Peak(s):  Pikes Peak  -  14,109 feet
Date Posted:  06/01/2022
Date Climbed:   09/25/2021
Author:  MaryinColorado
Additional Members:   MKwhite45, Maverick6981, Kcmartinez22, cloudkicker, RyGuy, bergsteigen, JQDivide
 The Fellowship of Pikes Peak   

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I first met Chad in 2016 when I was on the hunt for hiking partners. For reasons of life and hiking preferences, it didn't end up that he and I would pursue the 14ers together. In fact, we'd end up losing touch, but part of me was always curious where the 14er road would lead such an enthusiastic, big-hearted person.

"You step into the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to.”

It turned out that the 14er road led Chad to RyGuy, and my own 14er journey also led me to RyGuy in 2020. I was so tickled to discover that Chad and Ryan were great friends; it just made sense! This prompted a Chad/Mary reunion, and with the addition of Chad's lovely girlfriend Megan, we have all built a most treasured friendship. In some ways - good ways - Chad was the same Chad I'd met in 2016. In other ways, he was a better version of himself, perhaps more wise and introspective not just about life but about climbing. I was honored to join him on a few of his final peaks - and especially on his finisher!

"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

And so to accomplish this mission, the motley fellowship of incredible friends gathered at Rivendell, also known as the warm, welcoming home of Joel and Staci. The fellowship consisted of Chad (Legolas), Ryan (Aragorn), me (Boromir), Joel (suspiciously tall hobbit), Megan (ring wraith), Otina (Arwen), Kat (Eowyn), Kit (Legolas's father's brother's cousins's former roommate), and Shannon (Galadriel). We'd be joined by some others later on who decided to go rogue. More on that later.

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A fun and entertaining evening at the Rivendell of Divide the night before the ascent

I know this is a little backwards, but we did not yet have the One Ring, so we were pretty casual and non-threatened whilst accompanied by our local, very clearly unconcerned ring wraith. Perhaps this gives new meaning to "keep your friends close and your enemies closer".

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By the way, that sword she's carrying is legit. Fully metal, fully heavy!

Yes, I was very committed to my character Boromir. Also yes, I'm told I'm not allowed to sport a makeup beard ever again.

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The meme helps explain the fate of my character which I sincerely hoped to avoid on this day.

Aragorn's antics were on point at 4 a.m. as he prepared to add some significant weight to his pack.

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Or is this Dave Grohl???

We plodded along through the dark on the Crags trail, our path well-lit by the Phial of Galadriel, and by Galadriel herself; her costume was the easiest to see and reflected light excessively well. Thank God, we didn't run into any extraordinarily large spiders, just the occasional unsuspecting hiker. Don't worry, no swords were drawn. Usually a few screeches from our resident ring wraith was enough to get the hikers moving along.

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I wouldn't know what to think of us if I ran into us in the dark, either, honestly.
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I suspect Aragorn just told a dad joke, and Legolas just can't even.

For those of us carrying swords and wearing capes, it turns out they're kind of a liability. 10/10 do not recommend, but I applaud our commitment to our characters on a relatively safe peak. Only one face plant occurred, and that was probably 20 fewer face plants than I actually expected.

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By the way, they left this part out of the movie; Legolas always wore his InReach. You'll just have to trust me on that, don't bother fact-checking. This was how the eagles were summoned to retrieve Frodo and Sam.

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Above treeline, a break was needed, and we pulled out the nourishment for our arduous journey: lembas bread baked by Staci. First of all, talk about commitment to the Lord of the Rings theme, even the attention to detail of wrapping them in green napkins ("leaves") was a really special added touch. Second of all, it was super delicious!

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"Not all those who wander are lost."

And this included us. We knew we needed to get to the summit of Mordor and find the One Ring somewhere along the way. (It's complicated.) Thanks to Bill MiddleEarth and Mordor14ers.com, we had this route map to use to help us navigate. We chose the optimal route in yellow.

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Disclaimer: stole this from the internet

Onward we journeyed fighting the occasional orc and goblin. At one point, we had an unfortunate encounter with a balrog, and we said, "Oof, not today, fire demon, we've got places to go!" and he replied, "Oh, ok, sorry to bother you, I'm just a balrog doing balrog things. Please carry on." (Who says you can't resolve conflict with an honest conversation?) It was difficult to tear Aragorn away from the balrog because of his intense enjoyment of giant fireballs, but once we managed to get Aragorn to move along, the rest of the journey was able to continue relatively unimpeded.

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The suspiciously tall hobbit leading the way
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Always nice to hit that little reprieve as you're coming out of the trees on the Crags route especially when clothed in not-normal hiking clothes
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Arwen, Aragorn, Legolas, Boromir, and ... man (picture taken by Joel, I believe)
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Making our way to Devil's Playground

At Devil's Playground, we finally met up with other members of the fellowship who had taken the undesirable route; however, upon realizing how undesirable it was, they retreated and intercepted us. That part of the crew included another ring wraith (it's complicated), another elf or hobbit (not sure which), another man, and the character most underappreciated and least known in Lord of the Rings, Oscar the dog.

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Eowyn explaining who we are to an undoubtedly confused person at Devil's Playground, and Legolas chit-chatting away with another chill ring wraith, no biggie

The final 3 miles of ascent was in front of us, and off we went, Boromir constantly on guard knowing his fate is traditionally death but super, super, SUPER hoping to escape it this time! (It probably helps that my name isn't Sean Bean. If you know, you know.) Also, I traded in the horn of Gondor for an orange whistle of Gondor hoping that that would improve chances of a good outcome for me.

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Arwen made sure I, Boromir, look super badass in this picture!

Chad makes bad jokes. I make memes especially as one of the most meme-able characters from LOTR. Here, the two meet!

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The caption on the meme says, "Oh, Chad," because that's what I say most of the time when Chad says a bad joke.

Onward, onward, upward, upward, capes catching on rocks, swords scraping everything, other hikers being equal parts amused and weirded out. (I get it.) This stalwart crew was focused and determined. We would NOT fail this mission.

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Legolas the chosen one?! On the final scramble to the summit. THINGS ARE GETTING EVEN MORE EXCITING NOW!!

At long last, we arrived! CONGRATULATIONS, CHAD!! Much celebrating was had. Much champagne spray happened (which also conveniently christened the new summit sign). And the one medallion to rule them all was bestowed.

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It turned out we weren't the only Lord of the Rings fans on Pikes that day. For starters, one gentleman pointed out that I was carrying Andúril, Aragorn's sword, not Boromir's sword. BUSTED. Then in the summit house, I can't even make this story up... a stranger, a young lady tourist, revealed herself to have THE ONE RING!! (Commence me losing my s**t at the random awesomeness of this.) A whole bunch of people asked to have their pictures taken with us, which was fantastic, but this picture was, by far, the coolest!

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Don't worry, we let her keep the precious. We did not toss it into the boiling vat of donut frying oil.

And so it was Chad's 14er journey was complete. Nea, perhaps all this was was the turning of a page to begin a new chapter.

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Chad, thank you for allowing all of us the privilege of joining you there and back again. Congratulations, mellon!

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It's like the great stories, the ones that really mattered. A new day will come, and when the sun shines, it'll shine out the clearer. You had lots of chances of turning back, only you didn't. You kept going because you were holding onto something, that there's some good in this world, and it's worth climbing for.

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Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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Comments or Questions
two lunches
User
i cant
06/02/2022 08:33
figure out where to begin. okay i guess first- congrats on finishing
but i feel like your (collective) commitment to theme is the real accomplishment here.
"This day does not belong to one man but to all." i am so impressed. carry on


jrbren_vt
User
Very cool !
06/02/2022 19:13
Glad no one had to be carried down by eagles ! Congrats !


MaryinColorado
User
The thing is
06/02/2022 20:29
@stephakett - Your comment made me grin from ear to ear! We sure had a ton of fun with it!

@jrbren - But I probably wouldn't have turned it down, myself. Capes turned into much bigger liabilities on the downhill. Haha!


jibler
Love it
06/03/2022 11:14
ever since South Park tied lord of rings mythology to kenosha pass - i just love this kind of stuff.


Mount Doom'd


MaryinColorado
User
Jibler
06/05/2022 08:00
How did I miss that episode??? I'm going to have to find it and watch it!


JQDivide
User
Good Times
06/07/2022 11:04
You can't have a good fellowship, without a good feast.
Was a fun weekend with lots of laughs and friends.
JQ



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