We had the good fortune of connecting with Dave Smithey and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Dave, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
Top Out Adventures comes out the incredible experiences I’ve had the privilege to have outdoors and the people who have helped me along my personal outdoor adventuring journey. I always tell the story of Narissa who was willing to help the schmuck who walked into the running store to buy trail shoes. She hooked me up with my first pair and invited me to a weekend trail run. Eventually we became good friends and running partners in competitive events. It is that type of welcoming and supportive spirit that exists in the outdoor industry that we want to promote by providing others the opportunity to try something new, explore limits and make great memories and friends along the way.

Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Before starting Top Out Adventures, I spent 20 years in corporate America working in operations and supply chain positions. Those years were rewarding in what we accomplished, and I have friends that go way beyond the workplace now. However, I made a chain of bad decisions in the positions I took, and I got thrown out on my ear. When Bernie Marcus and Arthur Blank were fired a friend told them, “You’ve been hit in the ass by a golden horseshoe.” They went on to co-found The Home Depot. While Top Out Adventures is no Th Home Depot, that message rung true to me. It hurt, but it made me reboot and start over.

I now use my background in operations to execute what we believe is the best all-inclusive adventure trips in the world. Our trips have comfortable housing, great food, long hard days on the trails and great people. We take care of all of the details so clients (a.k.a. soon to be new friends) show up and have the adventure of the lifetime. Whether someone wants to explore the majestic Colorado Rockies and maybe bag a 14’er or enjoy a weekend hiking in Big Bend National Park or push the limits sky running in Mexico, we have a trip to scratch that itch. We also customize trips for small groups that have a bucket list adventure and want help and support to tackle it confidently.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Well, first of all, I would tell my friend that I will meet them in Leadville, because adventure is always better with friends! Since we only have a week, I would say just setup shop in Leadville. There is more than enough to fill years of fun within a stones throw. First I would find a nice short term rental near Harrison Ave and plan to spend our first day acclimatizing to the altitude and getting to know the town. Walk Harrison Ave and go in every shop, and don’t leave the shop until we’ve have said hello to the owner. Window shopping is for tourists. Visit the Leadville Historical Museum to learn the history of the town from people who care deeply about it. Eat at The Tennessee Pass Cafe and have coffee at Zero Day. Go by the visitors center to meet Annie and Katie and get great info on the area. Get to bed early because the real fun starts early in the morning.

After a good nights sleep, we’d check out the trail heads that are all within a 30 minute drive from town, starting with something that doesn’t have a lot of elevation gain like Interlaken around Twin Lakes. We’d go over to Punky’s food truck in Twin Lakes for a burger and ribbon fries and be impressed by the thru hikers who stop for a rest. On day 3 through 6 we’d go out to tackle a higher climb each day. Some of my favorite routes are Hopes Pass, Mt Zion and Champion Mine. When we begin to feel like the altitude isn’t so much a problem, we’d start looking to bag a 14’er. Mt Sherman is a good first because you can drive up above treeline. Then Mt Belford is a great hard but straightforward challenge, and we can slip over and tag Oxford if we’ve got the weather and the energy. But of course the big dogs are Mt Massive and Mt Elbert. Mt Elbert is the highest in Colorado and therefore a nice notch in the belt. However Mt Massive is a gorgeous approach that will humble and awe at the same time.

After the days playing in the mountains, we’d spend another day in town. It will look different to now that we’ve seen it from the mountains as it were. We’d buy stickers to memorialize our accomplishments. Sit on a park bench and watch the new arrivals as they crane their necks to take in the beautiful views, and start planning the next visit.

I would be remiss not to mention that everything I described here is not for just anyone. The mountains are an incredible place and they will humble anyone. Stay within your skill and experience sets. Research as much as you can about the routes you want to do and ask the locals. Learn what you need to bring on a hike depending on the distance, elevation and weather conditions. And start early! Everyday in the mountains I pass people on the way down who are just starting up, and I have to wonder what they are doing when I am sitting at the house in the afternoon looking at my summit pictures, watching the rain or sleet fall outside the window. We have a lot of information on how to prepare for these type of adventures on our blog at www.TopOutAdventures.com/Blog and our YouTube channel @TopOutAdventures.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Wow. There are some many people to thank. It really does take a village to keep me going! First I have to recognize the incredible Top Out Adventures team. I don’t know what I did to deserve such an awesome crew. I have to give a shout out to the Transrockies Run organization. Their 6 day “running camp for adults” is like a gateway drug for trail running in the mountains. After day 1 I was hooked and seem to find a reason to go back every year. The town of Leadville has been a wonderfully home away from home for Top Out Adventures every summer. It’s a magical place filled with great people who share our passion for the incredible mountains that surround a humble and awesome town. With all that said, my foundation is my wife, Julie and two daughters, Zoe and Lucy. When I quit the corporate world to chase this dream, they didn’t blink and have supported at every twist and turn.

Website: www.TopOutAdventures.com

Instagram: @TopOutAdventures

Facebook: @TopOutAdventures

Youtube: @TopOutAdventures

Image Credits
Top Out Adventures

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