If there was to be any more discussion of possibly taking a stab at a 14'er (Longs Peak), I thought that a trip above 11,000 ft up to Flattop Mountain would be a good test for all of the parties involved. I put the challenge down that we would be running/hiking up to the summit and only Buzzkill, a budding cross country talent, took up the challenge.
Distance: 9 miles roundtrip
Total Time: 2hr 36 min
Start/End Elevation: 9,475 - 12,324
Elevation Gain: 2,874 ft
It was not easy. A rocky ascent, switchbacks, and the constant elevation gain finally left Buzzkill and I feeling a little lightheaded once we got above 11,000 ft but we continued to put the proverbial hammer down and once we got above 12,000 ft started feeling good and summited the top in 1 hr 26 min. I wasn't sure that we had made great time, but we had passed quite a few people on the ascent and a couple at the top upon hearing our time asked if we had run up and were we headed to Grand Lake, 11 miles away, for lunch? We kindly responded no, but quickly donned a middle layer and some gloves as the temp had dropped 20 degrees since we started.
My faith in organized religion may be sketchy at best, but if there is a higher power I saw it on display today I was rewarded with unbelievable views and even a mini snowball fight just below the summit.
Buzzkill and I flew down the mountain, running most of it, and I am sure my hamburgered quads will thank me tomorrow. We were rewarded one more time as just before we finished we saw two coyotes skirt across the trail.
It doesn't get much better than this.