Mount Sneffles Conquered!

Leading us to new heights both in the field and on the mountain, our CEO Kevin Prine, summited Colorado Fourteener Mt. Sneffels this summer for the first annual Summit Challenge. After the big hike, Kevin reflected on his experience: 

On Friday, July 31st, I attended a private event in Colorado Springs with a number of people who had climbed Colorado’s 14ers’, including Mount Sneffles. Several looked askew at me when I told them I would be climbing that peak on the following Thursday. “Be careful at the top,” said one, “Two friends of mine were climbing and one fell backwards at a challenging spot at the top and died from the fall.”

Youch. I had picked the mountain with little-to-no research. It was just a beautiful mountain that was special to my father-in-law (who passed away soon after my wife and I were married) and my family. Besides, with a name like “Sneffles,” how hard could it be? Note: although the name reminds me of Sesame Street’s Snuffleupagus, it is actually named for a volcano in Iceland popularized by Jules Verne’s Journey to the Center of the Earth.

On the morning of the hike, we (my daughter, Avery and brother-in-law, Doug) parked at the highest place a rental car could travel without a nasty conversation with the good folks at Alamo. This added about two miles each way from the most typically-used trailhead that is used by people in high-clearance 4x4s. The morning sunshine was just hitting the top of Sneffles as we approached the face at 7 AM on Thursday, August 6th. The altitude and incline started pushing our limits within the first hour or so.

At 10 AM, we arrived at a spot called “the notch,” which was arguably the only spot on the climb that held the potential for anything more than a broken bone. It wasn’t difficult because the handholds were well-placed, but it was still thrilling enough for us to keep hands ready for each other in case we needed to make a quick grab.

We arrived at the summit just 15 minutes later. The first picture captured and shown below is due to a running joke among the staff at Outreach (as well as my family – there is nowhere to escape the chastisement) about the importance of carrying water, and my lack of enthusiasm thereof.

Here is evidence that I periodically listen to knowledgeable people. I then proceeded to give three of the bottles to other people on the way down.

Why climb a mountain? What in the world does this activity have to do with helping people living in the world’s deepest poverty?

There are certainly interesting fundraising aspects to this type of “adventure” charity events, but for me, climbing a mountain is an apt metaphor for the work of Outreach. There are guides. There are pathways. But, the only way one can get to a new perspective is to do the work; step by treacherous step.

Likewise, every day, more than 50,000 people around the world are taking uncomfortable steps to bring themselves, their families, and their neighbors out of the depths of lives spent hungry, uneducated, and without hope. These steps are challenging in every sense. Mentally. Physically. Spiritually.

But, in the end, do we want to look back and see our trail as a circular path in the dirt, or, as a climb with others to new heights of existence?

Thank you for all you do to help people climb their mountains,


President & CEO