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Longs Peak Aug. 13, 2009


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#1 Monica

 
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Posted 12 September 2009 - 07:39 PM

Day 8 of our vacation was our long awaited Longs Peak climb. Our little team consisted of myself, my husband Rick (who is twinebender on the forum), and our daughter, Katie. Rick had summited in 07. We had really prepared for this climb. We read Lisa Foster, we read every Longs trip report on this forum and many others on the Internet. We watched Nick Mole's dvd Climb Longs Peak several times. We prepared physically as well. The 3 of us trained by running, running steps, some weight lifting, and walking.
We had all been feeling great physically on our hikes earlier in the week.
We made it to the trail head of Longs by 2:30 am and we were off.

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We took the Jim's Grove short cut. Seeing all the lights of other hikers on the Longs Peak trail was very cool as was seeing the lights of Denver and Boulder. Unfortunately, I started not feeling well and became sick before we were even out of the Jim's Grove trail. This was bumming me out big time. We rested a lot and I tried to eat and drink. I am not an early morning person so this very early morning thing was hard and I did not get enough sleep the night before. I think excitement kept me up. Rick offered several times to turn around but I just couldn't, this was supposed to be the highlight of the week and I was going to try as hard as I could. Also, I knew how badly Katie wanted to do this climb, and she was feeling great, Ah to be young again!
We pressed on. Katie was going at very good rate and was ahead of us most of the time. Not feeling well did force me rest often and because of that I stopped and really enjoyed the sunrise.

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Now granted I was not feeling well but I think the boulder field is underrated. That thing is huge! It just went on and on. I pressed on too while Rick and Katie were ahead of me. About mid way through the boulder field I made up my mind that perhaps on this day the key hole was going to have to be my destination. I wanted to cry but that would take too much precious energy. I thought to myself I will let Rick and Katie go on and I will go back by myself from the keyhole. I so badly wanted to get to the keyhole and see that view. We have hiked to Black, Frozen, Shelf, Solitude, and have seen Blue from the trail to Frozen. It's a view I was so struggling to get to. I met a couple of nice college girls from the Timberline Camp and one of them was from MI so that was a neat connection. I wanted to chat with them more but I felt so sick that I didn't want to chat. They were very encouraging to me.
Now Rick took some photos that I didn't know he took. I don't look like I feel good and I'll insert them anyway because that is my story on that day. The one where I am smiling in the boulder field is a fake smile and you can see I'm holding my stomach.


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http://i941.photobucket.com/albums/ad259/MonicaStafford/P1050683.jpg


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I made it to the Keyhole! It came at a cost but I made it!


http://i941.photobucket.com/albums/ad259/MonicaStafford/P1050690.jpg


I sat there several minutes and did enjoy that view! The longer I sat I thought I was feeling a little better. I looked at the ledges and thought they didn't look so bad maybe I should go on. I discussed this with Rick and he didn't think it was a wise thing to do. He didn't like the looks of some clouds and knew my I was much slower this day than I had been all week and that would not be good if weather was going to be an issue. He also knew from experience that the best cure for altitude sickness is going down. I told him that he and Katie could on but he said no he wanted to stick with me as I was not myself and he had concerns. I was not comfortable with Katie going solo. The gals from the camp met up with us at the keyhole and said Katie could go on with them. So that became the new plan.

[continued]

Edited by Bill 007, 13 September 2009 - 08:06 AM.
Fixed photo tags

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#2 Monica

 
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Posted 12 September 2009 - 08:26 PM

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Katie on the ledges.

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http://i941.photobucket.com/albums/ad259/MonicaStafford/100_1187.jpg

http://i941.photobucket.com/albums/ad259/MonicaStafford/P1050702.jpg

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http://i941.photobucket.com/albums/ad259/MonicaStafford/100_0814.jpg



Rick and I made it back to our cabin and slept for about 2 hours.
Katie called my cell from the summit which went to my voice mail. She summited at 10:30. She ended up passing the girls from the camp and meeting a man about Rick's age and his teenage son. They were so kind. At a couple of tricky spots they helped her out. She met some college guys who asked if she was alone and she explained why she was alone and they thought she was pretty brave. I think so too!
She didn't take as many pictures as she wished she had but I can certainly understand.

We picked her up at the trailhead and loved hearing of her day! She was at the trail head by 3:30.

Here we are at Penelopes.

http://i941.photobucket.com/albums/ad259/MonicaStafford/P1050709.jpg


This is where Rick and our son celebrated their summit 2 years ago. The malts are fantastic by the way.
My day was made because Katie summited and a had a great day! We were so happy for her and proud of her. Rick didn't mind that he wasn't able to summit since he had done it before he wanted this day to be for us.
Of course I have gone over and over in my mind why I got sick. I think it was a combination of things--not enough sleep, not enough in my stomach early on, some nerves and anxiety about the climb. Perhaps I prepared too much, a little overkill on all the research? Was I worn out from some pretty vigorous hikes earlier in the week? I don't know if I will attempt it again. I kind of wish I could on this forum's "Get Bill007 Up Longs" but our schedule next year won't allow that. But I also realize there is so much more to RMNP than just Longs.



Monica
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#3 mwilson

 
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Posted 12 September 2009 - 08:38 PM

I wish you could have reached your goal, but I've always said that I think the Keyhole is a very worthy destination. I know I'll never summit Longs but I'm so glad I got to go to the Keyhole and see the view. Ken has been on the summit of Longs twice and was glad to go with me to the Keyhole. I knew that Longs would be more than I could handle so the Keyhole was our goal. I know it's disappointing not to accomplish something you've worked so hard for, but it sounds like you made a very good decision and I'm so glad your daughter go to go on. I appreciated your comment about how long the boulderfield is. That was my reaction as well. Thanks for posting your report and pics.
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#4 Bill 007

 
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Posted 12 September 2009 - 09:27 PM

Awesome! Sorry you took ill, but the Boulderfield & Keyhole are no small accomplishment and congrats to Katie!! What a warrior!

Bill
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#5 soatley

 
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Posted 12 September 2009 - 10:00 PM

Well, you still had a great hike in spite of feeling sick.

I just noticed the date. We were there at the same time.

Sandy O
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#6 Monica

 
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Posted 12 September 2009 - 10:05 PM

I just noticed the date. We were there at the same time.

Sandy O


I know, I wish we could have done the knob hopping with you guys but I think the day you did that was our first day in the park.
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#7 foxfire

 
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Posted 12 September 2009 - 10:11 PM

I have never been there but sometimes you just know! As Bill said, The Keyhole is a great accomplishment in itself! Conrats to all just sorry you got a little ill. Maybe another day!

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#8 iceberg

 
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Posted 13 September 2009 - 02:54 AM

Bless your heart Monica, you look so miserable in some of those pictures! I know the feeling of not being able to physically accomplish what you wanted to, & when you said you felt like crying, but it would use up too much energy, I had to smile because I have felt the same way - I always started crying on my way back down! But hey, congrats on reaching the keyhole. That is a huge accomplishment & you have a lot to be proud of. And big congrats to Katie! That's awesome! And it's so great that you felt your "day was made" because of her success! There's always next time! Penelope's is one of our favorite spots as well!
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#9 ButterflySis

 
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Posted 13 September 2009 - 07:37 AM

Nice report, Monica. Sorry you felt ill...that's an awful feeling and to keep trudging on - wow! You did look like you felt better at the shelter; the smile looks real there. =)

Congrats to Katie! That's awesome! I think it's so cool that you let her go on and come back by herself.
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#10 B-Jay

 
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Posted 13 September 2009 - 09:11 AM

Monica, you were very brave to go as far as you did even though you felt lousy. I would have been wishing for a nice soft bed on which to lie down. Katie must have been really excited to reach the summit on her own with a little company and help from some other hikers. I'm glad you were feeling better to help Katie celebrate her accomplishment.

Excellent report and pictures!

B-Jay
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#11 Rhonda

 
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Posted 13 September 2009 - 09:28 AM

I feel so sorry for you in those pictures, you can tell you are really sick. You did far more than I would've done under those conditions. I wimp out pretty fast when I am sick. But what an awesome day to get to the Keyhole feeling so lousy and awesome that you let Katie go on and summit! That took courage on both your parts and I'm proud for you both. And Rick, what a great husband to take you back down and be so attentive. You have a great family, my friend!

I think I've learned something from you, Chasm Lake will be my most ambitious hike in a couple of weeks, but I will be sure and get plenty of rest the night before and some good food in my belly before the hike. I would be so disappointed if I got sick and couldn't make that goal.
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#12 DeeCeeM

 
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Posted 13 September 2009 - 05:34 PM

I'm so sorry you felt so ill, but congratulations on persevering and making it to the Keyhole.
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#13 goatboy

 
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Posted 14 September 2009 - 11:33 AM

awesome report, love the sunrise pic, thanks for sharing
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