Josh Friesema who regularly contributes to the Colorado Springs Gazette’s website “Out There Colorado” has an article published about why he climbs 14ers:
It’s 2 a.m., and my alarm goes off.
I quietly dress in the dark and whisper a goodbye to my wife before slipping out of the room. It takes me all of 10 minutes to grab some breakfast and my pack before heading out the door. I swing by and pick up my climbing partner. Few words are spoken, and we’re on our way to the trailhead.
We make good time, as is the norm this time of the morning. When we reach the trailhead two hours later, it’s still dark and cold, and we notice a couple of other hikers prepping.
Ironically, this remote location is probably one of the busier places to be at this time of day. Only climbers get up this early on weekends.
Why do we get up so early, to drive so far, to hike in the cold, to climb the highest peaks?
In 1924, George Mallory was asked why he wanted to climb Mount Everest. He responded, “Because it’s there.”
This quip made for a great line in a story, but there’s more to it than that. [Out There Colorado]
You can read the rest at the link, but I agree with a lot with what Friesema wrote in his article. I like spending time outdoors and traveling. Climbing 14ers and mountains in general is a great way to see all corners of Colorado. I know people who have spent all their lives in Colorado and have not seen as much of the state as I have over the past two years climbing 14ers.
I also enjoy staying both physically and mentally fit; climbing 14ers is a great way to do both. I do know of anyone that did not see noticeable fitness and weight loss improvements after seriously pursuing hiking 14ers as a hobby. Plus hiking these big mountains challenges you to push through mental barriers. There are times on a mountain when I have been tired and cold and just wanted to turn around. However, I fought that little voice in my head that would have turned around many other people to keep going. I believe it is good to push myself regularly to give me what I call a “gut check” that pushes me not only physically, but mentally as well.
Then there is the preparation and the need to get up early and follow a strict schedule to make sure a mountain is climbed at the right time to avoid storms. I think these are skills that can carry over into other areas of life when dealing with preparation, adversity, and practicing time management. So can climbing mountains make you a better person? I think so, but the best way to find out is start climbing mountains yourself.