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By Mark Obmascik

Fats, forty-four, father of 3 sons, and dealing with a vasectomy, Mark Obmascik might by no means have guessed that his subsequent movement will be up a 14,000-foot mountain. but if his twelve-year-old son will get bitten through the mountain climbing computer virus at summer time camp, Obmascik can’t withstand the chance for a few high-altitude father-son bonding via mountaineering a top jointly. After their first joint climb, Obmascik, addled by way of the skinny air, comes to a decision to maintain his head within the clouds and take a look at to scale all fifty-four of Colorado’s 14,000-foot mountains, referred to as the Fourteeners—and to do it in lower than 365 days. The result's Halfway to Heaven, a rollicking, witty, occasionally harrowing chronicle of an outrageous event that's no sure bet. This "hilarious midlife picaresque" (Publishers Weekly) has garnered extensive serious acclaim, used to be named an "Editor’s decide" through Parade, won the 2009 nationwide outside publication Award for out of doors Literature, and made one reviewer chortle so not easy he "blew beer out of [his] nostril" (Colorado Daily). just like the author’s severely acclaimed debut, The immense 12 months, it brings a prepared eye and sharp humor to an obsessive culture: climbers who proportion the author’s crazed ardour of scaling all fifty-four of the famed and feared Fourteeners.

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My legs won’t quickly forgive me. If there’s a path someplace within the dishwasher-size talus, I can’t locate it. So I decide on the main direct route—straight up. In my goals I bunny-hop from boulder to boulder, yet in truth I’m utilizing my fingers to push and pull my approach upward. i'm sore. i'm drained. and at last, i'm at the summit. There’s one other solo hiker already at the most sensible. He’s approximately my age. I say hello. He says hello. Then he opens his pack and gives me a treasure trove of cheese, sausage, crackers, Fig Newtons, M&M’s, and full-bore chocolate. The Navajos are correct: this can be a sacred mountain. His identify is Jeff Cruzan, and he’s traveling the following from Sharon, Massachusetts. He asks if I’d obvious him fall at the snow prior. I say no, yet am greatly surprised via his honesty. I haven’t met too many of us at the mountains who introduce themselves through admitting errors. I inform him approximately my misadventure the day prior to this on Little undergo. Over mouths choked with junk meals, we change tales of our backcountry stupidity. What’s impressive is that he had any stories of doofusness to provide. Jeff is a biologist who has spent such a lot of his profession doing postdoctoral paintings at Harvard collage. He has had 3 articles released within the most desirable specialist magazine technology. I requested what he’s doing thousand miles from domestic. “I just like the mountains simply because they make me consider small,” Jeff says. “They aid me tackle what’s very important in lifestyles. ” His largest sort-out got here final 12 months, whilst he wearied of the cutthroat politics in postdoc existence. So he ditched academia and employed on as a highschool technology instructor. It was once his top paintings yr but. We either eye the half-mile connecting ridge to Ellingwood. I’m spent and he's drained. I’m apprehensive that loads of the ridge is plastered with snow, and so is he. I inform him in regards to the time Gottlieb and that i stood atop Mount Shavano, and doubted our skill to traverse to Tabeguache height until eventually we met Bulldog, the sixty-two-year-old Kansan, donning shorts within the snow. there's no such guy on Blanca this day. we elect to attempt the traverse besides. due to both chocolate or all at once sophisticated conversation—we pointed out the highlights of quantifying hydrogen bond cooperativity in water via VRT spectroscopy of the water tetramer, in addition to the lowlights of hand-to-hand wrestle within the ivory towers to choose whose identify is indexed first as an writer on an instructional paper—the scramble passes fast. on the most sensible of Ellingwood aspect, we're greeted via an strange odor. Scott Estabrooks, thirty-eight, is taking deep drags at the summit from a Marlboro pink. It’s the 1st time I’ve obvious someone in such an oxygen-deprived game filling lungs and the summit with tobacco smoke. Scott, who works as a surveyor, says the cigarettes aid to calm his nerves. i glance round the most sensible and see for the 1st time that, howdy, there’s a couple of thousand-foot drop-off at the different aspect of the summit block. This Marlboro is his fourth this present day. we choose to hitch Scott and his 3 friends for the descent, that's common and uneventful until eventually we succeed in our first steep snowfield.

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