I got this e-mail from a reader regarding Sunday’s story about the Mount Shavano snow climb (http://newsok.com/pair-scales-new-heights-in-colorado/article/3387961?custom_click=lead_story_title )in Colorado:
I enjoyed your story on climbing Mount Shavno. I have the same passion. I am the head football coach at SNU and every summer I take my upcoming senior class to Colorado to climb a 14er (a 14,000-foot mountain). The groups have ranged from 18 to 8. It is a great team building experience. I also have a leadership curriculum that I take them through while we are on the mountain. The past 2 years we have climbed Mount Antero (just next to Shavano). The 5 years before that I took them to Pikes Peak via the Craggs Trail or the Barr Trail. This year we plan to summit either Mount Princeton or Shavano. We depart on August 3rd. Any advice on Shavano? Again, just wanted you to know I enjoyed your story.
The man who wrote this is Mike Cochran, the head football coach at Southern Nazarene University. I gave him a few of my thoughts on the mountain. I also thought his team-building concept was pretty cool, using the outdoors as a way to help build unity and leadership. So an exchange of e-mails turned this into a bit of a Q&A between us. Here’s how the conversation went:
Q: Describe how the trip usually goes and what you all do.
A: I usually camp at treeline. It makes day two much easier. I plan to start at the trailhead about 8 a.m. on day one and set up camp that afternoon. Day two we will leave base camp about 5:30 a.m. and try to summit no later than 10 a.m. I never know how fast we will move, the 300 pounders move slower than the rest. That is one of the things that makes it such a great team building exercise, they all have to help each other get to the top. After we summit we camp one more night before heading down. The down time at camp is when we set goals for the season and cover the leadership curriculum.
Prior to backpacking we always whitewater raft the day before. The best part about the experience is taking a group of guys to do something that they have never done before. Getting them out of their comfort zone really opens their eyes and helps them grow. Every group I have taken says it is the hardest and the most rewarding thing they have ever done.
Q: How many peaks have you climbed?
A: I have hiked to the summit of Pikes Peak five times and Mount Antero two times for a total of seven on two different peaks. I have reached the summit of about a half dozen 13ers through the years. I am ready to add another peak. However, it is really about what works for the group. The group is smaller this year so that opens up more possibilities.
Q: What about the rafting?
A: The last two I have used Noah’s Ark. They are a rafting/outfitting company located outside of Buena Vista, Colo. It has been nice to have someone else provide the food and gear. It has allowed me to interact more with the players and worry less about logistics. When I did it by myself, the larger groups were really a strain on me.
Sounds like this coach would be a great guy to team up with for a mountain adventure, and his players are lucky enough to be a part of that on an annual basis.
Here’s hoping for a fun time on the river as well as a successful summit bid in the Rockies for SNU football seniors.