Editorial sent to the newspaper concerning hiking/climbing to be only and adrenalin junkie sport:
Not just for Adrenalin Junkies
Often times it seems that there is a misconception that hiking and climbing, including the 14ers in Colorado is just an activity for the young and adrenalin junkies. It is sometime thought of as a reckless and dangerous sport.
Nothing can be farther from the truth. The truth is that hiking and climbing the 14ers is a great family activity for climbers of a wide range of ages and abilities. Some of my most treasured memories are of hiking though the wilderness with my small children and senior citizen parents and grandparents.
Every time an accident happens in the mountains, it seems to get nation-wide media attention, but it is true that mountains such as the Colorado 14ers are ascended by many thousands of people without incident. The vast majority of hikes and climbs end up being happy and safe experiences.
Climbing the 14ers can be done by people with a large range of ages and abilities, but of most importance is proper preparation. With proper preparation, the risk of climbing mountains can be minimized, but not completely eliminated.
That said, hiking and climbing is actually a very healthy activity, especially in today’s world of TV, video games, and desk jobs. With proper preparation, the chances are that activities such as hiking and climbing will make you live longer and healthier, rather than having the opposite effect.
Mountains still deserve to be respected and like driving a car, the dangers of doing so should not be ignored, but neither should climbing and hiking mountains, such as Mount of the Holy Cross be thought of as an extreme and risky sport for adrenalin junkies. Needless to say though, there are proper levels of experience, training and gear needed to minimize the risk of visiting the wilderness.
If you are new to the sport, it is recommended that you learn from experienced hikers or climbers before setting off on your own to climb these beautiful peaks. There are many websites for finding partners (such as 14ers.com) and also many hiking climbs as well (such as the Colorado Mountain Club).
With proper preparation, including the right gear and experience, hiking and climbing the 14ers of Colorado can be a very rewarding and enjoyable experience. For the prepared, such climbs can be done with minimal risk as compared to many other day to day activities (such as sitting home watching TV!).
Climbing mountains can be a wonderful, safe and enjoyable experience for hikers and climbers from a large range of ages and experience. Colorado and the Rocky Mountains are a beautiful place to enjoy nature and the only way to fully experience their beauty is to get out there and explore by foot.
May your life be filled with adventure, beauty and safety. Get out there and enjoy nature!