Waking up Tuesday morning and seeing the falling snow reminded me that 14er season in Colorado is officially over. Another major snow storm is again pounding the high country with reports of snow in the feet range and totals just under a foot here in the Broomfield area. When winter moves in to the Colorado high country, many of Colorado's 54 14ers (mountains over 14,000') are just too technical for the "fair weather" hiker/climber and only a few are hikeable without significant avalanche danger. Needless to say, my "14er addiction" takes a rest for 6 months and thoughts turn to winter pursuits such as snowshoeing, alpine skiing, XC skiing, and hut trips.
This year is different though. You see, my 14er crew (Alan "Big Pappy" Arnette, Patrick "The Navigator" Vall, and Scott "Ultra-Marathoner" Olmer) are all in training for Pico de Orizaba in Mexico! We have hired Mountain Professionals LLC (http://mtnprofessionals.com/) based out of Boulder, Colorado to be our guides for the one week trip. Thus, my 14er "end of season" training has continued in earnest with hills runs (when it's not snowing), upper and lower body weight lifting workouts, and endless sessions on the StairMaster at the gym.
Some details about the trip - Pico de Orizaba translated means "Star Mountain" and is one of many dormant volcanoes in Mexico. Orizaba is the third highest mountain in North America standing anywhere between 18,490 and 18,900 depending on who you talk to. Whatever the correct elevation truly is, this will be my highest elevation challenge to date AND I'm very excited about this challenge. We will be ascending Orizaba via the normal route - "Glaciar Jamapa." For detailed information, you can visit one of my favorite climbing sites - SummitPost - to get specifics about the mountain. See the following URL: http://www.summitpost.org/mountain/rock/150192/pico-de-orizaba.html
Our trip is scheduled for January 20-27, 2008 and all appears to be going according to plan at this time. My Christmas list for the family has been focused on new climbing gear that I will need for the trip and can use for the 2008 14er season.
The only negative with the timing of this trip is that I will not be going to Walt Disney World this year for the Marathon Weekend (ran 2005-2007) and to see brother Jim run his first marathon! Honestly, I never thought he had any interest in endurance events but he and his wife, Andrea, are training hard! I'm very proud of them both!
So there you have it friends, details about my next climb. It will be a challenge of a lifetime and I'm grateful to be doing this with great friends. Until my next dispatch - Climb On Friends!