It’s been almost three years to the day since I last hiked Beckler Peak. Beckler Peak opened up in 2011 and was easily one of the first hikes I decided to go after in my young hiking career. It was a lung-buster to say the least, and tested my mental fortitude. I about gave up several times but I really wanted to be high up on this rock.
I started really getting into hiking after making it to the top of this mountain. I started to invest in proper footwear, hiking packs and learning how to navigate. I could probably tackle this peak in less than two hours nowadays but back then it took me all morning. I have some really good hiking shoes that I absolutely love that are nicely broke it. I think I traversed this beast in my old US Army boots.
Beckler is about eight or so miles round trip with a top out of around 5,200 ft with an elevation gain of over 2,000. So it’s really not all that bad for beginner hikers. It’ll test you, that’s for sure. And it’s comparable to Wallace Falls- which I’ve hiked nearly four times now. It’s taken me that many times to reach the top.
As you can see in the photo above, the brim of my hat is completely soaked with sweat. At one point, during the final push to the summit, I had beads of sweat rolling off the brim of my hat. It was crazy how much I was sweating, and how much the mountain was pushing my limits. It always feels good to summit. Even getting to the top on these small elevation hikes, it feels like such an accomplishment. And as I become more, and more experienced my hikes will increase elevation little by little.
When I reached the top, I was completely gassed. I remember finding a nice open spot on the summit as onlookers and other climbers greeted me and asked me how the hike was. As I was catching my breath, I was able to nod and mutter how great I felt. But I didn’t feel that great. My quads were burning, my chest was huffing and puffing, and I was asking myself what I had gotten myself into. I love the outdoors, and in the moment I just wanted to be home. There’s also the fact that there’s more work to do- getting down. When I finally sat down, I took my hat off, wiped my brow and took a long gasping sigh of relief. I had made it. I said something to the effect of, “wow, what a brutal hike.”
The other climbers stared at me for a moment before resuming their conversation- not even really acknowledging my comment. Or so I thought. “So anyway…” one of them said. “Yeah, so when we get to the Himalayas..” and that’s all I needed to hear to realize what kind of company I was with on the summit of Beckler Peak. These were obviously older, more experienced climbers if they were setting out to hike in the Himalayan mountain range. I had to chuckle to myself. These people thought I was out of my league or down right pathetic if I let a mountain like Beckler kick my butt.
I think back on those days of Beckler, (which isn’t too far off) and realize how far I’ve come with my abilities, my mental fortitude, my stamina and my endurance. My confidence levels are beyond reproach and I understand and listen to my body during hikes. I don’t push myself beyond my own limitations, I bring my ten essentials and I respect the land. The mountain can easily do away with you if you let it. If you disrespect the mountain you may not make it back home. These are things that I’ve grown to understand and it’s what defines me as a climber. I’ve had to turn around on several occasions because of various reasons and I’m not too prideful to not. Remember that.
“We don’t live to eat and make money. We eat and make money to be able to enjoy life. That is what life means, and that is what life is for.”
― George Lee Mallory
Be safe out there and see you on the summit.