14ers4Kids 2012

Background on the project from last year.


Mt Quandary summit 14,265 ft
This was a summit dedicated to saying THANKS to everyone for your support!  If it was just a like or share on the Facebook page, making a donation, or helping behind the scenes to make this such a success, I can't say Thank You enough!   Together we've made a huge difference for many children.

Gary summits his 1st 14er for the kids!

making our way thru the trees to tree-line
 is the first challenge of the day
Meet Gary, if you read about him in the story below, you may know that he is a father of 3 kids, with one who happens to have been born China.  He and his family have been long time friends of Half the Sky.  Gary was originally signed up to come climb his first 14er in September, but was unable to make it.  Gary still wanted to climb for the kids and so he joined me for the THANK YOU climb and made the summit of Mt Quandary with me!
Gary with the task ahead!
Just getting out of the trees and you can see the challenge of the summit in front of you.  Its the peak in the back on the right, actually this is the false summit, the true summit is hidden.
(click on any photo to view larger
and see more photos on our Facebook)
the final push to the false summit!
He was dedicated to making this summit for the project.  The past week he has been climbing in Colorado to get acclimated since coming up from Kansas City. He has been climbing higher and higher each day.  During the day Saturday I could tell that Gary had his doubts about making the summit.  He kept his head down most of the day and didn't say a whole lot,  he just kept putting one foot in front of the other. He didn't quit!
looking down from the false summit, Gary in red coat below
Gary takes in the view from the roof-top of Colorado

We made it!  Just a little after noon, Gary made the summit on his first 14er and  I completed this peak as a THANK YOU to all the supporters of the 14ers4Kids project.

To support 14ers4Kids on behalf of Gary and his effort to reach the top for the kids...Click HERE!


This Saturday I hope to take a THANK YOU banner to the summit of Quandary Peak, 14,265ft (13th highest in Colorado).  I am dedicating this one to everyone who has supported this event. I continue to be amazed as the donations to help keep rolling in.  Bless all of you who have helped!

Lets break $10K!  We are so close to breaking the $10,000 mark and I would be thrilled beyond words to hit that mark.  To those of you who have donated please consider asking your company, your friends or family to match your donation or make a donation of any amount.  Many companies will match an employees donation to something as worthy as helping orphaned children.  Please pass along our website here or the facebook or twitter pages and help us break that $10K ceiling! 

If you haven't donated yet I would appreciate you making a donation in ANY amount to get us one step closer to the 10,000 mark.  DONATE HERE!

Thank you for contributing to 14ers4Kids! We have broken the $10,000 mark!  

Current total is actually about $10,152
This is money that will help special needs orphans in China.  This adds up to more than 62,300 Chinese Yuan! That is a lot of money. So what will this accomplish?

Through Half the Sky Foundation, these dollars will support 12 kids in the Family Village program in Nanchang, China for ONE YEAR!  The Family Village program provides loving permanent families to orphaned children with special needs who have little or no chance of ever being adopted.  Read more about the program here: Half the Sky Family Village

We will actually be traveling to Nanchang in the next few weeks to adopt our second daughter, I am so excited that this project will end up helping other kids from her area; what a neat coincidence.  Or was it meant to be?  Either way, what a blessing it has been to be a part of this event and to be able to provide assistance for these children. 

To each of you who have supported - Happy Holidays…Merry Christmas!  Together we given the gift of love and family to a dozen children for the New Year.  

Thank you for joining with me to make this happen!

Best regards,

14ers4Kids 2012 - Recap

First and foremost I want to say THANK YOU one last time to everyone who supported 14ers4Kids this year!  Together we have raised almost $8500 to help orphaned children and that was the main goal in this project.

I think that doing 14 summits of Colorado's 14,000 ft peaks in 14 days would have been a challenge enough, but I guess adding in a recent knee surgery and brutal weather, it made it too much for me.  Here are the final stats.

Final score:  Rocky Mountains 10 - Dave 4
Miles Driven: 1,183
Miles Hiked: 39
Elevation Gain: 16,350 ft

one of the best mountain climbers I saw out of the trail
Here is a final recap from this year.  It all started back in December of 2011, our family and community had lost a dear friend and her 3 beautiful daughters in a tragic accident.  I felt I needed to do something to make a difference in the world in their memory.  The idea of climbing 14 14ers in 14 days as a charity fundraiser for Half the Sky Foundation was the result of lots of thinking and praying.  So I started planning and working on it.

The plan was to climb the first 2 weeks of September, traditionally the best climbing weather each year.  Just days before I was supposed to leave for the challenge I found out I had torn up my knee and would need surgery.

I suppose I should have put the whole thing off until next year when that happened, but I didn't want to give up.  I felt I would be letting down everyone who has supported this effort as well as the children I was trying to represent.

My new date to start this was Oct 13 - six weeks after surgery.  I took off from Colorado Springs in a snowstorm on Friday the 12th and headed for the San Juan mountain range.  After 7+ hours of driving I arrived at the trailhead, the only person there.  I set up camp just before dark, then the snow started.  I struggled with the idea of staying and possibly getting snowed in (up to 8 inches was in the forecast) or packing up for another location.  I made the decision to move.

After a day of waiting out the storm I was on the trail on Mt Sherman.  You can read the account of each climb on the below but I made the first summit on a cold, cloudy and very windy day.  The wind continued to battle me on each mountain, I made some summits but was turned around on others and had to cancel even attempting some others.

After discovering how brutal the weather was going to be, and doing this as a solo climber I probably should have called it off, but I wanted to try and get some more summits in.

The climbing rundown - 14ers4Kids Oct 2012

Peak 1 Oct 14 - Mt Sherman - SUMMIT!  Windy and cold, was actually in a cloud most of the day.  The view was great, you just could't see it!
Summit Mt Sherman, 14,036 ft
Peak 2 Oct 15 - Mt Democrat - SUMMIT! Beautiful summit, some gusty winds but nothing too bad.  Met a nice guy who was 76 and still climbing strong!

Peak 3 Oct 15 - Mt Cameron - SUMMIT! Looking over at Cameron from the summit of Democrat, it looked really far, but I made it over to the summit in pretty good time.  The wind on the summit was brutal, as much as I wanted the other 2 summits planned for the day and as close as they were, I turned around to get off that mountain. Actually an example of a bad decision, had I gone down via Mt. Bross (even skipping Lincoln) I might have been sheltered some from the wind.  All that wind, but I did remember to take a picture with the Which Wich bag, you get a free sandwich when you take a summit shot with the bag, I will go for that!

60 MPH wind, and I am thinking about a free sandwich!
Peak 4 Oct 15 - Mt Lincoln - called off due to extreme wind
Peak 5 Oct 15 - Mt Bross - called off due to extreme wind

Peak 6 Oct 16 - Mount Elbert - Colorado's highest at 14,433 ft. I was confident of a summit but at about 14,000 ft the extreme wind was back.  In 30-40 minutes I would have been standing on the top of Colorado, but it wasn't meant to be, no summit.
heading up Elbert, before the wind kicked in
Rest day Oct 17 - I needed a day off from the wind if nothing else.  Plus spending the day with Olivia was recharging too!  Looking at the weather for tomorrow...not good.

Peak 7 Oct 18 - Mt Bierstadt was next on the list, but with more 60 to 70 MPH winds I am calling this one off.  My plans for the next 2 days was Grays/Torreys a combo near Bierstadt, but wether isn't looking very good.  It might be best to switch Pikes Peak to tomorrow and then try Grays/Torreys on Sat.

Peak 8 Oct 19 - Pikes Peak - SUMMIT! "Americas Mountain" - the weather was great to start the day, but the winds came back as I neared the summit.  Spoke to some people briefly who rode the train or drove up and then got back on the windy trail.  Over 9 hours on the trail and only saw one other hiker all day.

Peak 9 Oct 26 - Mt Belford - After several days of really brutal weather, I decided to try 3 more peaks to make a total of 7 summits.  My friend Matt joined me and the plan was Mt. Belford, then traverse over to Mt. Oxford and one final climb on the next day of Quandary Peak.  The day started off good but really cold, we estimate that it was in the single digits as we started.  
Frozen stream on Mt Belford
Around tree-line I started showing signs of AMS, Acute Mountain Sickness.  Really not sure why because my body should have been accustom to the altitude since I have spent so much time at altitude the past week.  I don't know if I had a little bug ( we have had a sick girl at home) that was made worse by the altitude or or what happened, but I started feeling pretty bad.   I tried to fight it off and continue climbing, even breaking my rule that once you throw-up you start down. Once the nausea and headache turned to dizziness, I knew it was time to get off the mountain.

Matt braves the cold with Missouri Mt behind him
Here is Matt a little below the point at that turned around, we estimate we got to near 13,000 ft.  It is always disappointing to have to turn around, but I know the way I felt was only going to get worse if I tried to continue.

Thank you for your support!

14ers4Kids - The Climb Part 1 
Come along with me as I climb for kids!

Missouri Mt from 2011, a great example of a place
that you only think about that next step

Climbing “solo” is normally something people say you shouldn't do. For me, it’s a wonderful way to clear my mind. When you are solo you have plenty of time to think. While I’m doing any kind of scramble, in a tricky footing situation, or if it’s just hard climbing; I usually only think about the “here and now”. Thinking and concentrating only “the next step”, hard to explain, it's like a re-boot to me. 

Pikes Peak Oct 2012
On a good path you don’t have to think about that next step so much, so you are free to just let your mind go. My family has been on my mind a ton; thoughts about our new daughter Drew and what she is doing in China. (Why can’t we go get her now?) How absolutely wonderful and amazing Olivia is, and how lucky Chrisa and I are. Fortunately, “How lucky and blessed I am” is something that has often on my mind. I don’t think we take time to think about that enough in our daily lives. There is also no better time to pray than this. When it’s just you and God, it’s pretty easy to have long chats.
It was a stumble and almost fall on a 9 hour hike of Pikes Peak that got me thinking; “What and Why?” If I had fallen it wouldn't have been a long fall, maybe 8-10 feet, but the landing would have been on some huge boulders down off the trail. A fall like that could result in just minor injuries or very major ones. The thought of being alone and having that happen kinda freaks me out. It happened right after I shot the video posted below.
“What am I doing?” Answer: Trying to still make it happen and doing it solo and in some not so great conditions. I knew I would have to push my limits to accomplish this goal with my original plan, but there is a difference between pushing yourself (in a good way) and over-doing it.

“Why and I doing this?” Answer: Helping kids! 14ers4kids is all about helping kids and with so many people who have joined in to support this, both with donations and their time and hands on work; I think this has been a great success. Mission accomplished!

My knee hurt pretty bad on the final couple miles on Friday and is still sore and swollen today (Sunday) I think to climb on it more while it’s sore and swollen isn’t a good idea due to both a safety aspect of putting myself on a mountain with a injured knee and also from a health standpoint, I don’t want to totally wreck my knee.

I think have about found my limit on how much I can do this year. So far out of 8 attempts, I have made 4 summits, 1 almost summit (for my climbing friends - I know it doesn't count, but I still worked hard and fought high winds on Mt Elbert!) 3 peaks I had to cancel due to the weather. My face is wind-burned, my lips are chapped, the in side of my nose…well you get the point and with-out going into more detail, it's been a hard week.

“I am down, but I'm not out!” it’s a reoccurring thought I have had in my head on the climbs, and I still hope to get a few more summits in! I might give in but I won’t give up. I hope that by the end of the week my knee will be better and that the weather will also cooperate, if that happens I want to go for 2 peaks on Thurs/Fri and a final climb (for now) on Sat Oct 27th, the 14th day. If I summit 3 more that will give me a total of 7 summits (and that almost one) so please, wish me luck. I will be posting details about the 3 last summit attempts soon. Thanks again for your support of 14ers4Kids!

Rest Day: Oct 17 2012
After 3 days of climbing I really wanted to have stood on 6 summits by now, but due to some really harsh weather, I have only reached 3.  Today was a rest day, as much as anything to avoid more bad weather and it looks like tomorrow the weather isn't much better.  Most mountain peaks are expecting 50 to 70 MPH winds and windchill factors around zero.  More than 50,000 people are without power due to wind storms here in Colorado.
heading up to Mt Sherman
I am starting to see the window for getting 14 14er summits in 14 days closing on me.  I guess it actually probably slammed shut on the Wednesday before my original climb date of Sep 1.  That afternoon as I played with Olivia in the front yard, I KNEW that something was up with my knee.  I called and got a quick appointment with my doc, the next day had an MRI and the next found out I needed surgery.

Have you ever been really hungry and loaded up your plate with way too much food?  A few minutes later you are regretting getting those extra scoops.  I think that is the way I have gone about thinking about this dream to try to climb 14 14ers in 14 days.  My mind has been preparing for 10 months or so, I had also been working hard to get in good shape to do this, then the knee injury came up.  Since the injury my mind still feels like I can do it and it's ready to go...what I am forgetting is that just a few weeks ago I couldn't walk around the block and in early September the weather in the mountains is a whole lot different than it is now in mid-October.  I expected for this to be difficult in good weather and with 2 healthy knees, but am finding it much more difficult now, reality is setting in.
little friend I met along the way

It's all about the kids.  Actually this project isn't about me climbing mountains, it's about millions of kids who need someone to help them. They need families to adopt them, they need foster homes that can take care of them and love them.  This project is about helping them.  I wanted this to represent the daily struggle for orphans.  It sure has been a struggle so far BUT we have raised almost $7500! This is money that will help several kids, so it's a success regardless of how many mountains I climb. 
On the way up Democrat
The past 4 days started with being snowed out of first camp, a day of waiting, 3 very windy days of climbing, ending yesterday with a really big disappointment on Mt. Elbert.  I was convinced I was going to get to the summit of Elbert and I was even pretty sure I could make South Elbert too.  As I neared 14,000 ft the wind came up with a vengeance.  It was a struggle just to stand, as windy or more than the day before on the summit of Mt. Cameron.  Within a moment, all my confidence of being able to get to the summit was blown away.  I was crushed and defeated, but now I may know another aspect of the struggle in an orphans life.  How many times do they hope for something; a family, a brother or sister, someone to love them...then have that hope taken away.  My experience on the side of that mountain doesn't even start to compare to that.  I would climb Elbert in that nasty wind all over again, but luckily thanks to your donations, I don't have to do that! For me the day ended with a great meal and a huge piece of pie, knowing that with your help we are helping kids.  Summit or no summit. 
"Yummy for my tummy" - Olivia
A recap - ok, so now I know:  I just had surgery on my knee! Duh! Also, the weather is nasty. Dave, you got it now?  I do, but I am still my stubborn self and I still don't want to give up. So below I will track the mountains and the days for the project.  Not sure I am going to be able to accomplish this goal this year, but I am going to give it a shot.  I am not willing to run all over the state chasing some small weather window, I am not willing to risk climbing in these high winds. If I make some more peaks, that is awesome, if not I hope everyone will understand that I gave it my best. Even a small fall up high on a mountain could end up being fatal, unfortunately we have experienced that reality here in Colorado too many times this year.  These winds greatly increase the chance of a fall.  My number one goal is to stay safe for the sake of my girls, they are my number one priority. In a few years there will be boys to fight off, I got be around for that!

I am already thinking about doing this next year, part of what makes this exciting was the fact that 18 people had signed up to climb with me on various peaks.  Getting more people involved is the key to making this event for kids a huge success in the future.  Plus, it's a bummer climbing alone.  So, are you up for a challenge?  Forget about doing a 5 or 10K or running thru the mud, try this: 14 14ers in 14days.  Now is the time to start training and planning!  Keep in touch here for more details!

From the road: Oct 15, 2012

Summit 1 Mt Sherman
Two summits today but I was looking for 4. I think Mother Nature thinks I challenged her to a fist fight, I promise...that is not the case.  I give...mercy...Today on the summit of Cameron the wind was so strong I am pretty sure I know what its like to be a wing walker on a stunt plane.  It was the first summit I remembered to pose with the Which Wich sandwich bag!  Free sando! The other two summits have been walk up and walk off.  Spent just a couple minutes at Democrat, but no summit snack or anything so far and that is a bummer, its nice to be able to hang out on the summit for a few minutes.  Met and hiked with a really nice guy today, he was 76 and he was rockin' up the mountain. He decided to head down after Democrat, I wanted more..I think he made the correct choice. I got more alright, more wind than I have ever seen.   I wanted Lincoln and the legal Bross, but the wind on top of Cameron just took it out of me. Lincoln and Bross I will see you another time. I was planning to take a rest day tomorrow but bad weather is coming day after tomorrow so it may be last chance for a day or two.  So thinking about Elbert.  Here is the windy summit video from Cameron.

From the road: Oct 13, 2012

On the drive into the mountains I had a mix of weather:

Sunny and nice, rain, and snow...but mostly rain. 

I knew the winds of change were blowing.  When I arrived at the trail-head, the sky cleared and I thought "This is a good sign!" After setting up camp and getting ready for the night, darkness fell fast and the snow started falling as well.  I listened to it pelt the tent for about an hour.  I started to think about things: five to eight inches of snow in forecast - aldeady the peaks are snow capped - being solo on a pretty remote peak, in the snow - first attempt at a 14er six weeks after knee surgery, on a remote peak in the snow  - would anyone else be coming up with snow?  I knew a decision was coming, either stay here for up to 24 hours until this clears OR get back to civilization.  Some may call me a sissy but I bugged out at 8:30.

I started re-thinking that decision shortly after I broke camp, the snow stopped and stars came out.  It was a bit snowy on Monarch Pass and I found there to be lots of deer out on the road but we managed to stay away from each other.  This morning the sun was out and things looked good, but in the mountains looks can be decieving as this afternoon all the peaks around me are engulfed in clouds and I suspect some good snow. With my #1 goal to get home safe, I think I made to right call.  What is one more day?  As they say "the mountains will be there" so tomorrow I hope to be setting out for peak summit number 1.  I do know one thing, its going to be colder and more challenging with the winter type weather, so I am going to need to be ready to suck it up.
Today I wil study the weather, the mountain conditions around the area and will work to get a revised plan ready to go.  More on that later! 

Oct 4, 2012
It’s been a while since my last update, but next Friday (Oct 12) is the day I plan to head to the mountains to attempt 14 summits in 14 days.  Please follow me in the journey here or on facebook or twitter!  I need your help, please post about this on facebook or your favorite social media, tell your friends about 14ers4Kids and if you are willing, I’d still appreciate your support in the form of a donation to help orphaned kids.  Thanks again to everyone who has donated already; we are close to $7500!

I have been working hard since the knee surgery to get my leg ready for this, but as a result I am not in the best climbing shape.  It’s amazing how much and how fast your muscles atrophy after surgery, the swelling causes them to basically shut down.  There were several days after surgery that as hard as I tried to just flex or tighten my quads, they just sat there and did nothing.  Slowly I started to be able to get them moving and responding again and with help of Falcon Physical Therapy I seem to be getting stronger every day.  It was just the past couple days I have been able to walk down stairs, for some reason going up was ok but down was a challenge.  Two and a half miles is the longest hike I have done lately and that wasn't climbing anything, but a few small hills.  To be honest, I have no idea if I can climb one, a few, or (hopefully) all 14 peaks.  But I am not going to give up on this goal without a fight.  As I have said, I wanted this 2 weeks of climbing to represent the uphill climb orphaned kids face everyday…I am starting to realize that their lives are filled with challenges bigger than I ever imagined.

The weather is going to be a huge factor now and as a result I am not sure today which mountains I will be climbing or on which days.  The schedule is going to have to be flexible and may change day to day due to conditions.  For anyone who is willing or interested in joining me on a climb, I would love to have you along…but I can’t give you a set schedule like I had posted before.  Please email me at 14ers4Kids@gmail.com if you have interest in joining a climb between Oct 13 and Oct 26th, I will get back to you. 
Handies Peak

For now,  I plan to start with Handies Peak on Oct 13, it's one of the "easiest" 14ers, and I can do two more (Redcloud and Sunshine) from the same camp the next day.  From there I am not sure what is next, but I will send out updates both on this site and on facebook and twitter.  Please follow along, and please send prayers and positive thoughts...I will need them!

Sep 5, 2012
When I started this project I wanted the 2 weeks of climbing to represent the uphill climb that so many orphans face each day.  I guess I underestimated just how difficult their little lives must be.  Having surgery wasn’t in the plans.  When I heard the word that one of our 14ers4Kids team members had been killed climbing Crestone Peak, I thought about how many orphans precious lives are cut short as well.  The day before I was to leave to start the climbing,  I learned about my torn-up knee and realized that so many of them have enormous medical challenges too. Much bigger than my torn meniscus.   I guess the message is, “be careful what you wish for, because you just might get it” these kids have no other choice but to deal with these and other challenges every day.  Strange that now I will need to rely on their strength, their determination as an example to keep me going.

Amazing! A picture of inside my knee, yup there it is.
The surgery was a success!  We are so blessed to live in a time that modern medicine can fix us and get us going again.  Without it I am sure my climbing days would have been over, probably no more snowboarding or simply running around with my kids.  But thanks to Dr. Jones and his staff I am ready to start healing and getting back to life as normal (or close to it). He said it would never be 100% but he felt like I could return to my active life-style.

The tear was very similar to the one I had in my left knee last year, and for the most part its back to normal.  I recovered pretty quick from that.  Not knowing exactly what to expect I took it pretty easy at the beginning, but now that I have been thru this before I think I can be a little more aggressive with my rehab and get back to the goal to climb these 14 summits within 6 or 7 weeks.  The weather is changing too; this will mean colder temps and probably some snow, but hopefully not enough to keep me from climbing. Again, just another reminder of how difficult it is for so many kids. 

This project isn’t really about me, or for that matter climbing mountains…it’s about helping children who have no one.  So far with so much support we have already raised over $6K and I know that money will make a big impact on several children. The good news is with out even taking one step on a trail (well except for the many miles of training the past months) 14ers4Kids is already a success!  I want to again express my gratitude to everyone who has helped, and in so many ways.  However, when I set a goal I plan to accomplish it, and my personal goal is to climb these mountains; so I have lots of PT and work to do but I hope to get on with the climbing soon.  Please keep the orphans of the world (and me for a speedy recovery) in your thoughts and prayers.

Aug 31, 2012
Dr. Jones points out the spot
The day I have been waiting for is here!  But I am not on my way to the Grays and Torreys trail-head.  I came back from Dr. Chris Jones (awesome knee Doc BTW) a little while ago with the news that I have torn my medial meniscus in my right knee.  The meniscus (if you didn't know) is the "padding" between your knee bones.  It's 2 circles of cartilage that form a figure 8, your bones sit in and slide on it.  Mine is ripped on the inside part of my knee.  Dr. Jones told me I would never make it 80 plus miles on this knee as it is; so next Tuesday I am scheduled for surgery and hope that in around 6 weeks I will be able to get back on the trail.  I had had some knee pain the past couple weeks and was really hoping that it would get better. 

I pushed some on Tuesday after a couple weeks of taking it easy, and on Wednesday I started to realize that something was really wrong.  I want to say a BIG thanks to Dr. Jones and the whole staff at Colorado Springs Orthopedic Group!  They got me in the office fast with a call placed late Wednesday, they made magic happen to get me into an MRI yesterday with little notice and pushed to get the scans read so I could have results before noon today.  I tore my left knee last year and in Dec had it repaired by Dr. Jones and it's been great since, I am hoping for the same results this time.  More to come on a re-schedule date after the surgery.

Aug 22, 2012
People doing good things, that is one of the things I wanted to do with this project; to motivate people to get out and do something for someone else. In the case of 14ers4Kids the goal is helping orphaned children find a home with a loving foster family. The mountain climbing dedicated to 14ers4Kids is bigger than just my personal goal to summit 14 mountains in 14 days, others are joining in the climb.  As you see below with Jaydn and her mom.  Also Gary is coming from KS, and others from all around Colorado. There are currently 14 other people who have signed up to climb for this cause.  Click HERE to support a climber.  Also tons of people in the media, like Ellen Cole (one of the first to feature the project) from the C Springs Gazette. (see Media tab) Woody and Goose from Peak FM, Mark Goldberg and Jay Miller at KVOR, and lots of others.  Business have and are supporting, our Pizza day at Marcos Pizza is Monday Aug 27!  GoLite, Curves For Women, The Mountain Chalet and several others (listed below) have allowed us to post flyers. My family has been amazing in support, I love you all!  So many others have made a donation and thank you again for your support!
September 1st is coming fast, I plan on updating this site and facebook as much as I can as I have cell access. I will also be able to "check in" with you along the way via satellite, so look for my "Pings From Peaks" on facebook.   Chrisa is also going to help update here, during the climb and we hope to be able to posts lots of photos. She will also help coordinate with all the climbers on the climbing team during the 2 weeks.  So "stay tuned" and thanks again for your support of the project. - Dave 

Aug 20, 2012
Jadyn Mei takes on Mt Democrat, wind and all!
A few weeks ago I was contacted by Danielle Marie about joining the team and climbing for kids. She along with her daughter decided to do their own climb to benefit 14ers4Kids and this past Sunday the mother and daughter climbing team tackled Mt. Democrat!  Jadyn Mei is from China and is 8 years old. Pretty impressive to have already climbed her first 14er! The family came together when she was 2 1/2 and they have lived in Colorado now for 4 years. Mom says she took her 10 year old son on Mt. Quandry last year and had wanted to take Jaydn on a 14er but was unsure if she was ready. She says "Once I saw the opportunity for 14ers4Kids, I thought she would love to do it.  She has always had a heart for the children that are waiting for their new parents in China."  (Did I mention she is 8?) Mom reports it was a cold and windy day temps in the 40's (wind chills below that) she says it was a "long, difficult haul, but we made it up Democrat, she is very proud of that"  She should be, because that is totally awesome and she will be an inspiration to me as I a climb my 14ers starting Sep 1. Please support Danielle Marie and Jaydn with a donation in their name; one amazing little girl and an awesome mom!
You can also join our climbing team or create your own climb for kids, more info HERE!

Aug 16, 2012
The list of people coming together to help is getting huge!  To everyone who has made a donation, one more time....THANK YOU!  The list of climbers continues to grow and it's going to give me so much support to have people joining in with me on various mountains, plus the extra donations that the climbers are bringing in is wonderful.  The media is playing a huge role in getting the word out, see the media tab for more.  Also, Anne Marie and Kim at Platinum PR Group are working hard to spread the word.  Local churches are supporting the cause and Marcos Pizza is hosting a Pizza for Kids day on Monday Aug 27th. (details on this event are below)  Several business around the area have let me put out flyers, the full list is at the bottom of the page.  Wow!
I also want to say THANKS to Tepui Tents for their sponsorship in making it possible for me to have some wonderful camping accommodations during the 2 weeks of climbing.  If you haven't heard of Tepui tents check them out, these are roof-top tents that mount on your roof rack and then pop open to provide a luxurious "tent" that has a built in bed and light and is up off the ground.
I can't wait to give it a try - I never sleep very well in my tent in the middle of no-where, plus, putting it up and taking it down is a pain. They are called the Rocky Mountains and after you sleep a few nights on the ground here in Colorado (even with a nice pad) you will know why.  I always find myself slipping off the pad, poking holes in my pad, I have even had mice invade my tent...not to mention a visit one time from 2 bears!  That was an adrenaline filled few moments!  Now, I won't have to worry about all that, as I will be sleeping on a nice bed 6 feet up from the mice, bears and rocks! 

Aug 10, 2012
Climbers are joining the team not only from around Colorado but even as far away as Kansas City!  We have several climbers from here in Colorado Springs and Gregory from Westminster has officially joined the team. Several others from around Colorado have given me a "maybe" and I hope you guys will officially commit soon.  (You know who you are!)  I've also received a few other "maybes" from outside Colorado, and I hope to see you guys on the official climbing team soon too!  
To join the team CLICK HERE!
Gary McClain with his wife
I want to tell you about Gary McClain who is making the trip to Colorado from Kansas City to climb his first 14er for the kids!  Gary is the proud dad of 3 children including a now 16 year old daughter that he and his wife were blessed to adopt from China in 1999.  I haven't met Gary but in the e-mails that we have exchanged I can tell he is a very proud father and that his kids think that their dad is a little crazy for deciding to come to Colorado and climb a 14,000 ft mountain!  This is exactly one of the things I want to do with this project, not only do I want to raise awareness about adoption and to raise money to support orphaned children, but I also want to encourage people to get out of their comfort zone.  Gary started a new work-out program a few weeks ago and has his sites set on reaching the summit of Mt Sherman at 14,036 ft on Friday September 14th. It's great to have a goal! I believe pushing yourself to do new and even difficult things helps you discover who you really are, and what amazing things you can do! I also believe that if you are blessed with the ability to do something like this, that you shouldn't put it off for "later" because you never know what "later" will bring your way.  The hardest things in life bring the best rewards, and I can't wait to see the look on Gary's face when we top out on his first 14er summit.  Support Gary in his climb by CLICKING HERE.

Aug 9, 2012
Eating pizza and helping kids.  
Could it get any better?  
I am so thankful that Marcos Pizza on Briargate in Co Springs is joining with 14ers4Kids.  On Monday Aug 27th they are going to donate a portion of the proceeds from all orders to the 14ers4Kids project for Half the Sky Foundation.  Lunch or dinner, dine in, carry out or delivery (call in orders at 719-434-3773) it all counts and will go to help the kids.  

I hope you will save the date AUG 27 and plan to join me and enjoy some pizza to help us raise more funds for the kids, they are open 11am till 10pm and are located at Briargate Blv and Chapel Hills Dr.  "Join" the event on facebook at www.facebook.com/14ers4kids 

July 27, 2012
Time to head back up to 14K tomorrow as the start of this adventure is now 5 short weeks away!  My friend Steve and I are planning for a summit of Pikes Peak, hopefully it will be my 3rd time to climb to the top of Americas Mountain.

This week a rock band from Denver "Heart and Soul Radio" signed up to climb Challenger and Kit Carson with me on Sep 9th.  These are two pretty tough mountains!  I am so excited about this, they are not only great guys but they have a big following in Denver and I expect that they will be able to expose this project to many people who wouldn't otherwise hear about it.  Rock on Heart and Soul Radio!  They have set a goal of $500 and that is so cool, I know they can do it.  To support them go to their fund raising page HERE!  

Finally, a big THANKS to Marcos Pizza on Briargate for helping to support 14ers4Kids!

July 23, 2012
A great week in the high country!  Last week I spent two cold nights at 12K in American Basin, it was great to get away from the heat. I hiked the American basin a couple times including a trip up nearby 14er, Handies Peak.  Then went over to St Elmo and a hiked up to an amazing view on a 12K ridge above Handcock Lake.  I started this week with an "almost" summit of Mt. Elbert on Sunday.  I took a couple young guys up for their first 14er.  One made it to the summit and had a great day; the other had some trouble with the altitude, so he and I turned back just before the summit.  All in all a good day in the mountians for me, but I unfortunately was reminded by young Jeff's misfortune of how hard a day in the montains can be.  

I really enjoyed going back to Elbert.  It was my first 14er and she beat me up a bit too.  I recall thinking after the hike "why would anyone want to do that!?"  A few days later...I was planning my next one.  It hooked me!   I think I will make a return trip in the next couple weeks to Colorado's tallest peak, and also do the 14,134ft sub-peak "South Elbert".  Sounds like good training to me!  Thanks for your support everyone.

July 19, 2012
One year....Today I am blessed to have a wonderful daughter named Olivia because of a truly amazing person.  We miss you.

Now I am focused on a goal to make 14 summits and make a difference in several children that will last a life-time. Thanks to everyone who have helped so far.   After a 3 day trip to the American Basin (one of the most beautiful places in Colorado by the way) I have a good idea of the challenge ahead in doing 14 days.  More climbing this coming weekend, so far so good!  Here are a few shots from American Basin, and summit view from Handies Peak, 14,048ft. (above)

If its your first 14er or your 100th, I would love to have you join in on the climbing and the fundraising.  It's really easy to set up a webpage that you can share with friends and family get them to sponsor your climb as you climb you can help reach the fundraising goal or  "summit".  That is a summit I can't make solo!  

July 13, 2012
I started thinking about this project in December, committed and put out the word about it in March,  it seems like a long time but now only a month and a half and the climbing starts.  I am excited and actually a little nervous.  So many things to get ready for 14 summits back to back, so many factors have to be just right for a successful summit....weather is a huge factor that I have no control over...and the weather has been kinda crazy the past months.  Plus getting ready for a weekend climb is work enough, I am really going to have the "did I forget something's" on Friday Aug 31 as I head out for two weeks.  Thanks to all of you who are encouraging and supporting me on this!  Looking forward to some good outings over the next few days.  Nothing gets you better prepared for hiking and climbing, than hiking and climbing.

July 9, 2012
As you probably know this project came out of a tragic loss to our family and our community.  Friends of Laurel have put together a book telling stories about her amazing life in the words of a few of the many people she touched. 

This is a great tribute to a wonderful person who's life may have been cut short, but what a wonderful life she lived!  You can view and order the book here.
We Love You Laurel!

July 5, 2012
Thank you Ellie Cole at the Gazette for a great article about 14ers4Kids!  See the story in the OutThere section of the paper today or electronically at this link:OutThereColorado.com This really helps get the word out!

June 29, 2012
Thanks for reading the latest!  I need your help in spreading the word about this project.  If you haven't hit the LIKE button on our facebook page, please do that.  You can also help by hitting like or share on posts when you see something new. 
Check out  www.facebook.com/14ers4kids   
I am also starting an e-mail list, I promise not to fill your inbox with tons of e-mails, but if you would like updates via e-mail please send me a message at14ers4kids@gmail.com just let me know you would like to be on the list.  (I won't share your e-mail with anyone, I promise)

Hey guys! What's up?  I noticed so far it's all ladies who have signed up for the climbing team.  Come on, pick a peak and sign up to climb with me.  Not that I mind climbing with the ladies at all! :) Once you sign up, you can create your own fundraising page and help in the fund raising effort, it will also be a huge help to me to have people join me on the climbs.

June 28, 2012
I want to say thanks to area business who are helping by putting out our flyers!  If you have a business willing to help, please contact me!

Here is the post that started it all!


14 14ers in 14 days...a project to help kids

Day after day, millions of orphaned children face an uphill climb in life. It might be like climbing a mountain that has no summit, a climb that has no end.  I love to climb mountains, and many times it's a hard and painful experience but (usually) in the end rewarding. I think any mountain climber would tell you that if they had to spend everyday, day after day with no break--climbing without the reward of a summit and with no end in sight...it wouldn't be any “fun” at all. That is why I am starting this project, to try and take the burden of that endless climb for a few kids and put it in my back-pack for a couple weeks. The goal: to climb 14 of Colorado's 14 thousand foot Rocky Mountain peaks in 14 days. That's more than 80 miles of trails, and over 35,000 feet of elevation gain.   
14 14ers in 14days!
at camp for Crestone Peak climb in 2009

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