I attempted Longs twice in a week with the second time the charm. The first attempt was a disaster. The plan was to camp overnight at the Boulder Field with my sister-in-law and brother-in-law. I made the reservations months in advance and had all the necessary gear. To make a long story short, I allowed myself to be talked into a late starting time and an agonizingly slow place. After my sister-in-law turned around at the Chasm Lake junction with what I am sure were the early stages of altitude sickness, my brother-in-law and I found ourselves in an early afternoon thunderstorm going over Granite Pass. We spent a miserable night at the Boulder Field and ended up turning around in the a.m. Still, it was a valuable learning experience. I promised myself that I would never allow other people to make decisions for me in the mountains when I know they lack good judgment and are less than physically fit. I experienced first hand that you are only as strong as the weakest person in your group.
Fortunately, I was able to go back three days later with my friend, Alan. He had summited Longs countless times and used it to train for his climbs on Everest and other Himalayan peaks. We left the trailhead at 5 a.m. and summited shortly before noon. The weather was phenomenal. Though very challenging, it seemed like we waltzed up the mountain compared to the pace I had to keep the previous attempt. Sunrise over the Twin Sisters was beautiful and the view from the top was even better. After making some cell phone calls and having a bite to eat we headed down. It was a great day with a good friend. I definitely want to go back on future Colorado trips and hopefully summit some day with my son.
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