High in Colorado

High in Colorado
Photo: Mandy Lea Photo

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Summer 2013 Colorado 14er Project—Summit Shots

This summer I set out with the lofty goal of summiting all of the points in Colorado over 14,000 feet. Including unranked 14ers, the total number of points is 75. I knew the likelihood of reaching this goal was relatively low, especially when you consider that I wasn’t just devoting my entire summer to this goal. I was also racing, crewing/pacing friends, and even traveled back to Missouri to visit family a time or two. Tapering and recovering from races was definitely the biggest consumer of time this summer. Throw in a couple ankle injuries and lower back problems and over one full month of the summer was spent recovering in some way, shape, or form. 

Due to heavy late-season snows I wasn’t able to summit my first 14er, Mount Elbert, until May 27th—it was still generously covered in snow. Over the course of the next ~4 months I would go on to reach 14,000+ feet a total of 85 times, including repeated summits and unranked 14ers. Here’s a log of every summit I hit this summer: Colorado 14er Summits.  

In October I took another go at Northeast Crestone, my only remaining peak in the Crestone Group. Snowy/icy conditions and my total lack of preparation led to me taking a ~50 foot-long slip & slide down the mountain. This opened my eyes to the fact that I have zero experience and knowledge when it comes to being up high in winter conditions. I decided to let NE Crestone go for this year. 

When I moved on to the Blanca Group to hopefully finish up the remaining 4 of 58 ranked 14ers I was treated to lower back woes. These pains lasted for about three weeks or so. I sat at the base of Little Bear and watched five picture-perfect days pass by as I was barely able to move. Eventually, the snow rolled in and I rolled out. I left the following 14ers hanging, waiting for next year:

·        -Total (7 of 75 Remaining)
·        -Ranked Summits (4 of 58 Remaining)
o   Blanca Peak
o   Little Bear Peak
o   Ellingwood Point
o   Culebra Peak
·       -Unranked Summits (3 of 17 Remaining)
o   Northeast Crestone (sub-peak of Crestone Peak)
o   Huerfano County HP (sub-peak of Blanca)
o   South Little Bear (sub-peak of Little Bear)

I figured if I couldn’t get Little Bear then there was no point in going for the rest…

Am I disappointed that I didn’t reach all 75 summits? Actually, not really. I had one hell-of-a summer exploring parts of Colorado that I’ve never seen (and didn’t even know existed). I managed to hit 68 different 14,000+ feet summits in less than four months—I’m pretty happy with that. Hitting all of the summits was a goal of mine, but not the main goal. The main goal was to see some amazing sights and have a blast. Only three times did I push on to a summit in shitty weather/visibility: once pacing Ben during his Nolan's 14 attempt, once on my first summit of Shavano, and again on Mount Lindsey. To me, there was no purpose in pushing to a new summit in limited visibility just for the sake of knocking another one off the list. I don't do these things for the sake of just marking them off a list like quite a few of the hikers I encountered this summer seem to do.

In the end, bailing on the last seven summits comes down to recognizing my own limitations and not being an idiot about trying to prove something. I best enjoy standing atop a mountain in shorts and shirtless; not in full winter/wind gear and shivering from the frigid cold. The mountains will still be there next year and they won’t have any goddamned snow on them!

So, I’ll leave you with a photo from the summit of every 14er I ascended this summer—85 in all…

5/27--Mount Elbert (14,433)--9 Miles--2:53--4,300'

5/30--Pikes Peak (14,110')--22 Miles--5:31--7,800'

6/10--Grays Peak (14,270')--8 Miles--2:41--3,200'

6/12--Mount Elbert (14,433')--9 Miles--2:34--4,300'

6/13--Mount Belford (14,197')--10 Miles--4:16--7,350'

6/13--Mount Oxford (14,153')--Grouped with Belford above

6/13--Mount Belford (14,197')--Grouped with Belford above

6/14--Huron Peak (14,003')--8 Miles--2:20--3,400'

6/15--Torreys Peak (14,267')--10 Miles--2:49--3,800'

6/15--Grays Peak (14,270')--Grouped with Torreys above

6/15--Mount Sherman (14,036')--3 Miles--1:17--2,000'

6/16--Mount Democrat (14,148')--7 Miles--2:29--3,500'

6/16--*Mount Cameron* (14,238')--Grouped with Mount Democrat above

6/16--Mount Lincoln (14,286')--Grouped with Mount Democrat above

6/16--Mount Bross (14,172')--Grouped with Mount Democrat above

6/19--Wetterhorn Peak (14,015')--8 Miles--2:47--4,300'

6/20--Uncompahgre Peak (14,309')--13 Miles--4:16--4,750'
7/15--Mount Shavano (14,229')--9 Miles--3:37--4,400'

7/16--Mount Yale (14,196')--9 Miles--2:49--4,300'

7/17--Mount Harvard (14,420')--14 Miles--5:45--5,800'

7/17--Mount Columbia (14,073')--Grouped with Mount Harvard above

7/18--Quandary Peak (14,265')--7 Miles--3:20--3,300'
7/26--Mount Antero (14,269')--8 Miles--3:37--3,400'
7/27--Missouri Mountain (14,067')--10 Miles--3:24--4,450'

7/29--Mount Elbert (14,433')--14 Miles--5:00--5,900'

7/29--"South Elbert" (14,134')--Grouped with Mount Elbert above

7/30--Mount Princeton (14,197')--13 Miles--3:47--5,300'

7/31--La Plata Peak (14,336')--9 Miles--4:01--4,700'

7/31--"East La Plata" (14,180')--Grouped with La Plata Peak above

8/1--Torreys Peak (14,267')--7 Miles--2:54--3,550'

8/1--Grays Peak (14,270')--Grouped with Torreys Peak above

8/3--Longs Peak (14,255')--11 Miles--7:36--5,600'

8/3--"Southeast Longs" (14,060')--Grouped with Longs Peak above

8/4--Mount Bierstadt (14,060')--10 Miles--4:19--4,000'

8/4--"West Evans" (14,256')--Grouped with Mount Bierstadt above

8/4--Mount Evans (14,264')--Grouped with Mount Bierstadt above

8/6--"South Bross" (14,020')--7 Miles--2:27--3,750'

8/6--Mount Bross (14,172')--Grouped with "South Bross" above

8/6--Mount Lincoln (14,286')--Grouped with "South Bross" above

8/6--*Mount Cameron* (14,238')--Grouped with "South Bross" above

8/6--Mount Democrat (14,148')--Grouped with "South Bross" above

8/8--Redcloud Peak (14,034')--10 Miles--3:20--4,200'
8/8--Sunshine Peak (14,001')--Grouped with Recloud Peak above

8/9--Mount Sneffels (14,150')--4 Miles--2:02--2,400'

8/14--*El Diente Peak* (14,159')--13 Miles--7:58--5,700'

8/14--"West Wilson" (14,100')--Grouped with *El Diente Peak* above

8/14--Mount Wilson (14,246')--Grouped with *El Diente Peak* above

8/14--"South Wilson" (14,110')--Grouped with *El Diente Peak* above

8/15--Wilson Peak (14,017')--9 Miles--4:04--3,700'

8/16--Handies Peak (14,048')--9 Miles--2:38--4,600'

8/18--*North Eolus* (14,039')--40 Miles--14:45--11,200'

8/18--Mount Eolus (14,084')--Grouped with *North Eolus*above

8/18--Sunlight Peak (14,059')--Grouped with *North Eolus*above

8/18--Windom Peak (14,087')--Grouped with *North Eolus*above

8/21--San Luis Peak (14,014')--11 Miles--2:39--3,400'

8/22--Mount Shavano (14,229')--10 Miles--3:44--5,400'

8/22--Tabeguache Peak (14,155')--Grouped with Mount Shavano above

8/22--Mount Shavano (14,229')--Grouped with Mount Shavano above

8/23--"South Massive" (14,132')--16 Miles--4:51--5,850'

8/23--Mount Massive (14,421')--Grouped with "South Massive" above

8/23--"Massive Green" (14,300')--Grouped with "South Massive" above

8/23--"North Massive" (14,340')--Grouped with "South Massive" above

8/23--"Hunter-Fryingpan Wilderness HP" (14,169')--Grouped with "South Massive" above
8/24--Mount of the Holy Cross (14,005')--11 Miles--3:15--5,600'

8/26--Missouri Mountain (14,067')--14 Miles--10:42--9,000'

8/26--Missouri Mountain (14,067')--Grouped with Missouri Mountain above

8/26--Mount Belford (14,197')--Grouped with Missouri Mountain above

8/26--Mount Oxford (14,153')--Grouped with Missouri Mountain above

8/28--Castle Peak (14,265')--13 Miles--4:33--4,700'

8/28--*Conundrum Peak* (14,060')--Grouped with Castle Peak above

8/29--Pyramid Peak (14,018')--9 Miles--4:42--4,400'

9/3--Snowmass Mountain (14,092')--9 Miles--5:54--4,750'

9/3--"North Snowmass" (14,020')--Grouped with Snowmass Mountain above

9/5--Capitol Peak (14,130')--17 Miles--6:35--5,300'

9/6--Maroon Peak (14,156')--12 Miles--6:52--5,550'

9/7--*North Maroon Peak* (14,014')--9 Miles--5:05--4,500'

9/18--Humboldt Peak (14,064')--4 Miles--2:43--3,200'

9/20--Kit Carson Peak (14,165')--8 Miles--7:13--5,400'

9/20--Challenger Point (14,081')--Grouped with Kit Carson Peak above

9/21--Crestone Needle (14,197')--7 Miles--7:21--6,250'

9/21--Crestone Peak (14,294')--Grouped with Crestone Needle above

9/21--"East Crestone" (14,260')--Grouped with Crestone Needle above

9/22--Mount Lindsey (14,042')--8 Miles--5:00--4,750'

9/22--"Northwest Lindsey" (14,020')--Grouped with Mount Lindsey above
9/25--Mount Evans (14,264')--5 Miles--1:50--1,700'

Can't wait for next summer to roll around!