Garrett, a friend of Amanda's, Amanda, myself, and Eamonn on top of Gray's Peak. Gray's was the first fourteener (14,000+ feet elevation) we hiked. It is reputed to be one of the easiest, but I know I sure had a hard time getting to summit. As always with mountain climbing, it was well worth it when we got to the top. We slid a lot of the way down in the snow fields that covered the top most faces, and we even got to witness an avalanch on Gray's twin peak: Mount Torries.
Us on top of Mount Elbert, the tallest mountain in the Rockies and tallest in the 48 contiguous states (Alaska has higher) . I found this hike easier than Grays on the way up, but it was a very rough way down with a twisted ankle and bum knee. The summit was really, really chilly and hard on the hands trying to open up a can of tuna with a Swiss Army knife. Well worth it and awesome sight on top of the mountains of the collegiate range, particularly Snow Mass (big peak with a lot of snow, visible in picture in far left center), Mount Massive, and the always present Longs Peak looming in the far distance to the northeast.
Long's Peak Boulder Fields: This is after about 6 hours of hiking. I started alone at 2 in the morning. I waited for several other climbers and just trailed them along the path. It is not possible to describe the size of these boulder fields and the mountain itself. Long's Peak is reputed to be the most challenging non-technical fourteener, and it has earned this reputation. Getting onto the boulder fields was like entering into Hell. It was very cold, windy, and the rocks were jagged, slick with ice, and precarious. There were several points along this hike after crossing these boulder fields and going through the Key Hole to scale the back side, with its gusting wind and ledges overlooking thousand foot drops down sheer rocky faces, that I almost turned back. Fortunately there were many other climbers that were pushing me on at this point and I continued.
Me on the summit of Long's Peak. When my sister and I first drove into Colorado, Long's Peak was the first mountain we saw along I-70 West, and from the moment I saw it, I had wanted to stand on top of it's flat topped summit. The worst part of the ascent was the last leg, where climbers had to scale a nearly vertical face that had sheets of ice on it making the climb even more scary considering the 2000+ foot drop beneath you. I made it up and was chilled to the bone when I got there. The summit itself was about the size of a football field and covered with those boulders you see all around me. This picture is cool because in the distance over my left shoulder you can see the front range and Bear's Peak and the Flat Irons (right center).