Halfway to Heaven: My White-knuckled--and Knuckleheaded--Quest for the Rocky Mountain High

By Mark Obmascik

Fats, forty-four, father of 3 sons, and dealing with a vasectomy, Mark Obmascik may by no means have guessed that his subsequent flow will be up a 14,000-foot mountain. but if his twelve-year-old son will get bitten via the hiking computer virus at summer season camp, Obmascik can’t withstand the chance for a few high-altitude father-son bonding through climbing a top jointly. After their first joint climb, Obmascik, addled by means of the skinny air, makes a decision to maintain his head within the clouds and take a look at to scale all fifty-four of Colorado’s 14,000-foot mountains, often called the Fourteeners—and to do it in under 365 days. The result's Halfway to Heaven, a rollicking, witty, occasionally harrowing chronicle of an outrageous event that's no simple task. This "hilarious midlife picaresque" (Publishers Weekly) has garnered vast serious acclaim, used to be named an "Editor’s decide" through Parade, won the 2009 nationwide outside e-book Award for out of doors Literature, and made one reviewer snort so difficult he "blew beer out of [his] nostril" (Colorado Daily). just like the author’s seriously acclaimed debut, The large 12 months, it brings a prepared eye and sharp humor to an obsessive way of life: climbers who proportion the author’s crazed ardour of scaling all fifty-four of the famed and feared Fourteeners.

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In addition to, this may be enjoyable. No argument from me, particularly after a summer season of you-sleep-on-your-side-of-the-tent man-dates. i used to be so excited that I hosed out the again of the pickup truck, fluffed up Merrill’s ages-old snoozing bag, and picked out my favourite freeze-dried camping out dinner (Mountain residence Mexican-Style fowl with Rice for Two). simply because Merrill is a espresso junkie, I even splurged on an coffee press for her Nalgene bottle. i used to be packed up and able to backpack. good, no. My spouse was once a trouper, yet nonetheless no longer a saint. What this intended was once no dozing behind pickup vehicles on holiday. a transparent choice used to be expressed for indoor plumbing, and, if attainable, nutrients that didn't must be eaten out of a bag with a spork. sizzling showers will be favored through her, and if night corporation used to be wanted, for me to boot. changes have been made. Grandparents have been coated as much as babysit. after which we have been off, humans married for seventeen years jointly in a automobile and not using a unmarried baby inside of. We talked and laughed and gossiped and performed the tune relatively, particularly loud after which talked and laughed a few extra. the single factor greater than the summer season she used to be giving to me was once the a part of the summer time i used to be sharing along with her. The dipping sunlight blasted the area orange simply as we crested the Continental Divide at Monarch move. We stopped and stared. shall we were newlyweds giddy on our honeymoon—until the lodge room alarm exploded at 3:30 a. m. At this aspect i used to be thankful my spouse made up our minds to stay married to me. We trigger from the trailhead for our meant objective, Handies top within the San Juan Mountains of southwest Colorado, and we have been quickly struck speechless. The peaks have been jagged, with couloirs choked with snow and full hillsides carpeted with columbines, cinquefoil, and Indian paintbrush. If I have been a yodeling guy, this is able to be where. We have been strolling via Monet’s backyard, other than at 11,000 ft. We have been so giddy, we felt like skipping schoolchildren. I had selected to do that mountain with Merrill not just since it used to be wonderful, but in addition since it was once simple. in truth, concerning the in basic terms advanced factor approximately Handies top was once the resource of its identify. by the point the 1st govt surveying crews reached it within the 1870s, neighborhood miners have been already calling it Handies top, even supposing no one appeared to comprehend whatever in regards to the id or whereabouts of Mr. or Mrs. Handies. larger to have a mountain named after a no one, i guess, than an unexceptional and forgotten flesh presser like Bross (an Illinois lieutenant governor), Evans (the moment pre-statehood governor of Colorado), and Elbert (the sixth). At approximately 13,000 toes, the cast and well-engineered path on Handies took its significant flip upward. Merrill, like several different runner i've got hiked with this summer season, couldn't withstand. The summit used to be a carrot, and she or he was once a racehorse. She galloped up the path. i attempted to maintain velocity until eventually she used to be fifty ft, then 100 ft, after which 100 yards sooner than me. That’s whilst I declared defeat, back, and settled again into my oxen velocity.

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