About Renaissance Mountaineering, LLC
Lisa Foster, Writer - Adventurer - Publisher
Renaissance Mountaineering (Book Division) is a publishing company that specializes in books about Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP). RMNP is one of the most popular outdoor recreation areas in the United States. More than 3,000,000 people visit this national park annually to enjoy hiking, camping, backpacking, technical climbing, bird watching and every facet of outdoor recreation. Renaissance Mountaineering's bestselling book, Rocky Mountain National Park: The Complete Hiking Guide, is in its fifth printing and is the most complete and informative book on the subject of hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park. It has been lauded as the as the best resource for any visit to RMNP. It's a must-have for hikers of any ability.
Renaissance Mountaineering (Book Division) is currently working on the publication of three other books to guide visitors to the scenic and recreational delights of RMNP. Look for the newest additions to our collection in bookstores soon!
Renaissance Mountaineering (Photography Division) is a stock photography company with images from multiple national parks, as well as images of hiking, backpacking, sea kayaking, bicycling, rocky climbing, ice climbing, and mountaineering. We also offer landscape images, adventure photos, and more. Contact Lisa for Stock Photo Prices & Information
Lisa Foster of Renaissance Mountaineering has authored hundreds of newspaper and magazine articles on the subject of hiking. She is available as a freelance writer for any outdoor-themed work.
Contact Lisa for More Information
Lisa Foster has been hiking, guiding and exploring the Rocky Mountains for 25 years. She currently guides hikes in the National Forest for Dovetail Mountain Adventures and provides an extensive knowledge of the mountains to her clients, including information on the history, flora, fauna, geology and topography. She brings extensive expertise to any hike. A certified Wilderness First Responder, Lisa provides safety and experience to clients in the outdoor setting. Her outwardly friendly and competent approach to guiding has been praised by her clients as "an extremely rewarding and richly meaningful experience."
Lisa continues to passionately explore and hike in her local alpine environment daily!
Lisa Foster is an avid outdoors person who has made her mark by achieving what no other person in history has done: personally hiking to every named destination within the borders of RMNP. She has also hiked to many unnamed destinations within RMNP as well as all of the unofficially named destinations within the RMNP boundaries. If you glance at a topographical map of RMNP and see a named destination, Lisa Foster has been there. This task was a 15-year labor of love. Foster maintains that RMNP is the most special place on earth, and still spends the majority of her time exploring the park by hiking with her daughter. Foster's highly acclaimed book, Rocky Mountain National Park: The Complete Hiking Guide, published by Renaissance Mountaineering, was born out of the remarkable achievement of physically standing at all points in RMNP.
Foster has been praised as the definitive expert on RMNP, and is asked to perform slide shows and speaking engagements for different organizations multiple times a year. She continues to promote RMNP through her writing and photography.
Lisa Foster is also the first woman to have climbed to the summit of iconic Longs Peak in every month of the year. (see news below) At 14,259 feet, Longs Peak is the highest mountain in RMNP and the highest peak in the Rocky Mountain range of North America in the stretch from Estes Park to Canada. Several taller fourteen-thousand-foot peaks, or "Fourteeners," lie to the south of Longs Peak, including Mount Elbert (14,440 feet), which is both the highest peak in Colorado, and the highest peak in the Rocky Mountains range. Longs Peak is known for its brutal conditions in the winter months and though thousands of hikers and climbers summit the mountain in summer each year, that number drops to merely dozens during the winter.
Foster is an avid hiker, backpacker, technical rock and ice climber and alpinist. She has climbed extensively in other areas of Colorado, and all the western states.
Foster has climbed to the summit of the highpoints of both North and South America, and has hiked, skied, backpacked biked or paddled in every state in the Union.
Foster's love of RMNP began with her first ascent of Longs Peak on July 24, 1987. It was the first mountain she had ever climbed, and the achievement and the view changed her life forever. From that moment on, she knew she would dedicate her life to the exploration and promotion of RMNP. Says Foster of her experience: "My first experience in RMNP is centered around beautiful Longs Peak. It has many different faces.
|The Many Faces of Longs Peak
It has the steep east face that rises above gorgeous Chasm Lake and draws technical climbers from all over the world. It has an impressive west face and a sundrenched south face. The most popular route up the peak is taken by over 3,000 people every year and is called the Keyhole Route. I describe this route in detail in my book. The summit of Longs Peak is a large, flat field of boulders the size of several football fields. This route, this peak, changed my life.
|Keyhole Route to the Summit of Longs Peak
I came to Estes Park as a college student in 1987 to work for the summer. At that time, my experience in the outdoors was vitrually non-existent. I had been on perhaps one hike on a trail, I had never slept in a tent except in my parents backyard, I had never been skiing, never been climbing, nothing. I didn't even own sunglasses. And, as you know, in the high altitude environment, sunglasses are necessary! That July, a couple of my buddies from my summer job as a waitress in Estes Park said, "Hey, let's go climb Longs Peak!" But I knew you couldn't do that. It was too big. It was for that legendary type of person called mountaineers who I had read about in magazines and seen on TV. But my friends seemed to think it was reasonable, so against my better judgment, I went.
One of the people on the trip was Todd Burke, who had more outdoor experience than the other 3 of us combined, although that's not saying much. But at least he had a pack. I made all the classic mistakes that day: I launched into this journey of climbing a 14,000 foot peak in jeans, a cotton t-shirt, with slick basketball shoes on, no rain gear, no sunglasses, no water and no food. I have now climbed Longs Peak more than 50 times, but the first time was by far the most challenging thing I have ever done, and fortunately we were graced with stable weather. Todd Burke saw how ridiculously unprepared I was, and decided to have a little fun with it. The entire way up that peak, he taunted me by saying, "Don't you wish you had an orange?" or "Man, wouldn't a peach be good right now?" Of course, since I had no water, these things sounded delicious. Sheer willpower alone propelled me the 7.4 miles and 4,859 vertical feet of elevation gain to the summit of that colossal peak.
I was so engaged in my own struggle to climb the mountain that I didn't even notice the size of Todd's pack as we hiked. When we got to the summit, unbelievably, Todd pulled a fourteen pound watermelon out of his backpack. There were scores of other hikers on the summit and they were all shocked to see a large melon at that elevation and that far from the trailhead. Todd smiled, handed me a Swiss army knife, and we dug into the melon, laughing with juice dripping down our chins and all over our clothes, but we didn't care. It is, to this day, the best watermelon I have ever had. I'll never know how he carried that monstrosity of a watermelon to such a lofty lunch spot, but luckily for him there wasn't anything but the rind to carry on the way down!
Aside from the watermelon, when I stood up on top of Longs Peak for the first time, looking at the majesty of RMNP, something inside of me changed. I was touched by the beauty of the moment, by the magic of the peaks, and by the phenomenal force of nature. I knew then that I would dedicate my life to exploring the Park, and that someday I would write a guidebook that would help others explore it too."
National Park Service
Lisa Foster worked in Resource Management at RMNP from 2003 to 2007. She was awarded the Certificate of Individual Safety Awareness For Outstanding Performance and Attention to Safety in Air Quality/Hazard Trees in 2003, and For Outstanding Performance and Attention to Safety in the Division of Natural Resources in 2005. Over the years, she worked in Hazard Tree Removal, collected precipitation samples for the National Atmospheric Deposition Program, and worked with Park biologists to capture amphibians and take samples to assess environmental concerns regarding several species.
Foster began volunteering at RMNP in 1994. She was formally recognized and appreciated for her "generous contributions to the Volunteers-In-Parks program and the mission of the National Park Service" by Superintendent A. Durand "Randy" Jones in 1996, and again by Superintendent Vaughn Baker in 2003. She contributed a whopping 1,726 hours of volunteer service in various projects for the National Biological Service, as well as the Division of Resource Management and the Visitor Management and Resource Protection Division. Said Jane Lopez, RMNP's former Volunteer Coordinator, "Ms. Foster has been a valued and essential part of Rocky Mountain's VIP program. Most of the projects Lisa Foster has participated in have included rigorous backcountry work."
Foster also served as a Seminar Instructor for the Rocky Mountain Nature Association's Field Seminar program in 1996. She guided visitors on hikes in RMNP. Said Katy Anne Drechsel, former manager of the Field Seminar program, "Lisa Foster did an outstanding job instructing Rocky Mountain Field Seminars this summer. The course evaluations were very complimentary! Great job!"
Longs Peak hiker Lisa Foster shares tips for all seasons
By Claire Martin
The Denver Post
POSTED: 10/02/2012 12:01:00 AM MDT
Lisa Foster, a Rocky Mountain National Park field technician, has scaled Longs Peak using 15 different routes. Last year she even climbed it every month. Here she's in Estes Park with the pack she takes on her climbs.(Kathryn Scott Osler The Denver Post)
ESTES PARK — Many hikers put away their boots when the aspen shiver bare-branched and the snowfall starts shifting from a dusting to something measurable.
Not Lisa Foster.
Tall, with a chiseled face and a lean, angular body, Foster lives by her version of the Swedish axiom, "There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing."
She has climbed Longs Peak 49 times, by 15 different routes, including two technical routes up the face of the Diamond. Last winter, when she stood on Longs' summit on Dec. 8, she set a new standard by becoming the first woman to reach its summit in every month of the year.
Not that she's recommending monthly ascents of 14,000-foot mountains for everyone.
"There are so many trails you can do that are more fun in the park," she says, meaning Rocky Mountain National Park, which has been her workplace and second home for more than 20 years.
Foster, a National Park Service biological field technician, has hiked and climbed to every named destination in the park — every mapped mountain peak, park, pass, lake, meadow and ridge.
Her 2005 book, "Rocky Mountain National Park: The Complete Hiking Guide," describes each of those destinations, with detailed information about each trail, its history and geology. She takes pride in having personally hiked and climbed every inch of the routes described in the book, a feat that can't be claimed by all guidebook authors.
Foster pushes herself beyond limits that she doesn't recommend to her readers.
While she researched the hiking guide, she came down with pneumonia and viral bronchitis, an excellent reason to take a break in August and September, especially given the unusual weather that featured more rain than sun. But she pressed on, eager to complete all the destinations on the west side of the park before Trail Ridge Road closed for the season.
That determination, and her singular passion for Longs Peak, were what prompted Foster to set the goal of summiting the 14,259-foot mountain in every month of the year.
Her first ascent of Longs was on July 24, 1987.
"I was lucky," she said, "because I had no idea what I was doing. I had good weather, and I just fell in love with the mountain."
But falling in love with the mountain means maintaining respect for its power, she added. Longs Peak is famous for its changeable weather. Bringing the right clothing and gear can mean the difference between a successful climb and an accident, and that goes for lower trails as well.
"This time of year, you might have summer conditions or winter conditions out there," Foster said one cool day in late September.
"Yesterday, it was really sunny. Yesterday, Longs was not a technical climb. But last night, it snowed a lot up there. As of today, it is a technical climb," she said. "Today would not be a day for someone who isn't an experienced climber to try to climb Longs."
In fact, winter ascents can be daunting even for seasoned climbers. In addition to Foster's 49 successful ascents of Longs Peak, 23 attempts forced her to turn back, usually because of weather problems. Her successful summit last December involved what she calls "difficult conditions."
"Low temperatures to about 10 degrees Fahrenheit, erratic winds gusting to 60 miles per hour, snowfall, decreased visibility from running ground blizzard conditions, loose three-foot-deep snowpack and climbing on poorly bonded ice," she said. It took 16 hours, round-trip, for Foster and her climbing partners to complete the trip.
"The steepest part of the route, nearly vertical, required ice axes, crampons, ropes and other technical-climbing gear. It was a brutal weather day. It was so windy, we couldn't see without our goggles, and they kept fogging up.
"On the rappel, we were in the dark, battling stinging snow and ice blasting in our faces. I have no idea what the high temp was, but it couldn't have been much higher than the low. I wore all the clothing I own for cold-weather ascents. My two partners got mild frostbite on their feet, and one of them had numb hands for weeks afterward. I got frostnip on my toes. It wascold."
After that, many people might cross Longs Peak permanently off their to-do list. Not Foster.
"Nope," she said. "I love it. I just like to admire the mountain. It's a very regal peak. It has so many personalities — different routes, different seasons, different times in my life. It's a mountain of contrasts, and a mountain of beauty."
Claire Martin: 303-954-1477, firstname.lastname@example.org or twitter.com/byclairemartin
Hiking for all seasons
Before you go: Check the weather forecast and bring appropriate clothing and gear. If your route takes you high, call the area park ranger or U.S. Forest Service office for specific information.
What to carry on Longs Peak
On a recent cool day in September, Lisa Foster had the following in her day pack for a trip up Longs Peak:
A headlight (a pre-dawn start is essential)
First aid kit
Light polypropylene gloves
Heavy polypropylene gloves
Lisa Foster believes in packing well, rather than light, to be prepared for any conditions. (Kathryn Scott Osler, The Denver Post)
Read more:Longs Peak hiker Lisa Foster shares tips for all seasons - The Denver Posthttp://www.denverpost.com/outwest/ci_21674596/longs-peak-hiker-shares-tips-all-seasons#ixzz28C96ge58
Lisa Foster sets new Longs Peak record
Jilly Salva - Denver Mountaineering Examiner
On December 8, 2011, Lisa Foster became the first woman to summit Longs Peak in every month of the year. Her recent ascent was via the North Face route, which is rated 5.4, AI2. While not officially winter yet, few reach the 14,255 foot summit this time of year.
Longs Peak is known for brutal winds, low visibility and frigid temperatures. According to the summit register, Foster’s climbing party was the first group to reach the top since October.
Foster wrote the following on her Facebook page:
“With this December ascent, I have now been lucky enough to climb Longs in every month of the year! Jim Detterline, the expert on Longs Peak, is confident that I am the first woman to do this. Since there's no real way to know that, I am skeptical, but it was cool none-the-less.”
Note: Mountaineers rely on a code of honor regarding their successful summits. Cameras and summit registers help provide proof of an ascent, however, there are times when these tools are absent, leaving a mountaineer with their word as the only proof of an ascent.
Lisa Foster is the guidebook author of Rocky Mountain National Park: The Complete Hiking Guide.
Have fun and be safe out there!
Click to Watch Lisa on Colorado & Co.