The sight would be uncomplicated to judge. A small crimson gown and high heels is far from the typical wardrobe worn (or advisable) by individuals hiking up just one of Colorado’s fourteeners.
“It doesn’t assist that I’m blond, I’m woman, and I have been instructed that I glance like I’m 17 or 18,” says Erin Ton.
The judgment doesn’t look to trouble Ton, who presents a pleasant smile when passing hikers offer you bewildered stares pointed toward her strange footwear option.
What they want to know is, simply just, all the things.
She hasn’t been mountaineering in heels for extremely long, but Ton states she will get so several inquiries. Does she know how tricky a fourteener is? And what she’s acquiring into? Is she sane?
Mainly, there is the “infamous why concern.” Why don heels on such challenging terrain?
What they never know is she has done this prior to. She’s a fourteener finisher right after all.
She climbed her 57th 14,000-foot-peak in August, two several years immediately after summiting her first one. For individuals counting, that is 3 extra peaks than are officially ranked by 14ers.com. For all of these peaks, she wore her dependable path footwear.
The journey started in August 2018, when Ton was about to depart residence for her junior yr at Cornell University. She joined her sister and father on a hike up Mount Elbert.
“I don’t forget becoming so sore for times,” she mentioned.
That did not prevent her from climbing two other fourteeners around the next several days. She was hooked.
Despite growing up in Thornton, Ton, who is 22, never ever hiked considerably.
“It was not till I went absent to school in upstate New York that I realized I experienced taken living in Colorado for granted,” she claims.
For the up coming two yrs, she employed breaks from faculty to climb mountain right after mountain. After graduation this summer season, she experienced much more time. Ton considered she might burst into tears when she at last completed her purpose. The mountains, she says, have come to suggest so substantially to her.
“I imagined that minute in my mind a whole lot,” she mentioned. “I pictured it being a ton far more psychological.”
On the summit of Tiny Bear Peak, however, Ton felt serene.
“I imagine which is due to the fact it was not a definite conclusion,” she said. “Once that goal ends, new objectives arrive. I really do not feel of it as a closed chapter.”
She started off pondering about what was subsequent, like a lot more complex climbs and perhaps heading for all of Colorado’s 13,000-foot peaks.
She also believed about a way to celebrate her accomplishment. It begun as a joke. Then it became genuine.
A week after Little Bear, Ton identified herself on the foundation of Mount Elbert donning the only pair of significant heels she owns. She’d only worn them the moment before at a higher education celebration.
“I thought it would be a enjoyment celebration to hike Elbert all over again, but do it in significant heels,” Ton claimed. “It’s variety of a comprehensive-circle thing”
She breezed by way of the ascent in two hrs, much speedier than she experienced two years previously.
“Personally, it is symbolic of how significantly I’ve occur,” she suggests, “from having difficulties so substantially that 1st time and now I’m cruising up it in heels.”
She and her heels cruised up a couple of other peaks considering that, including Mount Bierstadt, Mount Sherman and Quandary Peak. She’s not confident how lots of far more she’ll do, but she’s inspired by shocked and impressed reactions from fellow hikers on the mountains and on social media.
“So I guess this has unintentionally evolved into my trademark,” goes a latest caption on Ton’s Instagram. On a image of her posing in heels by the trailhead signal for Quandary Peak, feedback poured in.
“You’re likely down in background, I’m telling you,” read through a person comment. A different mentioned, “This makes my feet hurt just pondering about it! You rock!”
Ton states she knows many in the hiking local community would call her actions dangerous. She doesn’t stimulate a lot less experienced hikers to check out it.
“My response to that would be that I’m seasoned and I know what I’m undertaking,” she mentioned. “I do not want to send out a information about undertaking a thing silly and reckless. I know what my boundaries are.”
For each and every climb, she carries provides for blisters or rubbing. She throws on trail shoes for the descent to not “needlessly ruin my ft.” Other than that, she enjoys the experience.
“It’s a enjoyment, lighthearted issue,” she claims.
As considerably as “the infamous why issue,” there is no profound solution.
“It’s far more like, why not?” Ton claims.