How to Get High in Colorado

Well, one way at least… Climb a mountain!

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I checked eight 14ers off my list in just two and a half months this last summer/fall.

Bierstadt, Gray’s, Torrey’s, Democrat, Cameron, Lincoln, Bross, Elbert.

What is a 14er, for you non-Coloradoans? It’s a mountain peak with an elevation of at least 14,oooft. That you climb. Slowly. And sometimes, painfully. There are 53 14ers in the state of Colorado alone.

For reference, when you reach cruising altitude in an airplane, you’re at 32,000ft. So when you reach the summit of a 14er, you’re almost halfway as high in the sky as you are in an airplane.

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(Can you tell I like this blue jacket?)

The air is thin and my lungs are burning like hell and I’m probably getting wind burned. But here I am, time and time again with my same group of also self-hating friends, climbing another mountain. No one really enjoys the process of actually climbing the mountain – but it’s the summit that makes it all worth while. And the snack break at the top.

On Labor Day, we summited four different mountains in one day. Equating to only 11.2 miles round trip, but we had to leave Denver at 3a. I was not a happy camper.

I realized on the third summit of that weekend that I was hiking higher in the air than I was when I went skydiving over the continental divide (approx. 13,000ft) – how awesome is that?

One of the most rewarding summits was Mt. Elbert – the tallest summit in the Rocky Mountains and second tallest summit in the contiguous United States.

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Time is so weird on a mountain. It’s kind of sped up, but it’s also kind of like it doesn’t exist.

I never feel like I’m hiking for hours and hours on end to summit. Which is great, because 14ers are all about mindset. If you set out thinking it’s gonna suck, it will.

My brain kind of shuts off and does this weird looping thing. I will sing literally two lines of the same song over and over again in my head, for hours on end, and never realize it.

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If there’s one thing crossfit has taught me, it’s that some pain is okay. Even good for you. That pushing a little further, a little harder, a little longer, won’t kill you. That it actually feels really good (afterwards) to push past what you think you think is your limit.

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Next year, I want to take at least 10 more 14ers off my list.

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