Sunday, September 8, 2013


Adventure time. Let me to tell you now about my attempts to climb Mount Bierstadt. Mount Bierstadt in the Rocky Mountains is what people here call a 14er, i.e., a mountain with at least 14,000 feet above sea level. Bierstadt is the name of an American of German descent. The translation of the name Bierstadt is "Beer City".
My first attempt was my birthday hike. It was at a stormy time and although we were early at the mountain, we were afraid that a thunderstorm would prevent us to hike all the way up. And sure enough, on our way up a thunderstorm started. But since the storm was not where we were, we decided to continue. After a few steps a hail started and the hailstones were hurting my legs. But I was determined to hike up my first 14er and so we continued... continued for 100 to 200 steps. When we saw how lightning hit the peak which we wanted to climb, we decided to turn around and call it a day.
First attempt, and only minutes away from the thunderstorm
End of August we went for our second attempt. And although there were a lot of obstacles (rapid stream, over stretched muscles, and a constant fear of getting hit by lightning) that made me feel we will not make it again, we succeeded. 14,065 ft or 4,287 m. Suddenly, Germanys highest mountain "Zugspitze" with only 2,962 m looks like a cakewalk.
Second attempt
Let's get science-y now. At the summit the air pressure was according to my cell phone only 620 mbar. Compared to the sea level pressure of  1013 mbar and the typical air pressure in Denver of 830 mbar that's very low. At that pressure water should boil already at 85 ºC (186 ºF) instead of 100 ºC (212 ºF) at sea level or 94 ºC (202 ºF) in Denver. Unfortunately, I didn't have my stove to verify.
At the summit