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Saturday, January 20, 2007

54 14'ers, 12 Months

Chris Davenport succeeded yesterday in skiing Longs Peak, his 54th Colorado 14'er in less than 12 months. To be precise, he needed 363 days to become only the second person to ski all of the 14'ers from their summits. (The first was Lou Dawson, who needed 14 years; Sean Crossen has skied 53 of the 54 peaks over the last several years, with only Capitol eluding him.) Davenport skied the south side of the Front Range peak with Neal Beidleman and Nick Devore.

Davenport tried to ski Longs two days ago, but the wind was nuking (see top photo from midday on Wednesday) and his party never made it above the Boulderfield at about 12,500 feet on Longs' northern flank. On Friday, they climbed to the Loft, the saddle between Longs and neighboring Mt. Meeker, then traversed around the Palisades and, oh joy!, spotted enough snow on the Homestretch of Longs' Keyhole hiking route to allow a ski descent from the very top. This route depends on steep ramps of snow clinging to the Homestretch and the ledges beneath it to connect to Keplinger's Couloir and Wild Basin below. The photo here shows the south side on January 1, 2007, courtesy of Andy Moore, who was part of the first known party to ski the south face in May 2003, following the huge March blizzard that year. (You can see great photos and an account of that descent here.) After more than a week of wind, the face was a lot rockier yesterday, but Davenport and party found just enough snow to eke out a skiable line (with some rock skiing and a short rock downclimb well below the summit) and then thrash out the de-proach to the highway. See details and photos at Ski the 14'ers.

I could be accused of overblogging Davenport's quest (six entries in the last year), but I've found it incredibly inspirational. Davenport accomplished his feat with style (including a major first descent on Capitol) and an ever-present sense of excitement and humility.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"Davenport accomplished his feat with style (including a major first descent on Capitol) and an ever-present sense of excitement and humility."

You hit the nail on the head. That's exactly what makes Chris such a rarity in the freeskiing world. Would that others in that arena, and rock climbing as well, would exercise his level character.