Woman Is on a Mission to Climb All of Colorado's 58 14,000-Foot Peaks — for a Good Cause
Britt Woodrum is climbing the sky-high peaks, called the Fourteeners, to raise money for ShelterBox's COVID-19 emergency relief fund
For many, climbing 58 Colorado mountain peaks stretching 14,000 feet or higher over a span of a few weeks might sound tedious.
But not for Brittney Woodrum, a self-proclaimed “outdoors woman” who’s tackling the challenge as a means of raising money for international COVID-19 relief.
“I was thinking there had to be something I can do to raise awareness and make a big, positive impact with the least amount of negative impact,” Woodrum, 27, tells PEOPLE. “It seems fitting that I should go out and find some physical mountains to climb as we as a global community are coming together to overcome this metaphorical mountain that is COVID-19.”
The peaks are known as the Fourteeners, as all have an elevation at least 14,000 feet high, and Woodrum says she hopes to raise around $80,000 by getting individual sponsorships of $1,400 per peak from individuals, companies or local Rotary clubs.
The money will go to ShelterBox’s COVID-19 emergency relief fund, which is helping people across the globe as they struggle through the pandemic.
Woodrum became an ambassador for the humanitarian aid nonprofit upon moving to Denver for her master’s degree about a year ago, and is completing the Fourteener Challenge with the organization’s iconic green box on her back.
“When I became an ambassador, it wasn’t so much a question of if, but when and what it would be,” she says of knowing she wanted to complete some sort of challenge with the box. “I started learning more about the Fourteeners and I was thinking like, ‘Oh, that’d be really fun to climb all these sometime,’ and adding it to my bucket list.”
Once her busy summer was freed up due to the pandemic, Woodrum realized in May that now was the perfect time to complete the challenge, as it was naturally socially distant and something she says she could complete more or less “self-sustainably,” as she travels with and lives out of her car.
Woodrum began climbing on July 10, and has scheduled all of her climbs through Sept. 26, though she says she’s about a week and a half ahead of schedule.
So far, she estimates she’s raised more than $60,000, and has completed 41 of the 58 peaks, averaging about a mountain a day with one day off per week. Her days begin around 4 or 5 a.m., as it’s important to finish the entire climb by noon so as to avoid the thunder and lightning storms that typically hit during monsoon season in the area.
The Kentucky native says the journey was only natural for her as someone who has a passion for both the outdoors — she grew up on a farm in Appalachia — and humanitarian assistance, in which she is currently pursuing a graduate degree at the University of Denver.
She’s also no stranger to embracing nature in the name of doing good; last summer, she helped raise more than $50,000 for the affordable housing crisis by cycling across the U.S.
“I’m really drawn to specifically that population who has lost everything due to no fault of their own, whether it be war, disaster or conflict,” she says.
ShelterBox’s aid, which benefits people across the globe, includes providing things like soap and water basins, and cooking supplies so that people don’t have to go out to a food center or food bank.
They’re working with partners in places like Syria, Cameroon, Nigeria and Ethiopia to provide shelter that’ll help enable social distancing.
When all is said and done, Woodrum will have climbed 232,300 feet of elevation and 540 miles.
“It’s almost like this vicarious physical challenge fundraiser that really inspires people because, especially in Colorado, they’re very passionate about their mountains,” she says. “And there’s really nothing as iconic as seeing a photo and seeing the 360 views from the peak of a Fourteener.”
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