This year looks like a banner year for the Colorado Fourteeners Initiative. With its largest budget since launching in 1994, the nonprofit based in Golden has big plans for trail improvements.
This summer, CFI will employ 22 seasonal workers, 10 of whom are returning staff.
The majority of CFI’s 22 workers will be deployed as a “fixed site crew,” meaning they will work on large restoration programs that tend to be advanced and technical.
For those looking to volunteer for the first time with CFI, they are encouraged to check out their Adopt-a-Peak Crew or Sustainable Trails Program.
The mountains CFI will focus on this year include Mount Elbert, Mount Columbia, Quandary Peak and Mount Evans. This marks the second season of a multi-year construction project along the southeast ridge of Mount Elbert. For this project, four CFI crew leaders will work alongside an eight-person crew from Rocky Mountain Youth Corp (RMYC). A coordinator will guide the project, coordinating staffers and volunteers.
Efforts on Mount Columbia will resume for the third year as part of a five-year trail reconstruction project. This season, workers will work on staircases and soil retention structures in the high alpine. To complete this section of the trail, the crew will use a griphoist, a portable cable system, to move heavy-duty materials. Because of the dangerous nature of the project, volunteers will not be recruited.
CFI also hopes to wrap up a multi-season trail reconstruction project near the summit of Quandary Peak. While the fixed-site crew will focus on work above tree line near the summit, the CFI Adopt-a-Peak Crew will work on more than 10 volunteer projects below tree line on Quandary.
The majority of the work on Mount Evans will be completed above 13,000 feet. The focus on Mount Evans includes stabilizing sections that were “socially created” on the trail above Summit Lake and fixed-site crews will focus on steeper and more technical areas around the summit.
Although the weather might seem nice enough to conquer a 14er now, the snowpack sticks around on various mountains well into late summer. Check out a video that CFI published on avalanche safety here.
- Dylan Hochstedler