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5:53 AM Mon, Dec. 10th

Golden Valley man reaches new high point on his 60th birthday

Rocky Mountain high: Golden Valley’s Chris Hayden (left) stands atop Mt. Sneffles in Colorado on Aug. 19. Pictured with him is Perry Reed of Montrose, Colo., a friend who made the 14,264-foot climb with him.

Rocky Mountain high: Golden Valley’s Chris Hayden (left) stands atop Mt. Sneffles in Colorado on Aug. 19. Pictured with him is Perry Reed of Montrose, Colo., a friend who made the 14,264-foot climb with him.

GOLDEN VALLEY - Chris Hayden has found enjoyment for 26 years in climbing mountains.

One might think he would relax on his 60th birthday. Not so.

Hayden, who was featured in a GVG story Aug. 9 regarding his walk/run across America, spent six hours climbing Mt. Sneffles in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado on Aug. 19. He made the climb with 46-year-old Perry Reed of Montrose, Colo., a friend with whom he had climbed Mt. Sneffles six times in the past.

Three other men, acquaintances of Reed, joined them. One of the other climbers was celebrating his 59th birthday that day, Hayden said.

"This climb is challenging, but not difficult," Hayden said. "There are grades over 45 degrees and some of the climb is over loose rock, but the view from the top is awesome."

It took the two men four hours to make the ascent and two hours to climb down.

The elevation of Mt. Sneffles is 14,264 feet.

"It was a little harder to breath this time because of the altitude," Hayden said.

"We encountered a few rain showers and then the sun would come out. People there say if you don't like the weather, wait 10 minutes.

"As we got to the top, there was some pea-sized hail coming down and a few snow flurries. It then cleared up and was sunny again."

On the descent, the climbers encountered a "pretty good" rain as they neared the bottom of the mountain.

So, what's next?

"I want to climb Mt. Elbert next year," Hayden said. "It's the tallest mountain in Colorado at 14,446 feet and third-tallest in North America. It sets on the Continental Divide southwest of Leadville. I've climbed it twice in the past."