The goal was simple: to climb Longs Peak by a different route in every month of one calendar year. The motivation for this came from the brilliant and tireless Bill Briggs. Back in 2001 he attempted this for his second time. He didn't make it that year either, but he motivated me to climb Longs in every month of any year, which I completed in 2002. This year I wanted to finish the business that Mr. Briggs started.
The project didn't start well. The weather reports for the first three weekends in January predicted 80mph winds on Longs. Obviously, I put off my attempt, as going in that weather is pure failure, for anyone, not just me. On the Friday before the final weekend of January, I checked the weather report: 85 mph winds predicted on Longs. It is a credit to my friends' intelligence that I could not convince anyone to join me. I headed up early from the Glacier Gorge parking lot fully intending to turn around at treeline when the full force of winter would be too much to battle. As it turned out, the weather reports were wrong and I made it, albeit after a huge effort, backtracking because of a wrong turn, and massive blisters. The game was afoot.
Since I had gone solo in January I lost one big advantage immediately: having a stronger, motivated partner for the entire venture. The plus side was that I'd be able to recruit a whole slew of supermen to drag me up LongsÉwhen the weather was nice. That ruled out a partner for February and once again I was solo, this time up the Loft between Meeker and Longs and around the backside via Clark's Arrow the Homestretch. Once again, I went in running shoes with Flight Deck boots over the top.