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An Epic Bachelor Party Fail

It was 4:00 a.m. My head hurt, my body was numb. I felt dumb as hell, but some­how more alive than ever. This was my bach­e­lor par­ty. An epic adven­ture that start­ed with the best of inten­tions and end­ed in a heli­copter ride.

Sounds pret­ty sweet right? Did I for­get to men­tion the stitch­es, the CAT scans, the bro­ken col­lar­bone and bust­ed ankle? Well, my epic fail­ure is your gain. This is a cau­tion­ary tale. And like any­thing else, should be tak­en straight up with a whiskey chas­er.

Being a Col­orado boy, I decid­ed to skip the down­town strip bars, seri­ous black-out poten­tial and next-day embar­rass­ment, and instead head­ed to the hills for my back-to-the-Earth bach­e­lor par­ty.

I enlist­ed two of my best friends, we’ll call them Pico and Paco, to head up to the 14,131-foot sum­mit of Cap­i­tal Peak. It’s near a lit­tle place “where the beer flows like wine,” a lit­tle place we like to call Aspen, and I fig­ured if we got an ear­ly alpine start, we could be back in time for after­noon swills at The Jerome.

groom and groomsmen in blue suits

And it all start­ed great. I was feel­ing real­ly… real­ly… ridicu­lous­ly good about myself. I was set to mar­ry a beau­ti­ful (though ever-so-slight­ly deranged) Mex­i­can-Argen­tinean about a month lat­er. She drove me crazy, but I knew I’d look good for the wed­ding. And knew that if I could just find my own balance–my own inner zen–I could make things work. Climb­ing Cap­i­tal was part of my 12-step pro­gram to find that bal­ance.

*Note to you bach­e­lors from the Man Code Library,“If you start with the idea that if only she can change and if only you can change it’ll all work out, then you’re prob­a­bly head­ed for a bach­e­lor par­ty break­down.”

By 10 a.m., we were above the tree line. A seri­ous con­ver­sa­tion the night before on whether hel­mets and ice-axes would be required was well worth it, as we donned our hel­mets and ascend­ed across a nar­row gap with 3000-foot falls on either side called the Knife’s Edge at about 13,000 feet.

From there it was a hip-hop scram­ble to the top. We took some cel­e­bra­to­ry pic­tures, and I looked down think­ing about my wed­ding, about what she would wear, what I would wear. What we’d say and how our future would look.

I’m no Grate­ful Dead fan, but they had it right when they said, “When life looks like Easy Street there is dan­ger at your door.” I saw the first hint of light­ning in the dis­tance at about 1 p.m. We’d bet­ter hur­ry up if we’re gonna make it in time for sun­set on the porch, beers and maybe a cig­ar.

*Anoth­er note to you Bach­e­lors from the Man Code Vault, “Don’t rush it. Don’t rush any­thing. Don’t rush get­ting your tux on. Don’t rush the par­ty. Don’t rush the wed­ding. Let it come to you.”

groom and groomsmen in black tuxedos

So I picked up the pace. I was in the lead. No prob­lem get­ting past the Knife’s Edge. We were on the K2 sum­mit, the sky was swirling with elec­tric­i­ty as clouds start­ed to build. If only we could get around this talus field and onto the snow­field and back to sol­id ground, we would be safe from light­ning and clos­er still to my blush­ing bride. So I start­ed to descend.

We need­ed to get from the K2 sum­mit (below the actu­al sum­mit) to a safe place on the oth­er side of a mas­sive field of boul­ders. So I start­ed down. Slow­ly… but with pre­ci­sion and 100 per­cent con­cen­tra­tion… Then I heard a crack and a boom. I was hold­ing onto a rock crop­ping that jut­ted out above the scree field. It cut loose, a refrig­er­a­tor-size block of Col­orado gran­ite flew past me.

Get­ting res­cued off the top of a moun­tain: both per­ilous and expen­sive!

Being close to death is part and par­cel of every bach­e­lor par­ty. It’s real­ly about being close to a new life. That’s why we par­ty until our eyes grow weary, and why we push our­selves onto Knife’s Edges. It’s just part of being a man. And as with any near-death experience–or enter­ing the event hori­zon of a black hole–things start­ed to move slow­ly… very slow­ly.

I was free from the boul­der, but I was tum­bling. I thought I could grab hold of some­thing, any­thing, but a boul­der hit my ankle and flipped me like a rag-doll, head-over-heals. I was now som­er­sault­ing down a 45-degree field of boul­ders like a dement­ed Cirque de Soleil per­former.

Keep your head in. Get your bear­ings. Stop. Stop. Stop.

This tru­ly could have hap­pened in the Dia­mond Cabaret in down­town Den­ver, but as with any epic fail, it had to take place at 13,000 feet, with a 3,000 foot drop just 100 yards past where I skid­ded to a stop.

I took my vitals. I could wig­gle my toes. I could move my fin­gers. My back wasn’t not bro­ken. Wed­ding tack­le box…still intact. I can think. I can feel. Paco and Pico thought I was dead. They real­ly did. But I wasn’t… I was more alive than ever. And that’s what makes a bach­e­lor par­ty great.

groom and groomsmen in blue suits

As with any cleanup after a great par­ty, we start­ed putting togeth­er the pieces. They came down to me and checked my vitals. My col­lar­bone was bro­ken, my head was bashed. Worst of all, my ring fin­ger was dis­lo­cat­ed. I had a weird gash on the back of my skull and just above my hip were large sec­tions of flesh that had been torn from my body.

Paco reached for his phone. “Where’s your emer­gency?” the 911 oper­a­tor asked. “Thir­teen thou­sand feet below the K2 Sum­mit on Cap­i­tal Peak.” Help was on its way.

It took anoth­er five hours to pull me off that god­damned moun­tain. First I was put in a lit­ter, then tossed up the scree field four inch­es at a time until we got to K2. A amaz­ing­ly brave and total­ly bad-ass heli­copter pilot who risked his life on a dai­ly basis to save idiots like me had man­aged to locate a safe land­ing zone, but could bare­ly touch the skids down because we were near the heli’s enve­lope. They threw me in. My res­cuer put his arms around me and we ripped off that moun­tain in a nose­dive toward the val­ley below. It was prob­a­bly the scari­est moment of the day… then came the wed­ding.

The writer end­ed up mar­ry­ing that crazy Mex­i­can-Argen­tinean. He wore a ring on his oth­er hand, and even­tu­al­ly not at all as they found their paths diverg­ing. Next time he gets mar­ried, he’s stick­ing with strip­pers and lap-dances. The events in this sto­ry are true. The names have been changed to pro­tect the inno­cent.

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