When Nelson (the other half of the Sub-Eleven Foot Expedition Team) suggested hiking a peak in RMNP, I replied, "I'm in." I didn't need to know anything more than that. I always pay attention to my older, wiser and more patient brother from another mother.
Our plan was to hike from the Goblin Forest campsite along the Longs Peak trail to the Loft route to 13,911' Mount Meeker. First, we had to perform our pre-hike ritual honed after a decade's worth of expeditions.
Nelson: "Jeff, I haven't been hiking much lately. We'll get as far as we can go. Is that OK?"
Me: "Yep. You call the shots. I think you will do fine."
With this tradition completed we set off on a breeze-free cloudy morning. We took breaks, shot photos and kibitzed. (Told stories).
The heavy breathing began after Chasm Lake. We moved up a prominent couloir wedged between Meeker and Longs Peak. At times the climbing was aptly described by Nelson as "can't make a mistake" ascending. We scouted routes, made suggestions and like Lewis and Clark, "We proceeded on."
We attained the flat saddle called the Loft. Here, Nelson had to start the second part of the ritual "I've been up on Meeker three times. You go ahead and summit it. I'll take a break here and get up as far as I can."
"OK. You are doing great. I'll see you at the top." That's my part of the ritual.
Sure enough, there was Nelson grinning and gaining the top a few minutes after me.
This is what I know about my Woody Allen look-a-like buddy/brother. He's a plugger. He doesn't give up easily. He's way tougher than he looks. He's hiked to the Mount Everest Basecamp, survived two avalanches, summited more peaks (in the winter) than I care to do and was a ferry boat captain somewhere in Asia.
His adventure resume makes mine look puny and insignificant.
He's also incredibly humble about his achievements. Here's his photos. He is generous enough to allow me to share them with you.
I am a lucky Dude to know him.
This guy knows how to really work a camera.