Status of Proposed 7/11/98 Climb in Colorado

============================ May 8 1998 Update =============================

- Here is some great climb info from Zag:

> Subj:  on climbing in Colorado
>  Date:        98-05-08 22:58:58 EDT
>  From: (Zag Head)
>  To:  DSaum at, Johann ,,, 
>  I moved to Colorado three and a half years ago.  Between then and now, I've
>  become an avid mountaineer, in the true sense of the term.  I could go on
>  all day about the mountains and how much I love them, but I'm instead going
>  to focus on climbing itself so you all can get a good idea of what climbing
>  is like here and thus make an accurate assessment of whether or not you'd
>  like to try it.
>  Attitude
>       One of the things I love about climbing is that it's a personal challenge.
>   There are no prizes for racing up the mountain.  It's each person vs. the
>  mountain.  If you summit, the glory is yours and yours alone.  It's the
>  pleasure of the achievement that counts.  And, there's nothing like the
>  view from up there.
>  Climbing
>       The trails to Longs and Grays/Torreys are very good.  You would have to
>  work at it to get lost.  The lower part of trails are dirt and small rocks.
>   If you watch your step, it's easy to walk on them.  As you climb higher
>  and higher, the trail "grows" larger rocks.  By the time you get close to
>  the summit, you may find yourself walking stairlike up large rocks.  Most
>  of them are held in place pretty well.  Don't let this scare you or
>  anything.  You'll find walking on these rocks just as natural as when you
>  were a kid playing around on boulders.  On the ascent, you will feel your
>  legs.  Yes, a burning sensation as you walk up, up, up.  This is just the
>  normal feeling you would get if you were, say, climbing stairs.
>  Personally, I like climbing up more than climbing down.  Here's why.  The
>  descent is all about bones and joints and impact.  Gravity assists you in
>  pounding your knees, if you aren't careful.  Over the duration of a long
>  descent, your knees are pretty likely to get annoyed.  We aren't talking
>  pain, just discomfort.  On your way down, try to ease the impact your knees
>  feel.  If you do, you'll be much happier.
>  Altitude
>       What Dave has been saying about altitude is true.  It helps to
>  acclimatize.  A week in Boulder at about 5-6000 feet will serve you very
>  well.  You won't notice the change, but your body will get busy building
>  more red blood cells to hold more oxygen.  It's quite handy.  You will find
>  yourself breathing more heavily as you ascend.  This is completely normal.
>  Just don't push yourself too hard.  If you are a regular aerobic exerciser,
>  you probably know your limits well.  If you don't exercise aerobically
>  regularly, then don't push it.  Take a break, take your pulse, and catch
>  your breath.  I remember my first climb to 14,000 feet very well.  I simply
>  couldn't BELIEVE how hard it was to breathe.  I'm not going to try to
>  convince you of this fact.  It's something you have trouble believing until
>  you feel it.  But, a slow a steady pace with rests will still get you to
>  the summit.  Here's a thought.  Headaches.  A mild headache while climbing
>  is normal.  Note the word "mild".  I used to think I got headaches from
>  being dehydrated.  I was wrong.  It's just conditioning that brings on a
>  headache.  Fortunately, a few ibuprofen (which I always carry) will usually
>  end any altitude headache.  Now, headaches are the only ailment I consider
>  normal.  Nausea and dizziness are not good.  Anyone feeling like this will
>  have to sit down and may wind up descending altogether.
>  Drinkin'
>       OK, I'll admit it.  I've had plenty of drinks before climbing the next
>  day.  I've even had beer on the summit a few times.  It's almost a
>  tradition for climbers to stay up late and start early.  But it hurts.
>  Alcohol dehydrates you, we all know that.  But worse, alcohol has a
>  stronger effect on the body at high altitude.  Drinking in Boulder is not
>  like drinking down at sea level.  It takes fewer drinks to get drunk at
>  altitude.  Keep this in mind.  Dave and I both drank a good bit before we
>  climbed Longs 2 years ago.  And we felt it.
>  Weather
>       Afternoon thunderstorms are likely in Colorado during the summer.  Where
>  there's thunder, there's lightning.  And lightning often strikes the
>  highest point in the vicinity.  If you're on a mountain, guess what?  Yep,
>  that means your mountain gets hit.  And if you're on it, that means you get
>  hit.  We lose knuckleheads every year from lightning deaths on high
>  summits.  But, the solution is simple.  Get off the mountain by the
>  afternoon.  That's why we start early.  It's not that anyone enjoys getting
>  up early.  We do it for safety.  
>  **
>  Longs Peak (14,255 feet;  18th highest peak in lower 48 states)
>       This is basically a wonderful climb.  Longs Peak is outstandingly
>  beautiful as a mountain.  On one face, there is practically a sheer cliff
>  for about 1000 feet.  They call it "The Diamond" because of its shape, but
>  I haven't figured out yet if it looks like a diamond from a deck of playing
>  cards or a gemstone.  You have to give those climbers a bit of leeway.  Who
>  knows what they were thinking?  Rock climbers love to climb on the big
>  Diamond face.  It's an astounding site that you'll see on your way up the
>  mountain.  Once on top, you can look down the Diamond face to the ground
>  far below.  Anybody get a little queasy at heights?  The top of Longs peak
>  is curiously flat considering the intricacies of climbing it.  From far
>  away, it has this flattened pimple sort of look to it.  Some days, I think
>  the summit looks almost like a diamond mounted in a wedding band.  Mostly
>  because it almost looks like someone cut the mountaintop on preferential
>  cleavage planes or something.  Pretty odd.
>       But, Longs is indeed a long day.  Your own physical fitness will determine
>  your ability to climb the peak.  Anyone in reasonable health can make the
>  trip, but the issue here is time.  If you are the type of person who rarely
>  exercises, I can guarantee a hard day for you on Longs.  But, those with
>  strong wills and willing bodies will be able to climb Longs in good time.
>  My guidebook says this trail is 16 miles and takes 10 hours to complete.
>  Another book says 14 miles.  I guess these things are hard to measure.
>  But, 10 hours is a good estimate for climbing time.  The elevation gain
>  (uphill only) is 4800 feet.  You can sleep in the car, I promise.
>       I seem to remember some hand scrambling up the last steep section of
>  Longs.  But I think Dave found a different way up that face.  Either way,
>  there is this section where you traverse from one side of a ridge to
>  another.  It's really cool and affords a great view.
>  **
>  Grays Peak and Torreys Peak (14,270 and 14,267 feet; 12th and 14th highest
>  mtns in lower 48)
>       Almost anyone can climb these mountains.  The trail is pretty short but
>  still a trek.  The guidebook says 6 miles and 6.5 hours roundtrip.
>  Altitude gain 3950 feet.  From the book it's "certainly one of the easiest
>  fourteener climbs".  Just because it's easy doesn't mean it's boring.  You
>  get to climb two peaks in the day, and they are almost exactly the same
>  height, which is really weird.  Grays and Torreys are connected by a
>  saddle.  It dips about 500 feet between the mountains, which are about half
>  a mile apart.  Walking on the saddle is a way to get a great ridge
>  traverse, which means, pretty scenic.  These mountains are quite lovely.
>  You may want to bring a football with you.  If you stand in the right spot,
>  you can "kick a field goal" between Grays and Torreys (the goalposts).
>  Just a thought.  The thing is, these mountains are close to Denver and thus
>  many people climb them.  This basically just means we should get an early
>  start, but I've already said that, haven't I?  Actually, Longs is
>  relatively crowded as well.  Popular, pretty mountains get traffic, that's
>  just the nature of the beast.
>  **
>  So, that's the food for thought.  Longs is about an hour Northwest of
>  Boulder.  Grays and Torreys are about 1.5 hours Southwest of Boulder.
>  Sunrise in Colorado on July 11th is 5:48am (Sundown is 8:35pm).  Thus, for
>  Longs, it's a good idea to leave at 4am.  For Grays and Torreys, leaving by
>  6am is a good idea.
>  **
>  This last section talks about clothing and gear for climbing.
>  1) Hiking boots. Really a good idea for ankle support.  Either leather
>  boots or those synthetic ones should do the trick.  Sneakers will get you
>  to Grays/Torreys without trouble.
>  2) Socks.  I wear 100% polypropylene liners.  These are thin sock liners
>  that wick moisture away from the foot.  Having liners helps prevent
>  blisters.  So does smearing vaseline on your feet before you climb.  Over
>  the liner, I wear special socks, but normal white cotton socks will do the
>  trick, as long as they're not old socks that are worn out and scratchy.  I
>  figure, hey, you gotta treat your feet well when you climb.  An extra pair
>  of socks is a decent idea if you don't mind carrying them.
>  3) Sunglasses.  They are mandatory.  They should also block UV rays, but
>  hey, they're your eyes, whaddo I care?
>  4) Sunblock lotion.  Unless you have very dark skin, sunblock is mandatory
>  also.  You will fry like crazy at high altitude.
>  5) Pants.  They can be anywhere from shorts to full length.  They should
>  allow you to move freely and let your legs breathe.  You can manage in
>  jeans if it's not a hot day.  My favorite pants attire now are these
>  cut-off military pants (those camoflage pants, basically) that go down to
>  my knees.  They breathe well and keep my legs cool.  A lot of people like
>  to wear tight-like things.  Sort of a spandex kind of runners bottoms.
>  They usually wear shorts over them.  A lightweight, full-length pair of
>  legs are good if the wind blows or it gets rainy and chilly.  Personally, I
>  rarely need them in the summer climbing season.  [Warning for men:  Don't
>  wear boxers and jeans when you climb.  Don't say I didn't warn you.]  
>  6)  Torso.  Layers, layers, layers.  At least 2 layers for your upper body.
>   It's good to have a layer of breathable fabric for your torso.  You want
>  to be able to keep moisture off your back and chest.  Sleeve length is your
>  preference.  The mornings are chilly and the afternoons can get quite hot.
>  The classic cotton shirt and flannel work fine until you get sweaty.  Then
>  you just get cold.  But then, a poly/cotton shirt is ok if you have a
>  jacket to wear.   A thin jacket that keeps out the wind and a little rain.
>  You'll be moving enough to keep pretty warm naturally.  You'll never be
>  sorry for carrying a 2 pound article of clothing when it winds up keeping
>  you warm or dry.
>  7)  Handkerchief/snotrag/wad of tissues.  Doesn't sound pleasant, but many
>  people get runny noses while climbing.  Don't ask me, I'm not a biologist.
>  8)  Thin gloves.  Sturdy gloves (leather) are good if you need to touch a
>  lot of rock and help a little against wind and temperature.  If you're the
>  kind of person who gets cold hands, thin synthetic gloves are a good idea.
>  9)  Backpack.  Should be big enough to hold 3 quarts of water, food, and
>  extra clothes comfortably.  For many people, a regular backpack (not a
>  special hiking backpack) is sufficient.  
>  10) Water containers.  You should carry 3-4 quarts of water on Longs.  For
>  Grays/Torreys, 2-3 quarts is fine.  You may not wind up drinking it all,
>  but it's good to carry extra water in case others run out.  I'll bring a
>  few spare containers, but not enough for everyone.  Oh, you can bring drink
>  mix (Kool-Aid or Gatorade type stuff) if you like.  A friend of mine drinks
>  Mountain Dew when he climbs, but I don't recommend any caffeine for normal
>  people (the dehydration thing).
>  11) Food.  Aim for food with lots of carbohydrates.  Sugar foods aren't
>  bad.  Stay away from high fat and high protein foods, they'll make you feel
>  heavy.  I love to carry food that has no taste (people don't usually ask me
>  for my snacks anymore).  Actually, granola bars, sandwiches, fig newtons,
>  and all sorts of yummies are fine to bring.  Just leave the slab of bacon
>  at home.  You want to be able to eat light, nibbling food.  There are
>  plenty of "Trail Food" products on the market that are perfect for hiking.
>  12) Hat.  optional.  But recommended if you don't have a lot of 'natural
>  cover', if you know what I mean.
>  A list of items to think about bringing:
>  - Toilet Paper
>  - Moleskin & scissors
>  - vaseline
>  - ibuprofen tablets (motrin or advil)
>  - camera
>  - first aid kit (but keep it small)
>  - spare pair of glasses or contact lens supplies (if applicable)
>  - gaiters (clothing that loops under your shoes and extends above your
>  ankles. They keep snow and rocks out of your shoes)
>  - ice axe (only if you already own one.  Personally, I always bring mine.)
>  - extra clothes (for other people who may forget theirs)
>  - modest pocketknife
>  - second pair of shoes, comfortable ones to change into in the car
>  Things you really don't need:
>  - Altimeter (I have one so only if you REALLY want one)
>  - Compass (same as above)
>  - walking stick or poles (not worth the weight)
>  - bug juice (hardly seems necessary here)
>  - flashlight (there is no way we're staying out late)
>  - whistle (I can't imagine why you'd need one)
>  - video camera (trust me, you'll regret it . . . "what was that *crash*
>  sound?")
>  - books (it's better to carry a photocopy map)
>  - rope or rock climbing gear (come back Tarzan, come back . . .)
>  - big-long-sharp-deadly-"I'm such a man" knife (please, spare me the "When
>  I was a boyscout" speach)
>  It's better to diversify your clothing than to get all worried about
>  carrying special gear.  Basically, your pack should be food, water, and
>  clothes.  Little else is needed (besides sunblock and sunglasses).
>  Well, I hope that wasn't too much of an overload.  I had a lot of free time
>  to write this letter.
>  To Kirez:  Hi, man.  You know me as Gene, of course.  Hope you can make it
>  with us this year.
>  To Johann:  If you climbed Kilimanjaro, you'll have no trouble with a 14er.
>  Well, I'll be here to answer your questions.
>  See you in July.  But not at the conference because I'll soon be unemployed
>  and can't afford it.
>  -Zag

============================ May 7, 1998 Update ==============================

Subj:    July climb status as of 5/7/98
Date:   98-05-07 12:14:26 EDT
From:   DSaum at (DSaum)
To:     DSaum at (Dave Saum), Johann , (Melissa B Miles & Kyle), (Stephen Hicks), (Kirez Korgan), (Zag Head), (Don Parrish), (Molly Hays), (Gayle Dean)

Greetings potential 14teener climbers!

Here is the 5/7/98 status report.  After getting no
interest two years ago when I posted a 
similar note before the first Boulder conference
I have been pleasantly surprised by the interest
this year.  I will have to reconsider my opinion that
O'ists are a bunch of couch taters!

So far the following folks have expressed
possible interest in doing a climb in Colorado the 
week of July 4th.  

DSaum at (Dave Saum)
Johann (Melissa B Miles & Kyle) (Stephen Hicks) (Kirez Korgan) (Zag Head) (Don Parrish) (Molly Hays) (Gayle Dean)

(note that not all these folks are going to
the conference, and you are not commited
to anything by being on the list)

Below I include some detailed Q/A that
I have had with the folks above.  Zag Head
and I climbed Longs Peak after the last
Boulder IOS seminar (we started at about 6am,
got to the top around noon, and were down
by about 4pm).  He is our expert on CO
climbing and he lives in Colorado Springs. 

It seems like we may have enough climbers
to break into two groups and do one hard and one easier
mountain.  Transportation to and from the mountains may
be a problem, so let me know if you will have 
a car.

In a message dated 98-02-09 10:42:52 EST, writes:

>       I don't know how I'll handle the trek following the banquet -- IOS is the
>  one event / place in the world where I become a party animal.  If we were
>  to start at 4 - 6am, that would mean dragging me away from the party as
>  early as 2-3 am -- though I suppose I could wind things down by then.

This is a problem!  I didn't get much sleep when I did this climb a
couple of years ago and it definitely made the climb tougher.  One alternative
is to do the climb in Sat 7/4 but that means flying in on 7/3 or before
and doing the climb without any significant acclimitazation.   I am 
open to suggestions but it looks like 7/11 is a more doable date.

In a message dated 98-04-27 06:28:57 EDT, Johann  writes:

> Subj:  Re: Mountain climb at IOS seminar?
>  Date:        98-04-27 06:28:57 EDT
>  From:        Johann 
>  To:  DSaum at
>  I am most interested!  My brother and I climbed Mt Kilimanjaro (5895 metres
>  above sea level) in Tanzania three years ago.
>  What does one need?  Will normal walking shoes do, or are hiking shoes
>  recommended?
>  Johann

for a good list of equipment.  Zag may have
some more info on this.

In a message dated 98-05-01 01:04:02 EDT, Serche writes:

> Subj: climbing
>  Date:        98-05-01 01:04:02 EDT
>  From:        Serche
>  To:  DSaum
>  Hi Dave
>  Is there space in the climbing party for more people?  I mentioned before a
> couple of guys who were interested.

Transportation from Boulder to the mountain is the main problem.  It is near
Estes Park, CO and I think this is about an hour from Boulder.  We may
have to rent one or more cars.  If we have a large group we may end up 
with a two separate 14teener climbs, one easy and one hard

  In a message dated 98-05-03 19:42:59 EDT, writes:

> Subj:  Re: Mountain climb at IOS seminar?
>  Date:        98-05-03 19:42:59 EDT
>  From: (Don Parrish)
>  To:  DSaum at
>  Dave,
>      Thanks for your e-mail on Longs Peak.  I'm interested, but the 
>  excellent article you referenced on the web gave me second thoughts.  
>  I've hiked up Mount Fuji twice.  Last time in 1995 at night.  It is much 
>  easier.  I would say Class 1 based on the definitions in the article.  
>  Also it starts at 8400 feet and goes to 12,400 -- a gain of 4000 feet.  
>  The small group I was in took 7 hours to make the hike.  So I will have 
>  to get in better condition to attempt Longs Peak.  So put me down as a 
>  possible.

The article was somewhat worst case since some of the climbers
came to the climb directly from sea level and did not have the
acclimatization that we will have from a week in Boulder.  On the other
hand it is a strenuous climb and we may want to have two climbs,
one relatively easy and one hard, for folks to chose from.

In a message dated 98-04-28 22:52:52 EDT, writes:

> Subj:  Got your phone message
>  Date:        98-04-28 22:52:52 EDT
>  From: (Zag Head)
>  To:  DSaum at
>  Hi David,
>  I received your phone message on my machine tonight.  The answer is yes.
>  Of course, why wouldn't it be?  I'm still in love with climbing.  Actually,
>  more so than I was a few years ago when we climbed Longs.  Since then, I've
>  been very busy, now having ascended 46 of Colorado's 100 highest peaks.
>  And, I should be ready to climb at the drop of a hat this summer.
>  Well, I think we should ardently try to drum up support for a Longs Peak
>  climb after the conference.  Surely there must be some soul out there who
>  is willing to take on a wonderful experience!  Actually, in a sense, I
>  could almost be considered a "mountain guide" given my current level of
>  experience in the mountains here.  Maybe that will make some people more
>  comfortable in climbing.  I'd be happy to prepare a list of recommended
>  items to carry while climbing, if any less experienced people feel nervous
>  about it.  I'm not ever seen on any objectivist discussion groups on the
>  net or anything, so I'll rely on you to do the advertising.
>  Good to hear from you again,
>  Zag

In a message dated 98-05-04 18:48:02 EDT, writes:

> Subj:  alternatives
>  Date:        98-05-04 18:48:02 EDT
>  From: (Zag Head)
>  To:  DSaum at (DSaum)
>  David,
>  OK, here are my answers and thoughts.
>  >Regarding the climb on Sat 7/11:
>  >
>  >Should we do Longs again, or do you have a suggestion?
>  >I thought Longs was classic, but I have done it twice now,
>  >and dont want to pass up a chance to do something equally
>  >interesting.  
>  Longs is a great climb.  It's also a classic climb.  For me the issue
>  comes down to the climbers.  If you get any inexperienced climbers, it is
>  probably better to do a different mountain.  Although you and I can clearly
>  climb Longs, it is surely a long day on the mountain for most people.  If
>  you can weigh the experience and physical aptitude of other climbers, then
>  Longs is a good idea.  As an alternative for good, tough climbers, we might
>  climb Mount Meeker, which is right next to Longs and only slightly more
>  difficult.  I think climbing Meeker is actually a shorter distance.  But,
>  for less experienced people, I would suggest climbing Grays and Torreys
>  instead.  They are two very scenic mountains connected by a short saddle.
>  They are 14ers, of course, and the trail is very good.  Grays and Torreys
>  clear up from the snowfall more readily than Longs does.  (More on this
>  later.)

Grays and Torreys sounds like a good candidate for an easier climb.
Can someone search the web for info on this climb?

>  >What time should we start?  Seems like we were kinda
>  >late getting started last time and we were lucky to not
>  >run into problems on the mountain.  On the other hand
>  >I want to have fun after the banquet so I do not see getting
>  >to bed before midnight.
>  Early, early, early.  Our climb of Longs wasn't too bad, but it was a
>  late start, as you mentioned.  In general, having learned more, I try to
>  get started on the mountain soon after dawn.  For Longs, though, you should
>  start in the dark.  The earlier the better, in general.  Personally, I'll
>  have no trouble getting up at whatever time we decide.  Our concern will be
>  the other climbers, most likely.  I have a listing of sunrise times so we
>  can plan our drive to coincide with an intelligent arrival at the mountain
>  for the beginning of the climb.  This will depend on which mountain we
>  > I assume you will have a car.  How many folks can you
>  >accomodate?  Right now I have a Sunday 9am flight  out
>  >of Denver.  If I have to rent a car to get there I could 
>  >pick it up Fri night in boulder and take it to the mountain.
>  >Or perhaps some of the other climbers will have cars.
>  Yes, I'll bring my car.  It seats 4 somewhat comfortably, and a 5th if
>  we squeeze.  It's a Saturn.  That probably says enough.  If we get a
>  handful of climbers, I can ask a friend of mine to come along with his car.
>   Or, a rental will work well.
>  >What is the chance that the snow will not burn off Longs
>  >by 7/11?  Was it particulary deep this year? 
>  We got a lot of snow this year in the high mountains.  There is a
>  decent chance of snow on the route in July.  But, it should be the kind
>  that isn't hard to traverse with normal shoes.  The back side of the
>  Keyhole route can get pretty icy almost any time of the year, so it's
>  always going to be a matter of luck.  My climbing buddy ascended Longs when
>  it had some snow on it.  He doesn't think climbing in early July should be
>  too much of a problem.  The good thing about Longs' popularity is that the
>  route will be pounded down by the time we climb the mountain.  That is a
>  good thing.  Of course, the previous discussion of a 'venue change' is
>  still applicable.
>  Are you talking to these people in some handy forum?  If so, I can probably
>  join in and talk with them as well.

Thanks for volunteering.
>  Later,
>  Z~

----initial message
>Subj:  Mountain climb at IOS seminar?
>Date:  98-04-26 16:24:45 EDT
>From:  DSaum
>If you will be in Boulder in July, let me know
>if you are interested in a non-technical hike up
>one of the many peaks in Colorado over 14,000 ft.
>I suggest climbing Longs Peak via
>the Keyhole Route on Saturday July 11
>so that we can take advantage of the
>altitude acclimatization from the week in Boulder.  
>Longs is the highest peak in Rocky
>Mountain National Park.
>Since the climb takes all day, you will 
>probably want to schedule your
>departure on Sunday.
>I did this climb 2 years ago. It is 
>Class 1, 2, & 3 Hiking/Climbing, elevation
>14,256', Elevation gain: ~4,850 ft, ~16 miles RT.
>Even if you only make it part way, it is quite
>spectacular!  No technical equipment is required,
>but the hike is long and strenuous.
>There is info on the Web about Longs Peak.
>Like trip reports with photos: 
>and climbing tips:
>I am open to other schedules and other
>mountains.  All plans subject to weather.
>This side trip is NOT sponsored by IOS.
>Dave Saum

======================== POSTSCRIPT ========================================

May 8, 1998

FROM: climb98 webmaster

I am getting ready for a trip to Europe (5/19-6/13) so I may
not be able to devote too much time to this activity until
the middle of June.  Please CC me on any new info that 
you come up with.  And remember that Zag says he will
be happy to answer your questions.

I will put all this info up as a web page
and try to add additional info as it comes in.


Dave Saum  
DSaum at

================================ END ======================================

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