“Everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you are climbing it”
Sitting at a bar in Ohio: Hey guys, did you see the awesome shots we took on our fourteener last weekend??
Sea level peeps: Fourteener? What the hell is a fourteener?
Haha, well a fourtneer is a 14,000 foot mountain and us crazy mountain folks get sick enjoyment out of climbing each and every one! There are 54 in Colorado to be exact. What, there’s little oxygen up there? Why the hell would you want to do that? That looks super hard! Man, you Colorado people are nuts! Yes, yes we are……
But seriously, a lot of people in Colorado strive to climb them all. Hikers are finding new ways to beat records, try to hike multiple in one day, mountain bike to the trail and then summit, or even ride a unicycle down with their significant other. No joke, I am not making this up. Unicycles people. Just when you thought you were being a badass, there is someone else in Colorado knocking you down a few pegs. Colorado is a very competitive state but in my opinion, if you’re out there doing it then you rock in my book! So let’s hike a fourteener…
Mt. Bierstadt is one of the easier fourteeners. It’s still difficult, mentally and physically challenging, steep, tedious, and endurance defeating. But hey, if we don’t push ourselves then how else can we feel alive!? I prefer to camp the night before. Usually at the trailhead or in a disbursed camp site near by. I love doing sunrise summits. It eliminates the crowds and nothing is more satisfying then reaching the top of a mountain to watch the sun hit your face in all your glory. The feeling is indescribable. Preparing for your trek up the mountain side is very important. Here is how I prepare for my day hike to the top of the world:
-Check the weather the night before.
-Eat a high carb meal the night before.
-Get plenty of rest.
-Map out your route (I screenshot my route on my phone that way I always know where to go) this is important! Google it, there are tons of sites with routes, mileage, and average hike time.
-Pack plenty of high carb and protein enriched snacks. (Here, we will help you out. Check out some recipes below) hehe.
Bars, gels, energy blocks, trail mix. I like to bring a celebratory beer or two too!
-TONS of water. TONS!
-Pack every season of clothing. You never know the conditions. Raincoat, warm layers, light layers, gloves, beanies, extra socks, warm jacket, broken in hiking boots.
-Don’t forget your sunglasses, bug spray, and sun block.
-Have a first aid kit with the bare essentials. Bandaids, ibuprofen, first aid ointment, etc..
-I bring bear spray and a knife. Better safe than sorry.
-Hiking poles if you prefer.
-Your ass kicking pants because it’s gonna be a damn good day!
Now do your homework. Read about your hike, look into the weather, and get a feel for what you’re about to tackle. My other suggestion, grab a friend. You never know what could happen when you’re alone on a mountain. Especially if you are not an experienced hiker! Altitude sickness is huge out here. It’s something to take very seriously. I’ve seen it happen and you don’t want to be alone if it hits you. This is also something you research the night before. Look for the signs and if for any reason you feel dizzy, light headed, confused, or have a pounding headache… turn around! There will be more chances to hike this. Same goes for weather. I start before the sun comes up. Getting to the summit well before noon eliminates your chances of afternoon storms. If you see storm clouds forming, hear thunder, or just have a bad feeling about how the clouds look….turn around! This is life threatening! The weather can make or break you. It sucks to have to turn around but this is your life we are talking about. Just do it.
I like to take two ibuprofen before I start. I usually get a headache from the lack of oxygen and this has always helped me. Some people swear by aspirin as well. Do what works for you. Double check your pack and be on your way! Slow and steady wins the race. You will feel defeated, you will hurt, you will barely climb five feet and feel like you can’t get enough air. Just keep pushing on. The breathtaking views at the top will soon make you forget all about your pain. Breathe it all in and be proud of yourself. Crack that beer and celebrate!!!!
ELEVATE YOUR HAPPINESS!!!