (It is  predictably extremely unpredictable. )

Physical conditioning.

Me to hike 6 miles in the dark while gaining nearly 3,500 feet in altitude then climbing a difficult, sometimes highly exposed, 1.5 mile, nearly 1,500 vertical-foot  route to the summit. (“exposed” means a mistake results in serious death or injury)

Good timing to be off the summit by noon to avoid lightning, rain or snow-slickened granite.

Me to avoid injury, especially ankle or leg injury.

Me to avoid “summit fever” and be ready to turn back at any point due to adverse weather changes or altitude sickness.  (At 14,000 feet only 60% of sea level oxygen is available in each breath)

Climbing wearily and carefully down and somehow hiking back to ‘basecamp’.  This is statistically the most dangerous part due to fatigue, exhaustion, weather concerns, and hypoxia.

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Success involved this :

19 1/2 grueling, joyful hours “on the mountain”,  over 4,891 vertical feet of ascent and later descent in a cold rain, and covering over 15 miles of trails and climbing routes.

I MADE IT UP AND BACK !   However, I was never alone.  I can’t take most of the credit.  So many things could have gone wrong, but hardly anything did.  What unforeseen things happened?    The complete account is forthcoming.

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14 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. planejaner
    Oct 05, 2011 @ 10:40:44

    Len–
    how wonderful! You rose up in wings as eagles…

    blessings
    jane

  2. Will Townshend
    Oct 05, 2011 @ 11:53:02

    Looking forward to the next installment!

    • gloryteller
      Oct 06, 2011 @ 08:01:21

      TY, Will. Those ideas you gave me are baking and growing. I have to let things “steep” awhile. Busy morning, but DG this afternoon?

  3. crrombough
    Oct 05, 2011 @ 13:21:53

    Very cool! I climbed Long’s for the first time a month ago, we did the north face, awesome ascent and great summit!

    • gloryteller
      Oct 06, 2011 @ 07:39:12

      Congrats! It is an awesome mountain isn’t it ?! Nice work on the north face. Was that near the ‘old cable route’ ?
      Thanks for visiting here and for your great comment.
      Blessings,
      Len

  4. Day B
    Oct 05, 2011 @ 21:30:40

    So proud of you!! And grateful that you had this opportunity and you took advantage of it! My family has wanted to climb Long’s Peak together for quite some time now. Now I can pick your brain for pointers! =)

  5. planejaner
    Oct 05, 2011 @ 21:38:00

    Len…I haven’t had any good work. 🙂

    but, thanks for the blessings…I can use them!
    jane

    • gloryteller
      Oct 06, 2011 @ 07:57:39

      Oh, Jane, your every comment and post is a blessing to me and, I’m assuming, hosts of others!
      Your ministry is important! People listen! You have something no-one else has. You’re Jane, and you do too
      have good work. (That’s a Word.) I’m just sayin’ 😀 😀
      Heaps more blessings,
      Len

  6. crrombough
    Oct 07, 2011 @ 11:30:09

    Yes, the North Face is basically the cable route.

  7. ljbmom
    Oct 10, 2011 @ 13:51:08

    Did you really? Wow! What an accomplishment. Good for you, Len! Love the way you tell the story too. Well done.

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