Thursday, July 25, 2013

Longs Peak Guiding History

A buttress beneath the Diamond reflected near Chasm Lake ©Bennett Barthelemy

Without realizing it I have stepped in to quite a bit of amazing history signing on as a Longs Peak guide this summer. I have two ascents in the last two weeks and if the weather gods smile (and the lords of asthma and allergies take pity on me -currently on 4 different meds to appease my challenged lungs), four more trips to the summit will be added in the next two weeks.

Been reading Longs Peak history with its colorful and extremely fit and dedicated characters.

One of my heroes, John Wesley Powell, the one armed veteran of the battle at Shiloh made it topside in 1868 and is credited with the Peaks FA. Curiously they named a smaller subpeak after, him years later, a few miles the northwest. Isabella Bird - FFA? (one of the first female ascents at age 42 in 1873) with one eyed Rocky Mountain Jim as guide, "A man any woman could love but no sane woman would marry" -according to Bird...

Alpine starts... ©Bennett Barthelemy

The first "official" guide on Longs charged $5 per ascent and made about the equivalent I do in today's money... He was well over six feet and also worked part time as an insanely dedicated preacher. He is said to have gone into Estes bars and at gunpoint would force the customers to pray with him. Elkanah Lamb... Rad.

Enos Mills had some 300 ascents of the peak to his name and lived at the base of it for decades. A naturalist having been moved that way by randomly running into John Muir, he also ardently guided the peak and successfully lobbied congress to get Rocky Mountain National Park officially minted by President Wilson in 1913. He spent many cold nights up high in an elk-skin sleeping bag...

Longs Peak Guide Adam Fabrikant helping clients across the Narrows ©Bennett Barthelemy
 Big boots to try and fill... Huge.

*Much of this history and more is detailed in the book Longs Peak: The story of Colorado's favorite Fourteener by Dougald MacDonald... Another book to buy....

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Chasms and Cumulus

          Chasms and Cumulus (Missing ME)    

                   words/images ©Bennett Barthelemy

Chasms and cumulus.
Is it filling voids and negative space?

The place we ran from,
To the edge of the storm,
The slipping places between.
The counted steps
up the long mountain.

Again. Again.
Cold water, ephemeral alpine fowers. 
The shafted sunlight, piercing.

A moment. A lifetime. Wishing.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Distance and Disambiguation

Bennett Barthelemy on Hallet RMNP ©Colin Wann Collection
Is there a recipe for realizing disambiguation? An applicable aphorism that bleeds its truth into shared reality? A sure path for the juxtaposition of distant silhouettes to find again a slipped recombinant continuity? Are there sufficient minor chords that will rise in crescendo to realize the harmony from applied dissonance and distance?
Maureen Eversgerd in RMNP ©Bennett Barthelemy
 "It's not what you look at, but what you see." Thoreau

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Thatchtop RMNP

Summit portrait on Thatchtop 12,668, RMNP -Longs Peak rises behind my shoulders.
 Sublimity in accessing the alpine... Through massive aspen groves, then crossing rushing creeks over thick fallen logs to lush grassy hummocks beneath seeping springs that drip over jagged black billion year old stone. Above is krummholtz- twisted wood of the stunted pines from the harsh freezing winds at altitude. Riverine talus fields that seem to be never ending and never that stable- a rocker-block beneath weight, a block waiting to cut loose with the slightest touch as I loose the trees altogether. Other shifts to, the large butterflies in the aspens stay low, giving reign to spiders waiting in the rising talus. As trees get smaller, so to do the flowers... Ptarmigan loosing their winter white are hardly disturbed as I walk past. Tiny pika wander at will on the summit...

The forgotten twelvers... 15-20 ascents a year for Thatchtop? Nice to have a long-awaited day in the alpine alone, without the crush of the rest of humanity that totters just a couple miles below on the trails and popular routes nearby...
Looking north, finding the pika's viewpoint- from the summit of Thatchtop.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Monument Valley Time Travel...

Tailwinds Magazine out of Tucson Arizona published another feature I wrote and shot and it is the current issue for July/August. This particular Tailwinds issue is horse-heavy, thus my article was on horseback riding in Monument Valley on the Navajo Reservation... A readable version is also online (page 9) at issuu and viewable here.

The unbelievable scenery in Monument Valley - A very different experience by horse... ©Bennett Barthelemy