I think I’ll go climb a REAL mountain

How’s this for a view!

In just a few weeks , if all goes as planned, I hope to be standing on that very same rock with a half a dozen of my COPD friends.

The brainchild of my Boston marathon walking partner Mike Mc Bride, the “COPD Mt Evans Challenge” as he calls it, is simply about a bunch of friends with severe lung disease, getting together for a day and hiking to the summit of one of the tallest mountains in the Rockies of Colorado…. just for the heck of it! No, we’re not going to scale an entire mountain, but we will be walking up the steepest portion of one.

Starting in Idaho Springs,elevation 8,700 ft, we’re gonna drive up the mountain road 9 miles to Summit Lake, which is situated at the 12,800 ft level. From there we’re gonna hike the last 5 miles on foot up to the summit of the mountain, which sits 14,220 ft above sea level. My COPD friends will be using high -flow oxygen @ 15 lpm to make the trek up the mountain I hopefully, will not need supplemental O2, but I’ll be closely monitoring my O2 sats just in case.


As you can see in this photo taken earlier this year during a race up the mountain, the grade along certain portions of the road is pretty steep. The part that we’re gonna be doing, gains approximately 1600 ft in elevation in just over 5 miles.

( Mike Mc Bride and Roxlyn Cole testing out their oxygen equip)

What makes this particular walk such a challenge for me (and for the other lungers), is the altitude and the steepness of the climb.
Excluding being a passenger in a pressurized airplane, this will be the highest altitude my body has ever been exposed to. The last walk I did that involved a mountain, was back in 2008 when I did the ET midnight marathon in the Nevada desert. And while it was a much longer walk ( 13.1 miles) , we only reached a maximum elevation of 5,500 feet during the race. The summit of Mt Evans is almost 3 times higher.

My lungs are not a big fan of climbing hills. I can barely walk uphill the two blocks it takes to reach my house, let alone 5.5 miles up the side of a mountain. Putting the physical challenges aside though, the main reason I wanna do this is, is to take in the sheer beauty of it all. I think Mountains are awesome.

If you’d like to read more, or maybe even join us, check out at Roxlyn Coles blog

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10 Comments

  1. Sara C. says:

    that sounds fabulous. I can’t wait to hear all about it. You impress me daily with your perseverance in doing what you want to do, despite the challenges. It’s a lesson that we can all learn from (asthmatic or not) I’ll tell you, on days my lungs are complaining to me, and all I want to do is sit around and baby them, I often think of you, and go to the gym, or whatever.

    I’ve hiked the White Mountains…I’d love to get to the top of Mt. Washington…we’ve only hiked to the snow line…the Rockies seem SO daunting.

  2. wheezyheron says:

    OK, I know we're not allowed to use the 'i' word, so I'll just say that this sound really cool, and incredibly impressive! And now I'll stop complaining about my walking in The Netherlands, which is basically flat, not to mention below sea level!

    How I wish we had beautiful mountains like that here.

  3. kerri says:

    Looks like funnnnnnn!!! And, of course, totally gorgeous. I hope y'all have an epic time out there–I totally wish I could come out.

    . . . Coloardo, eh? Have you drafted Amy yet? ;-)

  4. MC says:

    Wow, that's totally cool! I love the view you'll get (as per the picture sample above). I had the chance to go skiing in the Colorado Rockies a few years ago…. the sights were AMAZING and is what makes me want to go back more than the fun I had skiing. Have a blast!

  5. kitkat07 says:

    Looks beautiful. I've really got to get out west to some of this nature, once I'm in shape enough to enjoy it. Have a good hike!!

  6. Hey-I missed this post!
    But I wanted to say, I've been up Mt Evans, an Pikes Peak-got the keyrings to prove it!
    We drove up them-pretty hairy drives both of them-I remember the big bag of Ruffles potato chips exploding in the trunk from the change in altitude and my Dad freaking out that we had a tyre blow or something!

    I also remember being really sick at the top and getting looked after by the Rangers who gave me a hot chocolate and a donut. And in those days my asthma was only at the childhood level of severe-think the last time I went up either was aged early 20s and I was definitely in a bit of a dodgy lung spell then!

    PS My Grandad came and he had angina that summer and was AOK. That's a positive for you!

    Hugs x

  7. danielle10 says:

    Glad you have some friends who go as nuts for this stuff as you do, doesn't that just make life great? Freaking awesome idea, I wish you and your gang the best of luck!

  8. Fran says:

    hope you have a great time. Looks like lots of fun. Good luck!

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