|Most of the group (Kraig and I are taking the photo) on the summit of Longs Peak|
My niece Gabi, aka Ever Lasting, was inspired by Charlie and my talk on our Longs Peak Project. No, she didn't start an LPP, but found her own summer project, which was to complete all the Sawatch 14ers and get another 14er in each range. For the Front Range that was Longs Peak. Out of this idea evolved a complicated trip with three different vehicle arriving at three different times and three different routes visited.
My sister Brook, her daughters Ever Lasting and Marissa, her friend Helena, and Helena's dad Jake all started up the trail at 4 a.m. Derek and I started at 4:30 a.m. planning to meet them at the Keyhole and take Marissa up the Keyhole Ridge with us. Brook's husband Kraig started at 6 a.m. because he wanted to run up. He's crazy. Running up Longs... some people...
|Derek and a beautiful sunrise|
|Derek, Marissa, and Brookie in the Boulder Field, headed for the Keyhole|
|Scrambling unroped up the first section of the Keyhole Ridge|
|Happy to be out of the wind and the shade at the base of the crux pitch|
|Topping out the crux pitch|
Above here we unroped and scrambled up the beautiful ridge towards the summit. After only ten minutes or so we saw a person high on the ridge. Derek immediately said, "That must Kraig!" Sure enough it was and we soon joined him. He hiked back to the summit with us, telling us that there others might have started down already as they had been waiting in the high winds for already thirty minutes. I wouldn't have blamed them at all. I don't think I would have stayed that long. But they were all there! Sweet!
|One tough chick and a doting cousin|
|Derek always looking out for Marissa|
|Scrambling down the rappels|
|Jacob rappelling with Derek, Marissa, and Pete below|
We descended the North Face to the eye bolts and I lowered Marissa down (she doesn't know how to rappel yet - I need to teach her that soon!). Then Derek went down 200 feet on the fixed single line. After Pete and Jacob descended the same line, I doubled it and did two rappels down. A team of three climbers graciously took a break and let us all rappel through before they started up. We tried to return the favor and were ultra careful descending to the rappels to make sure we didn't know off any rocks.
|Derek and Marissa in front of their next goal?|
|Derek and Marissa Snapchatting already|
Derek's skills and fitness continue to grow. He's love for Marissa and his great attention to taking care of her was an added element I loved watching. Those two could be a great team in the future. Derek had never done the Keyhole Ridge, but he cruised it easily on the end of the rope, where he couldn't fall without pulling Moo off as well. He did it in his scrambling shoes, too. In the last week he's climbed nine 14ers and did the Ten Mile Traverse (11 peaks above Frisco and Breckenridge) just two days ago.
What a great day on my favorite peak, with my favorite people. Only Sheri was missing. Unfortunately she was on call and couldn't come. But when the lives of main frame computers everywhere are counting on her, she could not leave her post. She was missed. The day would have been ideal if she could have made it instead of the wind. The wind was a definite negative factor, but we didn't let it get us down or stop us from our goals.