Can I really do this?
Good question. No special mountaineering or technical climbing skills are required. You won’t need ropes, helmets, or crampons. You don’t need to be an Olympic athlete either. However, you do need to be in good physical shape. You will be hiking at altitude in a mountain environment. People of all ages can complete this Expedition but, on any given day weather, AMS, or a number of other factors can turn you back. Much like life, there are no guarantees of success. Indeed, like most activities (skiing, SCUBA, golf, etc.) there is an element of risk that you must understand and accept. However, you will have an amazing time regardless of where your journey begins or ends.
What gear will I need?
No technical climbing equipment is needed for this expedition. We will provide much of the gear for you to use and keep (water bottle, hat, pack, and jacket). However, you will want to bring along additional gear for on and off the mountain. A complete list of required gear will be provided to you and will include: a good pair of hiking boots (broken in before arrival), additional water bottles, recommendations on clothing, and sunscreen.
What should I wear?
In general, Colorado’s high altitude summer climate is warm and dry. However, at higher altitudes, the weather can change quickly and one should always be prepared for rain, wind, and rapidly rising/falling temperatures. Layering and synthetic fabric clothing (not cotton) are the best options. A recommended list of clothing will be provided.
What does trekking and climbing involve?
The expedition involves walking over well marked trails with a round trip distance of between 7-9 miles and an altitude gain between 2,800 and 3,800 vertical feet per day. There is a significant amount of “up and down”, but no technical climbing whatsoever.
What is altitude sickness and will it affect me?
Altitude sickness, also known as acute mountain sickness (AMS) is the pathological affect of exposure to low partial pressure of oxygen at higher elevations. It affects people very differently and scientists are not sure why. If you are not properly acclimatized, you will very likely feel at least minimal effects (headache, sleeplessness, loss of appetite, etc.). In general, the faster you ascend in altitude and the longer you remain there, the more likely you will be to have symptoms.
- Acclimatization is a very important aspect of the trip, even though in certain instances, nothing can be done to prevent AMS. Acclimatization steps will include: hydration (you will drink a lot more water than you are used to), minimization of alcohol intake, “climb high – sleep low”, and time (ascending slowly, exercising patience). The highest altitude reached on this trip will be 14,293’ and our sleeping elevation will be between 9,500 and 9,900’.
- You will need to listen to your own body and recognize the symptoms of AMS. If AMS occurs, the only safe treatment is rapid and immediate descent to lower altitudes. Over the counter pain medication and oxygen are available in Breckenridge, which can help with the symptoms, but will not eliminate AMS.
What technical skills are required?
No technical skills are required.
What physical skills are required?
For all A Call to Adventure expeditions, you must be in good physical shape and should consult your physician regarding their approval of your trip. Depending on the expedition you choose, you should be comfortable hiking seven to twelve miles per day on a trail carrying a day pack of about ten pounds. The 7 Summits of Colorado Expedition is rated strenuous and involves trekking at high altitude. The entire trip involves a lot of up and down. Physical conditioning is required. Nothing prepares you for hiking like hiking. So besides hitting the tread-mill or the stair-master at the gym, do include hiking in your training regimen which should begin at least two months prior to the expedition if not earlier.
Physical training and health requirements will be provided prior to the trip.