December 17, 2021 | ACTIVE LIFE | By Claire Barber | Photo by Anna Grace Keller

Back in 1916, a group of eight, including six women, embarked on a trek to Crestone, Colo. The group, which included Albert Ellingwood ,Colorado College class of 1910, and faculty member Eleanor Davis,  recorded three “first ascents” of unclimbed mountains in the Sangre de Cristo range. Walking most of the way to the town of Crestone from Colorado Springs (over 150 miles), the team recorded a first ascent of Crestone Peak and an attempt was made at the Crestone Needle.

Davis and Ellingwood later returned to the Crestone Needle in 1925, accompanied by Marion Warner and Stephen Hart, and summited. The technical route is named the Ellingwood Areté.

Despite these early first ascents, and the significance that Davis particularly held as a pioneering female climber in the region, recreation and representation in the outdoor and environmental world has remained to largely favor folks who are white, heterosexual, socio-economically privileged and male. While there have been some efforts to diversify and increase access to outdoor and environmental pursuits on campus, these norms have been and are still perpetuated within the Colorado College community.

In itself, the price of outdoor activities, systemic racism and the lack of widespread, persistent representative mentorship opportunities available to people of color and gender minorities can serve as significant barriers to access. At CC, while the Outdoor Recreation Committee (ORC) has expanded scholarships, mentorship and affinity group–specific events to include more historically-excluded folks in the outdoor recreation and environmental space, there is still significant progress to be made.

Photo courtesy of Anna Grace Keller

In an effort to work towards a more representative outdoor and environmental community at CC, the Colorado College Outdoor Journal (CCOJ) is a new publication on campus.

The journal hopes to expand what it means to truly be outdoors and in nature. Pieces will be narratively led, using moments, events, failures, trips and observed patterns in the outdoor and environmental sphere to explore larger themes of identity, personal discovery, place and more. CCOJ’s deceased sibling publication, the Colorado College Alpine Journal (which went out of print in 2017) largely focused on climbing ascents and feats.

As a new iteration of the Alpine Journal, CCOJ is an attempt to greatly expand the folks participating in recreation/nature storytelling and the types of stories told (climbers are still welcome, but so are casual evening strollers, backyard botanists, ski fanatics and more – from novice to expert). Photo essays, short and long trip reports/dispatches, profiles of artists and activists, personal essays and nature musings, film and other multimedia is accepted.

Along with these efforts, we hope the journal will serve as a mentorship space for students to learn how to enter the outdoor/environmental editorial space. There is a huge untapped potential of alumni who work at publications and film studios, who are professional athletes and more. Bringing some of these alumni in for workshops and speaker events is one of our main priorities.

Photo courtesy of Anna Grace Keller

This professional space can be hard to navigate, so serving as a launching board, where students can gain experience as photographers, editors, writers, artists, and multimedia creators, we hope will expand opportunities to students who might not be able to otherwise access and enter the space as readily.

As Active Life Editor for The Catalyst, I will be stepping down to take on this project as fellow editor-in-chief with Lorea Zabaleta ’23.

Active Life will remain as a cornerstone for outdoor and environmental writing on campus. I have enjoyed my time as editor and look forward to seeing the section grow and flourish. While Active Life will provide a weekly take on environmental and outdoor issues, I am excited for the Outdoor Journal to serve as an outlet for longer, more in-depth musings, photography, art and more.

Photo courtesy of Daniel de Koning

As a publication, the CCOJ is new and far from perfect. We realize this and encourage students to always reach out with questions, comments, concerns, musings, love letters, tweets… you get the idea.

We are always accepting pitches for our website (launching Block 5) and for our print editions (the first launching Block 8), which we plan to publish bi-yearly.

For pitch guidelines, questions and more our emails are always open:, and

Join our GroupMe here:

Pitch Guidelines:

*A special thanks to Andrew Wallace ’12, whose “A History of Outdoor Recreation at Colorado College,” served as my source for the Crestone climbs.

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