He climbed and descended 50,000 vertical feet for 13 days — blind. His dog, Lulu, showed him the way.

Jason Blevins, Colorado Sun
Trevor Thomas navigates the Collegiate Loop Trail with his guide dog, Lulu. The route is challenging in good years, but this year, there was the added challenge of snow and the aftermath of avalanches that scoured away the trail. (Photo courtesy Trevor Thomas)

Trevor Thomas was stuck near Avalanche Gulch in the shadow of Mount Yale. The trail had been erased by the winter’s avalanches. The reroute of the technical Collegiate Loop Trail around the debris field did not match his directions. 

“I had absolutely no idea where to go. I said to Lulu, ‘I don’t know what to do here,’” said Thomas, who lost his vision 13 years ago. “And she chose the way and we got back on track.”

Earlier this week Thomas and Lulu, his golden Lab guide dog, completed the 160-mile Collegiate Loop, climbing and descending more than 50,000 vertical-feet for 13 days as they circled seven fourteeners in the Sawatch Range. 

“Two days shorter than I planned,” said Thomas, who started hiking more than 13 years ago, shortly after he went completely blind. 

Thomas can’t see the singletrack. Or the signs. Or the cairns. Lulu handles the seeing stuff.

Support Local Journalism

Read more via The Colorado Sun.

The Colorado Sun is a reader-supported news organization dedicated to covering the people, places and policies that matter in Colorado. Read more, sign up for free newsletters and subscribe at

Support Local Journalism