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Im sure....

FAQ and threads for those just starting to hike the Colorado 14ers.

Re: Im sure....

Postby Steve Climber » Wed Jul 10, 2013 10:35 am

I have seen many people that I NEVER would have expected to see on summits, including a member of this site on Democrat a few years back that I would guess [at the time] weighed 350lbs. Talking to him, in particular, was quite inspiring and just goes to show, it's never too late to TRY. Start early, pace yourself, drink plenty of water, and don't be ashamed or discouraged if you can't make it on your first attempt. I'm in pretty decent shape and have been turned around a few times when I just wasn't feeling it. My outlook is "I still got to spend a day outside in these amazing mountains!"

As for close, easier mountains...Bierstadt and Evans (~1-1.5 hour from town) are the first two that come to mind for me. Sherman and Democrat (~1.5-2 hours from town) are also both great options.
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Re: Im sure....

Postby Jon Frohlich » Wed Jul 10, 2013 10:44 am

Some of the pictures are broken but my finisher TR from Evans has some of my story.

https://14ers.com/php14ers/tripreport.php?trip=9193

I was diagnosed with asthma when I was about 7 years old. The most I ever did as a kid was ride a bike around the neighborhood. I remember gym class in junior high being awful. I recall that 'running' a mile was brutal for me and I have memories of sitting down wheezing during gym class many times. I became a computer geek instead and 'cardio' was nowhere in my vocabulary. I was 22 when I moved to Colorado. After about 6 months here I was lonely, depressed, and working night shifts so one day I decided to go 'hike' (I think it was on Green Mountain). It was awful. My legs hurt for days. For some reason, sheer stubbornness or whatever I went again, and again....eventually it stopped hurting as much.

Fast forward 12 years and I've finished the 14ers, well on my way to finishing the highest 100, hiked and backpacked in many different countries, and climbed Kilimanjaro at age 27.

As with many other stories here, it's absolutely possible. I'd do some easier hikes or workouts before a 14er to make it easier on yourself but there is zero reason not to try. If you don't make it the first time then try it again. Determination and persistence go a long way. One of my early hiking partners said 'turtles make it'. One foot in front of the other eventually leads somewhere whether it's a summit or another goal.

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Re: Im sure....

Postby bohlsen » Wed Jul 10, 2013 1:29 pm

Gareth wrote:Go for it!

Two years ago I was in sad shape. I had regained all the weight that I had lost several years back, and even added more. I hadn't run or seriously walked for exercise for a few years. But for some reason I decided to drive from Kansas and see if I could hike up a 14er (something that I had only previously done when I was lighter and stronger). I figured that it would show me what my sad baseline was. I decided to try Huron. It's a "easy" hike, but it is 3,500' above the trailhead. I started early, probably around 4:00 am. I think that I started before anyone else that morning. I put one boot in front of another, gained the mountain foot by foot. I got passed by everyone else on my way up, but I kept going. I made it to the top. It felt good. It proved to me that I indeed had it in me to make it to the top.

A year later, a bit lighter, and in a bit better shape, but still not in any way, shape, or form, close to where I want to be physically, I hiked every single 14er in the Mosquito/Tenmile Range in a single weekend (in 31 hours). :shock: That's what a fat Kansan could pull off! You never know what you are capable of unless you go for something and fight for it! You might be very surprised. :-D


You went for Huron for an out of shape baseline? :shock: Props for making it, that sounds like a brutal way to get back into 14ers. I was in the best shape of my life when I did it and those never-ending switchbacks still kicked my a** more than many other "difficult" 14ers.
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Re: Im sure....

Postby djkest » Wed Jul 10, 2013 1:51 pm

I think when I summitted Longs Peak in 2008 (1st 14er) I weighed very close to 270 lbs, although I wouldn't necessarily say "out of shape" as I had been exercising regularly.

Today I weigh about 245 lbs and am in pretty good cardiovascular / strength shape but could stand to lose about 15 lbs more. If I ever stop being sick this summer I hope to "finish" the 14ers around 235 lbs.

Go for it. Remember to bring lots of WATER- I used to go through water like crazy. On Longs I used 3 liters of water and 24 oz of Gatorade and I think I still ran out on the way down. Now I could probably do the same with 2.5 L of water/gatorade.

I saw someone @ 300 lbs nearing the top of the incline. Pretty cool. I heard them say something about doing it in 2 hours. Sounds good to me. Remember that a journey in self-improvement must start somewhere, and motivation is a powerful factor.
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Re: Im sure....

Postby bigredmachine » Wed Jul 10, 2013 1:59 pm

I had a friend join me a last year on a hike up Huron. He wasn't fat, but he chain smoked, ate like s**t, and didn't prepare at all. He was huffing and puffing 50 yds after the trailhead... Honestly, he had no business climbing a 14er, let alone Huron peak (while easier, still had alot of elevation gain). I was actually worried that he was just going to croke over right on the mountain. He would not turn around, and after 6 hours finally made it to the summit (lucky for us there were no thunderstorms).

+ 1 on Mt Sherman or Democrat

You can do it....

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Re: Im sure....

Postby Gareth » Wed Jul 10, 2013 5:34 pm

bohlsen wrote:You went for Huron for an out of shape baseline? :shock: Props for making it, that sounds like a brutal way to get back into 14ers. I was in the best shape of my life when I did it and those never-ending switchbacks still kicked my a** more than many other "difficult" 14ers.

It wasn't exactly a fun hike on the way up. :wink: I felt like giving up while still in the trees...and that was way before people started passing me. I guess that I wanted the summit bad and just kept going.
Last edited by Gareth on Wed Jul 10, 2013 7:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Im sure....

Postby kushrocks » Wed Jul 10, 2013 6:09 pm

I love hearing stories like the ones above. I as well was about 40lbs overweight when I started hiking 14ers. I guess you could say this whole process changed my life for the better. If you are mentally strong and safe you can push through it. I would love to hear about how this goes. You got this!!!
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Re: Im sure....

Postby SolarAlex » Wed Jul 10, 2013 7:00 pm

grays and torreys were my first when i moved out from houston 3 years ago. I was 260lbs and totally totally out of shape. It was probably the hardest thing Ive ever done, but the feeling of taking that last step onto the summit was a life changing moment.

just start early, bring lots of water and go slow. youd be surprised what you can accomplish if you put your mind to it.

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Re: Im sure....

Postby JROSKA » Wed Jul 10, 2013 10:23 pm

If you are talking strictly about 14ers, I strongly agree with the recommendation of Mt. Democrat. That was my first one, about 3 years ago. I was out of shape, needed to rest often, actually started to head down once, but I made it. It gives you a chance to park high, and because it's only 2200 feet of elevation gain, it's a great starting point, to see how you handle everything, see how enjoyable it is for you, and of course, increases the chances that you'll reach the summit. Obviously, because it was my first, I am partial to that mountain, but I really do think it makes an excellent entry point to the 14er world. Sherman would also be a nice choice, for the same reason as Democrat, but I think Democrat is a little easier and is thus a better fit for a first-time 14er.

I also second those opinions that recommend an early start, maybe even a little before dawn. That way, even with a slow pace, you shouldn't have weather issues, you can spend more time on the summit, and make the experience all the more enjoyable.

Good luck, and I hope that it is a meaningful experience for you.

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Re: Im sure....

Postby onepeakatatime » Wed Jul 10, 2013 10:44 pm

I am not sure the issue is being out of shape. I have not summited a 14er in 5 years. My goal is to be willing (at 70) to start from the trail head and go up. As was stated on this site, " to summit is optional, to return to the bottom is mandatory". That has been my goal, and have great hikes since then, have been very rewarding even if I have not reached the summit. Enjoy the mountain. Period.

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Re: Im sure....

Postby Shawnee Bob » Wed Jul 10, 2013 11:11 pm

I'm in total agreement with everyone here. My one word of caution is that if you or your husband has had heart issues, talk to your doctor. Other than that, hydrate, stay away from booze, eat well (carb up!), get an early start and listen to your body. Hiking and climbing the 14ers is quite the healthy addiction!
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Re: Im sure....

Postby Dex » Thu Jul 11, 2013 7:37 am

viewtopic.php?f=16&t=31592&p=371839#p371839
Sun Aug 07, 2011 2:07 pm
MissMindi wrote:I searched the threads and I didnt see exactly what I was looking for, but maybe I overlooked it. My husband and I are *very* out of shape. We have a goal to be in well enough shape to climb a 14'er next summer. I want to be able to build up my tolerance so to speak of working out. Here is where the problem comes in. I am currently pregnant which puts any serious conditioning and working out on hold until January when I have the baby. What do you recommend as far as getting ready for a climb for a very out of shape couple, both while I am pregnant and then more rigorous after the baby is born to get ready for the climb. Also...what 14'er would you suggest for the first time...
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