Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Captain Conquers Hallet Peak

In my effort to enjoy the decline before either I die or the country declines so much I must don my Mad Max gear and set forth, I made the 6 hour trip to Rocky Mountain National Park. I didn't get there until the afternoon on Saturday so I drove around the entire park, and entered into Denver from the west on I-70 wherein I found a sushi joint, a cigar bar and a salsa club all within 1 mile of each other.

To quote Eddie Izzard, "Fantastico!"

I was particularly impressed with the salsa ladies of Denver because 70% of them said yes to a dance. In Minnesota you can expect a success rate of only 30% because, well, it's Minnesota and the women always presume you're trying to get with them instead of you just simply and honestly asking them for a dance. It's a foreign concept to them, "hey, I just want to dance, I don't want to get with you." But then again, if I grew up on a regiment on 90210, The Mall of America, billions of dollar's worth of daddy's money, and Sex in the City, I might be a bit presumptuous too. Regardless, the ladies of Denver, I salute you for using that horrible word, "yes."

Regardless, the next day was to conquer a real mountain, Hallet Peak, a short 5 mile hike up to the peak, all of which could be done in an afternoon. I took pictures and I am happy I brought my windbreaker because not only was there wind, there was a ton of snow.

I will brag now and mention that this hike took me a total of 4 hours and 15 minutes. That included looking around, taking in the view and hiking behind piles of rocks at the peak to shield me against the wind and maintain a normal body temperature. Enjoy the pictures!

This is Hallet's peak form across the valley you hike up.

This is the sign that tells you you made it to Flattop Peak. Hallet's peak is in the background. It's actually no more than 1/2 a mile away, but the lack of oxygen gets to you and that little jaunt took at least 30 minutes.

I got lonely and made myself a friend.

Hallet's Peak about 1/2 the way up the climb.

These are mountains to the East of Halley's peak, I have not yet consulted the map to find out which peaks they are.

There was this young 25 year old punk kid that actually passed me near Flattop. I thought I was doing a pretty good clip and this young guy with all of his youth and everything SLOWLY passes me (he too was suffering from a lack of oxygen). Anyway, we inevitably hit the peak at the same time so he was kind enough to take the picture. He (ahem ahem!) did not decide to move onto Hallet's peak, once again cementing my status of "30 something guy with 25 year old body Awesomeness."

If you jump juuuuuust right, you might land in Emerald lake.

I will post videos later that will explain why the icicles form horizontally at the top of the mountain once I compile them into one youtube video.


Anonymous said...


love the site. dunno if you've seen this site or not but i thought it might help to enjoy the decline. it's certainly motivated me. and no, i'm not trying to spam, just thought it might inspire...

keep up the good work.

Sindi said...

Fabulous! Absolutely fabulous!

Anonymous said...

They form horizantaly due to the wind....

Gary said...

Been up there several times. Too sick to go again but I enjoyed your pictures.

My advice is hike as much as you can every chance you get. I did, but I still didn't get to do enough before it was over. Spent a month in Estes Park one year and walked 275 miles in park. You can get enough of a lot of things in life but walking in the mountains ain't one of them.

Gary said...

Great place, great pictures.

I've been up Flattop several times. Can't make it anymore (too sick) but once is more than most people get.

Hike all you can. You may look back and say you did too much of a lot of things in life, but you can never hike in the mountains enough.

ScottH said...

Snow Kermit says "it's not easy being white".

That looks like fun - I wouldn't want to be there in February.

Anonymous said...

That's great! I get tired and breathless just from looking at the pictures.

Hot Sam said...

Great job Cap.

Colorado is known for its 14ers, and someone who tries them all is a Peak Bagger.

Hallett is about 12,700 which is a great start, a beautiful view, and doesn't require any or much hand work or equipment. The altitude is killer, especially if you're not used to it.

I remember when i arrived in Colorado and had to take my first Army PT test there. I couldn't find oxygen with both hands! But after living there a few years and going to Georgia, running was easy and it felt like I was breathing a gel. It was so satisfying feeling air coming in and out.

I'm glad you found some fun dancing in Denver. I don't think I ever danced there except country two step.

Captain Capitalism said...

Hey, that oxygen is no joke! I tried twice already to do Cloud Peak in Wyoming's Big horns and failed twice due to altitude sickness. This was the first 12,000+ peak I tried and didn't get sick. I guess the 4,000+ elevation of Rapid City is helping me out.

What would be interesting is to see what I could do if I ever returned to Minneapolis....oh, wait! Why would I do that!?

Doug said...

The dance scene in Denver is really great.

Ah, I miss the good old days . . . .

Justin said...

I'm gonna have to call you on the 4 hours 15 minutes. This hike is supposed to be 10 miles round trip with 3300' of elevation gain.

By your own account you took 30 minutes to go the last 1/2 mile. Not accounting for any stopping at all, that means you did the other 9.5 miles in just 3 hours 45 minutes, or a hiking pace of over 2.5MPH, a pretty stiff pace for a steep, uphill, rugged hike in the snow.

And, making up the pace on the way down is unlikely, trails that steep are always rough, and near impossible to run down.

I'm gonna have to see a GPS track log to buy this.

Or, maybe I'm misreading this, and you're saying it took you 4 hours, 15 minutes one way, to the top, which is believable.

Captain Capitalism said...

No Justin, I do not lie.

It only took 4:15. The elevation gain was actually not that steep. It was 10 miles round trip, and a 3,300 foot gain. Path was in pretty darn good condition.

Additionally I have learned a technical of kind of billy goating down hill skill. It's nearly at a running speed, but I hop from large rock to large rock, keep my momentum up and try not to fall. Takes a mere fraction of the time to get down than it does up.