Thursday, August 1, 2013

A Climb to the Heavens

 I will confess that one of my current fears in life is heights.  I was not always fearful and as a child you would most likely find me climbing up the tallest trees with ease and without trepidation.  When I used to race motocross I would be the one jumping the biggest jumps and entering jumping contests.  Heck, I once won this long jump contest in West Palm Beach, Florida against a young Tim Ferry.

That was many, many years ago. Now I seem to get dizzy and experience Vertigo when I try to balance on obstacles (there really is a reason I do not ride the Skinny's out on the trail) or when I get more than a few feet off the ground.  Roller coasters are also off my list of fun things to ride.   I personally think it has to do with my inner ear and some old head injuries (I have had more than a couple of skull fractures in my day...). 

I bring his up because while out in Colorado I had an opportunity to climb a 14er with Ben Reeves and Christopher.  While at the time I would have much rather gone riding I decided to attempt climbing Bierstadt Mountain.  Ben said it was one of the easier 14ers and I knew I would most likely not ever climb one by myself.  Climbing a 14er has been on my "Bucket List" for years and it was time to put a check mark next to it.
 The view from the trailhead on the route up to Guanella Pass. I know it does not look that high, but trust me it is. The first mile is kind of easy and very enjoyable.  Soon the green trees and grass that surrounded us would turn to dirt and rocks.
 Youth and experience lead the way.  Ben and Christopher set the pace.  When we arrived at the trailhead the parking lot was full.  By the time we reached 1/2 way up I could swear we passed everyone.
 Ben is training for the Leadville 100 mile trail run so he is in superb shape right now.  He spent the majority of the morning waiting for my fat ass to make it up the climb.  Next time I am going to make him carry my water and food. This way it will slow him down some.
 "It is an easy hike, you do not need any special equipment or clothing" - this what Ben told me the night before we departed for the climb.  I get near the summit and all I find is a bunch of huge boulders and jagged rocks that looked impassable.  Plus it is very cold and I was just wearing shorts as I was told to do.  Luckily we did bring our cycling jackets and were able to keep from freezing to death. At this point of the climb I would have gladly called it a day and turned around.  But seeing Ben and Christopher making the climb over those boulders gave me some motivation. 
 Christopher on top.  14,060 feet.  He enjoyed the day much more than I.  I was glad I was there doing the climb with him, but I did have a rough time.
 After about 30 minutes of slowly climbing up the final 1/4 mile I was able to join Christopher on top.  The views are magnificent and just Heavenly.
 On a clear day you can see Kansas from the top of Bierstadt.  There was some haze today so views were not that far away.  Still awesome to be on top of the mountain.
I am very glad I did not turn back early and continued on my climb to the heavens.  A 14er is now off my list. I may do another one when Carolynn is ready to attempt one. 

1 comment:

HellBilly said...

Great story Brother!!!! Only thing, you won the jump contest at ft. Lauderdale Yankee stadium, and you jumped so far you almost ran into the fence :)