Friday, December 13, 2013

Peak Bagging in 15 Months.

Starting in August last year, 2012, to November of this year, 2013, here's a summary of my accomplished peaks in the bag!

In 15 months, I've learned to face the ultimate fear of my life: I was scared of being alone and abandoned. Over half of my adventures, I've done it solo. Some with one or two friends, or my former coworkers, others would just be me and myself.

Fear is central to solo-ing anything. When it is objective and informed, it can be less fearful. After all, hiking and climbing is dangerous; embarking on certain routes under wrong condition can yield disastrous results. To make good decisions, like anyone, I need good information. With it, I can manage the fear rationally. Understanding it, fear management has take on new dimensions. It offers the challenge that I'm somewhat addicted to.

I've never thought of hiking, climbing, mountaineering to the summits as ascending to the thrones of gods. One moment you're walking on gentle green hills with fields of flowers; the next, you witness the endless panorama of icy peaks and glaciers with the unknown journey ahead. I define this "activity" as an escape from the constraints and safety of everyday life: a step away from society, into the wild.

Despite the criticism from my family, as I'm quite abnormal from being a typical Asian woman, I follow my happiness and seek for more adventures, even if it requires living life on the edge.

1. Gannett Peak - My very first summit. Wyoming's highest peak. 13,809 ft. 55 miles RT.
  Sun light slowly shined on Gooseneck Glacier.
Look straight ahead and keep going!
Travelling on Dinwoody Glacier with the sunrise.
Crossing Gannett glacier and successfully made it to the summit of Gannett Peak.

2. Cloud Peak - Highest peak of the Big Horn Range. 13,166 ft. 16 miles RT.
View of Cloud Peak glacier and Glacier lake.

The summit of Cloud Peak

3. Random peak that I stumbled across while backpacking in Wyoming. Elevation: unknown. Probably 12,000 feet?

Bagged the "unknown" summit.

4. South Arapaho Peak - 2nd highest summit in the Indian Peaks Wilderness. 13,399 ft. 16-17 miles RT.
Looking at South Arapaho from west ridge.
View of South Arapaho's false summit from the east.
Glorious morning sun was just peaking out on the summit.
A bashful fox also peeped out to say Hi.
Panorama view of the South Arapaho summit, and there were 2 of me. Don't worry, it's not altitude affect.

5. North Arapaho Peak - the highest peak in the Indian Peaks Wilderness. 13,502 ft. 18 miles RT.
Taking a break on the "knife-edge".
View of North Arapaho from east ridge.

Finally made it to the top of North Arapaho Peak
Biggest pile of cairns I've ever seen.
Looking down on Arapaho Glacier from ze summit.

6. Hallett Peak - A mountain that's full of surprises. The gem of the RMNP. 12,720 ft. 11 miles RT.
Sunrise over Hallett Peak!

Mountain goat meets mountain goat!
And we agreed that the summit view was pretty freaking phenomenal.
A little piece of heaven!
Lovely Hallett in the background.
Amazing view of the mountains and beyond on the summit.

7. Flattop Mountain - Very windy, but beautiful. 12,354 ft. 9 miles RT.

Climbing up a couloir.

Flattop Mountain looks pretty flat and cold to me.

Summit cairn on Flattop.

8. Old Baldy - a lazy way to see the mighty Arapaho Peaks. 13,038 feet. 15 miles RT.
Wind-surfing is a sport, right?

The early morning view on top of Old Baldy

9. Mt. Democrat - my very first Fourteener. 14,154 feet. 3 miles to the summit from trailhead. Not too bad! 

Summit air on Mt. Democrat.

10. Mt. Cameron - my least favorite peak, but it was right next to Mt. Democrat, so "minus-whale" (might as well). At this point, I was pretty loopy from high elevation and the champagne ~14,238 ft.
Looked just like a hill!
It was quite windy up here.

11. Mt. Lincoln - less than a mile from Mt. Democrat. 14,295 ft.
Full view of Mt. Lincoln from Mt. Cameron!
The peak of Mt. Lincoln!

12. Mt. Bross - 14,177 ft. The final push before heading back to the trailhead.
Boring looking 14er! I was trying to make a "b" for Bross.
"First 4 peaks! FOB Anh T." in a "flushable-wipes" box. How classy.
The summit air on Bross. Giggly as I was still pretty loopy.

13. Mount Bierstadt - this easy Fourteener with only 3 mile hike up to the summit was the most brutal climb I've ever done. And, the reward was very well worth it. 14,065 ft.  6 miles RT.
Early morning when life was still asleep below the horizon.
Frosty hair and frozen body on the summit.
Sunrise on Bierstadt!

Glowing light on the clouds as the sun was rising.

14. Mt. Elbert - Colorado's highest peak. 14,440 ft. 10 miles RT. Made it to the summit for the sunrise.

Gorgeous sun rays!
Ze summit view of Mt. Elbert.
The joy to be on top of Colorado!
And, the world is mine!

15. Harney Peak - South Dakota's highest peak. 7,244 ft. 7 miles RT. There was so much air here.
I made it to the summit of Harney Peak like a tourist!
On top of Harney Peak with the view of the Needles in the Black Hills.

Summit air is the never-ending charm of the wind. Sometimes you will climb mountains or walk the ridgelines for no reason, except to feel the wind. But occasionally, even there, the air will be calm. Lie down and close your eyes, or just gaze in to the sky. You may be connected to the air from a hurricane in the Caribbean, or a dust storm in the Sahara. Dream about tides and mountain ranges, or the flight of birds. The air is surrounding you with the spirits of those who ride it unbidden. 

Let's get outside!