After flying in the night before from Alaska and spending the night at the youth hostel in Leadville, I hit the trailhead at 7:20am on an overcast morning. I immediately felt the effects of altitude as I struggled up the trail with many brief stops along the way. As I approached treeline (about 11,600 elevation) it began to rain and many hikers gathered in the protection of the edge of the trees to consider their options. Some of us continued on as the rain let up. After climbing onto the ridge and then reaching the first false summit - a large rock heap - we encountered rain once again, then sleet. After waiting for a half hour with a handfull of other determined hikers, the skies began to clear up and we proceeded on to the summit, reaching it in georgeous weather at 11:40 - 4 1/2 hours after my start. Not too bad considering how tough it was on me. Among those who waited out the weather with me were Keith Gogan and Beth from Tulsa (Keith teaches backpacking at Oral Roberts U & Beth had been one of Keith's students. And Larry and Carol from Colorado as well as Larry's mother, Rebecca, joined us and made the top. Rebecca, from Tucson, has a fear of heights and had never done anything like this before. What an accomplishment for her! The view from the top was spectacular. After staying for 20 minutes I scampered back down and got to my car in 2 hours.
Anchorage, AK USA
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