Sharon Sullivanssullivan@gjfreepress.com

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August 16, 2012
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Colorado native first to camp atop 14ers

It's one thing to hike or climb to the top of a Colorado 14er. It's another feat altogether to spend the night on a 14,000-plus mountain top during the monsoon season.Last year, Colorado native Jon Kedrowski hiked and slept on the peak of each one of Colorado's 58 14ers."It's never been done before. It was a challenge, and striking to get those (sunset and sunrise) photos," Kedrowski, a mountain geographer, said. He said he slept through the nights after he adjusted to the 66-percent oxygen content. The photos are included in his new book, titled "Sleeping on the Summits: Colorado Fourteener High Bivys," from Westcliffe Publishers. Kedrowski will talk about his experience and sign copies of the book Saturday, Aug. 25, at Grand Valley Books."It was a project I used as a training tool to get ready for (Mount) Everest," a trek Kedrowski completed in May.To prepare for Everest, a trip fraught with tragedy as well as accomplishment, Kedrowski set out to spend the night on each of Colorado's 14ers all within 90 days, from June 23 to Sept. 28, 2011. Sometimes Kedrowski went peak-to-peak over the course of five, six or seven nights.Kedrowski, 33, grew up in the Vail area, and first hiked Colorado's 14ers in 1999. In 2005, Kedrowski hiked all 58 mountains within 42 days. He began sleeping on mountain tops in the early 2000s, finding that it helped him to acclimate for high climbing expeditions planned in other parts of the world.During the summer's monsoon season, most hikers aim to be off the summit by noon to avoid afternoon lightning strikes. Kedrowski's goal, however, was to reach the summit by sunset and not leave until after sunrise.Co-author and hiking partner Chris Tomer is a meteorologist who helped Kedrowski determine whether he could safely sit on a mountain top and watch a storm."He'd give me weather updates," Kedrowski said. "His help with weather forecasting helped me make decisions whether I could stay or not."Tomer accompanied his friend on about a dozen of the summits. When he was not hiking with Kedrowski he'd text messages to him alerting Kedrowski about the weather. Tomer would pull up real time images on radar, and with his knowledge of the geography, could "pinpoint where the storms were," Kedrowski said. "He could tell me how fast they were coming, and if they were coming at me. "It's a story about team work, and having great friends in life who you can really trust." The book includes geological and climate information, as well as the saved text messages between the two men."Sleeping on the Summits" is also somewhat of a "how-to guide," with information regarding how to pack light and what type of equipment a person should bring.Both Tomer and Kedrowski shot photographs and wrote copy for the book. Renowned Colorado photographer John Fielder wrote the book's forward.At the Grand Junction book-signing, Kedrowski plans to read an excerpt, show news clips from the project and a slide show. He'll tell stories including "crazy moments" about a bear attack, near lightning strikes and waking up to a blizzard on Mount Harvard.


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The Post Independent Updated Aug 16, 2012 05:22PM Published Aug 16, 2012 03:47PM Copyright 2012 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.