actually made this decision a few weeks ago but I’ve been so busy I haven’t had
time to write it out.
never had the goal of hiking The List. I know a few people who’ve done all 54, and a
few others who are currently attempting them, but I’ve never felt the pull. Until
increased parking fee I incurred last month at Barr Trail did it: I came to the realization I could either
spend $20 to hike Pikes Peak over and over again, or I could spend that $20 on
gas and add to my knowledge of 14ers.
I did some research. OK, quite a bit of
research. I pulled up an interactive map
of all 54 14ers in Colorado (yes, I know that number’s debatable) and seriously
looked into their complexity ratings. I
put together a spreadsheet, detailing elevations, round trip route lengths,
technical difficulty and drive distance from my house.
75% of 14ers in Colorado are listed as “easy” or “moderate”, and all are within
a 6 hour drive. Most are under 10 miles
round trip, and attainable in a day, even with the drive. There are a few that
require technical training, and a couple of weekend backpacking trips are
necessary to accomplish some in the southwestern part of the state due to their
remoteness. But they’re actually quite
doable, and I’m in pretty good shape, so I don’t need to prep to get started. There
are a few where I could actually bag 2, 3, or 4 in a single day!
the beginning I was thinking I’d just do a couple this summer, but the more I
researched the more excited I got about actually making a goal out of The List.
bought the book 14er Disasters. I love these types of books because I can
learn from others mistakes. Hiking a
14er is no joke. There are many
obstacles to hiking at such an elevation, not to mention the distance you are
from help/rescue if something were to go seriously wrong. Which it does, even to the most prepared of
first few pages of 14er Disasters mentioned
The List was first completed in 1923.
Hmmmm. 2023 is just a few years
away. I did the math, and I could
realistically conquer all 14ers by the 100th Anniversary of the
first duo to complete them. I love
goals, and this actually sounds exciting.
I registered on 14ers.com and made a profile.
My accomplishments so far are actually quite respectable: I have
backpacking experience. I’ve summited all
the highest mountains in Southern California, as well as summiting Pikes Peak
12 times. Yes, I’ve only done one 14er, but I’ve hiked it 12 times. I think that gives me pretty good experience
with what a 14er has to offer in the way of weather, exposure, and the physical
toll the altitude takes on your body, not to mention the exhaustion from the hike
that’s my new goal. I’m currently
working out my summer hiking schedule, but I figure I’ll start with a few “easy”
ones just to get them out of the way and work my way up from there.
I don’t plan on hiking alone. I will if
need be, but as soon as I get a schedule together I’m going to make the dates
available to all my Girl Scouts. I know
a bunch of them will be excited at the opportunity to hike multiple 14ers this
summer, in addition to Pikes Peak. Starting with “easy” ones will help me gauge
who’s serious enough to conquer some of the more difficult routes.
down, 53 more to go!