Colorado State University sophomores work on trails at Grey’s and Torrey’s Peaks

Jessica Golden

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Sophomores took to the mountains with Colorado State University’s Outdoor Program and Year 2 @ CSU Sept. 20 and 21.

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The two programs teamed up to take 15 sophomores to fourteeners Grey’s and Torrey’s to perform service work with Colorado Fourteener Initiative.

The group arrived at the mountain Friday night, where they were greeted with a sky lit by stars and the Milky Way.

Here, they set up camp near the trailhead of Grey’s and Torrey’s, and on Saturday morning, they hiked 2/3 of the way up the mountain, carrying hard hats and bulky tools for the workday ahead.

According to the CFI website, service work is done to “ensure that every fourteener has sustainable trails in order to minimize impacts to the surrounding alpine terrain,” because there is so much damage caused by the number of hikers on the mountains.

Sean Moser, mechanical engineer sophomore, was inspired by the work done by CFI.

“The CFI is an amazing group, the work that they do is very impressive,” Moser said. “I want to intern for them.”

Using rock bags, harnesses, tools and bare hands, the students hauled thousands of pounds worth of rocks and boulders to build a wall on a trail that needed to be restored.

Dane Wankier, an environmental engineering sophomore, found the trip to be especially fulfilling.

“The whole service trip was awesome,” Wankier said. “We finished and looked at the rock wall we made and the sheer weight of the rocks that we moved in one day; it was amazing.”

While working, the volunteers were consistently flooded with appreciation from other hikers on the mountain.

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“Almost everyone that passed by said thank you,” Wankier said. “This one guy even pulled out a $100 bill … to make a donation.”

The work done will help secure that the trails and terrain are preserved for future use.

“It was really rewarding,” said Alec Kent, a sophomore studying computer engineering. “It was nice to get up and give back, especially on such a used trail, to make sure it’s there in the future for others to enjoy.”

On Sunday, the group mustered up the energy to once again climb the mountain to summit the two peaks.

Hiking up an additional 4,000 feet in elevation, the group trekked through walls of clouds to get to the top.

“When we got to the top of Torrey’s, it was still covered in clouds but there would be like 30-45 second gaps where the clouds would drift over and you could finally see the valley,” Wankier said.

Regardless, the sophomores were still appreciative of the experience.

“It almost made it better in a way because you only got a little piece of it,” Wankier said. “So the little piece that you got you had to appreciate, it was more worth it than if it was there the entire time.”

There were a variety of sophomores that went on the trip, from engineers to fashion and merchandise majors; students living on campus to students involved in Greek life.

“You get this group of people that don’t really know each other and have to work together, and then we’re all friends at the end,” Kent said.

Most of the students recommend participating in service projects such as this because of how much they get out of the trip, from new connections and work experience to amazing views accompanied by a sense of accomplishment.

“Hopefully I get some lasting friendships,” Wankier said. “I also got a drive to do more outdoorsy things, a drive to connect with CSU students and an overall satisfaction for the beauty of nature — such as the stars at night; I had never seen them like that.”

Collegian Reporter Jessica Golden can be reached at news@collegian.com.