When Fran contacted us to book a trip up Mt. Crested Butte’s Guides Ridge in early June we were looking forward to another great day on the ridge with another great client, as per usual. The day ended up being anything but usual.
Turns out at 75, Fran is the oldest person CBMG has ever taken up the Guides Ridge to date! The youngest person was 8 … quite an age span, huh?!
Not that age should ever define a person, but let’s be honest, our society tends to expect a limited range of activities from people in their 70s; gardening, bingo, nightly news spectating, fussing over grandchildren, and generally puttering about for example. Mountain climbing, on the other hand, is probably not the first thing that comes to mind when one thinks of how a senior citizen might spend their day. Well, now we have Fran (and many other adventurous seniors out there) to thank for debunking our ridiculous stereotypes and showing us what non-conventional possibilities await us in our golden years.
Fran was gracious enough to let me tag along the day he attempted the Guides Ridge with CBMG guide, Scott Krankkala. Bringing with him a sense of humbleness and quiet enthusiasm, Fran was a true joy to climb with. Below are some pictures from our day …
Scott (left) and Fran gearing up for the Guides Ridge at the top of the Silver Queen lift.
Hiking across The Peel to the Guides Ridge.
Starting up the route.
Great view of Snodgrass (upper right), Long Lake (upper left) & the town of Mt. Crested Butte below.
Stopping for a quick breather before heading up the next pitch.
What a view!!!
Scot belaying Fran off an anchor through one of the more difficult sections of the Guides Ridge.
Checking out the exposure. It’s a long way down!
Fran contemplating his next move.
Almost to the top…
Scott & Fran exchanging a congratulatory handshake as they reach the summit.
Sweet summit success! Strong work, Fran!
Fran, unlike many mountain lovers, started exploring mountain climbing relativity late in life, essentially once he retired. Before that there just wasn’t time, he explained, what with working, raising a family and all the other things life throws at us early on. Since discovering his passion for the mountains Fran has continued to push himself on new, higher and more difficult peaks including some in WY and AK. Think about that the next time you find yourself making excuses to not try something new … it’s never too late and you’re never too old. Kinda reminds me of a Tom Petty lyric -
“Well, I don’t know, but I’ve been told you never slow down, you never grow old”
Here’s to many more years of not slowing down! Thanks for the inspiration, Fran!
-Tiff (CBMG Staff)