Climbing Six Fourteeners in the Elk Range
Aspen, Colorado 

August 12-13  SNOWMASS MOUNTAIN - 14,092' - Class 3, Exposure 3
After racing a challenging 50K in Wyoming and an eight hour drive to reach the trailhead for 
Snowmass Mountain I arrived around midnight, finding a parking place right next to Dan Bornholdt, 
who had driven in earlier in the day from Los Angeles.  After sleeping for four or five hours in the 
car I arose to a friendly smile and warm handshake before shouldering my pack and beginning the 
8.25-mile trek up the approach to Snowmass Mountain.  Dan and I had been talking about some 
quality time together exchanging stories around a campfire for years.  This would be our first 
adventure and campfire together.  Report and Photos

August 14-15  CAPITOL PEAK - 14,130' - Class 4, Exposure 5
After time off to do laundry so that we'd have something dry to wear, Dan and I drove our cars up 
the 4WD road to the trailhead for Capitol Peak.  After chatting with a few other climbers we set off 
on the five mile approach hike to Capitol Lake under sunshine and perfect Colorado bluebird skies.  
After seeing a bear track on the trail we located a campsite below the lake that would enable us to 
build a fire outside the Snowmass Wilderness area.  With a comfortable margin of time to kill late 
in the day we hiked the remaining way to view the lake and take a look at the initial climb we'd be 
starting in the morning.  Report and Photos

      August 16  CASTLE PEAK - 14,265' - Class 2, Exposure 3
After bivouacking in an aspen grove in the Nat'l Forest along the road to Ashcroft, Jeff Alexander 
and I drove a mile up the Castle Creek Road before deciding that was far enough in a car.  The hike 
to the start of the trail would be long and arduous on the remaining 4WD road but I was optimistic 
that we could hitch a ride most of the way up.  Climbers in 4WD vehicles are generally generous in 
sharing their rides with climbers destined to walk up these long approach roads.  It wasn't too long 
before we spotted a Denali coming up behind us.  After waving my magic thumb a young couple 
from Massachusetts (now Aspen) - Jenna and Matt - invited us aboard and took us as far as they 
would go - to where a stream crossed the road.  After gracious thanks, Jeff and I crossed a bridge 
and continued hiking up the road.  Report and Photos

      August 17  NORTH MAROON PEAK - 14,014' - Class 4, Exposure 4
Arising at around 0530 I decided to tackle the hardest of the three peaks around Crater Lake - 
North Maroon, then follow it with the others in subsequent days.  Jeff decided his hips would not 
take the climbing and that he was still not acclimatized to the altitude, so he settled for being my 
sherpa and shuttling beer from the car while socializing with the pretty tourists that frequent this 
lovely place daily.  While I missed his company I knew I could catch other climbers who started 
before me so that I wouldn't have to climb solo to summit.  All things considered and without 
bragging about it, I have yet to meet anyone who can ascend, or for that matter descend, faster 
than me when I chose to hit my "go" button.  Report and Photos

      August 18  MAROON PEAK  -  14,156' - Class 3, Exposure 4
After an enjoyable climb of North Maroon Peak I was anxious to stand at the top of it's southern 
twin to entertain the notion of perhaps traversing between the two on the Bell Cord.  After an early 
start I followed the trail around the right side of the lake for three miles or so before following a well 
trodden trail that quickly climbed the mountain's eastern slope.  Various cairned trails led to the 
ridge above; I chose a way to the right while another climber I had stopped to talk with - Carl 
Strippel - climbed left.  After gaining the ridge I stopped to eat a bit and wait for Carl to join me.  
While I enjoy hiking the lower reaches solo I always prefer company when the route finding gets 
more challenging above.  Report and Photos

      August 19  PYRAMID PEAK - 14,018' -  Class 4, Exposure 4
Climbing out of the Maroon Valley offered spectacular early morning views of both of the Bells and 
Maroon Lake below.  I moved quickly on the improved trail to reach the entrance to the amphi-
theater.  Following large cairns I continued to climb fast across boulders and talus to catch up to 
climbers that were a considerable distance ahead of me.  By the time I achieved the base of the 
final climb up a gully to the ridge above the amphitheater I had caught five climbers, but continued
to give chase to a single climber I had talked with the day before, named Brian, figuring him to be 
a confident and experienced technical climber whom I wanted to climb the ledge and back side of 
the peak with.  Report and Photos