Longs Peak, poster pin #1
14,255 feet

When my son Shane invited me to join him to climb to the top of Longs Peak, I was not too enthusiastic as I do not do well with heights and exposure, but Shane would finish college soon and be on his own, so I knew this might be a good father and son adventure. We left early to be at the trailhead ranger station by sunrise. There were other hikers there waiting for the light. The boulder field approach was a long hike, but the day turned out to be one of those chilly clear September days perfect for hiking. I had recently turned 50 but was in reasonable shape, although the scramble through the boulder field was challenging. Then came the scary part; after going through the Keyhole, the trail edged along a cliff with some chutes to cross. Even though there was a cable to hold on to, I felt uncomfortable and was glad to reach a level spot before the final climb to the top up a steep, narrow path. There were several people ahead of us we had to follow.

On top, I was surprised to find a large flat area instead of a sharp peak. With the clear blue skies, the views were exceptional. After having lunch and talking to some folks up there, including a guy who hiked up in cowboy boots, we started down. Again, I dreaded the cable as I was now tired and facing down the steep cliff, but I made it past the exposure and through the Keyhole. The hike back to the trailhead never seemed to end, but it finally did. It was a long day, but I hiked away with the bragging rights that I had successfully climbed Longs Peak with my son Shane.

Written by Hal Jordan