Fourteener, 14er, 14,000 feet. Air gets paper thin, shade and trees disappear, and extreme weather can roll in within minutes. Below freezing windchill in the middle of summer, and a climb in elevation that brings a brisk walk to a snails crawl. A sufferfest, death march, and anything but fun, yet such a satisfying pain. Thoughts become cloudy and the mouth gets bone dry. Water sources deplete, and now there is the hike back down.
There are 58 peaks over 14,000' in Colorado. These high peaks are not your afternoon hike and require a bit of experience and planning. Although they may not be the most technical and difficult hikes, the altitude bites into your fitness fast, and inexperience can leave you in a dangerous place within a lightning storm. I wanted to show with this group of photos how exposed and how raw climbing a 14er is. I wanted you to feel the sun relentlessly beating down on you, and the dryness of the air sucking away any last bit of hydration within your body. I wanted this batch of photos to capture the raw struggle of climbing these peaks. We climbed the tallest peak in the Rocky Mountains in North America this weekend, Mt. Elbert and it was awesome.