We are sometimes not a great judge of what’s possible.- Maggie Mason

Sometimes all it takes is one phrase to jump start something. I know that this is nothing profound to you all – we here are a people who are sensitive to inspiration. A people for whom sometimes all it takes is one second of permission to change something good into something oh-my-God-what-am-I-doing awesome.


That’s how this goal started. In June 2010, I scribbled my life list in the car on a road trip to Glenwood Springs with my husband. We were spitballing – just throwing things out there like we do – when “climb a fourteener” made the list. It was a safe item – like “get a tattoo” (which I can’t do without risking the wrath of my stodgy transplant team…but we shall see) – because it would  probably never happen.

And then it did. Twice. And actually one more time in September 2012 which will come in a soon-to-be-written post.

So after the first Skillshare video, I looked back at my list. Emboldened by Maggie’s suggestion that this be a living list, I crossed of ”climb a fourteener” and changed it to my secret, only  discussed with my husband, life list item:  climb ALL the mountains!

And then I hit publish.

Never did I expect that this goal would make the front page of Go Mighty. Nor did I, in a million years, expect it to win the $1,000 Skilshare grant! The morning I got Amber’s email, I sleepily looked at my phone, put it down, rubbed my eyes and then pulled the covers over my head. Overwhelmed.

So what does one do with a grant for mountain climbing? Bagging local fourteeners, aside from gear (which can either be minimal (and unsafe) at tennis shoes, a Nalgene bottle and your dog or very high tech, all name-brand and fancy), is not a very expensive sport. I am fortunate to have inherited much of my gear secondhand from a friend who is a sponsored athlete for an outdoor clothing manufacturer.

Well, as it turns out, my next climb is already on deck. And it’s a fundraiser. I am scheduled to participate in the “What’s Your Everest ” climb to on June 1st to benefit Soldiers to the Summit   S2S is a group dedicated to using the mountain climbing experience as a metaphor for soldiers to start rebuilding their lives after physical or emotional injury post-combat. Even though I am not a soldier, the idea is everyone has an “Everest” - those things that seem too big to ever summit. For me, mountain climbing represents the ultimate in what I couldn’t do before and every time I tackle a mountain I have to face and conquer all those heart failure demons as I climb.

We will be tackling Grays Peak  as a group under the expert leadership of several incredible climbers. Grays is typically done as a twofer with its neighbor, Torreys Peak   I hear rumors that there will be a rogue group headed to the saddle to grab them both. I will be among that company if my snail’s pace allows it.

My grant is headed to this amazing organization, earmarked specifically for this  fundraising climb.  By doing so, I will be able to climb with my favorite partner and husband.  We will be alongside men and women who have sacrificed so much for our country and are looking to overcome a real and present barrier – this 14,278 foot mountain.

We may not sometimes be the best judges of what is possible…indeed yes. I am thrilled and honored to be able to join with this team of wounded warriors to break through our own barriers of what we think possible.