While most of the Mines campus was fast asleep Thursday night, one jolly band of hardy folk were making their way up the side of one of Colorado’s famous 14ers, Quandary Peak. Known as the CRU Challenge, this event takes place once a year about four weeks into the fall semester, and it attracts a unique group of people. The CRU Challenge consists of 40-50 Mines students driving up to one 14er late at night, climbing to its summit, and descending back to Golden by about 7:00 AM Friday to enjoy some hot, fresh pancakes.
The real challenge, however, comes on Friday. While many people can summit a 14er, even in the middle of the night, how many can make it through all of their Friday classes without falling asleep in class or napping in the middle of the day? This challenge is not for the faint of heart. Why, you may ask, would anyone subject themselves to such trauma? “For the free pancakes in the morning, to build self confidence, and to meet new people and make some awesome friends,” said Ben Kaiser, one of the participants in this year’s CRU Challenge. Campus Crusade for Christ organizes this event to provide an escape from the monotony of school, and to foster growth in our school community. “We love Jesus, and we love doing crazy, fun things together,” commented James Brown, the organizer of this year’s event. Spending six hours hiking up a rocky mountain-face in total darkness really brings people together, it would seem.
Finn Kristopher Hovem, a freshman, said, “I really enjoyed it, it was a fun experience being with people.” While many parts of the journey were grueling, such as the last 1000 feet of elevation gain, there were many good things to remember. Kaiser commented that, “My favorite part of the challenge was being in the wilderness. It is so awe inspiring and it makes me realize how small I actually am.” Finn added, “My favorite part was nearing the summit, when a bunch of us started yelling ‘Pancakes!’ It was what really kept us going.” Cheering each other on with the thought of fresh, hot pancakes awaiting the return was a great motivator to keep pressing on.
Some may question the sanity of an action that would drive young men to cheer ‘Pancakes!’ on the summit of a 14,270 ft. peak at 2:35 AM, but the simple fact is that this merry crew, this happy CRU, brought people together to conquer a mountain peak, and still make it to class.