A few months back I reached out to my friend Allie that lives in Colorado about a goal that I set for myself. If you missed the post here is a little catch up ---> I created a dream board and I decided to accomplish dream #1 in June of 2014. I'm going to Colorado for a week or so & I'm going to climb a peak!! I tried once when I was about 13 while I was at summer camp but it was mid May and the top of the mountain was still covered in ice. So naturally I made it part of my dream board and I can't wait to accomplish it! I reached out to Allie since she climbs a lot (and totally kicks ass when it comes to skiing) and can give me advice since she has climbed most of her life. I am so glad I did, I really had no idea what to expect and how to go about choosing one. So far I've done a tone of research and I haven't chose one just yet. I haven't really started training either. Come January I should have a more open schedule and spend some weekends hiking though the mountains around my neck of the woods.. Okay so now to the advice!
You are smart to train for it, I think it is paramount to feel like you trust your body to carry you up a mountain but when it comes down to brass-tax the process of climbing a mountain comes down to patience and mental stamina. The physical training is good especially if you are planning on doing something with an aggressive vertical that takes you into altitude. I think cross training and doing interval work is HUGE, that is the best way to get in shape whether its swimming and doing a 2 minute “jog” and 1 minute sprint, or the interval trainer setting on an elliptical, that stuff trains your heart rate to skyrocket then recover fast J
I’ll give you some insight into where this perspective comes from… so you remember how crazy out-doorsy my family was growing up; Mark and Amy LOVED doing big hikes and of course the worst part for Tommy and I was getting up early on a Saturday and standing at the base of a daunting mountain, almost mocking you as you try and grapple with the sprawling, winding path ahead of you. Once I got back from college and started doing them for fun by myself it became an outlet for my inherently competitive spirit. I would keep time, aim to pack different packs of climbers in the distance but would inevitably tire myself out much too early because my perspective was always hundreds of yards in front of me... So one weekend I decided to wake up at 2 am and do a “moonlight” hike up Longs peak with the end goal of watching the sunrise from the summit. I armed myself with water, an iPod and a headlamp for the pitch black ascent…. Erica, I have never climbed such a hard peak so fast in my life. My perspective was completely altered; I had the illuminated 4 feet in front of me silenced by a wilderness of surrounding darkness. The only thing I could gauge was the one step I had beyond the last one I took, I didn’t have a point of reference to challenge myself to reach in a certain amount of time… it was eye opening in the most existential way.
ogistically its best to start as early as possible. I would research the trail, the weather during the week leading up to the day of my planned climb, and get on the trail EARLY. Most 14ners (if that’s what you are planning on doing) take anywhere from 4-12 hours depending on the trail and the peak! The early you are on the trail the more likely you are to avoid the afternoon storms.
It is going to be one of the greatest moments next year when I stand at the top and look around and just take in what I just accomplished. I will keep you all updated on my training and other info about it. Reach out to me and let me know if you have any questions or advice for me!