Thursday, January 5, 2017

Bob Torrison Retrospective II

Several years after high school Bob and I got together in Denver. I think he was living there and I came out from La Grange for some summer action.We went to several old mining towns, Black Hawk and Central City, west of Denver when they were still picturesque - before they got into the casino business. Bob had some friends
in Central City and I remember sleeping on a front porch in my sleeping bag after a night of too much fun.  It was a clear night and I woke up to see the full moon. I can still see it now.

Several days later we went up to Estes Park to climb Longs Peak, a 14,000 foot mountain in Rocky Mountain National Park. With us was Bob's childhood friend form Maywood, Illinois, Richard Ellis. Rich was very energetic and almost ran up the mountain. Bob and I paced ourselves as it was a 12 hour day. We started out from Longs Peak campground about 5:00 am and got back about 5:00pm. 



After arriving at the boulderfield we got a good look at the east wall of Longs Peak.





We headed  across the boulderfield to take the Keyhole route. The trail on the other side of the Keyhole was marked with painted circles for which it was  called the "fried egg trail". On the back side of the mountain was a somewhat exposed area called "the narrows". The day was perfectly sunny and clear and there was no ice so  
safety was not an issue. After " the narrows" we came to a gradually  steep slope called 'the home stretch". At 14,000 feet there was minimal oxygen so Bob and I were struggling and Rich took off to the summit. We encouraged each other and completed the climb. The summit is flat with boulders and with an area larger than the size of a football field. It was exhilarating too say the least.

Here is a previous photo of me on the summit taken when I was 14 years old. From the top of Longs Peak you can enjoy  the entire Front Range and a magnificent view of the great plains. It is the real purple mountains majesty above the fruited plains.



We could only stay on top for a few minutes because it is  important to get down to the boulder field because of the possibility of early afternoon storms and lightening. We descended slowly and went down the trail with only a light rain. A long but memorable day like this creates strong permanent bonding. Even today when I see the peak I remember times I have climbed it and especially my climb with Bob.

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