AIN'T NO MOUNTAIN HIGH ENOUGH: Elderly woman hikes Camelback Mountain every day

- Hiking Phoenix's Camelback Mountain is no walk in the park. Even for the fittest of people, it's a difficult hike.

Some do it maybe once a year, if at all, but for one Valley woman, Or never at all. That's not the case for one Valley woman.

"Whenever I see the gate open that's when I get here," said Sandy Kloch, 74.

Yes, Kloch is 74, and she makes her way up the Camelback every day. When those gates open, Kloch is there and and ready to make her way up the Echo Canyon Trail. When she's not trekking up the famous mountain, Kloch is taking to the trials of Piestewa Peak.

Kloch has been hiking for about 30 years, with 28 of those years spent hiking Camelback. It takes her about two hours to get up, and the same time to get down.

"Here's something for you guys to see," said Kloch. "Every so often, you'll see our very own triangle here. We're creating our own triangle you see, our mountain shadow there. It's very beautiful."

As Kloch climbs, she stops to talk to just about everyone. Kloch, or "Grandma Sandy" to the regulars, has made many friends on the mountain over the years.

"She keeps an eye on us and asks us how we're doing, and she's just always up here and yea, she's just a fixture." said Christy Russell, an avid hiker. "She keeps everyone connected and it's wonderful. She gives us tips, like there's different times of the season when the bees are out, so she told us if you put Lysol on our skin helps to keep the bees away. She has wonderful old school hints and ideas."

Kloch even carries a backpack filled with water, which weighs about 30 lbs.

"Ice water. I got it here," said Kloch. "People who need it. It's not for me. It's for them. They get up here and they don't realize what they're getting into."

Kloch also passes out crosses, but only to those who want one. At 74, one may wonder if Kloch gets tired.

"Of course I do," said Kloch. "I have an argument with myself every morning. 'I'm not doing this. I'm too old for this. This is ridiculous. Especially in the winter.' It's harder to be motivated in the winter."  

But even at her age, "Grandma Sandy" said the view from the top of her favorite rock is always worth the climb. She said she has no plans on putting away her hiking boots any time soon, and after hiking, Kloch still has the energy to take care of her grandchildren about four days a week.

Up Next:


  • Popular

  • Recent

Stories You May Be Interested In – includes Advertiser Stories