ust, maker of outdoor equipment whose goal is to inspire and cultivate people’s love of all things outside, is proud to announce that brand ambassador Evan Gill has become the fourth African-American and second African American veteran to summit all 58 of Colorado’s 14ers. Evan summited Capitol Peak on Saturday September 25th, marking the end of his fifteen month-long mission. Evan’s goal in achieving this feat is to inspire others, especially people of color, to get outdoors and enjoy what nature has to offer.
Originally from Baltimore, Maryland, Evan moved to Colorado with his wife and two sons in 2017. Evan began his journey to summit all of Colorado’s 14ers in June 2020, during the height of the COVID-19 lockdown, high unemployment, and the sometimes violent protests for social justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion for the black and indigenous communities, people of color, and other underrepresented people.
“As a result of current events, I began having a tough time dealing with depression and anxiety,” says Gill. “At that point, I needed an outlet, something to do to keep me occupied, sane, and to keep my mind off the problems in the world. Hiking, climbing, bouldering, and adventuring in general enabled me to be outside and be at one with nature. So, not only did this journey to summit fifty-eight 14ers inspire me, but it made me want to inspire other people of color to get up and get outside.”
“Go hiking, go camping, go climbing, or just go for a walk in your urban community,” continues Gill. “Since I started this journey, my depression and anxiety have been stable. As a result, I am a lot more productive and feeling great–mentally and physically. My goal is to inspire people of color to get up, get out and explore. The African American outdoor community is beginning to grow, but at a slow pace. I want to remind them that there is so much more to their hometown than just what they see on the surface. There is so much more to explore, and I want to show them to not be afraid to do it. I want them to see how it looks to be 14,000 feet above sea level, what it looks and feels like to be next to a cloud and one with nature.”
In the fall of 2020, ust brand manager John Holdmeier discovered Evan after reading a local news story announcing his mission. ust immediately contacted Evan and offered to sponsor him monetarily and with product support. “Proud is an understatement. What Evan has managed to accomplish is amazing, and all for a purpose that is extremely honorable. We are in awe.” says John Holdmeier, brand manager at ust. “I knew that ust would want to be a part of this mission the moment I read about Evan. His goal and ust’s goal is one in the same – to inspire people of all backgrounds to enjoy what the outdoors has to offer. Whether that is something as epic as summiting all of Colorado’s 14ers, or simply walking a local path, all it takes to be a part of the outdoor community is to be outdoors.”
As for what’s next, Evan plans to tackle the rest of the nation’s 14ers, which means expanding his geographical scope to Alaska, California, and Washington State. Evan has already begun making preparations for this next phase, from physical training to trip itineraries and logistics. Additionally, Evan is working with Vibe Tribe Adventures of Denver, CO to develop a pro-bono nature camp for kids in his hometown of Baltimore designed to encourage the spread of knowledge of the outdoors. Evan’s long-term goal is to fund ongoing camps and community events, and spread awareness for them by continuing his mission to conquer all of the nation’s 14ers.
For media inquiries and more information about ust’s sponsorship of Evan Gill, please contact Logan Waddell / firstname.lastname@example.org.
ust develops the most essential gear for creating your ultimate outdoor story. Our goal is to inspire and cultivate people’s love of all things outside, and to create gear that allows everyone to enjoy the outdoors in their own way. ust strives to bring people together by creating a community of storytelling and partnerships. ust products are available online and in stores nation wide. For a complete list of vendors, click here.
About Evan Gill
Evan Gill, 28 born and raised in Baltimore, MD. Recently moved to Colorado in 2017 with his wife and two boys. Evan served in the army as a 74D (CBRN) Chemical Biological Radiological Nuclear Specialist. This selfless service translated to the civilian world as a chemical specialist working for various environmental hazmat companies. Evan started his journey to summit all fifty eight 14ers in Colorado, after being laid off from his job due to COVID-19. He turned his anxiety, depression, and PTSD into the fuel that drives him up those mountains. He wants to inspire as many people as he can to turn to the mountains that are seeking refuge. He also wants to inspire his kids that anything is possible. Evan’s mission is to spread love and not hate in these times that we are all experiencing.