Diamond Face in Long's Peak, Estes Park, Colorado, USA
Long’s Peak is visible throughout most of the Colorado Front Range, towering above Denver and Boulder and often shrouded by swirling clouds. Pictured is the Diamond Face, one of the highest and most strenuous technical rock faces in the United States. While not nearly as long as Yosemite’s El Capitan, its lung busting altitude make ascents arduous and its extreme weather make it fairly dangerous. Climbers need to be off the peak by 1 or 2 in the afternoon to avoid the daily thunder and lightning. The first ascents were most likely made by Native Americans searching for eagle feathers, while the first documented climb was in 1868, up what is now one of the easier routes to the top. In 1960, the first team successfully climbed the Diamond Face up a route called D1.
Place you live: Estes Park, CO
Place your photo was taken: This is a shot of the Diamond Face of Long’s Peak, one of Colorado’s 14,000-foot peaks. The trail head is about 15 minutes from town. You get to this lake after a 3 hour hike.
Preoccupation: Photographer, climber, skier, hiker, cyclist
A perfect day in Estes Park? Every day is just about perfect here, depending on your point of view. Summers start with sun, there’s a brief thunderstorm in the afternoon that’s always dramatic and creates gorgeous light, and then they end with that fresh smell that you only get just after it rains. The world is orange when fall comes and the aspens change. Winters are cold and insanely windy, which aggravates a lot of people, but I happen to love it. When I’m outside skiing, running or snow shoeing, the wind makes me feel like an ant. It’s humbling and enjoyable to feel so small because of mother nature. And without the wind, snow and cold, I wouldn’t get as much enjoyment from a warm fire and a glass of wine during a cold winter night. Spring can be everything: hot, cold, windy, rainy, sunny, snowy. It’s an exciting time.
If someone was visiting what must they do? Hike into Rocky Mountain National Park and see what you can see. Maybe the most popular time is during October or so, when the elk come down from the high country to mate. You can hear them bugling throughout the Estes Park Valley. If you’re up to it, you can hike to the top of Long’s Peak, a 16-mile round trip that tops out at 14,259.
A perfect meal? I always love the mushroom burger at Mary’s Lake Lodge and the pizzas at Sweet Basilico. Jumbo rice noodles with chicken at Thai Kitchen is perhaps my favorite meal here. And, if you want to call it a meal, you can drink a great beer and watch live music all the time at the Rock Inn. Oh yeah, and since Colorado is a microbrew capital, be sure to check out the Estes Park Brewery.
A little known fact? Golf balls fly more than 10% further in Estes Park due to the altitude.