Iris Vujević-Sullivan is a talented artist, a compassionate community member, owner of Alpine Birch apparel (www.alpinebirch.com) , Founder of Women Hit The Slopes & the next person we're featuring in our Women Who Inspire Blog Series! She is responsible for making our custom Women of Colorado beanie hats, and we wanted to tell you all about the fundraising work she's doing! She's not only taking on her goal to summit Mt. Whitney, she's dedicated her summit bid to helping others in our community in the process, and we are so proud to be supporting all that Iris is up to!
Iris is currently donating all proceeds from Alpine Birch to her summit for a cause of Mt. Whitney in California. All the money raised will be donated to Big City Mountaineers. Big City Mountaineers provides under-resourced youth with opportunities to have transformative experiences in the outdoors. (www.bigcitymountaineers.org)
Head to our website to purchase a beanie to support her cause:
or find the link below to donate directly!
Thank you to Iris for telling us a bit about your journey & what inspires you!
1. What inspired you to pursue your unique path or goal?
In 2017, after living in Florida for 4.5 years I turned my daydreams into action and moved to Colorado. In Florida, I felt stifled by the humidity and trapped indoors. I had no sense of community, I spent years dreaming about the mountains and pursuing a life filled with outdoor adventures. I had also been struggling with depression and anxiety and was seeking nature as a way of healing. Once I finally made my move to CO, I set out to complete 52 hikes in one calendar year. I didn't really think this was a goal I would achieve simply because I had lead quite a sedentary life in FL, but I wanted to challenge myself. I wanted to discover the beauty that my new state has to offer, and most of all I wanted to begin my journey to healing.
Having moved from sea-level, I decided to start out my hiking journey slowly. I began with 3-5 mile day hikes in the front range. I eventually progressed to 12 miles, 18 miles, multi day hikes and even had the opportunity to summit two 14ers! With each hike that I completed, my passion for life was re-ignited, I was out here finally living my dream. I felt transformed by nature. I completed my 52nd hike in early December 2018. Though this may not seem like a hefty goal for some, for me it was a big moment compared to where I was mentally and physically a year prior.
Through my move to Colorado and the adventures I experienced in 2018, I realized how privileged I am to be out here and how much of an impact that nature has had on my life in just a little over a year. After experiencing the joy that my outdoor experiences have given me, I wanted to find a way to share my passion for the outdoors with others, a way to give back to those who may not have the same opportunities that I've had. Through my research, I discovered Big City Mountaineers, a non-profit based out of Golden, CO. I've chosen to participate in their Summit for Someone fundraising program, to give under-resourced youth the opportunity to attend a fully funded week-long wilderness expedition. Over the next five months, I will be training to summit Mt. Whitney (the tallest peak in the contiguous USA) via the mountaineer's route, while simultaneously raising funds for the youth of BCM. 100% of the funds collected will directly support youth in their outdoor expeditions!
2. What skills did you have, and what skills did you have to learn or are you still learning in pursuit of your goals?
In addition to more extensive backpack specific training that I have lined up for this year at higher elevation, I will also be focusing on rock climbing. The route we will be taking up during the summit of Whitney includes a rope climbing section. I have some experience with indoor climbing, but outdoor climbs are an entirely different beast that require an added layer of not only physical, but mental preparedness as well!
3. What was the hardest obstacle you’ve overcome?
The hardest obstacle I've overcome on my journey was having the courage to address my own needs and pursue a move to Colorado.
4. What keeps you inspired?
Being surrounded by an incredible and supportive community of women who I've had the opportunity to meet in Colorado inspires me every day. Seeing other women absolutely crushing it in the outdoors and bringing others together motivates me to push forward and challenge myself in new ways.
5. What lesson have you learned in your pursuits of your dreams which you would share with others to empower their journey?
Change does not occur overnight, there will be times when you are completely exhausted and discouraged, take a break and return to it with a clear mind. Surround yourself with people who support your passions and encourage you to seek a better life for yourself. Without the support of my partner and best friend, I would not have been able to achieve my dream of moving to Colorado.
Help by donating to Iris' summit for a cause at:
Big City Mountaineers Fundraiser Campaign Page:
Find Iris online at:
@iris_sully (Personal adventure account)
@alpinebirch (Handmade knitwear account)
@womenhittheslopes (Women's Only Ski/Snowboard Group)
Women Hit The Slopes - Colorado