Recovery, Inspiration, and Perspiration: The 2020 Axis Ascent

Our 5th Annual Axis Ascent is in the books!

  • **Disclaimer** This event happened in September of 2020 and everyone was social distanced, wore masks and ate and hiked within their own bubble.
  • We had a record-breaking 83 clients, friends, and family join the Summit County Axis team for our annual hike at Arapahoe Basin. 

The majority of the group hiked from the base area to the Black Mountain Lodge.  This climb alone is 750 vertical feet over just 1.8 miles.  A few intrepid climbers and staff hiked all the way to the summit of Little Lenawee, for a vertical gain of 2,270 ft! 

This year required a little creativity, due to the pandemic, but we made it work.  We stayed outdoors, socially-distanced, masked up, and washed our hands frequently.  We even had pre-packed bag lunches, instead of our usual buffet-style lunch. 

There’s nothing like celebrating a victory, is there?  Sometimes, improvements are slow to happen in physical therapy.  We count little wins, because they add up to big changes over time. 

We love the Ascent because it gives our patients a chance to see just how far they have come in their treatment and recoveries during the past year.  They can push themselves to conquer a challenge of their own choosing, big or small, with our Axis team supporting and cheering them on.

As in previous years, we always have some truly inspiring stories of clients who have overcome adversity to join us on the climb.


Paul loves to hike and has wanted to attend the Axis Ascent for the past 3 years, but the timing was never quite right during his recovery.  In 2018, he had to undergo a cervical spinal fusion, followed by a lumbar spinal fusion a few months later. In 2019, he focused on his strength and conditioning after shoulder surgery. 

After years of rehab and diligent work, he was finally able to join us this year! He is fully committed to his health and never stops pushing to get stronger.  In fact, after lunch we all started downhill, but Paul turned right to continue to hike higher on his own, just because he could!


Bernie has been working with Axis for almost 3 years.  He struggles with Parkinson’s Disease, which has slowed his gait and impaired his balance.  There is no cure for Parkinson’s, but Bernie works diligently to stay fit and manage his symptoms with a combination of physical therapy, a home exercise program, and medications. 

Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, Bernie continued weekly physical therapy with his therapist, Ami, via Telehealth.  He was determined to make the Ascent this year, specifically so he would finally get to see her in person (socially distanced,  of course!) again. 

Bernie didn’t think he could do the hike alone, so he made the climb to the Black Mountain Lodge with his son, Peter.  Bernie and Peter are both avid hikers, but hadn’t been able to hike together in years, due to Bernie’s diagnosis.  But with Peter setting the pace (and a quick one at that), Bernie climbed to the lodge like it was the easiest thing in the world. 

Ami said, “It was so exciting to be able to see him in person, but also to see him walk 2 miles up a steep hill, like it was no problem!  He was stable, safe and fine!  I always take joy in seeing people go from pain or injury, to moving through rehab, to return to activity and achieving goals.  It’s why we do what we do.”

Bernie led the way on the hike down, and is already planning to go all the way to the Summit next year!


Judy Scott came all the way over the pass from Eagle County to join us on the Axis Ascent this year.  Judy has been working with Axis in Eagle County on recovery from both a total knee replacement and a significant ankle fracture. 

We are so thrilled she made the long drive to join us. It was a blast doing the socially-distanced dance on her way up the mountain. We love seeing our patients who have all worked to overcome so many obstacles, compare recovery notes and find success together!

Couldn’t make it to the Ascent this year?  As Warren Miller famously said, “If you don’t do it this year, you’ll be one year older when you do.”  We will be back at it next Fall, and we can’t wait to see YOU there!

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