ABOUT THE CREW

ABOUT THE CREW

We’re a quirky group of outdoor knuckleheads, gear junkies, and story tellers. We’re adventure ready at all times and cherish our, sometimes, ridiculous work environment. Most importantly, however, we fiercely believe in connecting people with wild places.  An adventure with the right people in the right place can be life-changing.

JOSIAH CILLADI

Favorite Outdoor Activities – Backpacking, Long Distance Hiking, Canyoneering, Trail Running, Snowshoeing, Cowboy Camping

Outdoor Expertise – 11 years of long distance hiking, canyoneering, mountain climbing and outdoor exploration

My Story – For me it all started on October 23, 2009 In Pennsylvania! After scrounging up some old gear from family and friends for what would be my first backpacking trip, I set out for 3 nights. The first morning I woke up in my trusty tent, sleeping bag drenched from the nights rain. By mid morning my backpack was falling apart as I skipped from rock to rock and by the afternoon my boots were disintegrating under my feet! Needless to say I needed better gear, but I was having the time of my life and it was clear i needed more adventure in my life!  After 2 years of weekend trip and gear research I decided to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail which would set off a 5 year adventure spree

In 2013 I set off to hike the Pacific Crest Trail which marked a lot of firsts for me. First time hiking in the heat of the desert, first alpine experiences and first time having to plan routes around fires and early season snow falls. After the PCT I know I needed to live closer to the mountains so I moved to Durango Colorado in search for more adventures! 2014 was full of exploring the San Juan Mountains, canyoneering in Utah’s canyon country and visiting National Parks and monuments throughout New Mexico! In early 2015 I decided it was time to move to the front range and work on my neglected career… this lasted exactly 4 months before I decided to drop everything again and thru-hike the Continental Divide Trail

Since moving back to the front range after the CDT I’ve continued to explore Colorado’s mountain ranges, 14ers and hot springs! I’ve also continued to expand my knowledge of the gear I use in the backcountry. Learning more about how its designed and built to better understand what makes great gear!

AKILA COPELAND

Favorite Outdoor Activities – You can catch me snowshoeing, hiking or strolling, camping, climbing, backpacking (with the occasional hut trip!), and building community.

My Story – I was born and raised in Aurora, CO, a stones throw away from ranching communities. I grew up canoeing, rafting, hiking, backpacking, and camping with my family on the Western Slope. Fun fact: I did my first hike in the front range only a few years ago…I did not know this was possible as a kid! If I’m not out by myself, you can find me out with any variety of organizations dedicated to diversifying and conserving our outdoor spaces. Growing up, I was ‘that kid’ playing on climbing walls in gear shops. I finally started climbing about 3 years ago and immediately fell in love.

Must Do(s) in Colorado – Don’t forget about your local parks! Don’t get me wrong, I love gassing up and heading a few hours in any direction, and I have a lot of appreciation for the gem around the corner too. Catch the wildflowers at sunset outside Vail, you won’t be mad. 

IAN KIRKLAND

Favorite Outdoor Activities – Playing video games and drinking beer in a hammock deep in the woods.

Outdoor Expertise – I’m really good at walking – Appalachian Trail ‘11, Wonderland Trail ‘12, Pacific Crest Trail ‘13, Continental Divide Trail ‘15, Long Trail ’15, Benton MacKay Trail ’15, Foot Hills Trail ’16.  I also enjoy riding bikes – I mountain biked the Colorado Trail, as well as the Hot Sisters Hot Springs Route in ’18 and then grabbed my touring bike and rode the length of Japan over 3 months, the length of New Zealand over 2 months and finished off by circling the island of Taiwan over 20 days during the end of ’18 and the start of ’19.

My Story – Welp, I grew up in Atlanta, and did some life stuff there.  I’ve always loved escapism through fiction and video games.  My favorite video game growing up was Morrowind; a game in which you explore an island with the freedom to pursue whatever adventure you prefer.  In the game I loved exploring and finding out what was over the next mountain so much that eventually I started wondering what was over real life mountains and began exploring the my surrounding as I did in video games.  Video games got me into the wilderness.

After college, I had no real clue as to what to do with myself and had grown up always knowing that there was this mystical path called the Appalachian Trail that ran to Maine; so, I decided to go for a long walk and explore.  With 5 highly transformative months of walking to Mt. Katahdin, I was in love with long distance backcountry travel.  After working a number of different types of jobs which I’d periodically quit to adventure, and living in and calling Asheville, NC home base for 11 years, I decided it was time for a change, quit my job, and traveled for over a year before moving to Denver in July ’19.  Now I make fart jokes while helping people figure out what type of backpack to get and am in the process of figuring out the next step.

Advice – I don’t know, kindness and existentialism have always worked well for me – choose your own adventure.

WHITNEY SCHUETTPELZ

Favorite Outdoor Activities – I am an avid backpacker in the summer and a devoted skier in the winter, but I’m eager to partake in anything outside as long as there is a chance it will turn into an adventure.  I’m typically the planner on trips, obsessing over maps, packing and repacking, writing lists and checking them twice.  I love the process and preparation.

My Story – I moved to Colorado in 2012 to spend as much time as possible in Denver’s wild backyard.  After five solid years as a weekend warrior, I decided to swap hours with my butt in an office chair at an architectural office for an opportunity to work on creative projects at FERAL. I love being surrounded by people who are passionate about the outdoors.  When I’m not wandering off into the woods or crawling up a mountain, I love cooking, and especially eating, vegan food (anyone who knows me, knows I am positively obsessed with beets), taking photos, walking my pup Sloane, or introducing my young kiddo to new adventures with my husband Brent.

Must do in Colorado – Hut (or yurt) trips.  Snow, food, friends, wine, a wood burning stove… and lots and lots of stars. What could possibly be better?

Advice – “If you don’t like how things are, change it! You’re not a tree.”

MADDIE OLHOEFT

Favorite Outdoor Activities – Snowboarding, Climbing, Yoga, Backpacking, Hiking and Glamping (Camping is supposed to be fun, so yes, I do bring a full-sized air mattress and the occasional T Bone steak). I also have experience sailing and horseback riding. 

Outdoor Expertise – I’ve been playing outside for my whole life. My earliest talents included catching tadpoles and making mud pies. I’ve been snowboarding for 10+ years and have been camping for almost my entire life thanks to Girl Scouts. I recently started sport climbing & bouldering and get out every chance I get. I just started getting into longer distance hiking and backpacking. My parents also made it a point to travel to some sort of natural beauty every year so I’ve been to a lot of amazing places across the country (18 National Parks & counting). 

My Story – 2 years ago, I moved to Denver in search of sunnier skies. Being from Buffalo and living in Columbus for 7 years taught me to really cherish blue skies and warmer weather. I grew up traveling and going to summer camp (horse camp was my personal favorite) and got outside or on the water every chance I had. But 3 months of crappy snowboarding and 4 months of questionable summertime weather just wasn’t enough for me. Now, I spend every weekend on the side of a big rock somewhere. To me, the best part about creating an adventurous life is the people that come along and spending quality time with your friends & family in beautiful places, eating s’mores. I also love to be inspired by nature and try my hand at photography and painting.

Must do in Colorado – Go find a service road in the Gunnison or White River National Forest and set up camp, wake up at 6 am to watch the hot air balloons launch at the Snowmass Balloon Festival. Then go jump off a cliff at the Devil’s Punch Bowl. 

Advice – Just go all the way. Don’t hike to that alpine lake without jumping in. Don’t eat the pie without the ice cream. 

JORGE PALACIOS

Favorite Outdoor Activities – Hiking, Camping, Backpacking, Trail Restoration, Climbing

Outdoor Expertise – I’ve spent the last few summers working in Youth Corps, so lots of hiking and camping in order to do trail and chainsaw work. Specifically I’ve done tread building for trails, rock step setting and rock retention wall construction, corridor clearing for equestrian and pedestrian trails, and plenty of chainsaw work (mostly invasive species removal and forest fire mitigation). I’ve lived in Colorado since I was five, and I’ve enjoyed plenty of hiking, camping, and the occasional backpacking trip. I’ve also received my Wilderness First Aid certification from NOLS, and I’m hoping to do a Wilderness First Responder course soon.

My Story – I grew up on a farm just north of Fort Lupton, Colorado, so I’ve been outside since my parents could trust me with farm chores. Not your typical country boy, I moved to Denver in order to start college. It was there that friends eventually took me on my first true backpacking trip, and I gained an understanding of the beauty of this wonderful backyard I’d never gotten to explore within my own home state. After working a few seasons for a local Youth Corps and gaining a solid amount of experience, including taking a few turns as a crew leader for a chainsaw crew, I’m excited to continue to grow as an outdoor adventurer. When not in the shop or trying to coerce friends into camping, I can often be found making music, tracking down some good Mexican food in the neighborhood, or being a giant nerd (did anyone say D&D?).

Must do in Colorado – The views and the hikes at the Great Sand Dunes National Park are never overrated. Pueblo always has really good Mexican food, and really great chiles! Of course there’s so many great breweries in Colorado, but if you plan a day hike that ends at a brewery you can always treat yourself with a beer after a rewarding hike.

Advice –  Always plan for what you’ll do when you need to use the bathroom.

JIMMY FUNKHOUSER

Favorite Outdoor Activities – Trail Running, Backpacking, Snowboarding

Outdoor Expertise – Backpacking experience – 12+ years. 10+ years as a trail runner that has never really cared for running much. I’m really only interested in long-distance running as it maximizes potential for serious adventure. Nothing is scarier than a 5K.

My Story – Jimmy started FERAL in 2016 with one simple mission in mind: “create adventure”. He has always been passionate about getting people outside and up the mountain, and he created a business that could be a vessel for that personal mission. After growing up in Indiana, a chance encounter with the Appalachian Trail changed Jimmy’s perspective on the relationship that we have with nature, and the value of adventure. Ever since that trip he’s been an outdoor evangelist, dragging everyone he can get his mitts on to the trails. You can usually find Jimmy trail running in the Front Range, or visiting his favorite Denver or Idaho Springs watering hole with his dog Sophie.

WHO WE ARE
FERAL is a locally-owned, independent outdoor gear shop. We offer new and used gear sales, gear rentals, and have a staff ready to help you plan any adventure. Learn more about our Denver Store.

OUR PARTNERS
We work with the best to bring you the best. FERAL is proud to have selected the best gear and accessories for your next adventure. Learn more about our Partners.

WHAT WE DO
Want to stay on top of what's happening at FERAL including announcements, events, sales, and advice? We have a ton of information on our blog. Read our blog.

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