mountain running and examining the definition of pain

Kelso Ridge Torreys Peak (Examining the Definition of Pain)

About two weeks ago Marc and I decided to climb Kelso Ridge Torreys Peak and bag Greys while we were at it. Ever since we’ve moved to Colorado we’ve had plans to climb some of the local easy access 14ers. Greys and Torreys are certainly on that list and Kelso Ridge seemed like the most fun and scenic route for us.

Climbing mountains I have found there are two worst sections. The first is the middle, when you’re going up and the summit still feels really far off. You’re starting to get tired and thoughts start to go through your head that make you doubt if you can do it, or worse, why you’d even want to.

the last mile

The second challenge is the last mile, the last mile always feels like 50 miles. Somehow, no matter how fast you walk, you’re never making good time. Your car never seems like it’s getting closer and the trees at the bottom never seem to be getting any bigger.

The interesting thing was that after running Greys and Torreys Peak via Kelso Ridge, I was actually feeling pretty good. I saw the car, knew we were close, and a simple elation came over me.

elation at elevation

Joy. Play. I was so happy to be in that moment.

“I love you,” I shouted to Marc, feeling grateful for spending the morning together doing something we love without kids.

And in that instant, that split second that I took my focus off the trail in order to express an emotion, I rolled my ankle. I felt the rubber band of my tendons over-stretch to the point that they should have snapped.

Emotions have no place on a mountain.

And yet every time I touch a summit and see the sea of peaks surrounding me enveloping me in their majesty, I tear up. I taste joy ad smell happiness. I hear angels and I touch strength.

I am both proud and humble, powerful and incredibly insignificant.

the definition of pain

Pain isn’t weakness leaving the body.

It’s muscles tearing, dehydration settling in, and fatigue signaling to your brain to find a freakin couch and lay down.

kelso ridge torreys peak

Despite spraining my ankle on the last half mile and threatening all the effort I had put into my training, Kelso Ridge to Torreys Peak was  phenomenal. It’s a fun scramble for experienced rock climbers with a few airy and incredibly picturesque sections.

We started early and had the less traveled ridge to ourselves which was a stark contrast to the crowds we experienced on our descent of the main trail.

The day was also a lesson in the wide range of people climbing 14ers in Colorado. While we live and are able to train at elevation, it was evident that some people were coming from much lower down and thus suffering more for it.

And yet, we nearly got lapped by a mountain runner who we saw at the top and then again on his way back up while we were still making our way to the car.

Check out some more photos below.

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I am Brenda Bergreen. I’m a writer, photographer, and storyteller alongside my husband and adventure parter Marc. We specialize in mountain lifestyle photography and adventurous wedding photography. Above all our philosophy, love. adventurously. is the guidepost for everything we do.

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