A Winter's Climb of Mount Chapin


Mount Chapin rises 12,464 feet and is the lowest peak in the Mummy Range, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado.Photo by Richard F. Fleck


In the summer Mount Chapin

isn’t much of a climb being

only over twelve thousand feet,

but in the winter, it’s quite another

matter with winds so fierce

that tree-line pines are given

a screeching voice as though

they’re gasping for breath just

like humans when trying to swing

ice axes into hard-crusted snow

as whipping winds forever blow,

all the while being watched by a flock

of bighorn sheep that stand calmly

without budging so much as an inch

in such hostile and violent weather.

After creeping ever upward, inhaling

deep, we stagger at last onto the summit,

and turn our backs to the wind in

order to breathe and simply dream

of soft snowflakes in the lower woods.