Peak(s):  Mt. Elbert  -  14,433 feet
Date Posted:  10/02/2012
Modified:  10/08/2012
Date Climbed:   09/30/2012
Author:  summitbound
 My 14er Finisher!!!!- Mt. Elbert   

Those most interested in the pictures feel free to scroll down. Those who will indulge me with a bit of reflection on my journey can read on..

I climbed my first 14er in August of 2004. Now 8 years later that goal/quest has finally been realized. Many people achieve this goal much faster than I have, but my journey has been my own and I appreciate the time I allowed to plan and anticipate every climb. I was able to take in the experiences of each mountain, and to reflect on them before tackling the next one. While climbing does not define who I am, it has helped defined who I have become.

My journey has not just been about experiences in the mountains but about how they interrelate with the rest of my life. The mountains have seen me find lost friendships. They have also seen me lose good friends. They have seen me grow as a person, husband and a father. They have helped me form an unbreakable bond with my son. They have given me a focus to stay healthy and an excuse to visit some of the most spectacular places on earth.

My 14er Quest has produced some memorable adventures with catchy tags such as "summit at all costs", "Shafer's trench" and "LaPuka". Some don't have tags but are memorable none the less as they involve lighting, blizzards, torrential downpours, and even the Jefferson County Sheriff.

I look back on pictures from my first 14er and I see cotton everywhere. I remember wearing my heavy firefighting boots and wondering where my next breath was going to come from. But I also remember hitting the summit and the feeling of accomplishment. Oh and you can't forget about the views from the "Top of the Rockies". I have to say I was immediately "hooked". I found and signed up as alanb to begin what was the first of hundreds of hours of research and dreaming of what peak I would climb next. Looking at the "hard" peaks and wondering if I would every have the skills to tackle them.

Those of you who remember the site back then, it was not the fine-tuned machine that Bill has created today. Trip reports were scarce and you had to put them in a forum post (10 pic max). Bill only had about 1/3 of the 14er routes up. The community was small, maybe 500 registered users or less. For my first 20ish summits I would diligently put together a trip report and check more and more summits off my list. I remember Culebra finally opening up to the general public and signing up for (I believe) the first organized Culebra hike.

Shortly after that circumstances in my life would take me away from climbing for over a year. I wondered at that time if the goal was lost. But life is funny and a passion never dies. I was able to return to climbing and return to, but with the necessity of a bit more anonymity so I signed up under the handle summitbound. The need for new trip reports has diminished and the wealth of knowledge from other members saw me fade from trip reports and post counts. But the goal was never out of sight.

My "peaks checked" list was also an evolution of my skill level. I found a partner whose skill level is light years beyond mine. The confidence I gained on each of our summits allowed me to expand beyond the normal summer time frame and traditional routes. No longer was the check box the goal, but rather the experience. I sought out non-standard routes and wanted to avoid the crowds, to make my own mark by hitting a summit every month of the year, which I was able to complete. I learned winter climbing is a different world from summer. I love the solitude and the beauty of the 14ers in this magical season. I also learned defeat and how to turn back when condition were just not right. I learned persistence in going back over and over again to reach that one missed summit. I found that snow climbs are one of my favorite things.

On the personal side of my journey I gained an appreciation for the impact climbing has on my family. The time spent away from home, the worry when I don't check in on time, and they read about the accidents and fatalities on the very peaks they know I am on. Despite all this they remained unwavering in their support. I watched my son grow into a solid outdoorsman. I remember watching him struggle as a small 7 year old attempting Culebra with bronchitis and a broken arm all the way to where he is now- a 13 year old Eagle Scout with 20 summits under his belt including Mt Wilson, the Chicago Basin, and Snowmass.

On my final 14er I saw the culmination of that support from both family and friends. Friends and coworkers flew in from out of state, family drove across the county, hiking partners who had long since moved beyond the 14er list came back to share my final 14er summit with me. My wife planned an amazing finishing party. It was a great day with a great group of people. A huge thanks to all who have contributed to helping me complete "the list"
Thanks for allowing me to share this with you all.

A few selected photo's


My family and friends on the summit with me.


My son on his first 14er


January Summit of Ellingwood at night and in a blizzard.


The Bell Cord


Y Couloir on Pikes Peak


Near the summit of Maroon Peak


precarious ice slope on the Bells


me surveying the Sawtooth


hero shot on North Massive


Conundrum Couloir


The diving board on Pyramid


The gully on Wetterhorn


Princeton from Grouse Creek TH


The Prow on Kit Carson


Crestone Needle


Traverse with El Diente behind


Down Climbing std route Maroon Peak


North Maroon


Traverse from Needle to Peak


Yale in a January snowstorm


The Sawtooth


Columbia West Ridge in Feb




Hourglass on Little Bear


Blanca with Ellingwood behind


Wilson Peak


Sunlight summit block- (The top is the top right?)


My son on Mt. Wilson


Father and son on Snowmass


Capitol in May- My all time favorite mountain

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30

Comments or Questions

Style Points
10/02/2012 16:24
Thanks for sharing your journey. It may have taken you eight years (which is still quicker than a lot of folks!), but you completed the list with zest and style. Those are some impressive routes and times of year. Congrats!


Haven't read the whole thing yet...
10/02/2012 17:24
...but that's one heck of a set of pictures. Really impressive!

Mike Cormier

10/02/2012 18:35
What a great, concise encapsulation of a wonderful journey and what it has meant physically and otherwise. Excellent pictures, capturing all kinds of different moments. Congratulations.


10/02/2012 18:49
Very, very nice. Congratulations on your journey.


Great Job
10/02/2012 19:49
This is absolutely awesome to see some of your pictures. Congrats on what I'm sure was an amazing journey!


10/03/2012 01:48
That every-month thing is awesome. Congrats.


Road less traveled
10/03/2012 02:54
Congrats on the finish, and in style following the road less traveled.


10/03/2012 02:59
Nice hiking with you on Snowmass, those are great photos and I'm sure fine memories. The journey's not over, enjoy the next chapter and good luck keeping up with your son.



THANKS everyone
10/03/2012 14:51
for your kind words and comments.

Ed, great hiking with you. Great pic you took of us on Snowmass

cftbq- summit every month of the year was TOUGH. But I thought it was pretty unique. I'm glad I did it.


The real deal
10/03/2012 15:51
Thanks for sharing your journey. Said in only a few paragraphs, you're the real deal. Not because you're finished, but because your love for the mountains shows.


10/03/2012 19:52
Congratulations. Truly a wonderful accomplishment. I enjoyed your report and the photo's are incredible!

Ridge runner

10/04/2012 17:37
Nice job on finishing and the story behind your journey!


Nicely done!
10/05/2012 17:10
Congratulations! Great story and photos.


10/06/2012 20:44
Enjoyed the report and the pics. I think you meant North Maroon for photo 18. Congrats on your accomplishment!


10/07/2012 16:44
Those are some awesome shots! looks like you enjoyed the journey Keep up the good work!

10/08/2012 02:49
a wonderful mountain journey...thanks for sharing


Thanks again!
10/08/2012 15:37
unclegar- Yep good catch, I did mean North Maroon-fixed.

Everyone else thanks for your comments and for reading my story


10/12/2012 03:18
on your accomplishment. It was a pleasure seeing your highlight photos and to read your reflection. As an aside, I was glad to see someone else who hiked Princeton via the Grouse Creek route.


10/12/2012 17:40
Sweet photos Alan! My personal favorite is the one on Ellingwood . That was a memorable summit. Brian


:) Thanks
10/12/2012 18:50
Thanks gettingolder- Not may reports on Grouse Creek out there. We are an elite group lol. Its a fun route, time consuming, but fun.

BK- Ah the Ellingwood trip, that was border line epic. Could not have made that summit without you guys. Thanks for helping me get it done. I have a new pair of Scarpas now... ;) Lets break them in this winter!

Mt. Elbert Sept 30th.
10/12/2012 19:37
Just so happens I was up from Kansas and shared the summit with your group that day. I had the honor of taking the group photo. I didnt read your sign at the time, (I was breathing to hard to make out the writing) or I most certainly would have congratulated you then. That being said, congratulations. Im only on #13 myself and inspired to keep up the effort.


great picture
10/12/2012 20:23
wfelix- great shot you took of the group. Thanks for being the camera man, much appreciated. Congrats on your summit and #13! that is a lot of summits coming from Kansas. Keep plugging away before you know it you will be there.

Thanks and Congrats
03/24/2013 16:07
A great post and a great accomplishment. Thanks for taking the time to post.

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