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.
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