| Mt Evans Summit
The 4 of us started out yesterday morning for Mt. Evans, the first on our tick list. We went over our gear list just before we left base camp. We found out later that this move really paid off. Beautiful day to start out. Not too hot, mostly cloudy with a west wind. Fortunately for us. this was opening day for Mt Evans Road. We ascended from Summit Lake (our first staging area) at approx. 1145. As we started our climb, we passed a big horn that appeared to be in about as good as spirits as we were. We reached Camp 1 about 15 mintues later. This is where we encounted some flurries and an increasing wind. Thank God we brought extra gear with us, as we knew the summit would be a little more foreboding.
Our first real technical climb hit us about 150 ft. from the summit. The wind really picked up and the snow was coming down at a good clip. The reports had the gusts at 30-40mph. More like 50-60mph is what we encountered and near white out conditions. The mountain goats near didn't seem to notice though. They just went about licking the melting snow on the rocks. It was about here that we quickly realized that our preparation for the climb left little to what the climb actually presented. B was up first (he's the strongest and most experienced of the group). He marked the route for the rest of us. A great route and a real tribute to B's prowess. J was next. J has little experience on the rocks, but he actually handled himself awesome. M and R brought up the rear. M &R had the least experience, but really hung in there.
It was touch and go for a while, due to the conditions. We decided that this climb would take more time than we thought. Safety first. As we ascended, the air was thinning and we had to go one step at a time. J is the only one of us that lives at any altitude, so we knew that we should do it by the book. We couldn't afford any mistakes. There is too much on the line for that. We each pictured our loved ones (as they were there with us in spirit). We were only about 5 feet apart, but we were each alone.
We could make out a lone marmot at the summit. He gave gave us all hope. He was our goal. We finally summited around 1300. We were elated with the experience. This was our first 14er. High fives and hugs were the order for the moment. B was at the top marker first, follwoed by J, M, & R respectively. We couldn't linger too long. Just enough to appreciate our accomplishment. We knew the descent was still ahead of us.
B again took the lead and marked the route. He tried to make it easy for the rest of us. And again J, M, & R followed. There were no unfortunate events on the way down. B did his job and the rest of us followed. We were back at Camp 1 by 1330. R discovered a flesh wound on his leg. A testament to what we had all gone through together. All of us felt the sting of the wound. Nature is a beautful creature, but one that cannot be taken lightly. We went up as 4 friends and came down as 4 brothers. We all have a better outlook on life and appreciate our loved ones that much more after our experience. We hope this tale can help other climbers. Put a goal in front of you and go after it. Next on our tick list will be Pike's Peak. But that will be after a visit to Coor's Brewery and a long rest and time with our families.
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