Customer Spotlight: Kit Klein and the GORUCK Ascent

Outdoor Health and Fitness / Outdoor Sporting Events and Travel
Customer Spotlight: Kit Klein and the GORUCK Ascent

Nearly a year ago, I had the pleasure of connecting with @CCKIV on Twitter who turned out to be Kit Klein from the Philadelphia area. In addition to being a loyal customer, Kit is a huge fan and promoter of the GORUCK Challenge, a military-inspired endurance event which I wrote about here on the blog. About six months later, Amy Parulis from our Waterford store caught the GORUCK bug and completed the Newport, RI Challenge so when Kit emailed me and told me that he’d completed a GORUCK Endurance Ascent, I was excited to get the details. Here’s what Kit had to say along with some fantastic photos he took of some of his experiences last Labor Day in Colorado:

GORUCK Endurance Ascent is a “capstone” event for GORUCK, meaning you need to complete either the GORUCK Challenge, GORUCK Heavy or GORUCK Selection to take part. It’s meant to be a time where Challenge takers can come together and bond over 14,000 footers and beer. If that’s your thing of course. 

The event starts off with a day of teaching. We learned how to repel up cliffs, tie knots and pack our rucks appropriately. We not only learned various skills but we were also acclimating to the atmosphere.

After spending the entire day at base camp, we left for our first 14er around 11PM that night. We reached the trail up the mountain around 3AM. We set out up the 14er and it took us around 10 hours to summit.

Unfortunately, not everyone made it to the top. Still, it was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. I was challenged physically due to the atmosphere and the technical aspects of the 14er. It was also one of the most beautiful sights nature has to offer. 

Going down was harder than actually going up and we took another few hours to get down. Not before getting lost, finding bear tracks, retracing our steps and eventually finding our new base camp where beer and “Cadre Stew” awaited. 

We slept there one night and the next morning some people opted to climb another 14er while others decided to stay back at camp and learn navigation and partake in survival classes. I decided to stay back and we learned how to read a map, capture water in unlikely areas and make shelter. 

The third night we hiked for hours to a new camp before settling down to sleep and once again some people summited a 14er while others stayed back at camp. The next day, we ended the entire event back at the original base camp from the first day with a pig roast. It was a ton of fun and always good to meet people who completed the GORUCK Challenge from all over the country.

I stocked up at my local EMS before my trip and bought boots, zip off pants, a merino wool base layer and various snacks. The gear and food served me well throughout the entire journey.  I would definitely do this event again and I would highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys the outdoors.

How does Kip’s latest adventure stack up against the toughest thing you’ve ever done? Leave a comment and tell us about it!
Jim Darroch

Jim's love for the outdoors began with family camping trips in "Brady Bunch" style canvas tents and progressed to backpacking adventures with the Boy Scouts. In 2007, he fulfilled his teenage dream by joining Eastern Mountain Sports as Brand Communications Manager. When he's not in the office, you'll find Jim kayaking, hiking, and mountain biking around the Monadnock Region and throughout New England with his wife Brenda and his dog Brewski.