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Goal Setting in the Mountains Equals Epic Adventure
Written by Vapur Pro Team member, Chris Davenport.
I walked the narrow, airy, summit ridge of 13,841' Hagerman Peak with my partner Neal Beidleman a few strides ahead of me. We had just done an eight mile approach from the county road above the little village of Marble, Colorado and had climbed 6000' vertical to reach this point. While our bodies were definitely tired, our minds were soaring. I let out a huge "Yaaahhhh' as I reached the summit, as I occasionally do on the more serious or interesting peaks. In front of us, to the North, lay the huge fourteener, Snowmass Mountain, with it's large snowfield glimmering in the mid-morning sun and it's namesake alpine lake still frozen in the valley below. Behind us lay the jagged summits of the Maroon Bells, two of Colorado's hardest and best skiing fourteeners. Off to our left lay the remote West Elks and we could see Mt. Crested Butte ski resort poking it sharp head over the top of Frigid Air Pass. Hopefully this gives you the visual reference necessary to get the point- which is that we were standing in a totally awesome spot, with our skis on our backs, and many thousand feet of epic spring corn snow below us.
Chris on the summit ridge of Hagerman Peak.
But how and why were we on this obscure high Colorado mountain? The answer is simple: goals. I'm a very goal oriented athlete. They are important to me for many reasons. Goals allow me to plan for the future, to map out my season. Goals give me things to look forward to, projects to dream up and then make a reality. Goals keep you sharp and focused. And I definitely find that when I operate under well-defined goals and clearly defined targets I almost always accomplish more than I would have had I not been sticking to a plan. So I try and set myself up for success by being meticulous about my planning.
The last few years I've had really fun and well-planned out spring ski mountaineering trips that have all ended in great success: skiing the Colorado 14ers, two trips up Denali with lots of ski descents, skiing most of California's 14ers, an awesome climb (summit) and ski (Lhotse Face) of Mt. Everest, skiing 15 major Pacific Northwest Volcanos in 14 days, and this year a plan to try to be the first folks to ski the Centennial Peaks (Colorado's 100 highest, which are all over 13,810') None of these trips or projects would have succeeded if it wasn't for great planning and execution of the goals that were chosen.
This spring was really awesome in Colorado. We had some great late season snow in April and early May that really set us up nicely for a solid month of great spring skiing. As it turned out the timing of this snow and the great weather that followed was impeccable, because my friends Ted and Christy Mahon and I were poised and ready to ski as many of the Centennial 13ers as we could.
Chris skiing the south face of Hagerman Peak. (Photography © Neal Beidleman)
As I said before, the Centennial Peaks are the 100 highest peaks in Colorado. They are made up of 54 fourteeners (peaks over 14,000') and 46 high thirteeners (these are all over 13,810') But there are many, many more high mountains in Colorado- including over 600 13ers and almost 2000 peaks over 12,000'. Colorado has by far the most high mountains of any region in North America. So the goal of this project was to climb and ski the 100 highest peaks. My partners Ted and Christy and I have skied the 54 fourteeners already, so now we chipped away at the remaining 46 high thirteeners. This spring I really dedicated myself to this plan, and with the snow and weather cooperating it worked out perfectly. As of today I skied 28 Centennials so am now up to 82 peaks skied out of the top 100. We put a ton of energy and effort into making this happen. A goal like this doesn't succeed without a high level of commitment and dedication. I sacrificed time with my family and spent money traveling around the state to ski these amazing peaks. But the rewards are huge. You see incredible new places that you may never had visited if it were not for this goal, you get really, really strong from all the days climbing and traveling through the mountains, and you share some incredible adventures, laughs, and good times with great people. So that's really what it is all about for me. Adventure, fitness, fun, challenge- these are the elements of any great mountain adventure.
My partners "fully committed" to the adventure on Cathedral Peak.
So take my advice and set your personal goals high this summer. It may not involve mountains or skiing, but whatever it is throw yourself at it with everything you've got. And remember, it's easy to be super enthusiastic in the beginning and get all excited about your plans, but it can be tough over time to stay motivated. So work hard because the payoff when you've really committed yourself is incredible.
Happy Adventures!
Chris and friends after a successful day on Columbia Point 13,980' in the Sangre de Cristo Range.
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