Today I decided to take the challenge of going up the longest climb around; Mt. Lemmon. Lemmon is one of the more legendary climbs in the states, and has apparently been ranked 395th globally (stats here). Once upon a time Lance Armstrong-you may have heard of him in the news lately as the celebrity who confessed it all -
lived in a cabin at the top and spent his winter training there. As the first link says, the mountain climb itself is about 52km long, and the vertical gain is around 2km. It was a cloudy day here, but I didn`t realize what consequences that means for the top of the climb...
The climb was a long steady one, and the terrain was beyond what I even thought it could be. I started out in the desert, with a temperature of 23C, and as I climbed higher I passed through a pine forest, then back to a snowy scrubland. The whole way up rock formations were amazing, and watching the road swirl down the mountain behind me made me pretty excited to go downhill. I had never been on a mountain large enough that I needed to put layers on while climbing! The climb got more and more interesting as I slowly ascended into the clouds from the desert below. I knew that I was getting pretty high in altitude when my glasses started fogging up for no reason, and snow became apparent along the sides of the road. Probably the most exciting part of the ascent was my discovery of where the saying “leaping lizards” came from. This is how it happened:
I was minding my own business thinking about how far it is till I hit the clouds when BAM! A lizard just jumped off a rock beside the road. Dumbfounded, i just said...leaping lizards? Because what else can you say?
|Summerhaven at the top, because that's the only place of acceptable temperatures here in the summer!|
|notice the amazing wind erosion structure, and the rock climbing ties in|
|It was cold at the top of the mountain in the clouds|
|22 miles of downhill, the real test isn't the climb, it's the freezing descent!|