When did you first start climbing Mountains?

FAQ and threads for those just starting to hike the Colorado 14ers.
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When did you first start climbing mountains?

Before 1960s
3
2%
1960s
11
8%
1970s
19
14%
1980s
15
11%
1990s
20
15%
2000s
25
18%
2010s
44
32%
 
Total votes: 137
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glenmiz
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Re: When did you first start climbing Mountains?

Post by glenmiz » Wed Aug 08, 2018 5:57 pm

rob runkle wrote:When did you first start climbing mountains? Not hiking, but actual mountains, that you would today consider calling "mountaineering." Most higher elevation peaks fall into this category for me, and some of the lower, more serious Eastern US peaks would also.

For me, it was 2002, and I started hiking 14ers, because one of my Colorado friends mentioned to me something about a place called "Longs Peak." I googled it, and my eyes were opened. I was (and still am) a pretty serious marathon runner, and I wanted to take the next step in my adventure/endurance evolution. My first trip was: Day 1 - Grays, Torreys, Bierstadt; Day 2 - Longs Peak; Day 3 - Sherman, Sheridan, Quandary; Day 4 - The Decalibron. I was hooked!!
Man, you got hooked a lot faster than I:

First 14er attempt: 1989 (Longs - unsuccessful scared out of my mind at the Narrows)
First 14er summit: 2001 (Grays - gap related to living in Houston/et al for 16 years)
Hooked on 14ers: 2014 (14 summits) and 2015 (inspired by Andrew Hamilton, Brett Maune, et al)
14er Finisher: 2017 (Handies)
Total 14er summits: 97
Total 13er summits: 42

I'm still hooked
Aim high to end high
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AnnaG22
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Re: When did you first start climbing Mountains?

Post by AnnaG22 » Wed Aug 08, 2018 6:15 pm

My first 14er and second peak was Castle when I was ~15 (2005). The only parts of the day I remember are walking up and down that road, which felt like an eternity, that crux move up on the ridge not far below the summit, and being extremely reluctant to glissade down the snowfield from the Conundrum saddle (I was wearing shorts and had no poles etc). I didn't think of that as mountaineering then (and still don't during the dry season), but I definitely thought it was way harder than normal hiking.

After that, probably both the first time I did Gothics in the Adirondacks (August 2008) and the second (April 2010, with a lot of snow).

Once back in Colorado, nothing beyond normal hiking until I did Pyramid in August 2014. And then down the rabbit hole I went. That said, this is Colorado, so it really depends how far your nose is in the air about what you call mountaineering. By some folks' standards, the number of peaks I've "mountaineered" could easily be counted on scarcely over one hand.

Regardless...I just really enjoy being outside and standing on top of things.
"The love of wilderness is more than a hunger for what is always beyond reach; it is also an expression of loyalty to the earth, the earth which bore us and sustains us, the only home we shall ever know, the only paradise we ever need – if only we had the eyes to see." -Ed Abbey

"I get scared sometimes—lots of times—but it's not bad. You know? I feel close to myself. When I'm out there at night, I feel close to my own body, I can feel my blood moving, my skin and my fingernails, everything, it's like I'm full of electricity and I'm glowing in the dark—I'm on fire almost—I'm burning away into nothing—but it doesn't matter because I know exactly who I am." from The Things They Carried
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Re: When did you first start climbing Mountains?

Post by climbingbetty » Wed Aug 08, 2018 6:50 pm

Longs Peak ~1988. My first 14er (interesting to see how many did Longs, perhaps naively like me, as first 14er!). Continued on to do Elbert, Grays and Torreys within a year (I was hooked!). Then got distracted by marriage, career, 3 kids, death of a parent, etc and took a break for 20+ years :( Started up again 5 years ago and realized I still love it. Have done Democrat, Lincoln, Cameron, Bross, Sherman, Bierstadt, Quandary, Mount of the Holy Cross all in past 5 years. Doing Redcloud, Sunshine, Handies and maybe Evans this month. I’m glad to be back in it!!
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Re: When did you first start climbing Mountains?

Post by glenmiz » Wed Aug 08, 2018 7:06 pm

SilverLynx wrote:
Sean Nunn wrote:Long's 2001. What a stupid way to start climbing mountains. Not recommended as a first mountain.
Very much recommended as a 15th mountain.
Totally agree. :lol:
I'll third that.

I read back through this thread and think it's great. Thanks everybody for sharing your experiences.
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Re: When did you first start climbing Mountains?

Post by RyGuy » Wed Aug 08, 2018 7:16 pm

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
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Re: When did you first start climbing Mountains?

Post by Bill G » Wed Aug 08, 2018 7:28 pm

i always thought that climbing mountains and hiking 14ers were two different things. Not to take away from the challenge and accomplishment of attaining these peaks. Back in '84 I hiked JMT and reached the summit of my first 14er, Whitney, after 21 days. During that trip I met a few hikers from Chile, they remarked about the little mountains.

Ever since then I never considered a 14er a big deal. In CO they're all day hikes.
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Re: When did you first start climbing Mountains?

Post by mjohnson1960 » Thu Aug 09, 2018 10:05 am

1972 (age 11): Long's Peak
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Re: When did you first start climbing Mountains?

Post by kaiman » Thu Aug 09, 2018 10:18 am

1979 at age 6 New York Peak
1980 at age 7 Notch Mountain
1981 at age 8 Mount of the Holy Cross
Last edited by kaiman on Fri Sep 07, 2018 10:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"I want to keep the mountains clean of racism, religion and politics. In the mountains this should play no role."

- Joe Stettner

"I haven't climbed Everest, skied to the poles, or sailed single-handed around the world. The goals I set out to accomplish aren't easily measured or quantified by world records or "firsts." The reasons I climb, and the climbs I do, are about more than distance or altitude, they are about breaking barriers within myself."

- Andy Kirkpatrick
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Re: When did you first start climbing Mountains?

Post by pmeadco » Thu Aug 09, 2018 10:22 am

1966, age 6, O'Malley Peak.
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Re: When did you first start climbing Mountains?

Post by Scott P » Thu Aug 09, 2018 10:33 am

I'm not sure if it is the earliest or not, but the earliest I can remember and have a date for is Mount Timpanogos on 7/4/1981, just after I turned 7. I may have climbed peaks such as Grandeur Peak and Mount Olympus (the one in the Wasatch) before that, but I don't know the dates.

I think my first summit of Grandeur Peak was probably earlier, but I'm not sure and have no date. I do remember some snow around (and I remember seeing a porcupine), so it was probably June. 1979 or 1980 seems the most likely time period, but I'm not sure, so I usually list Timpanogos as my first.

PS, I wonder why there is a "gap" in data from the poll for the 1980's?
Last edited by Scott P on Thu Aug 09, 2018 10:36 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: When did you first start climbing Mountains?

Post by JROSKA » Thu Aug 09, 2018 10:35 am

I started on June 25, 2010 with Mt. Democrat. I moved out here in 2008 from Wisconsin and really had barely even seen a mountain before then. In 09 I had been recovering from shoulder surgery, was looking for ways to stay in shape and enjoy the mountains. My physical therapist suggested 14ers. I had always thought the mountains out here required advanced gear and climbing skills and was surprised when he said it’s possible to simply hike most of them.

So after lots of research about the peak (wanted to be certain to start with an easy one without too much gain) I chose Democrat. I must not have researched procedures (wasn’t on 14ers.com yet) because I wore blue jeans, flannel, and left the car at about 9 am. I was horribly out of shape and kept needing to stop and rest. I was all set to turn back after about the first 500 feet when another hiker stopped to provide encouragement and actually helped me to summit.

I did Quandary a month later but looking back, did not really enjoy either of my first two 14ers. It did not become a passion or something I’d look to do regularly until I did Belford as my 3rd in August 2010.
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Re: When did you first start climbing Mountains?

Post by rob runkle » Thu Aug 09, 2018 10:58 am

JROSKA wrote:I started on June 25, 2010 with Mt. Democrat. I moved out here in 2008 from Wisconsin and really had barely even seen a mountain before then. In 09 I had been recovering from shoulder surgery, was looking for ways to stay in shape and enjoy the mountains. My physical therapist suggested 14ers. I had always thought the mountains out here required advanced gear and climbing skills and was surprised when he said it’s possible to simply hike most of them.

So after lots of research about the peak (wanted to be certain to start with an easy one without too much gain) I chose Democrat. I must not have researched procedures (wasn’t on 14ers.com yet) because I wore blue jeans, flannel, and left the car at about 9 am. I was horribly out of shape and kept needing to stop and rest. I was all set to turn back after about the first 500 feet when another hiker stopped to provide encouragement and actually helped me to summit.

I did Quandary a month later but looking back, did not really enjoy either of my first two 14ers. It did not become a passion or something I’d look to do regularly until I did Belford as my 3rd in August 2010.
Great story... Democrat is steep as crap, and that makes it hard.
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