Joy Martin August 05, 2014 TWEET COMMENTS 15

A Short Life in Short Shorts

A life filled with passion ends on a remote peak in Colorado’s San Juan Mountains

Left to right: Alex Newport-Berra, Erik Skaggs, Nick Martin and Ron Braselton atop Vestal Peak, San Juan Mountains, Colorado. Photo by Joy Martin

Boys running in mountains is one of the greatest sights on earth. Long, strong legs barely covered by short running shorts sweetens the view as summer goes on. Blinding white thighs darken to a sweet mahogany and the shirts come off, revealing chiseled, tan chests and sometimes even six-packs.

In short: H-O-T-T hot.

One bright July morning, monsoon clouds billowed low on the horizon still a few hours away. I leaned against the warm granite of Vestal Peak, 10 miles deep in Colorado’s Weminuche Wilderness waiting for the rest of our group.

Sitting below and above me on their own blocks of rock were Nick Martin and Ron "Braz" Braselton, my two most consistent partners in adventure, travel and beer drinking.

We definitely weren't waiting because we were faster than the rest of the group, which consisted of ultrarunning machine Erik Skaggs and Alex Newport-Berra, the tannest white boy I've ever seen. Both were sporting the shirtless, short shorts fashion … and they looked good.

As the Oregon-natives ran up the sloping face of Vestal toward our perch, the three of us admired their athletic form. Skillful, quick, deft, like mountain goats. Really tan, hairless mountain goats.

The weather was perfect for a summit attempt on Wham Ridge, a San Juan classic featuring easy, 5.3 to 5.6 rock climbing. For the record, it's all a no-fall zone; the exposure is thrilling, but the consequences of a fall would be deadly.



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