Climbing for Clean Air
Lincoln, NH the heart of the White Mountains: Christina Cozzens started off like many who catch the hiking bug in the White Mountains.
The New Hampshire native wasn’t an experienced hiker at first, but she steadily built up her skills and confidence as she tackled the White Mountains 4,000-footers. Once she finished the full list of 48, she took on an even greater challenge, traveling west to summit California’s Mt. Whitney, the tallest mountain in the contiguous United States.
Now, Cozzens has her sights set on another of the most iconic peaks in North America, only this time she’ll be doing it for a much bigger cause.
This month, Cozzens will climb Mt. Rainier in Washington as part of the Climb for Clean Air, a fundraising initiative to support the American Lung Association. Cozzens and her team will join other groups climbing Mt. Hood, Mt. Baker and Mt. St. Helens, and she will make her attempt between June 23-26.
“What I think is really cool is the guiding service that’s putting it on — it’s through [Rainier Mountaineering Guides], which is a super credible organization that has donated this guiding service to the ALA in order for them to make a profit out of it so they can put that money into lung research and COVID research,” Cozzens said. “I think it’s a cool time to be able to do it. Obviously the situation we’re in isn’t great, but to be able to contribute something to the time has been pretty rewarding.”
Discovering her passion
Originally from Hampstead, N.H., Cozzens didn’t grow up an avid hiker. Her original passion was racing go karts.
That changed in 2018 when she met a neighbor who, at 60-years-old, had hiked more than 500 miles of the Appalachian Trail. Cozzens was inspired to try it herself, but due to commitments at home that made completing a thru-hike impractical, she decided to tackle the 4,000-footers instead.
With little experience to draw from, Cozzens worked her way through the list and figured things out as she went along. A key breakthrough came when she attempted a grueling three-day Pemi Loop, which was far and away the most challenging hike she had ever attempted to that point.
“That was a turning point for me,” she said. “That was showing a lot of empowerment and showing me that I can be confident in myself, because I had such little experience and I went out and I was like ‘I know I can navigate this, I just need to bust through any issues that are going to show up.’”
Cozzens completed her 48 4,000-footers atop Mt. Madison at the end of a Northern Presidential Traverse, and while she soon started setting her sights on bigger mountains out west, her biggest goals remained much closer to home.
Giving back to the trail
Cozzens’ participation in the Climb For Clean Air is the latest in a growing line of projects she has undertaken to help make a difference in the hiking community and beyond.
Midway through her 4,000-footers list, Cozzens got involved with the Appalachian Mountain Club and is now working towards becoming an AMC New Hampshire Chapter leader. As a marketing professional, Cozzens has helped the organization with its communications and recently led her first guided hike up Mt. Washington.
Last summer she also organized a trail cleanup throughout the White Mountains, gathering a team of more than 100 volunteers who collectively cleaned up nearly 300 pounds of trash from the trail. The effort was such a success that Cozzens organized a second clean-up this year for June 12.
As a local company committed to supporting the White Mountains community, we at Burgeon Outdoor are excited to support Cozzens in her ongoing efforts and her upcoming climb of Mt. Rainier.
For those who are interested in contributing to Cozzens’ Climb For Clean Air fundraising efforts, you can make a donation at here.
~ Mac Cerullo
Burgeon Outdoor was founded in 2019. Burgeon’s mission is to help mountain communities flourish. Burgeon proudly manufactures premium outdoor apparel in Lincoln, NH. By manufacturing locally, Burgeon creates year round jobs in the White Mountains. 5% of Burgeon’s sales support its community and environmental efforts. To learn more, please visit our studio at the Village Shops in Lincoln, our website burgeonoutdoor.com or call us at 603-745-7123.