Chris Mikesell Foundation Honoring Chris 2

ABOUT CHRIS MIKESELLInspiring People to Make the Climb

Chris Mikesell always climbed the mountain to see the view. That’s how he lived his life – knowing where he wanted to go and then making it happen. He packed more adventure into 23 years than most of us do in an entire lifetime, and he was an inspiration to everyone he met. Through the work of the Chris Mikesell Foundation, his impact on people will continue.

Lifetime of Adventures

Chris’ Life

Chris Life From Kansas To Colorado Chris Mikesell Foundation

From Kansas to Colorado

Born in Kansas, Chris grew up with a sense of wonder that led him around the world. He formed lasting friendships wherever he traveled. In 2001 Chris moved to Gunnison, Colo., to attend Western State College of Colorado (now Western Colorado University), then moved to nearby Crested Butte the following year and commuted to school. Making his home in Crested Butte, he learned to love and respect every aspect of the mountains.

Chris Life College And Travel Chris Mikesell Foundation

College and Travel

While in college, he studied abroad for a summer in England and made a college-sponsored trip to Italy. He graduated in 2005 from Western with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Business Administration. After graduation, he took a three-month backpacking trip around the world, visiting England, Scotland, Belgium, India, Thailand, Laos, and New Zealand. He made many friends along the way, packing much energy and spirit into everything he did.

Chris Life Diverse Interests Chris Mikesell Foundation

Diverse Interests

Chris listed his interests on Facebook as: Rivers, Skiing, Travel, Photography, Climbing, Live Music, always in that order … but he had a more serious side. He read constantly and felt angry when he became aware of human injustice. He was deeply concerned with what was happening across Africa. He was appalled by the poverty he witnessed during his trek in India, and he told his parents he wanted to do something about it.

Chris Life Career And Legacy Chris Mikesell Foundation

Career and Legacy

Chris worked for several years as a whitewater raft guide for Scenic Rivers Tours, guiding on the Taylor and Gunnison Rivers. In the summer of 2006, he guided for North American River Runners on the Gauley River in West Virginia, one of the premier whitewater rafting rivers in the world. He was in his first season of working for Crested Butte Mountain Resort as a Sno-Cat operator at the time of his accident. Although Chris’ life ended on the mountain he loved, his pioneering spirit lives on. 

Words From Loved Ones

“Chris always called Crested Butte paradise. Whenever people would visit him, he would greet them with ‘Welcome to paradise, guys!’”

Laura, Sister Interior Designer in Crested Butte, CO

“Chris made me want to live every day of my life like he did his. This led me to things like Outward Bound, a love of travel, and moving to Colorado to go to college.”

Julie, Sister Graduated from Fort Lewis College in Durango, CO

“Chris loved people. He just wanted to know everyone’s story and never met a person he didn’t like.”

Kendall, Father

“When Chris would take off, he would go and not look back. A lot of people turn and wave, but not Chris; he was always excited about his next adventure.”

Sherry, Mother

“Chris: Thanks for your attitude and your effort. You will always be missed and never forgotten. Through the work of the Chris Mikesell Foundation, his dreams will be kept alive, and his positive impact on people will continue. If you don’t climb the mountain, you can’t see the view.”

Dave Massey, Co-worker Published in the Crested Butte News on February 23, 2007

To honor Chris’ adventurous spirit, passion for travel, and love of people, the Foundation supports organizations that fit into four key areas of focus.

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