Longs Peak / Kiener’s Route (June 1991)

Up until 2008, our adventures were retained only as memories and on 35mm slides. While our memories may have faded (just a bit), the slides haven’t – and we have a lot of them. So we’re digitizing a select few to bring some of our past adventures into the 21st Century. The photos below are some of those old slides.


Long’s Peak (14,259 ft / 4,346 m) is Colorado’s  15th highest peak, its northernmost fourteener, and the highest peak in Rocky Mountain National Park.  It has become the most popular climbing mountain in the state, with as many as 100 or more people on its summit on a busy summer weekend!  Such was not the case, however, back in the early summer of 1991 when I coaxed Alan, my old climbing partner, out West from Vermont for a few days of nostalgia climbing in Colorado (where The LovedOne and I lived at the time).  Sort of a last hurrah.  He and I did a few fun warm-up climbs and then capped-off his visit with a climb of Kiener’s Route (YDS II, 5.4) on Longs.  Also known as the Mountaineer’s Route, Kiener’s is on the East Face of Long’s.

Being a little light on required permits (and wanting an early start), we hiked to a spot above Chasm Lake and spent the night in a stealth bivy behind a huge boulder.  Predawn the next day, we cramponed up Lambs Slide, an icy 1,000-foot long, 50° snow couloir that heads south and up from the Mills Glacier.  From the top of the slide, we could see that it was going to be a clear, bluebird-perfect day for our climb.  We then did an upward traverse for about 1,000 feet along the Broadway ledges, which were completely covered with snow pitched at a severe angle.  For speed, we didn’t rope up here but just stepped along, mindful of the 800-foot freefall that awaited us if we slipped.  Half-way along Broadway, we came to the Notch Couloir and, roping-up, climbed it to reach the 3rd Class Upper Slopes.  Some wandering up these (some with roping due to wet rock), and some exposure at the Diamond Step (a 3rd Class step-around directly over Long’s East Face), soon brought us to Long’s surprisingly broad and flat summit.  And, yes, Dorothy, we could see Kansas from there. 🙂 After a snack and some gear re-packing, we descended via the standard Keyhole route, which wasn’t hard, just a little tedious and tiring.

This climb was a classic piece of mountaineering done in decent style (for our era) on a big mountain.  It proved to be the last technical climb Alan ever did, as deep water sailing consumed his spare time from then on (a little like William “Bill” Tilman).  I kept on with mountaineering until 2008, finally realizing that, while it had been a wonderful part of my life, it had, nonetheless, run it’s course.  But I wouldn’t trade the memories it gave me for anything in this world! 😀

The East Face of Longs Peak
Packing up
Hiking in to Chasm Lake
Climbing Lambs Slide
Early morning on top of Lambs Slide
Traversing Broadway
Looking back across Broadway
Approaching the Notch Couloir
Starting up into the Notch Couloir
In the couloir
Traversing out of the couloir (arrow points to Alan)
At the bottom of the Upper Slopes
Climbing the Upper Slopes
Nearing the summit
On top pf Longs Peak
One last summit shot…
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Canoeing on the Yampa River (June 1992)

Up until 2008, our adventures were retained only as memories and on 35mm slides. While our memories may have faded (just a bit), the slides haven’t – and we have a lot of them. So we’re digitizing a select few to bring some of our past adventures into the 21st Century. The photos below are some of those old slides.


Before we succumbed to rafting, we gave canoeing a try on the Yampa River in Colorado.  The Yampa is the only unregulated and naturally flowing major tributary remaining in the Colorado River system. This was a 4-day trip sponsored by the Colorado Mountain Club, who supplied all the canoeing gear. It was not, however, along the very scenic portion of the river within Dinosaur National Monument. Our trip was a ways upstream, in flat, open country populated mostly by cows.  Still, it was a non-threatening way to test our canoe enthusiasm. We enjoyed the river but found that a canoe cannot have two captains if you want it to actually follow the river. Plus you have to paddle. Years – and a Folbot trip – would go by before we embraced rafting, where someone else (the guide) is the captain and paddling is minimal.

Put-in near Craig, Colorado
Our canoe loaded and ready to go
This section of the Yampa is rapid-free as it meanders through open country
Pulling-in for lunch
One of our camps along the river
Flowing wide and flat through some low hills
Our take-out near Maybell, Colorado
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Great Sand Dunes! (Colorado) 19-May-2017

Great Sand Dunes National Park Colorado

After our hikes at Palo Duro Canyon in West Texas, we roadtripped north to Alamosa, Colorado, gateway to Great Sand Dunes National Park.  When we’d lived in Colorado years ago, we’d driven by this park several times enroute to climbs of nearby 14teeners, but never actually stoped for a visit. We were going to rectify that omission on this trip.  You can hike on the dunes themselves – a la Beau Geste – but there are other hiking trails in the park.  The most accessible of these – it starts almost at the visitor center – is the Mosca Pass Trail and that was the one we chose. It also tops out at around 9,800 feet and would thus be snowfree by now (unlike some of the surrounding peaks).

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