A weird story in the Boulder Camera this weekend talked to Colorado State University economist Catherine Keske about how much value a forteener has.
Keske and colleague John Loomis studied the economic impact of closing Mounts Lincoln, Democrat and Bross on the local community in Park County. For comparison, the researchers surveyed climbers on nearby Quandary Peak, which has a similar difficulty.They found that the median amount a climber spends is $221, and $191 of that is spent within 25 miles of the peak, on hotels, food and other services.
I don't know about you, but as a peanut butter and jelly, Pabst in a cooler afterwards climber, that figure sounds a bit high. That would put the cost of climbing all 54 peaks at abut $12,000, which clearly above the norm.
Anyway, here's the weird part. The story says, "The research could be a useful tool for land managers as they plan how to pay for maintaining trails, signs and parking lots on the fourteeners. Now, access fees are charged for only some of the peaks, but as their popularity grows, so does the need for funds to preserve them as some of Colorado's greatest natural resources."
And goes on to suggest it may be time to start charging climbing fees for the fourteeners.
... Now, for the ultimate price
27-year-old Peter Jessup from Glenwood Springs apparently fell to his death on the southwest face of South Maroon Peak Friday. Other climbers called 911 to report they had spotted what appeared to be a woman lying in a scree field about 500 feet below the peak of South Maroon. Jessup was the immigrant community advocate for Catholic Charities, a faith-based, nonprofit agency that works in the Colorado River corridor and the Roaring Fork Valley to give assistance to transients and the poor. To read more, click here.