October 30, 2012

Meet Jordan Schwartz and the SoCO 14er Project

Jordan Schwartz, new kid on campus.

Jordan Schwartz, a former marine and 29-year-old freshman at WSCU, has set an ambitious goal this winter while starting his first year at Western.  Jordan will ski all the 14ers in the San Juans, the Sangre de Christos, and the Elk Mountains, totaling 31 peaks.

What makes someone want to do this?   Well, Jordan says: “Because I can.  I want to do this with my life, I want to make it more than just ski bumming, I want to do something better than that to tell my grandkids about.”  Jordan fell in love with backcountry skiing during his two years living in Winter Park, CO.  After getting 14 days in the backcountry in 2010-2011, then 85 last year, Jordan realized he could combine his new-found passion living in Colorado with higher education in Western’s psychology program.  “What better time than college do I have to do this?”

Jordan has a lot of training to do as he prepares for the numerous tests this winter.  While he is combining running with the WSCU freeride team’s dryland program, he is really looking forward to when he can get out on snow for “speed laps” in the Anthracites.  Also, Jordan is getting his AVY 1 in December.  Jordan wants to get 5 peaks in before New Year’s because he knows that he will be more at the mercy of mother nature during the heavier snow months like January and February. He looks at the spring time as the snow consolidates as ‘go-time’.

The south side of the Maroon Bells in early season snow. Photo: Will Dujardin

Every mountain will be different for Jordan.  His schedule will mostly depend on snowpack and weather conditions.  Some peaks he will just be able to drive to the trailhead and go, others he will have to set up a safe basecamp for numerous days and potentially numerous peaks, like in Chicago Basin in the San Juans.

The Maroon Bells, Capitol, and Sunlight have Jordan puckered the most.  As of right now, Jordan has a few front-range buddies, including Brett Marraccini of and Andrew Lussie to accompany him when they can.  Otherwise, Jordan is on his own.  “Stupid decisions are not allowed to happen,” explains Jordan.  “I want to do this to enjoy life, and if anything terrible happened, like a major injury or death, there would be no point.”

Jordan has some support from a few sponsors, including Flylow, Klint Skis, Mountain Hardwear, Sick Stix, Spot Satellite GPS Messenger, Jammypack, First Degree Boots, and BCA.  Jordan has also organized a dual premiere screening of TGR’s Dream Factory and Jeremy Jones’ Further on Wednesday, November 7th, to benefit the So Co 14er Project, the WSCU Mountains Sports Team, and the Crested Butte Avalanche Center.  Stay in touch with Jordan through the SoCO 14er Expedition Facebook page and Jordan’s blog.  We will also be following Jordan throughout the winter and spring, so check back here for updates on his progress.

About the Author

2. Will Dujardin
Will Dujardin is our content editor at West Elk Project. He competes in big mountain competitions and coaches the Crested Butte Mountain Sports Team. Skiing is his life and he likes to mix it with other fun things like DH mountain biking and traveling.