For me, it all started when my parents decided to take my sister and I up Uncompahgre in 1989. I was 5 years old and by then, my parents had been taking summer vacations in the Lake City area for several years. My dad had climbed many of the nearby peaks, and thought Uncompahgre would be a good peak to take the family up. We got to roughly 13,000 before I got altitude sickness and my dad carried me down. Two years later, my dad decided to see how I would do on a high 12er, Red Mountain (12,826') above Lake City. I did well and really liked the hike, so my dad took me up Handies the following year. That time, I made it fully under my own power. I was 8 years old and apparently quite a mountain goat. The idea of a trail that seemingly went away from the mountain didn't make sense in my 8 year old mind, but going straight up the mountain did. My dad entertained my idea and we ended up going up what is now the West Slopes route from American Basin. It was a fun hike, and I asked to do another peak next time we visited Lake City. So two years later, my dad took me up Wetterhorn.
That would end up being the last 14er I'd stand atop for nearly 14 years. I never lost my love of mountains, but got distracted during middle and high school, then went to college in California and lived in Washington for a bit. When I finally moved home from Washington, I was also dealing with the fallout from a close relationship that had recently blown apart. I asked a couple buddies in the fall of 2009 if we could go camping to one of my favorite places, Winfield. We went camping the last week in September and I mentioned it would be fun to give Huron Peak a try. We had a rather late night with a few beers involved. Woke up late, and got on the trail at somewhere around 9AM. We all eventually ended up turning around for a number of reasons. Huron would have to wait. The next year, I asked a good buddy if he would want to do some 14ers. He said yes, and starting with Missouri, we ended up doing 8 peaks (Including Huron) that summer. I was totally hooked. In winter of 2012, I decided I didn't like hibernating through winter and successfully climbed several winter 13ers, before going back to 14ers in the summer. I then realized 13ers were pretty awesome and started climbing those as well. Later that year, I learned what the Centennial peaks were and started working on those and it has just kept going from there.
"Climbing mountains is the only thing I know that combines the best of the physical, spiritual, and emotional world all rolled into one." -Steve Gladbach