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110 Guidebooks 2010-02-04

guide books

As we planned our trip for the summer (climbing the 54 Colorado 14,000 foot peaks) we read and collected online trip reports and route descriptions. If 14ers did not have the information, we went to SummitPost, and then if we still were not satisfied we would do a search. Somebody had to post the route information somewhere and we would find it. We amassed quite a few pages of material. If we still needed information we had the old Roach book with us. We joked that the Roach guide was so vague, we would only use it if we wanted to get lost. For example the North Ridge Route might say: Locate the North Ridge, climb it to the summit.

When the trip began we practically memorized each fact and detail about each mountain from all the pages we had collected. The nightly ritual became to read about the next days routes before going to bed. Then in the morning we would re-read the material. Our fitness level at the beginning of the trip was good but we were not seasoned yet. We could move, but not quickly. An error in navigation could have caused us a summit. We studied so we would not make such an error. Then while hiking we constantly referred to the printed pages.

As the summer days passed and we progressed in our quest. We found new fitness levels that had been lost for ten or so years. At night we would scan the pages of the peaks and then stow them in the top pocket of the pack, never to be seen again.

Finally, toward the end of the trip the metamorphosis was complete. We would maybe pull the route pages out to look at, but just couldn’t figure out why we should read them. By then we were so confident in our abilities and fitness levels, that we just didn’t care what the pages said. The good old Roach book looked better than ever. The less detailed descriptions appealed to us even more! I would jot down a few notes and we were off climbing. We no longer relied on the detailed information to help us reach the summits.

At some point in the trip we used all of the types of information for the routes we climbed. All of the material helped us at some time, but as we grew fitter we filtered the details. It was a good feeling and a good lesson.

Happy trails.



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