The conquest of Colorado's 14ers is a culture with cult-like, rite-of-passage properties -- inside the state, at least. Ask someone outside of Colorado if they've ever heard of people obsessed with climbing every peak over 14,000 feet, though, and they may think you're suffering from oxygen deprivation.
See also: - Paul Ryan returns to Colorado as group questions whether he climbed nearly 40 14ers - Photos: Ryan Palmer ID'd as climber who died in one of state's riskiest 14ers - 53 Peaks Brewing begins Kickstarter campaign, hopes to open in Conifer
Enter the Fourteener Project, "a grassroots venture committed to proliferating the knowledge and love of Colorado's 58 peaks over 14,000 feet," according to its website, and doing so with products that allow climbers to document their conquests. "It all started with a blank space on my wall, and a desire to celebrate my real passion for hiking in a way that also meshed with my aesthetic tastes," explains art director and avid climber Nathan Downey. "Working in an advertising agency, I rub shoulders with a good number of like-minded Colorado natives and 14er enthusiasts, allowing me to fine-tune the Fourteener Project's vision and ground each product in the real needs of the 14er subculture. The more people I spoke with, the more I realized there just wasn't anyone out there filling the need in the same way."
The first 14er-centric product is a summit register that allows climbers to track their progress with a custom stamp and ink pad.
"Every product is designed to satiate the 'achievement complex' common to both casual and avid 14er climbers, while still maintaining aesthetic integrity -- a combination that is surprisingly rare," says Downey. "I began to pick up on this unique subculture of outdoor achievement after witnessing it in myself, and multiple conversations with other Coloradans only affirmed it."
The summit register reflects both Downey's talent as an art director and his desire to integrate climbing culture into a product. It's clean and elegant, numbered and screen-printed by hand by Downey and other Colorado climbing enthusiasts.
The first edition sells for $79 and comes in packaging as beautiful as the register itself. To buy one or to learn more about the 14er Project, visit The14erProject.com.
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