Fast Longs trip- Learning experience

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Trip Report
Colorado, United States, North America
Date Climbed/Hiked:
Jul 1, 2004
1993 Hits
71.06% Score
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Created On: Nov 28, 2005
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Since I moved to Minnesota from Brazil, I have been dealing with the lack of climbing opportunities here in the Midwest. One of the ways I have found was to take, quick trips to the west and climb something, come back and go to work. I did one of these trips in June 2004. I was here in MN and had one day off work to spare. I left on a Thursday very early in the morning, around 4 AM or so. I was in Colorado by the evening of that day. Needless to say, the trip was fine and also boring since until one gets to the “west” you have to go through some pretty flat boring landscape, in Iowa, South Dakota, Nebraska, depending on which route you take to drive from here to there. Anyway, it was about a 13-14 hour drive to Denver. I met a friend over there and slept one night. Next day I got up and bought some maps for the RMNP. It was warm and nice the weather seemed promising and I was not worried about it, the forecast seemed to be great. That afternoon I was in Estes Park, after some wrong turns that made the drive over there longer that it should have been. At about 1500 I went to the backcountry permit office and talked to a girl there, and she was from MN, from White Bear Lake, and we talked about the differences and how much nicer CO was than MN. After that she told that there was a spot on the boulde field I could camp at night. I did that. Since it was already late in the day, I decided I had to hike fast to the camp in order to have at least some rest, I was still tired of the drive. At the trail head I packed my things and took a heavy two man tent along for the ride…mistake. But no greater consequences than tired legs. On the way to the boulder field on the trail, I met 2 other guys going up that night, and of them was from MN and had moved to CO because of the lack of geographical features in the Midwest.
They were used to the altitude and hiked fast, I had to keep up, which gave me a good workout. I had a poor choice of clothing that day. I started the hike with a long sleeve shirt and shorts that were more than enough for that section of the climb. But after I got to the boulder field my shirt was wet with sweat and the shorts were not enough. Dehydrated I was shivering in cold. The altitude was not bothering me, I have a very good threshold for altitude and can acclim very easily and fast. I made some food and crawled into the sleeping bag, inside my enormous tent (Marmot Thor 2P), by myself. The guys who had hiked with me were testing a tart tent that was great advantage to them. They decided to climb that night at 1200, and I told them I would do it at sunrise, since I needed more rest.
Next day, Saturday, I woke up to a crowd that was either camped there on the boulder field or was hiking to that point , or was on their way to the key hole. I collected my things, folded the tent and packed everything. I decided to carry everything with me since there were many people that I did not know the intentions…another mistake.

I started the climb and was amazed on how that boulder field is deceiving as far as distances.

I got to the key hole with my heavy pack and only one quart of water…I was surprised on how many people turn around by the key hole, hike all the way there and take a look at the “narrows” and turn back…

I jumped over the “hole” and pressed on, GU…some water…and moving along with my heavy pack.

On the way I saw people turning back, some people crying for being there and how exposed that hike was..I was surprised with the exposure too, but that made it more fun.

By the end of the first turn around the mountain, my legs were tiiiired! I had to stop. It was then that I thought “Screw it !!” I unpacked everything, stashed my things behind a rock and took an altitude measurement to know where I had left them…I continued without it , just the backpack, ½ quart of water and a fleece jacket…no food..another mistake..

Finally I was on the summit after some…5-6 hours and I was thirsty…hungry…but could not do anything…took the pictures, hung out for a while, enjoyed the views, and started back.
On my way back since it was later on the day, some remaining ice was melting and water was dripping from the rocks, I sure enjoyed licking those rocks….no food though…
I went by the altitude where I had left the gear and it was all there, packed everything and got down all the way to the trail head. Not without becoming mad with all the switchbacks in that trail, that made it seem never ending…

Drove to Estes Park, directly into the nearest Taco Hell and ate the junkiest burrito the money I had could buy…called my wife and drove back to MN…

Fun on the weekend…
and I learned to go light ....and bring water and food


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