Climber Melissa Arnot Reid to halt latest project Saturday for Aspen presentation
IF YOU GO
What: Presentation by climber Melissa Arnot Reid and Maddie Miller
When: Saturday at 7 p.m.
Where: Ute Mountaineer in Aspen
Cost: Free to the public
A top climber in the world will take time out from her latest project Saturday to give a presentation in Aspen.
Melissa Arnot Reid and climbing partner Maddie Miller plan to hike 50 “challenging and interesting” peaks in Colorado over a three-week period, traveling self-supported from one peak to the next on bicycles, according to Colorado Mountain Club executive director Scott Robson. They will cover 500 miles before they are finished, he said.
Their journey will take them into the Elk Mountains for the weekend, so the women are giving a presentation at the Ute Mountaineer in Aspen at 7 p.m. Saturday. The free talk is being presented by the Ute Mountaineer and Colorado Mountain Club.
“It will probably be their only public appearance in the state,” said Robson, who hiked in the Front Range last weekend with the women to start their journey.
Arnot Reid is an accomplished mountaineer and guide. She’s completed six summits of Mount Everest in nine attempts. She was the first U.S. woman to summit and descend Mount Everest without supplemental oxygen.
Her latest journeys have been about building awareness. She teamed with Miller for the Fifty Peaks Challenge in 2016. Miller climbed the high points in all 50 states in 41 days, 16 hours and 10 minutes, a record time. Arnot Reid accompanied her on 49 of the peaks. She had to skip Denali while recovering from an injury on her latest trip to Mount Everest.
Their endeavor was undertaken to advance gender equality by drawing attention to their record. The goal is similar for their Colorado adventure. They want to inspire young women and girls to get interested in climbing and other outdoor pursuits.
“That’s the impetus, to get more young women involved,” Robson said.
The Aspen Times caught up with Arnot Reid on the road for an email interview this week and asked about the purpose of the Colorado adventure.
“We wanted to do something challenging that involved peaks but something new for us too,” Arnot Reid said. “We planned it all knowing it might not be possible but hoping for adventure. We are having conversations along the way about the goal of 50/50 gender participation in outdoor and sport.”
She said she’s climbed in the Aspen area before and has vivid memories of the surrounding Elk Mountains.
“The Elks are beautiful and wild and filled with rotten rock,” she said. “Even a small adventure (there) is a big deal.”
Robson said the women planned to climb Cathedral Peak and Pyramid Peak while visiting Aspen, weather permitting.
Arnot Reid said she and Miller are having fun on their journey, despite some missteps.
“We will be one week in, eight peaks down, 170 miles of biking and WAY behind our projected schedule” when they reach Aspen, she said wrote in an email. “We have gotten lost on the bikes, been routed over the Colorado Trail and turned back by weather. But we are in it deep and having a great time.”
For more on Arnot Reid, go to www. melissaarnot.com.
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