Photo of Shane Jordan founder of 58 Summits

“The Devil is in the Details”

25 years ago, I wanted something that didn’t exist. Ten years earlier, I climbed my first Fourteener, Mt Elbert, with my dad and brother which secured my lifetime passion for the mountains. Once I was old enough to drive, I started taking friends with me on climbs, pouring over guide books for the best routes and sharing the world above the trees.

I wanted a visual representation of where the mountains were located within Colorado. It was a great mystery to me, despite the rudimentary locator maps within the guidebooks themselves. I wanted a way to track my progress, visualizing a pin stuck on a wall map. I knew exactly what I wanted and was going to make it happen.

Right out of college with an entrepreneurship degree and without a dime, I presented the idea to family members and a close friend who were willing to invest in me. Friends connected me with an extremely talented Boulder artist Jeff Maxim who was thankfully willing to take on the project.

Jeff came up with a graphical satellite layout of the state, and we chose an orientation that might seem unusual at first. The highest concentration of Colorado’s fourteeners lay within in the central, southern and southwestern parts of the state. A majority of the mountains are seen and approached from the north and east aspects which means they are recognized when facing southwest. It was settled that the 4-foot by 8-foot original painting Jeff created would incorporate these details.

The devil is in the details, and Jeff proved his expertise here. My close friend Nick – both a fellow flight instructor and climbing expert – was tasked to help us create an image that accurately represented each mountain and their locations. Nick had climbed all of the Fourteeners by that point and was a valuable trove of knowledge. Boots on the ground, literally.

An aerial photo of each mountain was a good start for Jeff, but I wanted him to experience the mountains himself with an aerial tour. He and I took a long circuitous flight over Colorado to fill in the blanks on the painting that was nearing completion. I visited his studio often – I’m sure annoyingly so – to watch his progress. I can’t describe the gift Jeff possesses. Watching him transpose a photographic image (yep – we still printed photos then) of a mountain into a painted replica before my eyes was mystifying. He tried a valiant attempt at giving me a quick tutorial, but the only evidence of this exists on the right side of the original painting. I have the original proudly displayed inside my home and when I see it, I think about that lesson.

Nick was called in for a second set of eyes for the final approval and the Colorado Fourteeners Poster was more than an idea…it was going to print.

I have nothing but gratitude for Nick, Jeff, my family and those who helped me along the way. The Map Store in Boulder, CO – no longer in business – was the first buyer. Ned, if you are out there, thank you! A small map store in Denver taught me the proper way to sell to retailers. To them, I thank you. I sold 862 posters that year.

Here’s to our 25th Anniversary Edition of the Colorado Fourteeners poster. To note this milestone, we are collecting and sharing memorable summit stories on our website www.58summits.com. Like you, tens of thousands of people experience Colorado’s highest mountains annually and we want to hear about your most memorable adventure. Perhaps your story will inspire or challenge others. Think of these stories as a connection made between us and nature. Let’s share and respect Colorado’s 58 summits together!

Shane Jordan

The Fourteeners

Every Climb is a New Discovery

Most Memorable Summit Stories


Go to Top