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John Guilford's Hikes

Thatchtop - Rocky Mtn. NP on 1989-08-26

Date: 1989-08-26

Location: Thatchtop - Rocky Mtn. NP

People: (including myself): Les Gehman, Bob Miller

This set my altitude record of 12,600 ft down in the Rockies.  I found out that I get altitude sickness when I go from sea level to that height.  Blah! We went up a peak called Thatchtop (a little NE of Long's Peak (14k ft)) which was 12,600.  At about 11000 there are a couple lakes there.  That wasn't too bad, I was breathing pretty good, but I expected that.  Going up the last 1000 ft was a killer.  It was about a 45 degree angle over rocks and boulders.  I felt like an old man.  About every 10-20 feet I had to stop and rest.  About every 50 ft I had to sit down and rest.  I think the air gets exponentially thin up there :-) Just the process of standing up and putting on my daypack would get me panting.  Also, my brain (and hence balance) was a bit fuzzy up there.  I think I made my big mistake on top though - it was there that I ate lunch.  I felt pretty miserable going down.  (The top 1000 ft took over an hour both going up and going down.) When I got to the lakes we stopped for a rest.  It was there that I lost my lunch.  I figured it went like this: you know that when the body is oxygen starved, it shuts down blood flow to non-essential things like the GI tract? I bet I wasn't getting any blood to the stomach the whole time.  Thus, all the way down my lunch was churning (fermenting?) away.  When I finally got down and got some rest (and thicker air), finally some blood got to the stomach.  It took one look at what was inside and decided to eject it (not that I blame it :-(.  One of the guys said, "You haven't lived, until you've puked above 11000 ft." I turned to him and said, "Don't you mean that you haven't DIED until you've puked . . .".  Short of getting ill, it was a pretty nice hike.  I was pretty much a zombie on the way out; just trudging along waiting to get to the end of the trail. 

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