Peak(s):  Capitol Peak  -  14,138 feet
Date Posted:  09/22/2014
Modified:  08/17/2015
Date Climbed:   09/17/2014
Author:  Jim Davies
 The Big C   

On September 17, Carol Beckman and I finished the 14er list on Capitol Peak, after a meandering journey of almost 20 years, with a big speed bump during the last year. This is our story.

A Journey Of A Thousand Miles Begins With A Single Step - Lao-Tzu

It was the end of our fifth summer in Colorado, and we'd been hiking more and more each year. I decided it was time to give the big lump next door a try.
Greg, me, and Teresa on Mount Herman - June 19, 1994

My first 14er was Pikes Peak, on September 18, 1994. It was interesting, very long (Barr Trail with overnight at Barr Camp), but I didn't think I'd necessarily do another one. I did buy copies of the Dawson and Roach 14er books, just because I like trail guides. Hmm, quality information, good trailhead access, hmm....

There Is Quality In Quantity - Branch Rickey

That winter, my dad mentioned that he'd hiked up some mountain with friends back in the 1937-38 period that he worked at a mine in Alma. I thought it sounded like fun to go where he'd gone (even though he didn't really know where that was). That spring I got laid off from my job and had a lot of free time, so in August 1995 (after the huge snow melted off some) I started doing weekly 14er hikes, starting with the Decalibron. Good exercise, great views - I could keep doing this, I suppose. I climbed 9 more new 14ers and Pikes Peak again that year.

Starting with 1995, I pretty much hiked double figures most years from then on. In 1996, Carol and our two kids (then 10-year-old Teresa and 7-year-old Greg) joined me on a 14er for the first time, successfully summitting Grays Peak on August 11th. We continued to do family 14ers over the following decade or so until they went off to college, and Carol and the kids each got about 30 different 14er summits, a handful of 13ers, and a dozen or so repeats over the years.
Greg, me, Teresa, Cardboard Rodney, and Carol, Columbia Peak - July 11, 2004

Meanwhile, I kept working the list little by little, but doing lots of repeats also (since I mostly just like the experience, and who wants to do all those hard, dangerous peaks anyway?) I got my 100th summit in 2003, and with a few hundred lower summit hikes I was really enjoying this hobby. But in 2003 we also climbed Windom Peak and the Eoluses (giving me 43 of 55) on a Boy Scout trip, and I started to think maybe I had a chance...

In 2007 Carol and I got a last-minute chance to join one of the Culebra days (at $100 apiece), and we decided to also go back to Chicago Basin to do Sunlight. This was the point where Carol started to think she could also finish, and over the next few years we climbed the Crestones, Maroon Bells, and some of the other distant and difficult peaks. We also started hiking a 14er on our anniversary each year, July 25th.
Our 26th anniversary, Mount Eolus - July 25, 2007

In 2012, we had a watershed year, as Carol got to 50/55 and I got to 54, capping our year with climbs of El Diente and Mount Wilson.
Carol on Mount Wilson summit ridge, September 19, 2012

It looked like we could climb the four Carol needed that I had already done, then finish on Capitol Peak, the following summer. Sounds like a plan!

If You Want To Make God Laugh, Tell Him About Your Plans - Woody Allen

Beginning in the summer of 2011, I'd been experiencing some shortness of breath during exertion; hikes started taking longer than I knew they had in the recent past. Various heart and lung tests revealed nothing, although one helpful medical professional suggested that I was just getting old - boy, that was sudden. I decided to just work through it, maybe lose some weight, allow longer for hikes. The summer of 2012 went pretty well, with 11 summits including some harder ones. But in 2013, my symptoms got too big to ignore, and I went back in for more medical tests in mid-August.

This time, blood tests, a CT scan, and a bone marrow biopsy revealed what was going on: I had stage 4b Mantle Cell Lymphoma, a blood cancer in which my B-cell lymphocytes don't die when they're supposed to, accumulating in the blood and, especially, my spleen, and crowding out red blood cells (which left me short of breath). Various sources indicated from 50% to 70% five-year survival rates for my condition. Hmmm, the knife edge isn't sounding as risky as it used to...

My hematologist and oncologist is Dr. Tony DeCarolis of the Rocky Mountain Cancer Center, at Penrose Hospital in Colorado Springs. Carol was already friends with Tony, as they are both adult leaders in the scout troop that our son went to. In fact, we had summitted Mount Elbert with Tony in 2010. You know how some cancer survivors will go out and do some symbolic hike with their doctor? I did mine before I even had the disease!
Carol (left), me and Tony DeCarolis (right) on Mount Elbert with Troop 1, September 18, 2010

If It Doesn't Kill You It'll Make You Stronger, But If It Kills You You'll Be Dead - Jonathan Coulton

My treatment started as soon as possible. After getting a chemo port installed, I started two-day rounds of rituximab and bendamustine every month for six months. The first session was on September 5th; due to a normal first-time reaction to rituximab, it took seven hours. (Nevertheless, I managed to watch Peyton Manning and the Broncos put seven TDs on the Ravens that evening.) The best part of this chemo regimen was that I kept my hair, for now anyway...
Chemo round 1, day 2 - September 6, 2013

The next few weeks were rough, as I was weak, nauseous, had trouble regulating my body temperature, and developed a full-body rash due to an antibiotic allergy. Carol was great during this whole process, driving me to appointments, tracking my body temperature, trying to get me to eat, and getting me out to walk around (exercise helps).

My second round of chemo was delayed for two weeks because of low white cell counts, but beyond that point I fell into a somewhat comfortable pattern - chemo, a few days of nausea and discomfort, then a few weeks of near-normality. We managed to get some hiking and even skiing in during the winter months, although not nearly as much as normal.

After the final round in early February (and after the Super Bowl was called off due to bad weather - that was what happened, right?), another bone marrow biopsy and PET scan showed no detectable cancer cells. Yay! However, there was one more treatment step recommended to keep the cancer away as long as possible (as MCL has a high relapse rate).

...And You Just Roll Around Denver All Day - Warren Zevon

Beginning in late February of 2014, I began preparing for an autologous bone marrow transplant at the Colorado Blood Cancer Institute in Denver, under the care of Dr. Scott Bearman. This is a wondrously high-tech procedure in which they extract immature bone marrow cells (stem cells) from my blood, freeze them, kill the bone marrow with high-dose chemotherapy, then put back the stem cells, which grow back into marrow. It's a well-developed procedure with lots of checks and balances along the way, but it's a bit scary to think about, and it would leave me without an immune system for a few weeks. Nonetheless, it promised to extend my remission period by years, and maybe forever - nothing in cancer treatment is certain, but you've got to play the percentages.

The extraction of my stem cells happened in early March. After a few days of priming with drugs (Neupogen and Mozibil), I was hooked up to a centrifuge for two five-hour sessions. These were successful, and my stem cells were sent off to be frozen in liquid nitrogen.
The first batch of extracted stem cells - March 10, 2014

Now it was time for the really scary part - killing my bone marrow. Because of the possible complications, I had to stay within a few miles of CBCI in Denver for the next month, so we rented an apartment a few blocks away. The high-dose chemo started on March 17th and lasted six days. After a "rest day" (during which I wound up in the emergency room due to some vision problems), I got my stem cells re-injected on March 24th, aka Day Zero.
RN Cilla gives me back my stem cells - March 24, 2014

I noticed that the stem cell packets were marked with an expiration date - July 25th, 2041 (9999 days after they were extracted). Coincidentally, that would be our 60th wedding anniversary. If all goes well, we'll still be doing our annual 14er hike by then...

My body was fairly messed up during this time - I could only eat mushy stuff, was weak and prone to infections, and smelled like creamed corn for a week due to the DMSO mixed into the stem cells. But I was allowed to walk the neighborhood, and we walked it silly for the next four weeks. Starting from our City Park West apartment, we walked to the hospital for my morning blood test and IV (saline and electrolytes, usually), walked downtown, walked to Washington Park, Cheesman Park, City Park, Confluence Park, walked, walked, walked. My blood was thin, but my legs were in great shape. My hair and beard eventually fell out, and I scared a lot of small children with my bald head and surgical mask. But the walking helped a lot with our mood and with my recovery. I needed platelet transfusions on days 6 and 9, and a red cell transfusion on day 11, but by that time my counts were starting to rise on their own - my marrow is coming back! I'm gonna live!

On April 17th, day 24, I got to go home. One of the best days of my life...

I'm Back In The Saddle Again - Gene Autry

Once home, of course, my thoughts turned immediately to skiing - there's still six weeks left in the season! I patiently waited a few weeks to get stronger, and on May 7th we went to Loveland and skied for four hours. It was glorious.

After ski season, of course, comes summer. I continued to improve, and kept skiing, hiking and biking to stay in shape, but eventually I had to test my new blood cells. On June 30th, day 98, we hiked the Crags route to the summit of Pikes Peak. It took me hours longer than a few years ago, but we made it. I sat down and cried for five minutes just below the summit. I'm back!
Carol and I on Pikes Peak - June 30, 2014. Hair and facial hair altered by an unfortunate transporter accident.

Over a nine-day stretch in mid-July, we hiked all of the 14ers in the Tenmile-Mosquito range, ending up with Sherman on our 33rd wedding anniversary, the eighth straight year we'd celebrated on a peak (although last year we just drove up Evans, due to weather and health). It started to look like we could resume chasing "the list" soon, maybe, kinda...don't want to get our hopes up too much, as I was still pretty slow.

I Love It When A Plan Comes Together - Hannibal Smith

In early August, a window of good weather opened up, so we decided to go for Wilson Peak, the easiest of Carol's remaining 14ers. We camped at the Rock of Ages trailhead on the 7th and summitted on the 8th. Progress!
Wilson Peak - August 8, 2014

Despite the rainy summer we were having, another opening appeared the last week of August. We took advantage of it to backpack in to Willow Lake on the 29th, and summit Kit Carson and Challenger the 30th. It was a long day, but I was actually feeling great. The future's so bright, I gotta wear shades...
Kit Carson Avenue - August 30, 2014

Carol now had two 14ers left - Little Bear and Capitol. Gulp. Let's not get ahead of ourselves here...

A few days later, another good weather window beckoned. Due to the aggressive bear problems at Lake Como, we didn't really want to camp there. This left the option of trying to day-hike the 14 miles and 6100' vertical of Little Bear, which sounds ridiculous so soon after my transplant. But we figured there was no harm in trying (failure is an option), so we camped at the 2WD trailhead in the desert on September 2nd, and hiked up the road in the early-morning darkness of the 3rd. 16.5 hours later, we got back to the car in the late-evening darkness, with another peak in the bag.
Little Bear - September 3, 2014

For the first time since 1994, Carol and I were even in our 14er lists at 54/55. Only the Big C remained. Big gulp.

Don't Cry Because It's Over, Smile Because It Happened - Dr. Suess

So it was time to start thinking about finishing on Capitol. Various conflicts and weather prevented us from getting the window we wanted for a few weeks, although we did manage to climb Harvard on Friday, September 12th. This was cool because it gave me 199 14er summits, so my finisher could be #200. If I did it on Thursday, September 18th, it could also be on the 20th anniversary of #1, which would even cooler. I anxiously watched the weather forecasts for the coming week; Thursday's forecast seemed to be oscillating between perfect sunny weather and 20-30% chance of rain. Make up your mind, NOAA!

Tuesday morning, the forecast for Wednesday looked good, so Carol convinced me that finishing one day short of 20 years would be totally OK. We packed up and hit the road for Aspen. The hike in on the ditch trail took 3.5 hours, and we arrived at Capitol Lake just before dark. While setting up our tent, one of the poles snapped - uh, oh, bad omen? The tent was fortunately still usable, so we set the alarm for dawn and hit the sack.

At 6:40 on Wednesday, September 17th, we started up.
Looking back at Mount Daly on the traverse to Capitol - September 17, 2014

I'm still a bit impaired by low red cell and hemoglobin counts, so it went slowly, but in a few hours we reached K2 and the start of the real fun. Due to snow on the north side, we climbed the ridge to the summit. Luke Stephenson happened to be on the knife edge when we were atop K2.
Carol on K2. Luke is barely visible on the knife edge.

We then did a white-knuckle descent of the class 4 slabs on the northwest side. This was probably the most nervewracking part of the day. Luke got a picture of us descending. This is a picture you don't show your mom.
Descending K2. (photo by Luke Stephenson)

Carol didn't enjoy the knife edge much - she likes more positive holds as a rule.
Carol on the knife edge.

For my part, I thought it was awesome, possibly the best spot I've ever been in the mountains.
Me on the knife edge (on the return).

Past the knife edge, the terrain was complicated, and finding a good route was tough. About this time another climber, Scott, caught up with us. We diverged with him at the base of the slabs below the summit - he went up to the left ridge, we traversed to the right and followed that ridgeline up.
Traversing to the right summit ridge.

At 1:15 pm, we finally summitted. We obviously had a lot of work left to get back down safely, but it was definitely a moment of elation.
Summit! Halfway done...

After the moment was up, we started down pretty quickly, as we were both nervous about all the difficulties remaining. We managed to get down and across the face without incident, and back to the knife edge again. Here we encountered the most extreme pika ever.
Extreme cuteness! Pika living on the knife edge.

At K2, we decided to try for easier terrain than our descent route. We traversed across the north face until the snow got too heavy, then scrambled up a class 3 ridge to the summit. Descending what we thought was the right ridge for a ways, Carol pointed out that we were still looking at Pierre Lakes below - we were going down the ridge toward Clark Peak. Oops. A quick scramble back to the ridgeline and a bit of traversing got us back on course, and soon we had put K2 behind us. Whew. At this point survival seemed much more likely than before, although there was still a lot of boulder-hopping to go. We eventually got to the last gully before the Daly-Capitol saddle, but found ourselves with one last exposed class 3 section to cross. This mountain doesn't give up easily. Finally, we reached the trail to the saddle, and relaxed a bit. We finished! It finally seems official! The rest was just hiking, and after spending another night we hiked out the next day and drove home, tired, sore and happy, on the 20th anniversary of my first Pikes Peak climb.

So, we've finished the list, but I'm sure we're not done with the 14ers. July 25, 2041 - mark your calendar, Carol. We'll climb something. It'll be fun.

Tell Your Statistics To Shut Up - Charlie Brown

Being a numbers geek, I can't resist giving a few stats about my and Carol's climbing.

Total 14er summits (list of 55): 200 for me (112 for Carol)
Time to finish: 19 years and 364 days for me (18 years and 37 days for Carol)
Most-summitted 14er: Pikes Peak, 17 times
14ers summitted more than once: 42
14ers summitted at least 10 times: 8
Winter summits: 1
Most summits in one year: 17, 1999
Month with most summits: 56 in August
Months with no summits: January, March, and December
Monthly grid slots filled: 121

Chemotherapy sessions: 18
Chemotherapy drugs: 6
Prescription drugs: 15
Transfusions: 2 platelets, 1 red cells
Surgical procedures: 6
CT and PET scans: 7
Blood tests: 62
Nights spent in hospitals: 0

and most important,
14ers climbed since cancer treatment: 12

Today I Consider Myself The Luckiest Man On The Face Of This Earth - Lou Gehrig

At the risk of sounding like a bad Oscar acceptance speech, I feel I need to acknowledge all the help I've gotten along the way. is the greatest source of information on the 14ers ever. I was a member of 14erWorld throughout its heyday, and also found great info and met some great people through that site. The Dawson and Roach 14er guidebooks are packed with useful information, and were especially useful back before the Internet took over the world.

Many, many health professionals were involved in my cancer treatment at RMCC and CBCI, and I literally owe them my life. I've become aware that those who care for cancer patients are some of the best people in the world - caring, skilled, compassionate, and surprisingly upbeat. I'm fortunate to have recovered so well, and that's largely due to the excellent care I received. Thank you for giving me my life back.

Finally, to Carol, Teresa, and Greg, thank you for making life so wonderful and worth living. I love you all.

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

Comments or Questions
09/22/2014 15:14
This is freaking awesome!!! What a trip report and amazing journey you had even surviving cancer along the way. This is one of the best reports I have seen in a long time.

those quotes are perfect...
09/22/2014 15:19 is this TR. Congrats to both you and Carol! Inspiring would be an understatement. Keep it up!

09/22/2014 15:24
Congrats on finishing the list and overcoming obstacles along the way that most people can't even imagine. Great read. Heres to your continued health and happiness!

09/22/2014 15:25
Well done!! Kudos to both yourself and the wife. An inspiration to many.

09/22/2014 15:26
Thank you so much for sharing, Jim. I'm so glad that the chemo worked, and that the extraction of your stem cells was successful, too. Congratulations on finishing all of the Colorado 14ers, despite many ups and downs! We are all proud of you for overcoming everything you've had to go through, and for being able to finish the 14ers. Great job, Jim, and I hope you have many successful summits in the future.

09/22/2014 15:39
This has got to be one of the most heartwarming, inspirational tales of a 20 year journey ever! I am in tears.
Not only did I love your chapter headings, but I loved your line:
Hmmm, the knife edge isn't sounding as risky as it used to... I guess it's all a matter of perspective isn't it?
Congratulations is such an understatement to you and Carol for enduring, persevering, and surviving together!!!

09/22/2014 15:40
Congratulations on an amazing journey. Thank you for sharing such an inspirational story with all of us.

09/22/2014 15:46
Best wishes to you and Carol.

Doug Shaw
great tale
09/22/2014 15:54
Very inspiring, Jim. Thanks for sharing your struggles (hearing about the mountains was okay, too ).

Congrats to both of you on finishing.

F#@% cancer!

Inspirational !
09/22/2014 15:57
Wow, this is one amazing trip report. Congrats on finishing ”the list”, but congrats is more in order for kicking cancer's ass. Good for you and Carol !! Your story reminds me of a quote I saw recently, ”Be kind always; everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about”.

I have no words, but I'll try
09/22/2014 15:57
I've valued your contributions ever since I can remember. You were a true all star before this TR. Now you've cemented your status as a legend. Congrats on all you've conquered so far. Here's to so much more.

Very inspiring
09/22/2014 16:03
Congrats on many levels!

Great quotes
09/22/2014 16:18
I like this one the best: ”Once home, of course, my thoughts turned immediately to skiing.”

That was a great story, thanks for sharing!

Awesome Journey!
09/22/2014 16:24
Congrats on beating cancer and finishing strong on a great mountain journey. I missed out on the legendary Cardboard Rodney fun! Thanks for sharing your struggles and your celebrations on a long trek through life!

Really nice report.
09/22/2014 16:26
Obviously, congratulations on your joint finisher. But even bigger congratulations on your outlook on life, tackling your cancer, and emotionally-articulate perspective on your ”journey.”

Congrats Jim!
09/22/2014 16:30
And thanks for the story.

Woo hoo!
09/22/2014 16:54
Great report, greater journey. Congrats all around.

Doctor No
Really enjoyed the read
09/22/2014 17:00
Congrats on the journey!

Wish I lived in CO
Truly Inspiring!
09/22/2014 17:32
Thank you for sharing your story with all of us. A very obvious congrats to you and Carol.

This is...
09/22/2014 17:47
... the best Trip Report I have ever read. Period.

09/22/2014 17:58
This is a great story, thanks for sharing!

09/22/2014 18:06
Thanks for sharing, what a great story!

09/22/2014 18:18
Wow, as many have already said: this is the best and most inspiring trip report I have ever read, it nearly brought me to tears at some points. Congratulations!

Thank you!
09/22/2014 18:22
Thank you for this great report. I'm going to share it with friends of mine who are going through hard times. What a great telling of your adventures on and off the peaks!

Jon Frohlich
Awesome doesn't cover it
09/22/2014 18:39
I echo what some others said. Best trip report ever. No contest. Congrats on finally completing your 14er journey!

09/22/2014 18:54
That's a great TR, Jim. Congrats on finishing up the 14ers and overcoming all the obstacles.

Best trip report ever
09/22/2014 19:00
Amazing how your respect for life and fear of death change when you experience something like that.

I was diagnosed with CML in 2009, have to love those bone marrow biopsies.

So great to see how good you are doing!

Super Trip Report
09/22/2014 19:01
Congratulations! You are an inspiration to all. Way to keep up the positive and ”can do” attitude.

Mel McKinney
Thank you Jim & Carol!
09/22/2014 19:02
It is so wonderful for you to share your story. Such a inspiration. Jay521 is right. Best trip report ever! Congrats to you both!

Best report
09/22/2014 19:12
This is easily the best trip report I've ever read! Congratulations for the list completion, beating cancer and for having such a wonderful and supportive family. Take the rest of the day off!

Cool Hand Luke
09/22/2014 19:18
Jim and Carol, congrats on finishing the 14ers, it was great to meet you and chat a bit on K2. I thought it was awesome you were both together on your finisher, but am even more inspired by the rest of the story. -Luke

09/22/2014 19:20
There are people who finish the 14ers, but what you fought threw to finish brings your accomplishment to a whole different level. I hope you continue to get stronger and are able to show those around you what can be done when facing a challenge that may be unbeatable. Congratulations to you, and your wife Carol!

09/22/2014 19:52
Congratulations Jim and Carol! What an incredibly inspiring story. I love photo 19 of you two. Wow....thanks for sharing.

09/22/2014 19:55
What an amazing write up! Thanks for sharing your story and congrats to you both! Simply inspiring!

09/22/2014 19:58
You've been a fixture on this site ever since my first visit. Thank you for sharing your inspiring story. Congratulations to both you and Carol!

That's why you're not afraid of lightning!
09/22/2014 20:19
What an inspiring story, and thanks for sharing. You always make quality, unassuming online contributions based on experience -- always measured and humble, without seeking attention. That comes through even more strongly in this writeup. Congratulations on your perseverance, renewed health and outlook from on high!

Super journey, Jim!
09/22/2014 20:31
... and congratulations!

Jeff Valliere
Amazing, Congrats!
09/22/2014 20:33
Congrats Jim! You are an inspiration. My 33 year old, otherwise healthy kid sister was recently diagnosed with Leukemia (AML). She is quite frightened as one would expect, but seems to be doing as well as could be expected at this point, but we have a long road ahead. Thanks for sharing, I'll pass this along to her.

How TR's Should Be
09/22/2014 22:25
Just want to echo all the amazing sentiment above. I applaud you for you honesty, vulnerability, and willingness to share your story with so many of us. Man....this is just so refreshing. There are so many things that complicate/dramatize/make this hobby seem silly; your story of hope and perseverance is an inspiration to me and brings a smile to my face. Thank you for sharing a part of your journey with us.

Thanks Jim!
09/22/2014 23:07
Great story! You are an inspiration to us all!

Wonderful report.
09/22/2014 23:44
And a huge congratulations to both of you. Inspirational.

09/23/2014 00:05
”For my part, I thought it was awesome, possibly the best...” TR I've read. Thanks, friend.

Congrats and thanks for sharing...
09/23/2014 01:14
This trip report is easily one of the most inspirational on this site and is also one of the best. Thank you for sharing and inspiring so many.

Hats off, sir
09/23/2014 01:23
Congrats, Jim, on a truly remarkable accomplishment. Wow, the tenacity and courage, truly impressive.

09/23/2014 01:29
You are amazing - I did Capitol this summer and like you, I think *it* is amazing, too.

Great Report!
09/23/2014 01:43
Your journey is inspirational.

09/23/2014 01:59
Wow talk about having some heart, courage and determination. You inspire me. Keep on keeping on, people like you are making this world a better place!

One Love!

another echo
09/23/2014 02:13
of all the above comments because I don't know what else to say!
Other than....
I think this is the best finisher report that I can recall reading, not only because of you and your wife reaching that goal together, but you did it with patience and overcoming such hurdles to get there. Thanks for sharing, Jim.
Best to you and your family! Keep hiking, climbing, & posting!

I think
09/23/2014 02:44
madbuck said what I meant to say. +1 on that.

Heartfelt congrats
09/23/2014 02:58
Thank you Jim for sharing your story. Congrats to you and Carol on finishing. And a bigger congrats on beating cancer, life is precious.

09/23/2014 04:10
I never comment on trip reports but this one has my vote for the hall of fame. Congrats to you both. Thanks for posting such a wonderful story. We should all be so lucky.

09/23/2014 04:13
Thank you for writing this all, and congratulations!

09/23/2014 04:26
Great report and many congrats to you!

Did not disappoint
09/23/2014 04:33
I have always appreciated your posts and like others I have learned a few things by reading them. You probably also have the record for more lol moments from your responses. I know that is true for me. So happy you and Carol were able to keep at it through the rough times and ultimately finish what is a huge goal for anyone, let alone people approaching our age. A little disappointed that there were no references to lightning but I guess I'll get over it. Congrats again to both of you!

Sweet, sweet success!
09/23/2014 04:47
CONGRATS on the 14er finish, to both of you!
Very glad your health and strength are coming back.
And you're right, DMSO reeks!

Love the family pics. What an incredible journey. Thanks for telling your story - it's a moving read.

Here's to many more summits! Cheers!

09/23/2014 08:27
That is an amazing story and a wonderful finish, Jim. I was thinking of more creative things to say as I read your story (”report” doesn't do it justice) but I see my creativity is lacking as it has all been covered already.

Carol, congratulations to you also. You are both lucky people.

In short, thanks for sharing.

My goodness
09/23/2014 11:07
”It ain't dying I'm talking about, it's living.” - Augustus McCrae

Brian C
Best report ever!
09/23/2014 12:40
Way to go Jim! I can't say that I usually pay much attention to the 14er finishers these days, but this totally caught my eye. Great report, great story and great inclusion of cardboard Rodney!

Thanks for posting.

Superlatives aren't enough
09/23/2014 12:46
I'm a sucker for inspiring stories like this. It really puts things in perspective. You're one tough dude. Congratulations to you and your wife and whole family!

Dave B
09/23/2014 14:53
I finally got the chance to read this. Incredible, congratulations to you both!

This is probably the best TR ever posted on this site.

Great report!
09/23/2014 15:43
I don't usually add to the comments sections, but I just want to say that this was one of my all-time favorite trip reports. Thanks for taking the time to share all of this. What an incredible journey!

Fantastic Life (and Report)!
09/23/2014 16:28
Thank you for sharing this. It's one of the best (if not THE) trip reports I've read. In fact, I'm making my coworkers and friends, who have no connection at all to 14ers, read it.

Congratulations for finishing, writing this trip report, but most importantly for not letting cancer win.

Steve Knapp
Well Done!
09/23/2014 17:18
Congrats on finishing the 14ers, the Big C was my final as well. What a great place. And what an interesting road your life took to get you there. The journey must have been hard and scary, but you beat it and now look at you. Life is a mountain, in many ways. Thanks so much for sharing your story Jim.

All the best to you and Carol.


Really Cool
09/23/2014 17:24
Great story, thanks for sharing that personal journey with us.

A Genuine Inspiration
09/23/2014 17:26
Sometimes the word ”inspiring” is overused, but it's the only one that fits here. I like the extreme pika too.

Steve Climber
Excellent report
09/23/2014 19:38
And a HUGE congrats to you both on an amazing journey.

Love it!!
09/24/2014 03:02
trip report, nah. more like life report! i thoroughly enjoyed it, made my day...

Michael J
Well done!
09/24/2014 04:02
Congratulations to both of you, Carol and Jim! Very well written report and a fine example of perseverance. I've watched your comments on the website for years and I've always considered you to be a voice of reason and humor. In addition, you always seem to be measured in response and never too extreme to make enemies. Such a nice job on your finish and a well deserved rest!

Del Gratz
What a story
09/24/2014 11:16
Thank you for sharing this wonderful story.

Congratulations and best wishes.


Wonderful Indeed
09/24/2014 18:18
Thank you so much for sharing your entire journey the good and not so good. I am grateful you were able to work and preserver through the cancer. I hope you and your family continue to have wonderful memories. Awesome

Sniff sniff
09/24/2014 19:43
Wonderful story. I think the internet just reached its potential. I should just log off forever. It won't get better. Great story.

09/24/2014 22:00
Very moving. Well done excellent report.
I‘ve been hesitant to read the whole thing, since a life-long friend of mine recently lost his dad to aggressive cancer... but so happy I really did enjoy your vibrant account. The unbelievably positive attitude you‘ve displayed is contagious! Even forced to wear an aromatic creamed corn after shave you‘ve shown stellar resilience with a sense of humor! You are inspiring us all

My mom had cancer in the mid 90‘s, and it never returned. Hoping the same and it never returns for you too Jim, with many more summits!

09/24/2014 22:07
...just wow. Congratulations to the two of you on that epic journey!

Incredible story
09/25/2014 02:02
I Don't What More I Can Add To What Has Been Said. I Truly Enjoyed What You Write About. Congratulations On Your Journey And Continued Health. Awesome! Tom

A story worth writing
09/25/2014 02:25
Way to go!

One more vote for best TR ever
09/25/2014 18:07
Only thing wrong with it was it got me all red-eyed at work. Hopefully my boss won't want to talk to me for a few minutes. To say congratulations seems almost lame compared to the magnitude of your story, but congratulations anyway, and thanks for sharing.

Love the stats too, even though I read somewhere (can't remember where) that 75 percent of all statistics are meaningless. Or was it 85?

Awesome, Jim and Carol!
09/25/2014 19:05
As a numbers guy, too, I fully appreciate all of the breakdown... but the journey is worth all of the times 1000. Congratulations on #200, as well!

I fall a lot
09/25/2014 21:25
That was some trip report. I can't even begin to comprehend what you and your wife have been through, what a roller coaster. Carol sounds like an absolute rock star and you sound pretty tough yerself.

Congratulations on surviving and thriving and sharing.

Every blue moon a trip report or a story hits me in the gut....thanks for the gut punch.

09/26/2014 17:47
Lance Armstrong without the PEDs and bullying! Now this is a book I'd like to read. Super congrats.

09/28/2014 16:06
Thank you so much for sharing-love, survival, mountains...doesn't get any better than that!
Climb on!!

05/25/2015 13:12
Thanks for posting this report. It was the best I’ve read.

08/21/2015 09:15
Loved this post more than any other. Congrats! You’ve got an incredible attitude. Speaker’s circuit perhaps? What an inspirational story.

12/30/2015 20:09
Just simply AWESOME!!!!!!

07/20/2017 15:27
I missed this, but is it too late for me to give you a hearty Congratulations? Great job! Way to overcome!

03/29/2019 10:18
This is now easily one of my favorite trip reports of all time; an incredibly inspirational tale. Congratulations on all you've achieved.

12/05/2019 18:51
Great story!

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