What is a 14er?

If you live in CO, you probably have heard of the term 14er. If you’re from out of state or new to the area then you might be wondering what significance a seemingly random number has to do with the outdoors or anything for that matter.

No worries! I am here to explain it to you.

A 14er is a 14,000-foot mountain. There are 96 14ers in America, and CO has 58 of them. Crazy, right? Because of that, there is this crazy mindset people get into where they decide to summit them. It’s almost like a right of passage. Some people hike one and are done; others (like me) are crazy and try to hike them all.

crysahna at the top of Huron Peak holding a sign with her husband Allen and dog echo

How it all started 

Like I said earlier, I am one of the crazy ones. For whatever reason, I want to hike as many 14ers as my body will let me. It’s brutal, and I love it. #type2fun

I was not always a hiker, and honestly, the younger me would be shocked that I like moving my body at all. When I was in college, this girl (who is now my literal best friend) asked me to hike Mt. Bierstadt and Mt. Evans with her (a classic Colorado 14er). We both had some mutual fitness goals, and our young 20-year-old selves wanted to prove we could be baddies.

After a scary traverse, a hail storm, and getting lost, we were hooked. The adrenaline of getting to the summit and the delayed gratification of seeing what our bodies could do was high.

crysahna at the top of torreys peak holding a sign

What does a 14er day look like?

Since that first hike, I learned a lot.  So here is what an average day on the mountain looks like for me… Usually, I camp at the trailhead the night before. My truck has a topper with a bed inside the truck. It’s pretty cozy! Under the bed, I have a drawer that is stocked with a camp stove, chairs, food, and other miscellaneous items. This makes it easy to wake up and hike.

14er mornings are EARLY. Start time depends on the length and elevation gain of the hike, but generally, I want to be on the trail no later than 4 am. The longer the trail the earlier I want to be out there. After waking up, I hike… for hours. My goal is to maintain a pace of 1 mile per hour on average.

At around 13,000 feet my body usually started to feel fatigue from a lack of oxygen. This is when snacks and electrolytes are my life. It is also when I really start to slow down. Everyone is different though. Eventually, I make it to the top and (weather permitting) drink a beer, eat more snacks and take a picture. After that, I start to hike down.

By the end of the hike, I am exhausted. The last mile or two always last for what seems like forever. When I get back to my car, I like to make myself something on my camp stove. Ramen is a favorite, but I also love mac ‘n cheese.

After resting for a bit, I will drink either a Celsius or canned coffee before heading home! Once I am home, I rest, eat again, and hot tub when possible. Hiking a 14er is the definition of type 2 fun, and I love it!

crysahna at the top of mt. cameron holding a sign

What ones have I completed?

Of Colorado’s 57 14ers, I have completed 25 of them. I do not think I want to hike all of them, but I do want to check as many of them off the list as possible. You can find a complete list of all the 14ers on this website, but here is a list of the ones I have completed (as of June 2023)!

  • Quandary Peak
  • Mt. Lincoln
  • Mt. Cameron
  • Mt. Democrat
  • Mt. Sherman
  • Gray’s Peak
  • Torrey’s Peak
  • Mt. Evans
  • Longs Peak
  • Pikes Peak
  • Mt. Bierstadt
  • Kit Carson Peak
  • Challenger Point
  • Mt. Elbert
  • Mt. Massive
  • Mt. Harvard
  • La Plata Peak
  • Mt. Antero
  • Mt. Shavano
  • Mt. Princeton
  • Mt. Belford
  • Tabeguache Peak
  • Mt. Oxford
  • Huron Peak
crysahna at the top of la plata peak holding a sign

14er elopement 

One of my all-time favorite elopements happened when I was second shooting for Francis Sylvest. I slept in my car the night before meeting him and the couple. They said their vows at a lake so that their grandparents could be there with them, and then they hiked up Mt. Bierstadt to sign their marriage license. After that, we all met up at a brewery to celebrate the day!

Final Thoughts

If you couldn’t tell, I love the mountains! If you are looking for an elopement photographer to join you on your adventurous wedding day, let’s connect! I’d love to cheer you on while we hike up mountains!

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