Tim Bergsten created this Ning Network.

article entry from www.upadowna.com

Our third peak of the day

Peakbagger (n): A mountain climber whose principal goal is the attainment of a summit, or a specific set of summits. www.peakbagger.com

Let me first start out by saying that in order to really enjoy your Peak Bagging at high altitude,  having some hiking and outdoor adventure experience is necessary. Good overall physical health and wellness will also help you to push the limits to succeed on your hike. If your goal is to one day hike a peak at high altitude but you are not in shape, think about training first and taking an experienced guide with you (like Colorado Wilderness Ride... .  Be smart, be safe and have fun!

Preparing for my fist big hike at high altitude, I was a tad bit nervous. I've only done one 14er in my life, and it was for the Pikes Peak Ascent so it was more like a 2 for 1. Listening to all of my husband's stories about hiking Mt. Massive, Quandry, Bierstadt (and the list goes on), had me intrigued, but honestly a little bored. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE outdoor adventure but I never thought hiking a 14er or "bagging peaks" was something I would enjoy. I looked through his amazing photographs from the tops of peaks thinking (WOW, beautiful, but all the photos look the same). Little did I know that the top of every peak is different and special in its own way, especially the vistas, flora and fauna.

I picked Yeti's brain about what things to pack, what to eat, how much water to bring, how hot or cold will it be, will I get blisters (and the list goes on again). He basically told me to calm down, breathe and do some research. So, using trailspace.com, I found the size of backpack I would be comfortable with. I knew I needed a daypack which usually range from 30-40 liters. I went into the gear closet and grabbed the Deuter ACT Trail 32. (Beginner backpack note: the number on the pack "Trail 32" tells you what the capacity of the pack is.) So now, what to put in it? Here is the list of things that I chose to include in my pack:

Water! Two full Nalgenes (64oz) and a 3 liter (100oz) Osprey HydraForm Reservoir (I had about 1/4 left of my HydraForm and two full nalgenes.) The general rule is 1/2 liter (16oz) of water per mile, and never pass the chance to fill up your bottles with filtered water.

Snacks: 8-10 misc snacks like MoJo from Clif, Kashi Granola Bars and GUs, Justin's Almond Butter. (Only ate about 5 total)

Lunch: burrito from Big City Burritos. Yum! Although I think it accounted for 2 lbs of total pack weight, it was worth it!

Warm Jacket: Brooks-Range Cirro in a stuff sack (about 11.8oz) never had to use it.

Rain Jacket: Marmot Gore-Tex Paclite Women's Minimalist Jacket (14.4oz) This jacket also worked wonders as a wind-stopper. It was in and out of my pack all day for wind mostly.

Misc Used Items: Warm gloves, sunscreen, Kleenex, headband to keep ears warm, bandana, gum, wet wipes, small Ziploc bags, Advil, cell phone camera.

Misc Unused Items: Sun hat, winter hat, Buff, arm sleeves, extra contacts, sunglasses, emergency blanket, GoGirl.

Total pack weight: 17 lbs

Hike Observations:  I realized there were a lot of things I didn't use, but was happy that I brought them. My pack wasn't heavy, but it was always a nice relief to take it off at wind breaks on the tops of peaks and rest points. I took small but frequent sips of water from my hydration pouch, and it was very nice to have a "hands free" option instead of a Nalgene. I never experienced any symptoms of altitude sickness so I think I stayed well hydrated and ate appropriately. Whenever I had any thoughts or feelings of "what the hell am I doing", I just took a bite of my snack or drank some water to get my mind off of it.

Tips for your first peak bagging adventure:

  • Take someone that knows what they are doing, where they are going, and what to do in an emergency.
  • Know the weather report. Storms were rolling in as early as 6am, and by noon, we were being chased out of there with the threat of lightening, rain and hail.
  • Take care of yourself. Pack enough water and snacks just in case you get stuck somewhere. Take a small first aid kit, sunscreen, wind protection and cold weather gear.
  • Ok, Aron Ralston...TELL SOMEONE WHERE YOU ARE GOING, what time you expect to be home, and what to do in case you are not back in time.
  • Leave no trace.  The tops of peaks are delicate surfaces. If you happen to be in a large group, on delicate ground and there is not an established trail, spread out on your trek to the top. Pack it in, pack it out.

  • Take great caution when scrambling. Keep clear of your hiking partner's rock fall line.
  • Take a camera. Also, take some mental photos. For some strange reason, the peaks just don't look the same in the photos. (Hence the reason why I was bored until I saw it for myself, in person.)
  • Have fun! No matter what mother nature throws at you, no matter how many blisters you have, no matter how annoying the person behind you, singing an 80's song for 5 miles is....ENJOY IT! You are a guest in mother nature's house and she is treating you to the time of your life. You are in an elite group of athletic outdoorsman (or women) that can accomplish this great feat!

Ten Signs you may be a Peakbagger from www.peakbagger.com

  • You have continued to a summit beyond a reasonable turn-back point despite terrible weather, including white-outs.
  • You keep a detailed log of all your climbs: peak name, date, weather, companions, etc.
  • You have taken hiking or climbing trips where the travel time to and from the base of a mountain is greater than the time spend in climbing the mountain.
  • You have made an effort to reach a spot in the lowlands that is completely undistinguishable except as the high point of something (for example, the highest point in Iowa)
  • You have visited a tropical island and climbed it's highest peak without ever going swimming or visiting a beach while there.
  • You see rock climbers on a sheer face and wonder why they bother, when there is a much easier way up on the other side.
  • You have driven over 2000 miles in a single weekend in order to climb a peak or peaks.
  • You have some familiarity with the concept of "prominence"/"shoulder drop"/"vertical rise above a col" and how it can be used to qualify a list of summits.
  • After the top of a technical climb, you took time to scramble over and "tag the summit".

Adventure On!


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