My Quest for the 14'ers

Since moving to California last year to take up the position as Mobility Coordinator for the city of Long Beach I've had the pleasure of exploring quite a bit of the great outdoors of this beautiful state. No, it won't replace Colorado in my heart, but boy is it a nice place to call home.  And California has 15 of the 14'ers, (peaks 14,000 feet and over - see my left side bar for the site that features all of them) that call to me to climb. 

Since last summer I have done three relatively easy ones: White, Langley and Split.  Split was interesting because it was a winter climb with full on ice axe, crampon conditions accompanying shear fear and cold snow camping. August 2010 plans are made to get up a few more.

But there is unfinished business in Colorado. So far I've managed to climb 43 of Colorado's 54 14'ers. Eleven are left and are named innocently enough - Wilson, Little Bear, Ellingwood, Pyramid Peak, Mt. Sneffels, etc.  But with the exception of a couple left on the list, they are last to be climbed because they are the hardest, most exposed mountains among all the 14'ers. 

My rope skills are not up to this challenge now. I have spent some time hanging off ropes in real conditions and know the value of being securely tied off to a solid rock. But it has been a while and I retain only enough confidence in my abilities to create some real trouble. So the plan is to become a rock gym rat and get the coaching necessary to protect myself when doing more dangerous mountains.  I have bought the gear (rope, harness, helmet, hardware) and am commited to becoming competent this month.  How about a Happy 52 Birthday (that's July 12 if anyone would like to send me b-day greetings!).

Here is my complete Colorado 14er list - have to say I'm pretty proud to have gotten this far with a short list of mishapes. More on these later.  My plan is to climb 7-8 more during the last week of July 2010.