In the late 90's I read INTO THIN AIR by Jon Krakauer and I caught a climbing bug. I immediately contacted a good friend with climbing experience and the next thing I knew I was headed to Washington State and a summit attempt of Mt. Rainier.
Due to a snow storm we failed in our attempt to summit but it did little to diminish my enthusiasm.
A few months later I met up with some of the same folks in Estes Park Colorado for a go at Longs Peak in Colorado. Even with a drizzle and icy conditions we made it up and down in one piece.
Instantly, I found that these climbs of two days to seven hours, a nifty way of expressing ones fitness or readiness.
Four years ago with a gym practice filled with athletic types, I tossed out the idea of climbing a 14'er together. Who is ready?
I was honest, it was not going to be a piece of cake- only a few listened. The daily routine would cover eighty percent but, a bit of specific preparation would be required. As an aside, altitude is a wild card. Experience reveals that a conditioned athlete would deal better.
Colorado fourteeners are appealing for those of us in the midwest. They are a days drive from home base, challenging but attainable, and a great way to take ones readiness (fitness) outside of the gym. Actually it is an excellent way!
We had twelve hardy soles start up Longs Peak that day with eight reaching the summit. The stories spread in the gym and surrounding community and soon enough others made trips west for a 14'ers.
CrossFit CEO Greg Glassman often referred to training as a means of preparing for the 'unknown and the unknowable' When you are at altitude marching up a 15% incline you become keenly aware of your readiness!
So many people work hard at their fitness but few are tested. I hate that!
With a few originals, we just concluded our fourth consecutive 14'ers climb. Our selection was Mt Elbert outside of Leadville. Five veterans and four first timers made it up and down. I always see a new kind of joy in a persons face when they reach the top. It's my personal favorite moment.
I would encourage any trainee to make it an annual task to test themselves physically and mentally. While a 14'er is not easy it is attainable.
Come on now, take your fitness outside the gym. You will be happy you did.