Peak(s):  Mt. Elbert  -  14,433 feet
Date Posted:  07/08/2020
Modified:  07/17/2020
Date Climbed:   07/08/2020
Author:  Okiedawn
 50 yr old flatlander first 14er   

My 3 teens and I have been planning our Elbert climb for about a year. It has been my motivation for exercising 4-5 times a week. I'm 50 yrs old and this was my first 14er. We started climbing around 6:30 this morning. The hike through the forest was doable. We were huffing and puffing, but still able to carry on conversation. Once we cleared the treeline, we were a little overwhelmed. Pictures never do justice to the enormity of things. We plugged along pretty well, expecting the most-difficult stretch to be btwn 13,400' and 13,900'. What we didn't expect was for the section before that to be incredibly difficult as well. Both sections are easy-to-slip, rocky paths and are very steep. We were challenged. (As was everyone there). But....we put to use the tips we learned from this helpful site and kept plodding along......taking short steps, stopping frequently, and drinking lots of water. Finally, we reached the summit! Everyone says the views are worth the effort. Everyone is right!! We spent about 30 minutes taking pictures and enjoying the view before heading down. Just a few steps into the descent, I came to realize that for me, the descent was going to be more difficult than the climb. I haven't had many issues with my knees, but after just a few steps, my knees were screaming at me. Every step down was very painful and trying to find footing on the rocky paths was difficult and scary. (Maybe that's my age speaking). Slowly, slowly we made our way down and reached our vehicle about 8 1/2 hours from the time we started in the morning. We are worn out, but happy to have had such an amazing experience. My advice: take time to enjoy the gorgeous views behind you as you hike up and if your knees even hint at being bothersome, invest in some knee braces.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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Comments or Questions
07/09/2020 06:37
Trekking poles help the knees - especially on the way down. Nice job on your first 14er!

07/09/2020 16:00
are amazing!!!!

07/09/2020 16:38
I agree about the poles- I use them on the way down -big difference on my 62 year old knees. Glad you were able to hike Mt Elbert.
I have been planning my hike of Elbert for a year also, but just canceled my trip to CO due to COVID-19. Next year for sure!

07/09/2020 19:32
Congrats on doing your first 14er! Elbert was one of my first 14ers and it killed me, I was so tired by the end of it. But it's totally worth it :-)

Good work!
07/09/2020 20:48
Definitely a day to remember. Such a fun thing to share with kids, too.

07/10/2020 06:22
The first one is always special, and even more so when shared with your family.

Mt Elbert my first 14er, too
07/10/2020 21:21
Congrats! I summited Mt. Elbert my first 14er at the age of 73 after moving from the East.

Rookie Clay
Way to Go !
07/11/2020 11:42
Slow and steady gets'er done. It's all about just being there IMO.

Fellow 50 yr old
07/11/2020 14:53
I agree with the others about using poles. Poles definitely help on the way down! I have done ten now and totally enjoy them all. Keep it going! I started with some friends that have done all 54. One was 70 when he finished. Totally worth it!

07/16/2020 17:18
I appreciate all of the advice and the encouragement. I'm inspired by you all!

Nice report
07/17/2020 17:06
Nice report with wonderful pictures. I keep hearing about hiking poles and how much they help coming down. At 60 I am starting to slow down and might just check out some poles and see what I think. Thanks.

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