When you dance with the mountain…the mountain always leads.

So you’re going to do a 14er.  You go girl.  We would argue that there are not many better ways to spend a summer day in Colorado.
Getting an alpine start,  you can still see your breath as you follow the trail through the still dark lodge pole forest. You’re surrounded by the fragrance of pine, and serenaded by the early birds with their dawn chorus.  It doesn’t get much better than that.  Until you get above tree line.  The sky opens up.  The sun warms the crisp air. You start shedding layers.  Marmots and pica chirping to replace the dawn chorus.  You pick your trail through the scree, knowing that the summit you see is false, but the real one lives just out of sight. You push on, breathing is heavier, but the air is unlike air at lower elevations, perfect, fresh.  With each breath you become part of the mountain. Cairns lead you up.  You start to scramble as scree turns into boulders.  You sit, relax, drink in the valleys below. It’s quiet. It’s beautiful.  It refills your soul. You scramble over the last few boulders, the sun is directly overhead, the air is breezy and fresh, your lungs are pounding…top of the world.

Essentials Checklist for your 14er:

  • hiking boots
  • hiking socks
  • camel back full of water
  • pants that zip off to shorts
  • tech tee shirt
  • wool baselayer
  • powerstretch mid layer
  • rail shell / wind breaker
  • down sweater [just in case]
  • small snacks for the trail
  • chocolate for the top of the world
  • topo map or the mountain
  • 14er guide book
  • hat
  • glove liners
  • sunglasses
  • sunscreen
Everything you need to hike a 14er

A list of all the items you need to hike a 14er.