I used to be well versed in the art of chasing summits. Key words being “used to be”. Lately, Iâ€™ve been happy soaking up the sun near alpine lakes. Just being on the trails makes me happy + my running/race performance has declined right along with my urge to chase down a peak simply because itâ€™s there.
Thereâ€™s a teeny, tiny chance Iâ€™m meddling with the idea of getting back into training + racing. Teeny. Tiny. Itty. Bitty. Itâ€™s not high on my agenda, but a part of me misses the endurance, struggle + eventual sense of achievement that comes with chasing down a goal. Iâ€™m not quite ready to throw money at a race entry [Iâ€™m quite content volunteering at the races I once ran]. What I need is something other than a pricey race bib to motivate me to plot out mountain adventures.
This little diddy started in Southern California with Jeff Hester [aka, SoCal Hiker] was training for the John Muir Trail + has exploded into a multi-state challenge. Since Iâ€™ve already traveled myself out for the year Iâ€™m sticking to the Colorado peaks, but six respectable peaks in just under two months still require some finagling.
For the first time in…years?…Iâ€™m planning out my free time around specific mountains. This isnâ€™t exactly my regular sort of adventuring, but it does seem like a good transition into racing on the trails again, eh? Letâ€™s take a look at the summits…
Six Pack of Peaks; Colorado Style
Bergen Peak // 9.6 miles to a 9,708′ summit
Rocky Mountain // 6 miles to a 9,250′ summit
Birthday Peak // 10.3 miles to a 12,730′ summit
Horseshoe Mountain // 6.4 miles to a 13,898′ summit
Mount Bierstadt // 7 miles to a 14,060′ summit
Grays Peak // 8.6 miles to a 14,270′ summit
We start out with two pretty well-known Front Range summits, branch out to some rather hidden summits with a few hours drive of Denver, then top it all off with two very popular 14â€™er summits. If that was a mix + match six pack of local brews itâ€™d be impressive, having a taste of everything.
At the Bierstadt summit, circa 2012…my very first 14â€™er summit!
Iâ€™ve been living in Colorado for about six years now + Iâ€™ve topped out on some of these summits already. But…that doesnâ€™t mean Iâ€™m not going to be tagging every single one of them before October 31st. Instead of skipping the oneâ€™s Iâ€™ve already summited Iâ€™m adding my own little twist to keep them interesting + exciting. Hereâ€™s what I have in mind for my attempt at the Six Pack of Peaks in the Colorado Rockies…
Bergen Peak — recruit friends + their pups to tag along for a weekend adventure.
Rocky Mtn — wrap this summit into my trek to Colorado Springs to volunteer at a trail race.
Birthday Peak — celebrating my birthday, on a peak aptly named!
Horseshoe Mtn — spending a weekend camping at the trailhead + hitting up Mt Sherman, too.
MtÂ Bierstadt — creating a loop with Mt Bierstadt + Mt Evans, via the Sawtooth.
Grays Peak — taking a lesser-known route from Loveland Pass, via Cupid, Grizzly + Torreys.
If my legs are capable of keeping up with my scheming mind this will get me at least 11 summits before the end of October. Iâ€™m seriously hoping all goes well with the weather + logistics because Iâ€™m really jonesing for this to be my last big hurrah before winter sets in. Not that Iâ€™m necessarily opposed to winter…it just makes backcountry + trail travel a bit riskier + trickier. Plus, summer means longer days + Iâ€™m clinging to each ray of sunshine I can get my hands on!
Hereâ€™s to six weeks of chasing mountain tops…for the fun of it!