The completion of the Centennial Peaks Project: A much bigger deal than you think

The completion of the Centennial Peaks Project: A much bigger deal than you think

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On May 28, 2015—following a four day camp in the Weminuche Wilderness, a highly technical climb, exciting descent of 13,824-foot Jagged Mountain and brutal exit through the forest—Chris Davenport, Ted Mahon and Christy Mahon cracked open some Ska Brewing Company beers. They had done it. The trio became the first humans to summit and ski the 100 highest peaks in Colorado, completing their Centennial Peaks Project.

The Centennial Peaks Project has been ongoing—and well documented, thanks to the group’s regularly updated blog—since April of 2013. However, when you incorporate skiing the fourteeners (Colorado’s 53 14,000-plus foot peaks) the three have been on this journey for almost a decade. Davenport was the first to ski the fourteeners in one calendar year back in 2007, Ted Mahon became the third to ski all of them in 2008 and Christy Mahon was the first woman to ski the lot of them in 2010. It was only natural that the three Aspen, CO-locals would team up to complete the final 47 mountains that make up the state’s Centennial Peaks. However, it also made the logistics of the project a bit more difficult.

“The three of us went through the fourteeners on our own schedules, and that was a little more personal,” explains Ted Mahon. “We got together to do this as a group and then it got more complicated. You’re suddenly three people with real life schedules, and in Chris’ case, he has three kids. So you’re just trying to plan around that, as opposed to just going at it when you’re free. It just takes more planning than people would realize.”

Planning these outings amidst busy schedules—Davenport’s career as a pro skier while raising three children, Christy Mahon’s nine-to-five job as the Development Director for the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies and Ted Mahon’s post as a freelance photographer and web designer—wasn’t simple. In addition to blocking off time for completion, the crew had to gather intel on the weather and fickle Colorado snowpack, plan out routes and then, of course, put those itineraries into action.

“For all of us to pull together our schedules, our health, our fitness, our planning and support for this project, I don’t think people realize how complex the behind-the-scenes logistics for these endeavors are,” says Davenport.

Preparing for the Centennial Peaks presented more of a challenge than tackling the fourteeners. Information regarding established routes and trails for Colorado’s fourteen thousand foot peaks have been well documented via guide books, trip reports and more. The 47 highest thirteen thousand foot peaks are a different story.

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