As black as the skies appeared, perhaps it wasn’t such a wise move to attempt 14,060-foot Mt. Bierstadt so late in the morning. Afternoon thunderstorms are fairly predictable this time of year in Colorado, but today’s storm was developing significantly ahead of schedule. I reassured myself that it was a straightforward climb and that, being so close to Denver, I would have plenty of company along the way. So with a marmot-chewed hiking pole in the grip of one hand and a stout spruce branch held in the other, I launched myself up the mountain, hoping I could reach the summit before conditions grew too dangerous to continue.