14ers This Summer: 12
Miles This Summer: 78
Elevation Gained This Summer: 36,000 ft

We have completed a total of 12 14ers since we started climbing this summer which means we are 1/3 of the way through our goal of 36 Peaks (although, we still have a month and a half left since they get increasingly longer and more difficult). In the past week we climbed 6 mountains. For 5 of the 6, we had to hike in and camp. To reach the base of Kit Carson and Challenger Peak, we hiked 4 miles into Willow Lake which has to be one of the most beautiful lakes I’ve ever seen. For Little Bear, Blanca, and Ellingwood, we drove as far as we could on a 4WD Jeep Road road but had to make the remaining 3 miles up to Lake Como on foot. The Xterra did really well making it as far as it did on the Jeep Road – only one part fell off, and it was only a mud flap so we can fix it.

On Little Bear, I (Kirsten) got to experience my first Class 4 terrain. However, it was a little sketchier than expected since the main class 4 section had water running down it and was in the skinniest part of the gully meaning any rocks that someone accidentally kick above you, all funnel to where you’re climbing. I’m glad we did it and glad we made it down safely, but it’s probably not a mountain I will climb again. At only 4 miles round trip and little over 2,000 ft of elevation gain, it still took us about 6 1/2 hours round trip from camp to summit and back to camp.

Our favorite peaks this week were Kit Carson and Challenger. They had some of most beautiful scenery and were a big accomplishment for James especially, since this was his 3rd attempt on those two (the pervious 2 times, he had to turn back due to bad weather).

After 14 days and 12 mountains, we are feeling pretty good, thoroughly enjoying the beautiful scenery, and having a down-right awesome time! We have adapted well to the elevation and our muscles aren’t sore anymore. Our feet and knees on the other hand are a different story. We haven’t gotten any blisters at all thanks to our Merrell Chameleon shoes (which is pretty impressive since the first time I even put on my Merrells was on our first 14er this summer!). However, the constant pounding when we descend for hours every day, make our feet and knees sore – nothing a day of rest won’t ease. Yesterday we climbed Blanca and Ellingwood, which marked 5 peaks in the last 4 days. During our descent of Ellingwood we realized we were really in need of a rest day.  After descending Ellingwood, packing up our camp, and hiking out the three miles back to the car, we celebrated with a large meal in Alamosa, CO, did our laundry, rented a Red Box dvd, and are now enjoying a much-needed rest day.

Next up – Culebra!

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