Meditations on Hiking Mount Lady Washington

Sunrise At Mount Lady Washington

On June 9, 2024, a good friend of mine invited me to join her to hike Mount Lady Washington. I was delighted to join. Like always, I looked up the route, got my food ready, and adjusted my sleeping hours to ensure I got a solid 8.5 hours of sleep, packed my enthusiasm and backpack, and went to sleep. Oh boy, did I not expect one of the hardest and most amazing hikes of my life. Ha! And, last year, I thought the 14-er Grey’s Peak was my biggest gig. Guess that’s how it goes…

So, my friends, in this blog, I am going to share with you how I pushed the limits of my cardiovascular and muscular endurance, faced my fears, and shared what I learned about scrambling off-trail. I was very lucky because I had a trusted friend who focused on finding the trail so I could manage not to die!  Of course, Pilates truly saved my life; it was quite literally the difference between life and death. Not to be dramatic, but oh well…

Some say that some Colorado 13-ers (elevation gain 13,000 feet) are harder than the 14-ers. For sure, our Lady, with her magnificent boulder scramble for over 1,000 feet of elevation gain, seems to fit that claim.  Ideally, I would approach a trial like this with a few attempts. But what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger!

Top Views
Views from the top of the Mount Lady Washington

Pre-Hike Preparation

  • Make sure you have your route planned (I use AllTrails App).
  • Get a satellite communicator for emergencies.
  • Hydrate well the day before & before the hike
  • Eat a nutrient-dense meal to fuel your body. For example, consume a cup and a half of rice, a cup and a half of chickpeas, one avocado, 30 grams of nuts, a salad, one cup of berries, a few figs or dates, and half a cup of lentils.
  • Do Pilates or yoga to bring your body to a complete state of relaxation once all the packing is done.

Meeting Time

Anna Sheinman's Journey In Awe Towards The Rising Sun On To Mount Washington
Journey In Awe Towards The Rising Sun On To Mount Washington photo credit @cassieswaff
  • The earlier, the better!
  • We met at 2:30 am to be on the trail by 3:00 am – a headlamp is a must.
  • There is nothing like seeing a sunrise over the mountains or the stars for that matter!
  • We had the whole mountain to ourselves, avoiding thunderstorms and heat.

Morning Fuel

I started my day with a double espresso and a smoothie made from banana, avocado, lentils (pre-soaked and pre-cooked), greens, maca, mushrooms, and ground flaxseeds or chia seeds and a bar.

On the Trail

Mt. Lady Washington @ 13,277
Mt. Lady Washington @ 13,277
  • I don’t really love eating too eat much on the trail – is a personal preference. Just a few bars and a handful of nuts.
  • Water – about 1.5 liters of water. I prefer using a hydration bladder.
  • Hiking Poles – are essential!
  • Shoes – I alternate between Altra and Salomon shoes.
  • I like to wear athleta biking or running shorts, a long-sleeve shirt, warm gloves, and always take my trusty layer, warm hat, and gloves.

 Facing Fear and Overcoming Challenges

Lunch With A View Lady Washington Peack Facing Longs Peak
Lunch With A View Lady Washington Peack Facing Longs Peak

A few times, I completely lost my shit. The rocks were treacherous, and there was absolutely no trail. My body was shaking and my mind was betraying me. I used ujjayi or box breathing and my mantra:

“I will not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. I will face my fear and all the scary things…”

Paraphrased from Dune. Once my mind let go, my body knew what to do. Luckily, Pilates conditioned all the necessary muscles for scrambling. Scrambling involves using your hands to climb over rocks and rough terrain, often requiring flexibility and strength.

Still, I had to fully flex my knees as I maneuvered around these huge rocks. A few times, fear paralyzed me, but my friend encouraged me, and I am always grateful for her. I know myself well and know when to push and when not to. So, we made it to the top and the views are truly to die for!

Summit Triumph

Mt. Lady Washington @ 13,277
Mt. Lady Washington @ 13,277

Longs Peak may steal the spotlight in Rocky Mountain National Park, but nestled just below its grand summit lies the understated gem of Mount Lady Washington. This 13-er, alongside Mount Meeker and Longs Peak, majestically frames the pristine waters of Chasm Lake. The summit offers unparalleled views of the lake below. The journey to the top weaves through enchanting forests and across alpine meadows, culminating in an exhilarating scramble up the rugged slopes.

 The Descent

My Friend Cassie
My Amazing Friend & photo genius – Cassie, find her art at @cassieswaff.

The ascent was exhilarating, but the true challenge lay in the descent. One of the principles I’ve adopted from Steven Kotler’s wisdom is to never stop at the summit. Pausing too long can cost you precious momentum, a truth that rings especially true for climbing and skiing endeavors. While it’s tempting to linger and savor the breathtaking views, the prudent approach is to hustle down without delay – a personal preference that has served me well time and again. Prolonged rest invites the chill to seep in, sapping your hard-earned energy and drive.

And so, the treacherous descent began. Fear threatened to paralyze me on more than one occasion, but there was no turning back – only a path forward, one rock at a time. Breathing deeply, I immersed myself fully in the task at hand, meticulously navigating each rocky foothold. Though not without a few hard-earned scratches, we ultimately emerged victorious, the summit conquered in its entirety.

Post-Hike Recovery

quinoa salad with pomegranate and nuts
quinoa salad with pomegranate and nuts

As every epic adventure must eventually come to an end, my friend and I savored the perfect ending to our mountainous exploits – a delightful al fresco lunch amidst the breathtaking scenery of Estes Park. Replenished and content, I returned home and immediately tended to my weary body through the restorative powers of deep breathing meditation and rolling. This allowed me to gently guide my system back into the rejuvenating parasympathetic state, kick-starting the recovery process.

With mindful intention, I blocked out space in my calendar for profound reflection and learning, allowing the journey’s lessons to etch themselves into my consciousness and time for rest and recovery. Despite my diligent strength training, this adventure had truly put my body to its new limits.

The Summit’s Just the Beginning

So, from this journey, I gained invaluable insights into my current strengths and areas needing further training, while realizing I can achieve incredible highs through Pilates, mindfulness practices, and the company of a few good friends.

Dear, Lady Washington –  pushed me to my limits, but the rewards were so worth it – profound insights, unforgettable memories, and a revitalized thirst for growth and adventure. I can already feel the stirrings of my next big pursuit taking shape, fortified by the hard-won wisdom from this grueling yet incredibly rewarding journey. The summit was just the start – now I’m hungrier than ever to seek out new peaks to conquer!

Who’s ready to join me on the next epic adventure?


1) We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.  2) The entire contents of this website are based upon the opinions of Anna Sheinman.  They are not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional, and they are not intended as medical advice.  Instead, they are intended as a sharing of knowledge and information from my own research and experience.  I encourage you to make your own health care decisions based upon your research and in partnership with a qualified health care professional.

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