I used to be well versed in the art of chasing summits. Key words being “used to be”. Lately, I’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 it’s there.
There’s a teeny, tiny chance I’m meddling with the idea of getting back into training + racing. Teeny. Tiny. Itty. Bitty. It’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. I’m not quite ready to throw money at a race entry [I’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 I’ve already traveled myself out for the year I’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?…I’m planning out my free time around specific mountains. This isn’t exactly my regular sort of adventuring, but it does seem like a good transition into racing on the trails again, eh? Let’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 14’er summits. If that was a mix + match six pack of local brews it’d be impressive, having a taste of everything.
At the Bierstadt summit, circa 2012…my very first 14’er summit!
I’ve been living in Colorado for about six years now + I’ve topped out on some of these summits already. But…that doesn’t mean I’m not going to be tagging every single one of them before October 31st. Instead of skipping the one’s I’ve already summited I’m adding my own little twist to keep them interesting + exciting. Here’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.
Mt 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. I’m seriously hoping all goes well with the weather + logistics because I’m really jonesing for this to be my last big hurrah before winter sets in. Not that I’m necessarily opposed to winter…it just makes backcountry + trail travel a bit riskier + trickier. Plus, summer means longer days + I’m clinging to each ray of sunshine I can get my hands on!
Here’s to six weeks of chasing mountain tops…for the fun of it!