Cresting a 14,000-foot peak is a source of pride and a rite of passage for many Coloradans. And with many of the peaks only a few hours from Denver, it’s also a feasible day trip. As a recent Colorado transplant, I decided it was about time I joined the fourteener club. Mount Bierstadt, accessible from the Guanella Pass and only a little more than an hour from Denver, was my first choice. Click through the photos above to get a play-by-play of my first fourteener experience.

Read about Colorado’s fourteeners, including which peaks are right for your experience level, what to bring with you, and more.