MOUNT SHAVANO — The trail to the peak widens as it reaches the alpine tundra. Soon, it’s a slanting scar, 20-feet across and 3-feet deep. Chunks of tundra are sliding into the trough of rubble.
“So much is moving. It crumbles from the uphill side and smothers the downhill side. It’s a real double whammy,” said Lloyd Athearn, his trekking poles probing the shifting snarl of trail leading straight up to the summit of Mount Shavano.
Athearn’s Colorado Fourteeners Initiative considers the trail to the top one of the very worst in Colorado, needing about $2 million in repairs that the U.S. Forest Service can neither afford nor staff. But Colorado Fourteeners Initiative has a plan: it’s buying three mining claims that include the 14,229-foot summit, and planning a more sustainable trail that it will build and deed it to the Forest Service.
“We have a lot more running room and creativity on the nonprofit-partnership side. We just have fewer constraints,” said Athearn, who helped raise more than $50,000 to buy the claims.