Blood, Sweat, & Beers

Join editor-in-chief Dennis Lewon for a hike--and cancer-fighting concert--in the Rockies.

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If you could save a life by hiking 3 miles up an aspen-cloaked peak in the Colorado Rockies, would you set aside a weekend to do it? If rock stars joined you on the trail, and then played an exclusive concert at the 11,570-foot summit, would you sign up? Would it sweeten the deal if the hike concluded with another performance and an epic party? And if you could win a $500 gear package and a private hike guided by my staff, would you meet me in Vail on June 15?

Some 12 million people in the U.S. are battling or recovering from cancer. Chances are you know one. And though hiking can’t cure the disease, it can help victims beat it. Here’s how: Love Hope Strength, a cancer charity, focuses on saving lives by making existing technology (like early screening) widely available, and growing international bone marrow databases through highly successful donor drives (with almost 500 lifesaving matches to date). And the nonprofit has devised a fundraising formula that music-loving hikers can’t resist: trekking with rock stars. Read our story about the group’s 2009 concert atop Mt. Kilimanjaro at

Now, Love Hope Strength is bringing the winning recipe to mountains closer to home. On June 15, 2013, Mike Peters of the Alarm, Brett Dennen, Cy Curnin of the Fixx, and other musicians will hike the trails above Vail, Colorado, for an alpine jam high in the Rockies. I’m joining them, and you should, too. (Space is limited, so don’t wait.) The event, called Vail Rocks, will feature acoustic performances and a mountainside celebration. For just $89, you can register to hike with the artists and enjoy a private backcountry show. Of course, you can donate more than that, and I’m happy to provide an incentive: The BACKPACKER reader who raises the most money by June 1 will score a BACKPACKER-hosted weekend, complete with free gear and an editor-led bonus hike. Register and learn more at

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