Congratulations Carl Dowdy and Matt Kamper, Skiing 54 Fourteeners!

Post by blogger | May 15, 2013      

HUGE congratulations to two individuals who recently completed skiing all 54 Colorado 14,000 foot peaks!

Matt Kamper at the summit of Snowmass Mtn, 5/15/2013 his last fourteener ski of the 54.

Matt Kamper at the summit of Snowmass Mtn, 5/15/2013 his last fourteener ski of the 54. Click images to enlarge.

Vail ER doctor Matt Kamper got done yesterday, with Snowmass as his last hit. He cheated by taking Jordan White with him, but we’ll ignore that since I’ve enjoyed the “Jordan Factor” myself (grin). Besides, Jordan claims Kamper put in most of the booter and left him in the dust. Apparently the guy was pretty motivated, this being the capstone on his multi-year 14er project. Matt is 52 years old, making him the oldest guy to have skied them all. Jordan keeps a better count than I do. He says Matt is the eleventh person to complete the 54. Still a pretty rarefied fraternity.

Carl Dowdy’s last one was Crestone Needle a few days ago (Matt was with him on that one). Took him three tries over as many years. Excellent to see the thought and care Carl must have been applying to the project by being willing to leave and return multiple times.

Like I always say, in mountaineering as in life, sometimes the failures define the successes and make them so much sweeter. Enjoy Carl’s video, at least till Yout’ turns the music off.

Eight Questions — Matt Kamper

Which 14ers were the easiest to ski?
Sherman, Shavano, I did a few of those solo.

The hardest?
The hardest to get in terms of snow conditions were Kit Carson and Challenger, I had to repeat that trip a few times. Pyramid Peak is the most sustained skiing.

Biggest day?
Capitol Peak in April of 2010, 21 hours round trip.

How many different partners did you end up skiing with through the project?
About 20.

What was your favorite gear?
Dynafit Titan boots and the SPOT Messenger.

What gear failed?
I didn’t have any breakage that aborted a day or was serious. I’d say the snowmobiles were the most challenging in terms of gear.

To whom do you dedicate your accomplishment?
To my parents Robert and Jenifer Kamper. They gifted me with passion for ski mountaineering. I’ve got a photo of myself on Mount Toll at 8 years old, hauling a pair of Head Standards. I skied Greys with my dad during the project.

What’s next?
Get out there in the mountains with my kids, Chris and Logan 8-year-old twins, and 9-year-old Nicky. We’re planning a backpack of the 4-Pass loop in the Elk Mountains for this summer. I did that when I was 9 and it’s time to share it with them.

Matt Kamper, Snowmass Mountain west face.

Matt Kamper, Snowmass Mountain west face.


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16 Responses to “Congratulations Carl Dowdy and Matt Kamper, Skiing 54 Fourteeners!”

  1. Jack May 15th, 2013 2:42 pm

    Congratulations to both Carl and Matt. Inspiring to see this type of high achievement by “real” people (I guess as opposed to full-time athletes, who are “real” too, let’s be clear.) ( and people, too, though sometimes it doesn’t look like it as they race by me) (to avoid further muddying the waters….. I’ll sign off).

    Seriously, congratulations.

  2. Dostie May 15th, 2013 3:08 pm

    BIG Congrats to you two – Matt and Carl. Great to hear a guy in his 50s busting trail and leading the charge. Had my butt clocked by a 24-year-old recently, which wouldn’t have bothered me in itself except it was my slowest ascent rate ever on Shasta, so I was feeling the age disparity a little too much. Rock on!

  3. Pete Anzalone May 15th, 2013 3:40 pm

    Awesome! Huge congrats to Matt and hooray for the old guys!

  4. Frisco May 15th, 2013 4:41 pm


    Amazing feat. I hope to ski one 14er some day so that I can at least envision what these gentlemen did.

  5. Matt Kamper May 15th, 2013 4:54 pm

    Lou, thank you so much! It was a pleasure talking with you over a beer last night. Now let’s go skiing…

  6. Lou Dawson May 15th, 2013 7:02 pm

    Likewise, I love it that you guys are doing such a good job with this and enjoying it so much. Very powerful. Lou

  7. Carl May 15th, 2013 11:10 pm

    Thanks for the comments Lou (and others who replied). It’s been an incredible journey. Your site and books have been an invaluable resource along the way. Though I enjoy trying to imagine what it was like for you before all this info was so readily available. Hope our paths cross in the mountains soon.

    p.s. The age range of our group on the Needle ski was 18 to 52. To no surprise, though perhaps a little embarrassment, the 52 year old was the strongest of the team. Well done Matt!

  8. Lou Dawson May 16th, 2013 6:20 am

    Thanks Carl — and again, congratulations! It’s indeed amazing the resources and gear you guys have for these projects. Even the fact you can actually find partners is something you probably somewhat take for granted. Back in the 1990s, there were only a handful of skiers who had the skill set, and out of that population just a few who were going out and doing it. Like I said when Dav directed his attention to ski mountaineering, with a sport like this a healthy progression of what’s accomplished shows it is viable and is terrific to see.

    But it always warms my heart when you guys remember that we didn’t have cell phones, or the internet, or wide skis! Kind of hard to imagine, even for me!

    Can you imagine? Picture John Quinn and I in Leadville, 1987. We had not idea whatsoever where the road up to Mount Sherman was. We asked a local, they said it was probably down near Buena Vista (about 30 miles the wrong direction). We just laughed and kept drinking coffee, then drove around for an hour simply guessing with the help of a topo map that didn’t really show the streets. Finally made it up there, and we were stunned by how cool the access was, though we summited in a windy whiteout.


  9. Stano May 16th, 2013 10:03 am

    Congrats Matt, that’s the way to live, never give up things that you love to do despite all the commitments and distractions of today’s world!

  10. Mike Marolt May 16th, 2013 11:19 am

    Nice work. Very cool.

  11. Kelly May 16th, 2013 12:41 pm

    Gotta wonder how many folks have done the same without the need to blog or Facebook about it. I know of at least two, kinda says something about motivations… Nice work, regardless

  12. Lou Dawson May 16th, 2013 1:31 pm

    Kelly, human beings have all sorts of motivations, usually in combination. The fact a person shares about their fun has no intrinsic meaning. Keeping it private could be considered selfish, and sure, communicating it could be considered somehow “ego negative.” But in reality, most people I know who share this stuff do it mostly because they’ve simply found something wonderful, and are excited to communicate about it. They enjoy being part of community. I liken it to finding money on the street. If you found, say, 10,000 dollars and were allowed to keep it, would you give some away or keep it all for yourself. Or perhaps you’d never even tell someone you found it so you could for sure keep it all and not look bad bragging about your good fortune?

    As for the specific individuals who keep their skiing private, that’s fine, but the fact that you know about it and are using it to make some sort of value judgement comparison on “motivations” kind of makes their motivations suspect, in my view. If they really have some sort of agenda with not sharing, then I’d think you wouldn’t know about it either.

    This stuff is just fun conquest of the useless. Some of us like sharing about it and some like reading about it. Nothing sinister.

    I’d also add that some of us make a living from it. That’s another motivation in the mix. If that’s evil, then you probably shouldn’t be reading because you might have to find an exorcist!

  13. gringo May 17th, 2013 4:38 am

    Nice job on this project guys…well done.

    _Lou, do you happen to know what the final summit / decent tally was for Mike and Howie Fitz’ attempt at being the first guys to ski all the 14’ers?

    I remember hearing their stories when I was a kid and it just blew me away at my young age to hear about those guys doing aerial recon missions and big lines in 80’s gear.

    might be an interesting profile for the history buffs amongst us….?


  14. Rene-Martin May 21st, 2013 12:01 pm

    Wow, big achievement.
    It’s always fun to see people’s accomplishment underline. I don’t agree with Kelly, I’m sure it was done with absolutely no regards to shame or recognition. In the end, you don’t ski that many day’s just to brag. Anyway, the real deal is spending days out there, and safely returning home afterward (to tell the story) 😀

  15. Rob April 7th, 2014 1:39 pm


    In the interest of 14er-skiing in general and Wildsnow’s coverage of other modes of BC travel — with a snowy Culebra descent on Saturday, Marc Barella became the second split-boarder to finish the 14ers. Marc and Carl Dowdy partnered on 51 of their peaks.

  16. Lou Dawson April 7th, 2014 4:57 pm

    Nice job Marc Barella!

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