Wednesday, August 10, 2011
Living in Colorado and having an active lifestyle I have heard often stories of climbing one of the many 14,000 peaks in Colorado. I would listen intently as the story teller would talk about some to the challenges with the weather, elevation, respect of the mountain and so on. I would come away interested and eager to join those that have successfully made the assent to the top of a 14er.
Earlier this spring our Scout Pack leader Brent asked if I were game to take some of the Webelos on a Scout high adventure climb of Mt. Lincoln. I thought of Jackson joining me on my first climb and was very quick to reply with an eager "yes".
This summer we had a few practice hikes to try gear, make sure we were at the right fitness level. The last few months have been busy and the planned weekend came much quicker than expected. A few weekends ago we had our pack high adventure where Josh, Anne and Lexi were invited to join us for the trip. Josh on the hike was amazing and Brent was quick to say "he could join us and with some help would be able to make it to the top". I was excited at the thought of taking both of my boys on this journey and when I talked to them about it they were as well.
We had a quick dinner in Frisco on our drive to base camp. We were sleeping at 11,680ft and I could feel some of the elevation as we started to put our tent up. The night was cool, and getting comfortable was impossible so the night dragged on. Finally around 2am I was able to fall into a deeper sleep and the light of the morning came way too quickly.
We were up and at them and by 7:15 the group of over 20 started the climb. Josh was the youngest at 8 and was jumping off rocks and having a good time never taking a straight line on the trail. We passed 12,000ft and passed tree line pretty quickly.
We took breaks and kept taking on and off layers of clothes to keep ourselves at the right temperature. I ended up taking over 200oz of water and Gatorade and plenty of goodies to get us to the top. 13,000ft was next milestone and we had a pretty steep climb to get to that point. The group had been split up with a few fathers and one scout turning around and headed back to base camp due to sickness. All three of us were having some high moments and some low moments but we kept climbing. We were over 2 miles into the climb and over two hours climbing to make it to 13,500 feet. We were able to look up at the summit and see the first group make it to the top. The trail became very steep and we had about 600 feet of climbing. Jackson and Josh took one last break and then started to climb blazing their own way to the top because it was all rock and no real path.
Steps were hard to take and breathing was very difficult and so I spent most of my time cheering on the boys to keep moving. I was tired and at times was being encouraged by both Jackson and Josh. The wind had been blowing for the last hour and as we passed over 14,000ft it relaxed a bit. The first group was cheering the boys as we made the last push to the top. What a feeling I had as we were able to stop and look around.
The view from the top was amazing. I have heard people try to explain what it looks like and what it feels like and until you experience it yourself it does not do it justice. We cheered others as they made it to the top. I was able to take some pictures of Jackson and Josh at the top. I have a picture that caught the joy in Jackson face and I love it.
Standing on top of the world you are able to see beyond a normal "see" it's like a "super see" and helps you realize how your view over time can be shortened. I see why others get a climbing high. I can see also why climbing is not for everyone.
We will do this again as team Walton, and hopefully next time we can add the girls.
Love you Anne,