It’s 6:30 in the morning on September 25, 2020, and a small team from The Home Loan Expert is beginning their long climb up Mount Elbert, the highest summit in the Rocky Mountains of North America and the highest point in Colorado.
In a class commonly referred to as 14ers by those adventurous enough to climb them, this 14,440 foot-high mountain isn’t for the faint of heart.
On this particular early morning, The Home Loan Expert President Ryan Kelley, Chief Compliance Officer Michael Chiarella and Chief Financial Officer April McCoy were determined to make the roughly 10.5-mile ascent, which, on average, takes seven hours to complete.
Literally taking it one step at a time, Chiarella recounts just trying to take the journey 25 yards and 30 yards at a time, making the most of the incremental milestones to hopefully add up to reaching the summit. Finally, after two false summits, which is a peak that appears to be the pinnacle of the mountain, Chiarella made it to the top.
“It was absolutely exhilarating,” said Chiarella.
Drawing a connection between the strength it takes to summit the mountain and the determination it takes to go through life, Chiarella said, “Once you get to the top, you see the reward for all your hard work, so to some degree, that is a metaphor.”
While hiking Mount Elbert was Chiarella’s first hike with The Home Loan Expert, for others on the team, this year marked the sixth year in a long, heartfelt journey on how the company has used hiking as a way to raise money. The reality is that this group wasn’t hiking to simply check something off the bucket list. Instead, every step and minute that went by on their hike was fueled by a greater mission.