Conquering a 14’er: Long’s Peak

It was 1 am when my journey began…

 

The night was short from the time I entered my dreamless slumber until I awoke, ready to conquer Long’s Peak. An ominous feeling filled my soul as I plunged into the vast unknown. I arrived at the trail head at 1:30 am. The night sky was dazzled with millions of bright stars, and coyotes howled in the distance. I began off into the dark woods, seven and a half miles to get to the top. Shortly into my hike I ran into an adult church group also attempting the dangerous trek… I followed them in the dark, making new friends along the way.

Shooting stars could be seen every few seconds..

 

Twilight hours bled into dawn. The treeline was surpassed and an unfiltered view of the sky appeared. A crescent moon rose over the Twin Sisters peak in the distance, and the sky was a deep red from sunrise.

 

We watched in awe…

LP6LP8

 

With the sun came the view of the peak we desired to scale, a feat no short of superhuman. Only about 30-45% of all attempts are successful in summit. I would not be the percentage of those who turn back, while there’s no shame, I was on a mission.

When the sun was up, I gazed at the peak, it loomed monstrously overhead, calling to me.

I will conquer you…

LP2

 

The hard part started. The boulder field was first. A stretch of untamed rocks that you must climb to reach the keyhole, the gateway to Long’s Peak. Then you must navigate the ledges, climb the trough, survive the narrows, and then… the homestretch. Nothing will stop me. I made the keyhole, to an astounding view.

 

 

The Ledges attempted to sway me, but I could not be swayed. With ease I persisted. The trough was very steep. Almost 500 feet of raw rock to climb, up, up up and up

But I could not be swayed…

 

At the top of the ledges another astounding view, worth the dangerous trek up.

LP4

 

Passing a large rock up to the narrows leaves you on a small footing of rock that looks straight down thousands of feet. The wind blew, and the thin strip of rocks looked dangerous, but I laugh in the face of danger.

Conquering a mountain…

The homestretch. A two-hundred foot nearly vertical climb to the summit. My muscles ached and burned, but I could not be swayed. Grabbing each rock, I used all of my remaining strength to pull myself up until…

The summit…

A view seen not by the faint of heart. An unobstructed view of the Rocky Mountains. Many have tried and failed, a few have attempted, and perished, but not I, for I could not be swayed.

 

 

He was born in the summer of his 27th year, coming home to a place he’d never been before…

– John Denver

I sat idly on a rock, observing the world. Rocky Mountain High played triumphantly, and a Coors Light brewed in Golden, CO was in my hands. I stared death and danger in the face and said …not today… and I conquered…

13 hours, 15 miles, 14,255ft, Long’s Peak, Colorado…

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