3 years ago, Bierstadt was my first 14er. Last year I coerced Ash & Tom to summit – this year, my Sis & nephew took the challenge.  They’ve had 4 days to acclimate to Colorado altitude, no excuses right?

Joking – actually super impressed.  Hiking a 14er is not only physically challenging, but also tough on the lungs for Flatlanders.  That said, Nephew is a varsity soccer player, Sis has completed multiple marathons.  Yep, my family is STRONG!

4am drive start, took a half day off work.  Goal: drive 3 hours (roundtrip), summit a 14er (in under 5 hours), lunch in Georgetown – then back in time for afternoon work obligations.  They’re strong but I’m a BEAST!  LOL>

 

For my family, it’s been a week plagued with rain – not today, sunshine 🙂

Mile-half of willow thicket (thru lotta mud), then UP another half-mile to our first plateau.  Tough adjusting to the steady climb initially, but like most sports, you soon find a rhythm.

Hiked a series of switchbacks, all above tree-line, over boulders & tundra moss – chirp of marmots (concealed from view this day).  A mile plus further to the false summit – most arduous part of today’s hike, high grade incline & scree.

From there the wind blew, temps dropped below 30.  Eyed a nearby rock shelf, waved the others to scramble behind but with caution – pretty decent drop-off below.  Quick break to refuel, then back in wind – cold strong gusts over yesterday’s new snow.

Bouldered UP the last 1,000ft – summit SUCCESS!

[Nephew] How many 14-year-olds can boast having climbed a 14er?  Super impressed.

Expect to see Sis again next March – not great for 14er summits (avalanche season), but perfect for ice climbing 🙂

 

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