I love the mountains of Colorado, summer or winter, and our family camping trips there hold many wonderful memories. We’ve managed lots of hikes–long and short–but I have never attempted to summit a “Fourteener”–one of the 54 peaks in Colorado that are over 14,000 ft. in altitude. (My highest hike is 13,500 on a summit near Loveland Pass. I was very proud of making it that high, even as I watched my teenagers scramble ahead of me and sit and wait at the summit!) Mark Obmascik tells the story of his quest to climb the fourteeners in one summer in his book Halfway to Heaven: My White-Knuckled and Kunukle-headed Quest for the Rocky Mountain High. Self-described as middle-aged, balding and overweight, Obmascik challenges himself to complete his climbs of the 54 fourteeners, having summited 12 of the mountains when he was younger, fitter, thinner and unmarried. His memoir of his experiences are amusing and memorable. His wife insists he climb with a partner, resulting in the author’s searching online for “man-dates” to accompany him. His variety of climbing partners are wonderful characters and Obmascik conveys the enthusiasm and interest he has in learning about both the people he is with as well as the nature and history surrounding him. Not a technical book about climbing, this is instead a funny and sometimes touching tale of the people who love climbing and mountains. He illustrates the dangers of high-altitude climbing but intersperses these details with hilarious stories about hiking-pole chewing marmots, elk in heat, attacks by mountain goats and with many tidbits of Colorado history. He completes his quest with a hike up Pike’s Peak with his 12 year old son. I found this book thoroughly enjoyable–a great mix of adventure and humor that anyone–especially someone who has been the slowest one on the trail– can relate to!