lorrie_14er_dwmagThe following article appeared in the April/May 2008 issue of Denver Woman magazine.  Written by Wendell Fleming.


The Director of Marketing for Perry & Co. and mother of two, Lorrie Grillo is a more recent convert to mountain climbiing. While she has always loved to hike, she thought that climbing fourteeners was for hard-core mountaineers, “not for a regular Jane like me,” she says with an impish grin.


“The reason I even climb fourteeners is because my friends thought that I could do it. I did it the first time to see if I could. And the great thing about climbing is that I’ve gotten more confidence that I can do it. I’ve watched and learned,” says Lorrie, who has now climbed 18.


lorrie_14erShe expounds, “Once you climb a fourteener and you’re standing on top and breathing for what feels like the first time in months, you feel like you can do anything.” She loves the silence at the summit, listening to the wind and the camaraderie of climbing with friends. She also loves the way her body feels afterward, when she’s stiff and tired and desperate for her traditional post-hike latte and cookie.


For Lorrie, climbing fourteeners has become “one of those positive addictions” that has allowed her to push herself physically and mentally and has given her an openness to trying new things.


Lorrie would advise first timers to find a friend who has climbed before and to be sure to get the right equipment, which can make all the difference (see sidebar). She explains, “Climbing got so much easier with a camelback. I could drink constantly while walking, instead of having to stop all the time to take a drink from a water bottle – that made me feel I was lagging behind.”


Most of her fears, like not knowing how to climb over rocks or scree, or worry that she might have vertigo, were unfounded. But she has had some scary moments. The last pitch of Mt. Harvard, just below the summit, entails a scramble using hands and toes to get over an exposed rock face. “I was stumped,” Lorrie says. “I really wanted to do it, but I also had that fear of not having the skill to handle that rock face. A man from California saw the predicament I was in and not only talked me through, but offered me his hand.”


She was relieved, because she almost stopped there. “That would have been OK,” she is quick to add. “Wherever you get is wonderful – there is no defeat involved on a fourteener!”


Lorrie says, “Climbing fourteeners is just a total gift I give to myself. I leave work the afternoon before and take this day totally for me. The great thing about getting into the mountains is that its made me feel like a Coloradoan in a way I never had before. Climbing fourteeners has enabled me to say, after living here for 23 years, ‘I am an outdoorswoman.”

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