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Rutland man sets goal to summit Pico everyday to benefit children

Randy Crossman, a 62-year-old woodworker and seventh-generation Vermonter from Rutland, has crossed the halfway mark in his goal to summit Pico Mountain 365 times in 365 days, a project he calls “PicoSummit365.”

Randy Crossman

He began the project in summer 2021 and just recently exceeded 200 hikes. Crossman is an avid outdoorsman who committed to this goal to raise awareness and funds for Building Bright Futures (BBF), where his daughter Morgan Crossman serves as executive director.

Building Bright Futures is a nonprofit organization working to improve the wellbeing of young children (from prenatal to age 8) and families in Vermont. BBF monitors Vermont’s early care, health and education systems while advising governor, administration and legislature on policy improvements.

“I started hiking and running Pico when I was 14 years old, so I’ve grown up on this mountain,” Crossman said. “When I started PicoSummit 365 last summer, I told myself I would try it for 30 days. I made it to 30 and decided to go for 50. I needed a cause to motivate me, so I told Morgan I wanted to raise awareness of Building Bright Futures and the great things they’re doing for Vermont families. As of today, I’m 218 days in.”

Randy Crossman’s endeavor is also inspired by his 4-year-old granddaughter Amelie Lataille, the daughter of Morgan Crossman.

“It’s in my heart to make a picture of Pico Mountain to help my Bumpy’s hiking,” Amelie Lataille said, holding a Lite-Brite image of a mountain range in a December 28, 2021, post on the family’s PicoSummit365 Facebook page.

Crossman’s hikes have continued through all seasons, including in weather that reached 20 degrees below zero with 15 mile-per-hour winds. His project is on track to reach its goal on June 21, 2022, with his 365th summit of Pico Mountain.

“The summer was hard,” Crossman said. “High grass, mosquitoes, high humidity and the pounding that your body takes every day, with no time for recovery. It got easier once the weather turned in the fall, but no hike is easy. Every day has different factors—rain, wind, dense fog, snow up to your waist. Maybe I’m not feeling well, or I had a hard day at work—but I’m still going out there. At this point, I’m confident that my body can physically handle this adventure, but it’s just as much mental as it is physical.”

Crossman is the facilities director at Castleton University. In his spare time, he runs a custom woodworking business, Vermont Woodshop. On weekdays, he does his Pico hikes after work, which means that he often hikes in the dark.

To date, Crossman has climbed a total of more than 700 miles and nearly 400,000 feet of elevation gain, and he has raised more than $6,000 in pledges. Crossman’s wildlife encounters on the mountain have included seeing a moose, a bear, a porcupine and a whole family of turkeys.

Crossman grew up skiing and hiking on Pico Mountain, and for several years he served as a volunteer rescuer on the mountain. He considers safety to be paramount for his undertaking, so he is using an app called Life360 to allow family members to see his location on each hike in real time. His family members receive notifications through the app as he reaches Pico Mountain’s peak and base, so they can watch and wave through the mountain’s live webcams as Crossman summits Pico and completes his hike. Crossman is also using Strava to log his mileage and wearing a GoPro camera to document his experiences.

Since he had a knee replacement in 2019, Crossman consulted with his doctor before beginning his hikes. When he has needed to miss a day or two due to holidays or personal reasons, he summits Pico Mountain twice in one day to make up for lost time. Family members have also joined him on several of the hikes.

“A heart pumper and surely a physical test,” Crossman’s sister-in-law Kim Levins said after joining Crossman on his 194th hike. “I cannot put into words how amazing he is to do this day after day after day. In most cases, night after night.”

Building Bright Futures’ Executive Director Morgan Crossman said, “I’m in awe of my dad’s physical and mental toughness and am grateful for the continuous love and support he shows for our family and my work. I hope to spend some time on the mountain with him this summer, but I can’t imagine that even if he carried Amelie up, I’d be able to keep up with him.”

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