To keep up training and see how we fair at high altitudes, the team flew to Colorado to tackle a 14,000-foot mountain. The East Coast is certainly lacking in mountains above 6,500 feet. Our goal was to not only test how our bodies react at altitude, but also to see how our endurance faired over a couple of consecutive days of hiking. We only had a day and half to acclimate hike, so the team decided to tackle Mount Bierstadt, one of the “easier” 14’ers, at the end of the trip.
The trip itself was a whirlwind; the team arrived in Denver (elevation of ~5,000 feet) on Sunday morning, then drove to the Rocky Mountain National Park’s Morraine Campsite where we decided to stay the night at an elevation of 8,800 feet. The effects were evident right off the bat, we became breatheless after the simplest tasks.
The team woke up and headed over to the Glacier Gorge trailhead. The hike was 5.6 miles roundtrip with a slight elevation gain. Mills Falls was breathtaking and a great place to rest before the journey back.
After the hike, we drove to the base of Mount Bierstadt to find a place to camp at 11,600 feet with Bierstadt looming in the distance. We woke at 5:30am to start up the mountain.
The hike was tough with altitude being a huge factor in the difficulty, but we made it to the top and back to Boston in one piece.