Colorado woman first to climb all 846 peaks above 13,000 feet in every state but Alaska | VailDaily.com

Colorado woman first to climb all 846 peaks above 13,000 feet in every state but Alaska

Teresa Gergen, 55, also has climbed all 2,311 peaks higher than 10,000 feet in Colorado

John Meyer, Denver Post
Teresa Gergen on the summit of Huayna Potosi in Bolivia. (Jim Rickard, provided by Teresa Gergen)

Some climbers use the term “peak bagger” pejoratively, implying the climber in question is more interested in crossing off mountains on a list than climbing for the sheer joy of it. Teresa Gergenis an unusually prolific peak bagger — and she’s proud of it.

“I thoroughly enjoy rock climbing and the mountaineering that I’ve done, but I’ve been a list person since I was a young child,” said Gergen, a Denver climber who recently became the first person to climb all 846 peaks over 13,000 feet in the 48 contiguous states plus Hawaii. “It’s a personality thing, and there’s not much sadder, in my opinion, than a person trying to be different from who they actually are. When I discovered climbing, peakbagging is where my passion and my personality intersected.”

A retired library technician, Gergen also has climbed every Colorado peak higher than 10,000 feet (2,311 of them) and has climbed high-altitude peaks in Ecuador, Bolivia, Argentina, Mexico and Nepal, including six in excess of 20,000 feet. She has “day-hiked” the entirety of the Colorado Trail and has stood on the high point of all 50 states — including Denali in Alaska, the highest peak in North America at 20,320 feet.

Gergen, 55, was born in Denver and graduated from the University of Colorado with a mathematics degree in 1985. She worked as a programmer for Hughes Aircraft in Los Angeles and as a programmer and system administrator at the University of Arizona. Returning to Colorado in 1995, she worked at CU as a library technician until she retired in 2013.

Read more via The Denver Post.