In no particular order (all of this occurring in the early 1980's):
- Parked at the trailhead early in the morning (in spring ... snow still on the ground in many spots) to go climb Mt. Zirkel. We were unprepared (no showshoes) and hiked as far as we could before getting snow and waterlogged boots and eventually deciding to try it later in the year. Returned to the "car" (yes, it was actually a car at the time ... an automatic Plymouth Acclaim) only to find that the brake lines were mostly severed by rabbits (as later diagnosed by the auto tech). The Man drove home, expertly using what brakes were left and downshifting. There wasn't the traffic on I-70 that we have now. (thank heavens) The auto mechanic asked to keep the brake lines to hang on his wall.
- Fuel pump failed on our first trip in to do the Bells. Never even made it all the way in on the pavement even to the parking lot. Luckily, after the entire gas tank had drained, we were able to turn around and coast most of the way back down towards that huge parking lot where the shuttle now leaves. Found someone and used their phone to call AAA. AAA came, towed us to Glenwood Springs. It was a Saturday. We arrived at the Chevy dealership just as they were closing. The guy said we could leave the truck and they would fix it first thing Monday morning. Walked to a motel in Glenwood. Paid more for the two nights at the motel than we did for the fuel pump replacement.
- Went to climb Pike's Peak from the back side in mid-January (crag's). Got there super early and parked as far off the snow covered road to the right side as we could ... at that time, you could drive further than you can now. Wore snowshoes. Everything was totally snow covered ... no trail usage was possible ... cross country was the key. Once we got above treeline, we ditched the snowshoes. We were alone on the summit. Used the gift shop as a windbreak. Hiked back down, found the snowshoes, put them on and proceeded to wallow all the way down our tracks to the road (sinking up to our crotches and crawling around a lot of the time). Got to the truck just before dark only to find that some snowmobilers (whose snow machine tracks has easily made it past our truck) had decided to get off their machines, get onto the hood of the truck and smash in our windshield. It was a dicey drive back to Denver.
As if none of us have ever come back with a cool, quasi-epic story instead of being victim to tragic rockfall, a fatal stumble, a heart attack, an embolism, a lightning strike, a bear attack, collapsing cornice, some psycho with an axe, a falling tree, carbon monoxide, even falling asleep at the wheel getting to a mountain. If you can't accept the fact that sometimes "s**t happens", then you live with the illusion that your epic genius and profound wilderness intelligence has put you in total and complete control of yourself, your partners, and the mountain. How mystified you'll be when "s**t happens" to you! - FM