14er Preparations

There are 53 “14ers” in the state of Colorado and our students will be attempting to summit 6 of them this weekend. A 14er is a mountain peak that has an elevation of at least 14,000’. While some 14ers can be driven up the 6 that will be hiked by our faculty and students will require physical exertion, water crossings, mountain goat encounters, rock scrambles, and facing the elements as they come. Previously, 14ers have given our trips their first snowfall of the year and lightning storms that have forced them to retreat before summiting. Our community has been preparing for this trip since orientation week. Whether it is techniques for walking on scree fields or packing light, faculty have been sharing their tips and tricks of backpacking.

First-year student, Kiki, says preparing for the 14er has been really fun. “I love how the staff are always prepared to answer questions and are always there to help the students with anything they need.” We are excited to see Kiki take her new skills to the peaks. “I think the toughest thing will be packing lightly, but I think I can manage.” Mr. Findell provided the students with a packing tutorial last week and then students were able to bring in their packs, ask questions, and work out issues with their personal rigs. We’re sure Kiki is managing just fine.

“Over the past couple of weeks, our group has been getting together and going outside in preparation for our fourteener. We have gone over safety tips to prepare for climbing and in case we encounter bad weather, but we have also gotten to know each other better. Our faculty leaders are all veteran fourteener climbers and have not only taught us safety protocols but also passed on their knowledge from past trips. Everyone in our group is extremely excited about our trip, and we are all hoping to summit!” Junior, Bode gives us an overview of the build up to fourteeners.

Bode makes a great point. Not all groups summit and while we ask our groups to make tough calls about turning back because of the weather, there is also the physical aspect that they face. Students will be attempting to summit today and we can’t wait to hear their stories. Check back for updates later this weekend.