The writer is a resident of Delmar.
I just received my Colorado Mountain Club Pin for having climbed all 54 peaks in that state which are officially listed as 14,000 footers.
What’s interesting is that my Colorado number isn’t much higher than the one I received for having climbed the 46 high peaks in the Adirondacks back in the mid-'70s. The 46ers now number in the many thousands and there are only a modest number who’ve done the 14ers; just over 1,400.
As is true in the Adirondacks, some of the Colorado peaks are easily accessible and have nice views and others are much more challenging. As a flat lander, there weren’t any Colorado peaks that I considered really easy. Even though I do acclimatize fairly well and quickly to moderate altitudes, I would find myself sucking wind at about 12,500 feet each time. If I stayed in the mountains and camped high, I would be much more comfortable by the end of my trip, especially when I could spend a couple of weeks out there.
Regardless of the difficulties and logistics to get there and work around my companions’ schedules, it was well worth the effort. Although I don’t tend to sew my hiking patches on my pack, I think I will wear the Colorado 14ers pin and do so proudly. I began this journey in the mid-'90s and finally finished in 2010. What follows is the story of my adventure with those peaks.
Tired and happy, on Aug. 26, 2010, at 11:45 a.m., I stood — well, sat — on top of Little Bear, my last official 14er. I was accompanied by my friend Bill Michels, who is from Colorado Springs. All my other friends who’ve hiked or climbed the 54 high peaks of Colorado opted not to go to Little Bear, either because they thought I was nuts to bother or they’d done the route once and that was enough, thank you very much!