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 Peak(s):  Mt. Elbert  -  14,433 feet
 Post Date:  10/02/2012 Modified: 10/08/2012
 Date Climbed:   09/30/2012
 Posted By:  summitbound

 My 14er Finisher!!!!- Mt. Elbert   

Those most interested in the pictures feel free to scroll down. Those who will indulge me with a bit of reflection on my journey can read on..

I climbed my first 14er in August of 2004. Now 8 years later that goal/quest has finally been realized. Many people achieve this goal much faster than I have, but my journey has been my own and I appreciate the time I allowed to plan and anticipate every climb. I was able to take in the experiences of each mountain, and to reflect on them before tackling the next one. While climbing does not define who I am, it has helped defined who I have become.

My journey has not just been about experiences in the mountains but about how they interrelate with the rest of my life. The mountains have seen me find lost friendships. They have also seen me lose good friends. They have seen me grow as a person, husband and a father. They have helped me form an unbreakable bond with my son. They have given me a focus to stay healthy and an excuse to visit some of the most spectacular places on earth.

My 14er Quest has produced some memorable adventures with catchy tags such as “summit at all costs”, “Shafer’s trench” and “LaPuka”. Some don’t have tags but are memorable none the less as they involve lighting, blizzards, torrential downpours, and even the Jefferson County Sheriff.

I look back on pictures from my first 14er and I see cotton everywhere. I remember wearing my heavy firefighting boots and wondering where my next breath was going to come from. But I also remember hitting the summit and the feeling of accomplishment. Oh and you can’t forget about the views from the “Top of the Rockies”. I have to say I was immediately “hooked”. I found 14ers.com and signed up as alanb to begin what was the first of hundreds of hours of research and dreaming of what peak I would climb next. Looking at the “hard” peaks and wondering if I would every have the skills to tackle them.

Those of you who remember the site back then, it was not the fine-tuned machine that Bill has created today. Trip reports were scarce and you had to put them in a forum post (10 pic max). Bill only had about 1/3 of the 14er routes up. The community was small, maybe 500 registered users or less. For my first 20ish summits I would diligently put together a trip report and check more and more summits off my list. I remember Culebra finally opening up to the general public and signing up for (I believe) the first organized 14ers.com Culebra hike.

Shortly after that circumstances in my life would take me away from climbing for over a year. I wondered at that time if the goal was lost. But life is funny and a passion never dies. I was able to return to climbing and return to 14ers.com, but with the necessity of a bit more anonymity so I signed up under the handle summitbound. The need for new trip reports has diminished and the wealth of knowledge from other members saw me fade from trip reports and post counts. But the goal was never out of sight.

My “peaks checked” list was also an evolution of my skill level. I found a partner whose skill level is light years beyond mine. The confidence I gained on each of our summits allowed me to expand beyond the normal summer time frame and traditional routes. No longer was the check box the goal, but rather the experience. I sought out non-standard routes and wanted to avoid the crowds, to make my own mark by hitting a summit every month of the year, which I was able to complete. I learned winter climbing is a different world from summer. I love the solitude and the beauty of the 14ers in this magical season. I also learned defeat and how to turn back when condition were just not right. I learned persistence in going back over and over again to reach that one missed summit. I found that snow climbs are one of my favorite things.

On the personal side of my journey I gained an appreciation for the impact climbing has on my family. The time spent away from home, the worry when I don’t check in on time, and they read about the accidents and fatalities on the very peaks they know I am on. Despite all this they remained unwavering in their support. I watched my son grow into a solid outdoorsman. I remember watching him struggle as a small 7 year old attempting Culebra with bronchitis and a broken arm all the way to where he is now- a 13 year old Eagle Scout with 20 summits under his belt including Mt Wilson, the Chicago Basin, and Snowmass.

On my final 14er I saw the culmination of that support from both family and friends. Friends and coworkers flew in from out of state, family drove across the county, hiking partners who had long since moved beyond the 14er list came back to share my final 14er summit with me. My wife planned an amazing finishing party. It was a great day with a great group of people. A huge thanks to all who have contributed to helping me complete "the list"
Thanks for allowing me to share this with you all.

A few selected photo's

Image
My family and friends on the summit with me.


Image
My son on his first 14er


Image
January Summit of Ellingwood at night and in a blizzard.


Image
The Bell Cord


Image
Y Couloir on Pikes Peak


Image
Near the summit of Maroon Peak


Image
precarious ice slope on the Bells


Image
me surveying the Sawtooth


Image
hero shot on North Massive


Image
Conundrum Couloir


Image
The diving board on Pyramid


Image
The gully on Wetterhorn


Image
Princeton from Grouse Creek TH


Image
The Prow on Kit Carson


Image
Crestone Needle


Image
Traverse with El Diente behind


Image
Down Climbing std route Maroon Peak


Image
North Maroon


Image
Traverse from Needle to Peak


Image
Yale in a January snowstorm


Image
The Sawtooth


Image
Columbia West Ridge in Feb


Image
Sneffels


Image
Hourglass on Little Bear


Image
Blanca with Ellingwood behind


Image
Wilson Peak


Image
Sunlight summit block- (The top is the top right?)


Image
My son on Mt. Wilson


Image
Father and son on Snowmass


Image
Capitol in May- My all time favorite mountain



Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
 


  • Comments or Questions (23)
SurfNTurf



Style Points     2012-10-02 10:24:58
Thanks for sharing your journey. It may have taken you eight years (which is still quicker than a lot of folks!), but you completed the list with zest and style. Those are some impressive routes and times of year. Congrats!


BenfromtheEast



Haven't read the whole thing yet...     2012-10-02 11:24:10
...but that's one heck of a set of pictures. Really impressive!


Mike Cormier


Nice     2012-10-02 12:35:04
What a great, concise encapsulation of a wonderful journey and what it has meant physically and otherwise. Excellent pictures, capturing all kinds of different moments. Congratulations.


Jay521


Nice...     2012-10-02 12:49:39
Very, very nice. Congratulations on your journey.


fourseasoncyclist


Great Job     2012-10-02 13:49:20
This is absolutely awesome to see some of your pictures. Congrats on what I'm sure was an amazing journey!


cftbq


impressive     2012-10-02 19:48:40
That every-month thing is awesome. Congrats.


rockdoc53


Road less traveled     2012-10-02 20:54:16
Congrats on the finish, and in style following the road less traveled.


ETA


Congratulations!     2012-10-02 20:59:55
Nice hiking with you on Snowmass, those are great photos and I'm sure fine memories. The journey's not over, enjoy the next chapter and good luck keeping up with your son.

Ed


summitbound



THANKS everyone     2012-10-03 08:51:24
for your kind words and comments.

Ed, great hiking with you. Great pic you took of us on Snowmass

cftbq- summit every month of the year was TOUGH. But I thought it was pretty unique. I'm glad I did it.


Johnson


The real deal     2012-10-03 09:51:54
Thanks for sharing your journey. Said in only a few paragraphs, you're the real deal. Not because you're finished, but because your love for the mountains shows.


Happytohike53


Awesome!     2012-10-03 13:52:45
Congratulations. Truly a wonderful accomplishment. I enjoyed your report and the photo's are incredible!


Ridge runner


Congratulations     2012-10-04 11:37:23
Nice job on finishing and the story behind your journey!


Aubrey


Nicely done!     2012-10-05 11:10:41
Congratulations! Great story and photos.


unclegar


Nice     2012-10-06 14:44:00
Enjoyed the report and the pics. I think you meant North Maroon for photo 18. Congrats on your accomplishment!


anasarca76


Congrats!     2012-10-07 10:44:20
Those are some awesome shots! looks like you enjoyed the journey Keep up the good work!


Paul

excellent     2012-10-07 20:49:05
a wonderful mountain journey...thanks for sharing


summitbound



Thanks again!     2012-10-08 09:37:56
unclegar- Yep good catch, I did mean North Maroon-fixed.

Everyone else thanks for your comments and for reading my story


gettingolder


Congratulations...     2012-10-11 21:18:23
on your accomplishment. It was a pleasure seeing your highlight photos and to read your reflection. As an aside, I was glad to see someone else who hiked Princeton via the Grouse Creek route.


Koy


Congrats!     2012-10-12 11:40:41
Sweet photos Alan! My personal favorite is the one on Ellingwood . That was a memorable summit. Brian


summitbound



:) Thanks     2012-10-12 12:50:33
Thanks gettingolder- Not may reports on Grouse Creek out there. We are an elite group lol. Its a fun route, time consuming, but fun.

BK- Ah the Ellingwood trip, that was border line epic. Could not have made that summit without you guys. Thanks for helping me get it done. I have a new pair of Scarpas now... ;) Lets break them in this winter!


wfelix

Mt. Elbert Sept 30th.     2012-10-12 13:37:37
Just so happens I was up from Kansas and shared the summit with your group that day. I had the honor of taking the group photo. I didnt read your sign at the time, (I was breathing to hard to make out the writing) or I most certainly would have congratulated you then. That being said, congratulations. Im only on #13 myself and inspired to keep up the effort.


summitbound



great picture     2012-10-12 14:23:50
wfelix- great shot you took of the group. Thanks for being the camera man, much appreciated. Congrats on your summit and #13! that is a lot of summits coming from Kansas. Keep plugging away before you know it you will be there.


thill

Thanks and Congrats     2013-03-24 10:07:48
A great post and a great accomplishment. Thanks for taking the time to post.



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