Tuesday, September 6, 2011

My first 14er!

I don't know how I've managed to live my whole life in Colorado and never climbed a 14er! It's been on my to-do list for a while, and it was about time that it got done! I wanted to do Grays and Torreys because they are one of the easier 14ers to start with.

My hiking partner likes to climb Long's Peak and so he thought we should get up there and start hiking by 4 am. Let me just say that Long's Peak is a much harder and longer climb than Grays and Torreys. But it is also smart to get off the summit as early as possible, like noon, because of the afternoon thunder storms. Then, I looked up how long it was going to take to get there, and thought it was going to take an hour longer than it actually did. So, I left my house at 12:15 am, and we left Denver a little after 1 am. The drive up only took about an hour and a half, so we ended up getting to the mountain a little before 3 am. Now, it would have been smart to try and sleep for an hour or so before we started climbing, since neither of us had gotten a lot of sleep the night before, but we didn't. We also had to park about a mile and a half down from the trail head because the road had a huge hole in it that we couldn't get past without 4wd. That is why I want an SUV! The beginning of the hike was weird for me, since I've never been night hiking before. I didn't like how I couldn't see the scenery around me! Luckily, I got to see it on the way down. The first part of the hike actually went by really fast. Like, before the actual difficult ascent part. I looked at the time once and realized that we'd already been hiking for two hours!

Once we got to the ascent, it got interesting. I like to use the excuse that I haven't acclimated to the higher altitude here yet, since I was in Korea for so long. It was tough to get enough oxygen. I've never felt the effects of altitude like that before. I got light headed and my body just felt really weird. I've never experienced that before, so I figured that it was probably the altitude. It was also getting increasingly colder as we neared the top. I brought a lot of layers, but apparently not enough. The wind got so strong that I couldn't stand still enough to take my pictures! And my hiking partner was also impatient with me stopping every ten minutes to take pictures. Oh well. It got increasingly lighter as we got higher up, and right when we summitted, the sun had just peeked over the horizon. It was beautiful!! Very worth starting the hike that early to see the sunrise on the summit. But, it was also frigid up there. I should have brought warmer gloves, and then I might have been alright. But my hiking partner was wearing only jeans over shorts, a sleeveless tee, and a sweatshirt, so I'm sure he was dying. My hands got so cold that I had to stop taking pictures and put them in my pockets. From there, we decided not to go on to Torreys. The trail over was right in the wind, and I didn't feel like dealing with it any longer, so we headed down. After we had gotten off the top of the mountain and warmed up a little bit, we regretted not going over to Torreys, but oh well. I'll do it again later! On the way down, the trail was SUPER busy. People climbing up were shocked that we had already summitted and were on the way down already. At any rate, we got back to the car by 9:45 am and I was home before noon. Talk about an action packed day!

Lessons learned:
-Always bring wind-proof clothing.
-It's not necessary to start hiking quite so early
-Push through the pain-it would have been worth it to knock out Torrey's too
-Stop and take breaks!
-Drink lots of water. I didn't even finish my 2 liter camelback!

I apologize for the massive amount of pictures. There were just so many good ones it was hard to choose!

It's not quite captured here, but the sun was hot pink right when it came up 

View from the top

More view 

Beautiful Sunrise! 

Mt. Torreys 

More view 

Huddled behind a pile of rocks, I saw the shadow of the mountain in the clouds- so cool! 

Grays Peak on the left, Mt. Torreys on the right 

On the way back to the car

1 comment:

  1. No such thing as massive pictures :) Its Colorado after all, they have to be massive! The water looks super cool in the last one!
    And dont worry, I've lived here just as long and I've never done a 14er either. Someday I will...