Graduate Student Brittney Woodrum has volunteered to climb all 58 of Colorado’s 14,000 ft. peaks to promote the global disaster relief organization ShelterBox’s Fourteeners Project.
Brittney is a volunteer with ShelterBox and she aims to raise awareness and funding for families around the world that have been displaced after a disaster and are now facing the added threat of COVID-19. Each peak “Bert” climbs will be sponsored by a local Rotary Club, individual, or business.
On Friday, July 10, Brittney’s journey began at Culebra Peak followed by the summit of Pikes Peak on Saturday, July 18. Her expedition will end on Saturday, September 26 when she ascends Pikes Peak once more.
Brittney was born and raised in the Appalachian region of Kentucky where she climbed, hiked and camped, yet she always felt she was service-oriented. Previously, over the course of four months, Brittney hiked the Appalachian Trail from Maine to Georgia raising over $2,000 which she donated to a mental health research “NGO,” a non-governmental organization.
“I love physical challenges but I am always looking for ways to combine my passion with outdoors,” said Brittney.
It was not until Brittney moved to Denver nearly a year ago to pursue a Master’s degree in humanitarian assistance at the University of Denver when she began her volunteer work with ShelterBox. ShelterBox had emailed her about being excited to have her on their team and Brittney met with their Denver team that same weekend.
ShelterBox started as a small Rotary Club initiative in England twenty years ago with the mission to provide emergency temporary shelter for those experiencing homelessness due to situations such as natural disasters or war. Shelter Boxes are 60 liters and weigh in at eight pounds without water. Brittney’s journey across all 58 fourteeners involves her carrying a ShelterBox on her back while hiking the peaks — no small feat!
“The hard thing about the box is how bulky it is, like having a giant sail on my back,” said Brittney. “I am always researching and making sure climbing days are not too gusty or windy; the weight is not a problem,” she said.
The goal of the Fourteeners Project is to raise $1,400 per mountain for a total of nearly $82,000 donated directly to the ShelterBox COVID-19 emergency relief fund. Additionally, Brittney is giving anyone who makes a donation of $1,400 the chance to become a “Mountain Hero.”
As a Mountain Hero, people can choose a mountain and receive special privileges for that mountain including being listed on the website as a sponsor and receiving a plaque with a picture of the summit. Furthermore, Brittney will also take to the top of that summit a token, banner or logo of those who make donations and take a photo with it. Donations will be accepted for each mountain until the end of the project.
When the initial COVID-19 outbreak began, Brittney found herself feeling helpless as her greatest mission in life is to be of service wherever the need is. She was forced to be creative at how to support her community. When she saw a growing need for vulnerable populations greatly affected by the pandemic, she knew something had to be done.
Wanting to make a difference responsibly, in light of Covid-19, Brittney realized that she could hike up and down mountain peaks without drawing a crowd. Additionally, she recognized that she could still make an impact and inspire people during this time of great uncertainty.
“I thought it was fitting to find physical mountains to climb since as a global community, we are trying to overcome this metaphorical mountain,” said Brittney.