Monday, August 13, 2007

Paying for 14ers, and paying the ultimate price

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.


Teleken said...

You are right those figures seem a little too high. The Park County community must be Alma/Fairplay I can not imagine that much money being spent in either place after a climb of Lincoln/Dem/Bross.

Charging for climbing a fourteener would be difficult when there are not enough rangers to patrol the forest now. They are, however, being loved to death; sad we can spend billions in Iraq while America deteriorates.

brownie said...

Wow, that's one hell of a bar tab at the South Park Saloon!

Anonymous said...

That area also includes southern Summit County, like Breckenridge. In that case the numbers really do make sense, especially for non-Coloradans out to climb peaks.

Blogzilla said...

True, I met a guy on a plane ride back the other day that climbed Elbert....a surgeon staying at the St. Regis in Aspen. He sees your Pabst and PB & J and raises you a bottle of Dom and six or so fancy snails.

UltraRob said...

I finished climbing the fourteeners in 1995 but I think I rarely spent over $10 plus gas if I couldn't get round trip from here on a tank. I either camped or slept in the back of my truck and packed my own food and water.

Dena Rosenberry said...

There are package programs at the high-end hotels in Aspen and Vail offering guests guided climbs up a fourteener (I think Elbert is a biggie) and then massages and pampering afterward.

The folks I see staying in Manitou and climbing Pikes Peak are in a different league!

Erik said...

If they start charging on the 14ers I think we will see the popularity of the 13ers rise, at least among the locals. If someone flew out here to go hiking I highly doubt that a 5 or 10 dollar charge would make them, change their plans.

As for me, it is DQ or Pizza Hut in Woodland Park after a long hike cuz after 5 or more hours of hiking and eating trail food I am ready for something fattening.

Eric & Gini said...

Peter, we will miss you terribly for the rest of our lives.