Mountains, Love, and Accomplishments

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Mountains, Love, and Accomplishments

Postby JPoni » Sun Nov 03, 2013 6:44 pm

I just wanted to share this post with the 14ers community to celebrate my love of the mountains. This website has been beyond helpful over the years while climbing these amazing peaks.

My now husband (Scotty … aka … El Scooter) and I visited Colorado over 10 years ago on our way to the Tetons in Jackson Hole, WY, where I was able to summit the Middle Teton, thus climbing my first “real” mountain. How things have changed, we have been living in Colorado for the past 8 years and there is one thing that brought us here and keeps us here…The Mountains!
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Summit of Mt. Princeton, our first Colorado 14er. I had just moved to Colorado 2 weeks earlier and for some reason we thought we should do the climb starting from the lower parking lot…if I look like I am crying, that is because I am.

When we moved to Colorado I talked of lofty goals of trying to summit all of Colorado’s 14ers. My first summer was like many newbie’s first summer: We climbed Grays, Torreys, Bierstadt, etc. That first season we did climb a few really fun 3rd class climbs including the West Ridge of Quandary Peak and the Angelica Couloir of Holy Cross. However, our final trip of the summer took us to new levels of understanding and respect of where this goal could take us. Scotty and I had the chance to backpack into Chicago Basin to climb Eolus, Windom and Sunlight. If we were mildly addicted to climbing the 14ers before that trip – that trip helped us develop a full-blown addiction to climbing in Colorado! Not only did we accomplish summiting all three mountains, but I had never seen a place so beautiful. We were convinced this was a once in a lifetime trip.

Can once in a lifetime happen only once? The answer (apparently) is no, as 6 years later we had an opportunity to go back to Chicago Basin with our climbing partner on her quest to summit the Colorado 14ers and another friend learning to climb and backpack.
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Our Climbing Partner Annie, Me and My Husband Scotty on the summit of Mt. Wilson- El Diente to Mt. Wilson Traverse via Kilpacker.

If you know Chicago Basin you know that as beautiful as the area is, the weather is just as violent and unpredictable. In addition, the first time we visited Chicago Basin no one really talked about North Eolus being considered one of the “counted” peaks. I’m not sure when it started to count on the “official” list, but it was sometime after that first trip we took to Chicago Basin. Our original list was 57 mountains strong – now it appeared there was a new summit to tackle. We were already going to be in the area so what the hell – we were determined to summit this mountain to top off all 58 of the peaks. We knew things were not in our control and that Chicago Basin would have to give us not just 1 weather window for North Eolus, but 4 good windows for our partner to be able to summit all four peaks.

Unlike our first visit to the basin, this time we approached the trip with experience, knowledge to take in everything we could, and a clear understanding of how special it was to be back in Chicago Basin together, healthy, and ready to complete a goal that started 7 years earlier. Over the past 7 years, Scotty and I grew up together in the Colorado Mountains; we’ve fought, grown together, gained a huge level of appreciation for the mountains and most of all we have loved one another.
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My 57th Colorado 14ner peak, Snuffles via the Southwest Ridge.

We sumitted North Eolus while holding hands (cheesy but seemed so appropriate). We had considered last summer our finisher; however, there was something so special about experiencing the wonder and accomplishment of summiting all of these amazing peaks together and in a place where I feel our quest really started. Chicago Basin gave us those 4 windows of opportunity, although there were storms, nothing was going to take away from this twice in a lifetime experience. With eyes wide open I can only be thankful for the mountains, the love I share with my husband, and the experiences we have been afforded. We couldn’t have felt any luckier to be safe, healthy, experienced, and my eyes have never seen anything more beautiful.

THANKS!!- and all those who share in my love for the mountains.
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Re: Mountains, Love, and Accomplishments

Postby RobertKay » Sun Nov 03, 2013 7:19 pm

Awesome story. Thanks for putting it up for us to read.
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Re: Mountains, Love, and Accomplishments

Postby EZSide » Sun Nov 03, 2013 8:52 pm

RobertKay wrote:Awesome story. Thanks for putting it up for us to read.

"There are times when the most complicated actions are suddenly summed up, distilled, and strike you with illuminating clarity" - Maurice Herzog
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Re: Mountains, Love, and Accomplishments

Postby Annie0 » Sun Nov 03, 2013 10:01 pm

Yay Joni and Scotty! What a great 14er journey. And it's our best three headed monster picture.

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