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Don’t let the beautiful sunrise fool you — Longs Peak has its dangerous side

Photo by Joe Newman

On a beautiful cloudless morning with the golden glow of sunrise on it, Longs Peak looks rather inviting. But the saga of the two hikers who were stranded on the peak last week is a pretty good reminder about how dangerous the peak can be and how quickly conditions can change at 14,000 feet.

The hikers, who weren’t carrying any cold weather gear with them, were caught in an unexpected white-out snow storm and were forced to hunker down off the trail. One of the two women sent a dramatic text Thursday morning: “”We need help. At top of Longs Peak. 13400 feet. Whiteout snowstorm. No injuries. Iced over risk of hypothermia.”

Actually, it’s pretty amazing that they were able to get a text out since cell phone coverage is pretty spotty inside the Rocky Mountain National Park. The storm blocked any rescue attempt on Thursday but the good news is that the women were able to walk off the mountain safely Friday afternoon.

I took this picture on Aug. 27 during my trip to the park. About two weeks earlier, a hiker fell to his death while trying to ascend Longs Peak. Since 1915, the year Rocky Mountain National Park was created, there have been adderall vs adipex.

I’ve never climbed Longs Peak but I have been up at 13,000 feet in the Rockies and been caught in a violent storm.  It’s a scary thing to be exposed on a mountain with lightning crashing all around. I was lucky that the temperatures only dropped into the 40s but that experience has pretty much assured that I’ll always carry rain gear with me on any outing.

Photo of Longs Peak as seen across Upper Beaver Meadows by Joe Newman. Want to order a print? Click here.

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Photo Details

Camera: Olympus E-M5

Lens: Olympus M. Zuiko 17mm (34mm equivalent)

Aperture: f/8

Shutter speed: Five shots bracketed between 1/60th of a second to 1/125th of a second

ISO: 200 – 1600

Processing: Photos were merged in Photomatix and HDR processed with the “painterly 2” presets as the starting point.
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Joe Newman

I'm Joe Newman, multi-media story teller, non-profit do-gooder, international street photographer, serious poker player, intrepid traveler. Bourbon drinker.

  • http://www.todestinationunknown.com Satu VW

    Yeah, good reminder what the mountains can do to you, I try to always remember to bring extra food, warm gear and first aid kit when heading even to the smaller peaks, and also letting someone know where I’m headed and when I should be back. Although these days with the two little ones we don’t get very far, at all!!

    • Joe Newman

      Yes, sometimes it’s tempting to leave stuff out to lighten the load but i really think it’s important to be prepared for “worst-case” scenarios.

  • http://hikebiketravel.com Leigh

    Long’s Peak was one of the first 14ers I climbed. I remember the start in pre-dawn conditions, the exhilarating feel of climbing through the Keyhole and the sometimes scary hike to the top. It was one of the most memorable of the thirty five 14,000 foot peaks I’ve climbed in Colorado.

    • Joe Newman

      Climbing 35 14ers is pretty legit, Leigh! From the pictures I’ve seen, the section on Longs Peak called the “narrows” looks pretty treacherous, especially late in the season when there’s a chance it might ice up.

  • http://icecreamandpermafrost.com Jess

    It certainly looks peaceful!

    I have to remind myself how quickly things can turn scary in the great outdoors – no matter how beautiful, you can never take nature for granted.

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