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All Peak

An Interview with Brittney Woodrum: The Fourteeners Project

An Interview with Brittney Woodrum: The Fourteeners Project

Figure 1: Bert atop final summit Crestone Needle with All Peak stickers on ShelterBox

Every once in a while, you meet someone you are wholly impressed with and think, “that person is going to go places”. Brittney Woodrum (or Bert to her friends) is one of those people. She’s a special mix of elite athlete, modern-day adventurer and erudite defender of the less fortunate.

I discovered Bert in an article I read earlier in the year. The article described a Kentucky-native who set-out to summit all 58 of Colorado’s 14ers (peaks above 14,000 feet) in a single summer to raise awareness and money for families affected by disasters - specifically, a non-profit named ShelterBox. The charity is based in the UK and provides emergency shelter and other aid items to global families who have lost their homes to disaster or conflict. 

ShelterBox aid contents

Figure 2: ShelterBox aid contents

As a ShelterBox ambassador, Bert already had a thorough understanding of the organization's mission and the growing need as a result of COVID. Therefore, when she was looking for her next big challenge, ShelterBox was a natural fit. ShelterBox ships relief items to affected areas/families in a cooler-like box colored seafoam green, like grandma’s family Jell-O. To call attention to the cause, Bert committed to strapping a box to her back for each mountain ascent.

 ShelterBox atop 14er with All Peak logo sticker

Figure 3: ShelterBox with All Peak logo sticker atop a 14er

I caught up with Bert via phone for a little Q&A after she completed her Fourteeners Project. First a little background. At 27, Bert is currently studying for a degree in Humanitarian Assistance at the University of Denver. Prior to coming to Colorado, the Kentucky-native studied non-profit administration and Spanish and graduated from the University of Kentucky.

While most people look for a job after graduating from college, Bert’s wanderlust ignited a passion for tough physical challenges, travel, and cultural exposure. She completed the Fourteeners Project, on September 26th, 2020 by knocking off the summit of Crestone Needle. In under 80 days, Bert climbed 58 peaks, racking up 232,300 feet of elevation, 540 miles and raised approximately $85,000 for ShelterBox. Did I mention she had never climbed a 14er before she started the Fourteener Project? 

Q: When were you first bitten by the wanderlust bug?

A: I have always been a student of learning. It’s been the core of my DNA. Life is no greater teacher. Growing up, my father’s job took him to lots of countries and although I never went with, he brought home exotic things. My parents were supportive of my dreams. “If you can support yourself, then we support you”, they would say. Studying a language (Spanish) was a catalyst that opened so many doors for me. I loved learning languages and in my free time I’d spend it studying a language. It’s a puzzle. Once you’ve cracked a code, you have this incredible tool to communicate with others in an intimate and unique way. This inspired me to go to new corners of the world, a desire to learn about places.

Q: How did you come to be nicknamed Bert from Brittney?

A: It’s just a quick switch of the letters from Britt to Bert. In hiking culture people love to give you nicknames. Last year I joined Habit for Humanity cycling across the country. My box had Bert on it and…it stuck.

Q: You’ve hiked the AT (Appalachian Trail), Camino de Santiago and now all the Colorado 14ers. Which trek was the hardest and why?

A: Between the AT and the Fourteeners Project, it’s hard to say. There was more effort on a daily basis for the Fourteeners Project. It was logistically harder. With the AT, all you have to do is follow the white blazes. However, I didn’t have to carry nearly as much weight. Also, the Fourteeners Project, I [was able to come back] to the car end of day - with access to more resources. The AT was in the forest for 4 1/2 months. I had a lot of mental fatigue with both trails, but especially on the AT. You get a lot of scenery change. I missed human contact [on the AT], but got to chat with friends and family online with the Fourteeners Project. I would do the Fourteeners Project again. The AT would be hard.  

Q: You’re going to take some well-deserved rest. What’s next for Brittney Woodrum after that? When do you hear about the Rotary Peace Fellowship and if you were accepted?

A: Yeah [laughing], I’m tired. I will find out in about a month [about the Fellowship], early to mid-November. My goal is to be of service in the world to people who have lost something at no fault of their own. I spent a lot of time in Myanmar. The people I met there were special to me. I would like to focus a lot on that part of the world. I’m currently getting my Certification of Humanitarian Assistance from the University of Denver. I like to fix problems at the root. The Fellowship is very competitive. If I do get it, it would start 2022. 

We wish her luck! Bert’s new home for the moment is Leadville, Colorado. She fell in love the area during her trek through the 14ers. Leadville will be a basecamp to save up, rest, plan her next project, and be in the mountains in a different season.

Her next project may include the CDT (Continental Divide Trail), the tallest 100 mountains or the White Mountain 4k’s. She’s confident she’ll do more summits and likely see that seafoam green ShelterBox again.

 Bert Woodrum atop Castle Peak

Figure 4: Bert atop Castle Peak

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The Making of a Brand: All Peak 2.0 (Part I)

The Making of a Brand: All Peak 2.0 (Part I)

For our existing customers, you will notice a difference in your t-shirts. Let’s call it All Peak 2.0 – appropriate for our second year. Thanks to feedback from our customers and lessons learned that only time and experience can provide, we are upping our game. We hope you notice.

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All Peak: The Back Story

All Peak: The Back Story

This is a story to give credit to those who play a big part in the creation of the All Peak brand.  Like the third grade teacher that got you to finally read or that coach that got you to try sports without making you hate it, there are people out there that deserve recognition.  

Pre 9/11 (Pre dot.com bust!):  I worked for a small start-up and made my rounds to my client offices in the Southwest. As I got to know one of my clients in the Tulsa office, Woody Lee, it became quickly apparent that he shared my passion for the outdoors.  

Woody wanted more of a physical challenge in his outdoor experience.  He adopted a Navy Seal workout regimen, learned the basics of rock climbing and wanted to see what all the fuss was about with hiking these Colorado Fourteeners.  I had spent time in the mountains but was unaware of this “club” of peak-baggers.  

My first Fourteener attempt was on Blanca Peak in the Sangre de Cristo range.  It was an epic failure (See “Packing For Your First Fourteener: Beenie Weenies Not Allowed” for that story). However, the trip gave me a taste for higher elevation. I was hooked.  

Democrat, Lincoln, Bross and Cameron were actually my first Fourteeners – all tackled in one very long day.  After that trip, with my brother Chris,  the All Peak concept was born.  I wanted a t-shirt to commemorate my effort. I settled for a summit photo and a laminated USGS quad map, courtesy of REI.  

The idea of a t-shirt to commemorate the peaks stuck with me long after the trip. I shared it with a couple of good college friends – Eric Emerson and Derek Neidig.   They liked the idea and quickly added their own skill-sets to the task: Create a brand that can represent the Fourteeners and other popular peaks. Put creativity and design first and serve the laid-back, casual market of climbers and hikers that the brand appeals to.  

Eric is the creative founder of the brand. His style and design come from years with the Fossil brand.  The flavor and imprint he leaves is part trucker-cool, part retro-hip.  His logo and initial designs (Collegiate collection, Little Bear, Long’s Peak, etc.) are the engines that kept the idea alive.  

Derek was our web guy who’s dabbling capacity for html allowed us to get online in a hurry and build our first shop.  His ideas for social engagement and creating a community were ahead of his day. We lacked the time or money to really push our ideas.  

That was 8 years ago. The site and the brand lingered as we all followed our own corporate career paths. A slave to my paycheck and demands on my time forced me to shut down the site. Now the concept is reborn. Finally, I’m able to expand our creative boundaries and do the things that the brand deserves: more designs, more lines, proper commerce and a community to share ideas and promote mountain hiking and climbing.  

In the spirit of the brand and its founding ideals, I wish you safe and happy hiking.  Climb higher my friends!

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