Monday, April 18, 2011

Nothing lives at 14,000 Feet...

that's what I told my buddy Carter as we struggled to the summit of Grey's Peak, one of Colorado's more straight-forward 14er's. Besides yourself, and the dozens of other people sharing the summit with you, there's nothing living at the top of a 14,270" mountain- only rocks and dirt and a stunning view.

Summiting a 14,000"+ mountain delights the senses and renews the spirit while obliterating the entire body. The dichitomies between self versus nature, mind versus body, and any other combative, culturally engrained dualisms are rubbed down and loosened up like the soles of hiking boots. Of course, while ascending some 2,000" from basecamp at 12,000" to summit at 14,000", any Texan coming strait off the plains will ask repeatedly "what the hell am I doing this for?" One more step over and over agian--the metaphors spillith over.

Last summer, my buddy Carter (that's his last name, no one remembers his first name) and I set out to hike to the top of a 14er. A 14er is what people who know call mountains over 14,000 feet. There's 54 of these mountains in the state of Colorado, and the two I climbed last summer, Gray's Peak & Torrey's Peak, became my fourth and fifth. I climbed my first three 14er's during my three year stint in Denver doing graduate work. For my buddy Carter, Gray's Peak was his first time over 14,000", which is no small acomplishment for a life-long Lubbockite. Congrats my friend! Weclome to the club.


Photo credits: Check out more photos from the expedition on Flickr

Top- picture of Carter and I atop Gray's Peak, Front Range Colorado, 14,270", taken by stranger.

Video-me atop Torrey's Peak, Front Range Colorado, 14,267" Bottom-Torrey's from Gray's Trail, taken with Canon AE1 Program and Fuji slide film

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