I climbed the highest mountain in Colorado today. What did you do? Yeah? Uh huh. Uh huh. Interesting. Okay, so Mount Elbert is the highest mountain in Colorado at 14,433 feet and our trailhead was at 10,040, making for about 4,400 feet in elevation gain (there was a little up and down). At 4.5 miles long one way, that makes for approximately 1,000 feet of elevation change for every mile hiked. So that's 9 miles hiked and 8,800 feet of elevation changes. This is what for Coloradans do for fun. What's worse, we were passed by two people running it. Let's say that again. They were running up and down the mountain. For 9 miles. And 8,800 feet of elevation changes. With no oxygen. Man, there are some psychos here. Of course, I wish I could do that, but even if I could, I wouldn't. I mean, man, that's crazy.
It was a bit of a grind for me today. I was feeling more underpowered than I did on Bierstadt, and it took me quite a while to crawl to the summit. Thankfully the 4 ibuprofen I took today seemed to mitigate the worse effects of the altitude. I currently am not nursing a pounding headache, and only my feet are screaming for mercy. I think this will do it for me for the summer.
Now some cheeky people out there may note that Mt. Elbert is a Class 1 hike, and that Mt. Bierstadt was a Class 2. Lemme tell you, that doesn't make a difference. Elbert was much more difficult than Bierstadt, both do to the length and a stretch of trail that I like to refer to as the Butt Kicker. It's a stretch of less that a mile, but really, really steep and treacherous and disappointingly lacking in oxygen. It was a pain both going up and down, but for once, the downhill was actually better than the uphill.
So let's see, we met at Centennial at 5:30 AM. Yeah, really. We started hiking around 9, summited around 1, and made it back down to the car by, oh look, 5:30 PM. I just got home around 8:30. I should mention that of our group, Jason and Dash made it back 2 hours before the last group, Ryan and Mark made it back an hour later, and Gavin, Sarah, and myself brought up the rear. Jason was the powerhouse, summiting first and getting back first, which is an honest-to-goodness miracle of God if you know his history.
I'd be interested in the story that must still be unfolding on the mountain. As we were coming down, we met a guy and then 20 minutes later his girlfriend hiking for the summit. It was about 4 o'clock and they were less than halfway there. By my calculations, if they go at a mile an hour (our pace, roughly) they'll get halfway down the mountain by the time it gets dark, assuming they spend no time on the summit. I asked the girl if she had a flashlight. Nope. It's a new moon, and they'll be hiking at least two hours under the trees. Yeah, that's going to be a loooooong evening for them.
Pictures will be coming soon (of our hike, not the unprepared evening hikers).