Mountain Trip led a group of 24 Latinx community members on a climb up Telluride’s Via Ferrata course on July 17. For most of the participants, it was their first time on the Telluride Via Ferrata, despite having lived in San Miguel County for years.
With events like that, Mountain Trip, an experienced expedition leader, is supporting the Latinx Outdoor Initiative in partnership with Sheep Mountain Alliance, Tri-County Health Network, Wilkinson Public Library, Collaborative Action for Immigrants and Latinx community leaders. The initiative seeks to elevate inclusivity in the outdoors and remove barriers for Telluride/San Miguel County community members to participate in outdoor recreation and environmental education.
The Latinx Outdoor Initiative recognizes the systemic inequities that people of color experience, from housing and employment to accessing outdoor recreation and environmental education. In affluent communities like Telluride where open space is abundant, individuals also face economic barriers that make it even more difficult to participate in outdoor recreation. For example, at least 30% of San Miguel County identifies as Latino/Hispanic and are native Spanish or Chuj speakers, but this is the most dramatically underrepresented group in the local outdoor community.
The Latinx Outdoor Initiative is working to break down barriers and create equitable outdoor spaces by making the events free and open to all experience levels. The initiative also provides opportunities for Latinx community members to foster a sense of belonging and inclusion in the outdoors.
Building on a recent ice climbing outing in March, Sheep Mountain Alliance approached Mountain Trip to see if they would accommodate a similar event on the Via Ferrata – with a huge number of participants.
“They were so helpful and professional and ensured that the day went smoothly and that it was enjoyable and accessible for all,” said Ruthie Boyd, SMA’s Community Outreach Coordinator VISTA. “We are hopeful that this program is a small start toward equity in the outdoors, and we recognize that there is still so much work to be done in our community and throughout the United States.”
“It was amazing to share one of the beautiful recreational mountain experiences with members of our community that have never been up there,” said Mountain Trip guide Jonathan Cooper. “It’s a constant reminder of how unique and special our little valley is. It’s our hope that our first-timers will be able to take this experience and the skills they learned to help them explore more of our backyard in the future.”
Mountain Trip will continue to support the Latinx Outdoor Initiative, including co-hosting a rock climbing outing for San Miguel County’s Spanish-speaking and immigrant community on Aug. 7. More information at mountaintrip.com.