I have officially conquered another item on my 30 Before 30 list: Climb a 14er! Saturday morning, Ian and I joined a group from his work and climbed Mount Democrat, one of the many Colorado 14eers.
Every year, Ian’s work organizes a camping trip that includes a hike up one of Colorado’s 14ers. This year, the trip happened to fall on our five-year anniversary. Camping with a group of awesome people and then conquering my first-ever 14er the next day seemed like a perfect way to celebrate five fantastic years of marriage.
We camped Friday night at Kite Lake, which is also the trailhead for Mount Democrat. The campsite was beautiful and we had a wonderful night sitting around the campfire chatting with Ian’s coworkers.
Early the next morning, we set out to climb Mount Democrat. Funny story: I ran over to use the restroom before we began the climb and just so happened to get in line behind one of my closet friends Lindsey. Neither os us knew the other was going to climb Mount Democrat that day, so it was such a fun surprise! Only in Colorado can you randomly run into a best friend in line for the bathroom at the trailhead of a 14er. We also reconnected at the summit! So awesome!
The climb up Mount Democrat was pretty steep. I hadn’t eaten a whole lot before we began the hike and I quickly realized that I would need to consume a few extra calories to continue. I chomped down on a Cliffbar about halfway to the summit and felt much better. I was actually really surprised how tired I got climbing to the top. My lungs needed rest more than anything. I took a few breaks along the way and that seemed to help quite a bit. We were able to reach the summit in time to be part of the group photo for all the climbers from Ian’s work.
The summit was awesome! What a sense of accomplishment and camaraderie as friends and coworkers cheer on those who reach the top. While the views aren’t as astounding as some, it was still pretty remarkable.
Many people go on to summit three other 14ers near Mt. Democrat: Lincoln, Cameron, and Bross. Lindsey and a few of Ian’s coworkers conquered all four on Saturday. This begin our first 14er, Ian and I opted to stick with one summit for the day, so we headed back to camp to pack up. The trek back down definitely got to my knees. Bad knees run in my family (my mom had a duel knee replacement last summer), so I’m overly cautious with even the slightest knee pain. Given the steep incline, some knee pain was to be expected. We made it off the mountain before the rain and hail came in – thank goodness!
Finishing the climb was really exhilarating. I was proud of myself for accomplishing another goal and inspired to get out and explore more of the Colorado Rockies. Why have I waited so long to climb a 14er?! I’m itching to get out and do more!