Climbing a Fourteener can be tough -- but in developing countries, people face hardships just getting through the day. That's why the Boulder-based nonprofit Second Mile Water has created the Colorado 54, an event in which participants will collectively summit every Colorado Fourteener in a 24-hour period, while also raising money to provide access to clean, safe drinking water for over a thousand families in the Jalapa Valle in north-central Nicaragua.
Early in the morning of August 2, Colorado 54 participants will put on their hiking boots and challenge themselves to climb a Fourteener, either on their own or with a team. The goal is for the group to collectively climb all 54 of Colorado's highest peaks in a single day, which would be one for the record books. But the participants will not only be challenged physically: They will also be challenged to meet a specific philanthropic goal, to raise $450 -- enough to supply clean water for two families -- through an online campaign page.
"With the Colorado 54, success will not only be seeing teams wave their summit flags on Ascent Day, but knowing that for each participant climbing with us, waving that flag means that two families in Nicaragua will gain permanent access to safe drinking water," says Travis Ramos, founder and CEO of Second Mile Water. "We've been working hard all winter to put together an event that not only has a huge impact, but also allows our participants to become part of a bigger community and make a few unforgettable memories together."
Second Mile Water was created two years ago, as a way to end the water crisis in developing countries by inspiring people to take social responsibility and action. But Ramos's involvement started ten years ago, when he climbed the Himalayas and traveled in southern China for eight months, during which his middle-American worldview began to fade as he saw the tough living conditions for people in developing countries. After coming back to the States and getting a master's degree in civil engineering for developing communities, he founded the nonprofit.
"I wanted to do something where a lot of people could get involved in a little bit deeper level that allows them to improve their lives and somehow be part of what we are doing," Ramos says. "Second Mile Water as an organization kind of lives at the intersection of finding what makes people come alive and what also does good on the world."
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And Colorado 54 exemplifies his concept of letting people do something active while taking an active part in a project that will have a big impact.
Registration for this inaugural Colorado 54 started May 1; Ramos hopes to make it an annual event. To sign up, you must pay a $50 registration fee; each participant will have a chance to win prizes for epic Fourteener achievements, including a round trip for two to Nicaragua and mountaineering gear.
For more information and to register, go to secondmilewater.org