| 7/11 Summer Slam
As I write this trip report with my mini dachshund perched on my lap and the kids at my feet making holiday wreaths one word resonates in my soul – thankful. I have much to be thankful for – far more than I deserve. As I look back on my 14er quest (which officially ended around 2PM, September 4 on the summit of Wilson Peak) I indeed have many reasons to be in an attitude of gratitude. First and foremost I am thankful for my God. You are the one true God, the maker of the heavens and the earth, you alone are my rock, my shield, my comforter and my guide. You alone have provided me with everything necessary for this 7 year journey – wisdom, strength, partners, safe travels, weather, and protection. I am also thankful for the following people:
My Mom – for the obvious reasons. Thanks for bringing me into this world. Thanks for being a great role model. Although her side of the family has been in the States for 3 generations I have to give credit to my mom’s family tree – the hard headed German genealogy likely gave me the discipline and willpower for this quest. Thanks for encouraging me in the Scouting program (including being a Cub Scout Den Leader), which has played a strong, positive influence in my life.
My Dad – you are long gone but never forgotten. Thanks for investing time in my life. Time in this body is but a vapor – my heart cries out for the day when we will be reunited on that glorious mountain of the Lord. Until then I continue to “Be Prepared”.
Mom & Dad Swan – Thanks for bringing Allison into this world and for putting up with my attitude, which definitely needed some help 3-4 years ago. I’m sure some (most?) days you think both of us are a few cards shy of a full deck. Thanks for having patience like Job.
Allison – Thanks for being my best friend. You still drive me crazy some days but you’re also patient, kind and willing to let me follow my dream. There’s no one else I’d rather spend my life with than you. Thanks for our three great kids.
My kids – Thanks to you guys for who you are. And thanks to God for entrusting me with your care. It has certainly been exciting to see your growth during the last 7 years. If you ever read this in the future know that I love you and I’m praying that you are able to realize your dreams, as I have done with this quest.
My hiking partners – If the only thing we are permitted to take from this world into eternity is memories then I’m truly a blessed person for having shared the trail with you. I pray that God always make His Face to shine upon you and give you peace.
Bill – thanks for this website. I don’t believe that this quest was possible without 14ers.com
As the summer was super busy I did not have time to do any trip reports like in past seasons, so this is my best effort to summarize the entire season into a single trip report. I entered this final season with 7 peaks to go, so this season was unofficially called the “7/11 Summer Slam”. I kept the name mostly to myself so as to not jinx the effort. Here’s the quick run down of this final season’s peaks, in order from start to finish: Snowmass, Capitol, Handies, Pyramid, El Diente, Mt. Wilson, and Wilson Peak. Below are a few stats from my 14er quest:
• 185,000 vertical feet ascended (equivalent to doing the Empire State building 150 times)
• 430 miles (equivalent to doing the Colorado Trail from start to finish)
• 22 different hiking partners
• 20 CO county highpoints
• Stops at K’s Dairy in Buena Vista – too many to mention although I should buy stock
• 2 of the 4 “Great Traverses” – Maroon Bells traverse (south to north) & El Diente-Mt. Wilson traverse (and no, I’ll never do the Little Bear to Blanca traverse)
• 1 Navajo nation sacred peak (Blanca) – sorry if that offends anyone, I didn’t stay on top very long
• 5 pairs of shoes
• 1 trip to the Vail ER which required 5 stitches on my left shin (Mt of the Holy Cross in 2007)
• 3 or 4 pairs of gaiters/soccer shin pads to help protect my shins on all the remaining hikes
• 2 broken or lost cameras, including one down the Bell Cord
• 1 full price ($90) train ride from Silverton to the middle of nowhere, while everyone looks at you like you’re a crazy fool as you get “kicked off” and then stares in amazement as you reboard the train – priceless (thanks again to Chris Bauer and Lynn for the awesome Chicago Basin trip last year)
• 1 hiking hat – Allison, I’ll be gilding my “ugly” Minnetonka folding hat.
• Early mornings hitting the stair climber – over the years I’ve averaged 3 times per week. At 1800 vertical feet per ½ hour workout that translates into 2 million vertical feet. Although a stair climber can never really compare to doing a 14er (let’s say it’s ½ as strenuous), at 3000 vertical feet per average 14er, this means around 300 14ers climbed at Denver altitude to prepare for the real thing.
• # of 14ers that I wish somebody would blow the top off so I didn’t have to climb – around 15 or so, including most of the Sawatch Range, especially Missouri Mountain which is just a bump on a ridge line.
• 1 sunrise from the top of a 14er – Mt. Massive
• 1 sunset from a 14er – Humboldt. David (aka the Talus Monkey) – even though we never hiked together you’re with us all on these high peaks, RIP brother and Long Live the Talus Monkey!
• Multiple peak days and other dumb a$s decisions that I have ever made that caused a lot of turmoil with fellow hiking partners – um, well that’s not go there.
• My favorite 14er – Capitol Peak, followed very closely by Little Bear Peak (I’ll never forget the jeep trip up Lake Como road)
• Prayers to God to provide safety, good weather, a little wind, strength and thanks upon getting back down in 1 piece – too numerous to mention (at least in human terms).
As this is a wrapup of my quest I thought that I’d share a sampling of my favorite photo memories from the past few years on the trail:
Family visit to the Bells - Sept 2005
Fab 4 (Jason (left), Tom, Mark, and Andy - our church hiking group) on Missouri Mountain - Sept 2006
Sunrise from summit of Mt. Massive with Turqoise Lake in the foreground - July 2006
Waterfall at Willow Lake below Challenger Point - July 2008
Sharing Quandary Peak summit with a co-worker (Jim S) who just wanted to summit one 14er in his life - Sept 2008
Knife Edge on Kelso Ridge leading to Torreys Peak - July 2008
Navigating Jaws 2 on Lake Como Road - July 2009
Summit shot on Little Bear with Darrin (kansas) & Chris (cbauer10) - July 2009
Sunset summit shot on Humboldt - July 2009
Sunrise over the Wet Mountain valley from Broken Hand Pass - July 2009
Mt Sneffels summit photo with Adam B (avs88fan) - Aug 2009
A familiar sight on many a 14er, in this case Redcloud Peak - Aug 2009
Mt Sherman in the late spring (still winter enough for me) - May 2010
Conundrum Peak summit photo with Adam B – Bells, Snowmass & Cap behind - July 2010
Glissading down from Castle/Conundrum Peak saddle - July 2010
Pano of Wetterhorn and Matterhorn basin - June 2010
The unmistakable (and strikingly imposing) land mass that is Uncompaghre Peak - June 2010
North Maroon Peak summit photo having just completed the Bells Traverse - Aug 2010
Crestone Needle after a successful summit with Adam B - Aug 2010
Train photo prior to boarding with Chris (cbauer10) and Lynn (LynnKH) - Sept 2010
Sunlight Peak summit shot with Chris and Lynn – Chris’s Grand Slam finisher - Sept 2010
Snowmass Mountain summit shot with Dave J (49ersRule) and Paul S (MNLakes) - Aug 6, 2011
Knife Edge on Capitol - Aug 7, 2011
Capitol summit photo with Natalie (nkan02), Lynn (LynnKH) and Paul S (MNLakes) - Aug 7, 2011
Kids at one of the high points on the Alpine Scenic Loop, during our vacation trip to the Lake City area (which was much more exciting than the Handies ascent) - Aug 13, 2011
Taking a breather on Pyramid Peak’s diving board - Aug 31, 2011
Crux of the El Diente-Mt Wilson Traverse - Sept 4, 2011
Mt Wilson summit photo after completing the El Diente-Mt Wilson Traverse - Sept 4, 2011
Sweet Victory - #58, which I shared with Chris K from Denver, also his finisher - Sept 4, 2011
Every dog has its day & I've had my day, however - any good 14er quest wouldn't be complete without a visit from Horton the Quandary Dog. I sure hope there are dogs in Heaven...
THAT'S ALL FOLKS!!
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):