I would have never thought that climbing a 14-er could be one of the most emotional photography assignments I could have so far in my career.
Not long ago I had the privilege to join Irwin Guides, and more specifically the lovely Annie, on a hike to the top of Mt Elbert. She was taking a mid-age woman from Arkansas, who had spent the last year training for hiking the tallest peak in Colorado, on that high elevation adventure.
The emotions started spilling all around us with the sunrise above tree line – witnessing someone watching it for the first time. It was a breathtaking experience accompanied with joy, tears and appreciation!
As we kept on going further up the wind picked up and the conditions turned out to be not as friendly, but rather appropriate for the tallest 14-er. The peak turned out to be a tough one for her, the wind was freezing our hands and the lack of oxygen was more prominent the higher we went, but she never gave a sign of a complain. She was fighting her own battle and was determined to win it.
Once we were at to the top, tears of joy started running down her face. The peak was a symbol of persevering of the will over the body, of fighting over the doubt and the pain and proving herself that everything is achievable as long as you put your mind to it!
It was one of those days when you accidentally realize how fortunate you are for helping someone overcome their own fears and scratch a goal they have been fighting for. It was a day of fulfillment and high winds at elevation!