Trail Cred

mount baldy, hiking, montana, bozeman, bridgers, bridger mountains, trails

Calculating your outdoor credit score.

With entire industries dedicated to gathering personal data, much of it used to evaluate credit worthiness, it was only a matter of time before Bozeman-area banks, brokers, and car dealers began mining social media for information about residents’ outdoor aptitude. After all, what better represents your status in the Bozone? If you can’t ski the Ridge at Bridger, run the Mad Mile, or complete the Ridge Run in under five hours—and share a selfie of it with the world—do you really deserve a mortgage or car loan? Take this quiz to find out where you stand with local lenders.

1. Describe your trail-running routine.
a. Baldy’s my bitch! I lap that sorry excuse for a summit every morning.
b. Garnet Mountain is my go-to. Folks on Storm Castle look like ants from up there.
c. I’m the Strava champ of Sourdough.
d. A Triple Tree lap on Friday puts me on the couch all weekend.
e. I love Peets Hill!

2. How comfortable are you with a paddle in hand?
a. I run the Kitchen Sink backward, to make it challenging.
b. I’ll follow my friends down the Mad Mile—but booty beers are occasionally on the menu.
c. Yankee Jim in a floatie, anyone?
d. My commute home is via Bozeman Creek in a packraft.
f. On a windy day, I ride the waves at Bozeman Beach.

3. How proficient are you at rock climbing?
a. I warm up on Cardiac Arete. Honnold better watch his back.
b. Solo laps on Gallatin Tower are starting to bore me.
e. I drunk-climb three-story buildings downtown on Saturday nights.
g. I hit Spire twice a week. Is it really true that you can climb outside?
h. I have a carabiner on my backpack.

4. How about fly fishing?
a. I tie my own flies, have perfected the double-haul, and speak fluent Latin. Eamus piscatum!
b. I taught Brad Pitt how to shadow cast. Bobbers are for bitches.
c. I made a PVC rack for my bike so I can fish every day after work.
d. My fly is in the air or pinned to a tree more than it’s on the water.
e. I’m waiting to buy a fly rod until I have a rooftop rod vault.

5. Describe your skiing style.
a. Tom Jungst and I have the same physical therapist.
b. I shotgun a beer for each turn I make down Slushman’s.
c. I do the Big Couloir on a mono-ski, for a better leg workout.
d. Ugh, I’m in, like, year six at Bridger University.
e. Do these bibs make my butt look big?

6. Do you like camping?
a. Ain’t nothin’ better than a weeklong backpacking trip in the Beartooths—in January.
b. The CDT is my home away from home.
c. My cologne is campfire smoke.
f. I can almost hear the river over the rumble of my generator.
e. Camping? Aren’t there... bears?

7. Do you have survival skills?
c. I make five-star meals from winterkill and foraged greens.
b. I met my husband on Naked and Afraid.
c. My favorite “tent” is a deadfall lean-to.
d. I used my REI dividends on a survival mirror.
e. Siri, how do I start a fire?

8. Describe your battle scars from outdoor sports.
a. The sum of my incision scars measures 68cm.
b. If I had a dollar for every ounce of blood I’ve spilled, I could buy a new bike.
c. I go through three helmets each season—just don’t make ’em like they used to.
d. My closet has a shelf for braces and splints.
e. My ego’s been bruised a few times.

9. How do you navigate the backcountry?
a. Gut instinct, baby, like the Neanderthals.
b. Terrain and sun by day, stars by night.
c. Map & compass.
d. The trail signs, duh.
e. Google Maps.

10. How well-behaved is your dog?
a. My dog trains other dogs.
c. Bridger’s great on the trail, until he sees a deer.
c. My lab’s friendly, that’s good enough, right?
d. I’m sure she’s around here somewhere… I’ll find her when I finish this podcast.
e. I have a cat.

5 points for a
4 points for b
3 points for c
2 points for d
1 point for e

41-50 points: Borrow whatever you want! You’re a bonafide Bozeman badass and can be entrusted with the proverbial key to the city. For you, it’s the good ol’ days of trust and the honor code: feel free to open accounts at the hardware store, the bike shops, and your favorite bar. Just don’t forget to settle your tabs each month, and no, you can’t pay with crypto.

30-40 points: Your outdoor performance ain’t bad, and you always return borrowed gear with a sixer. But you’ve also been known to sneak it into your buddy’s garage, hoping he doesn’t notice the dents and scratches. As long as you clean up nice, dress the part, and have a firm handshake, finding a lender should be no problem.

16-29 points: Better shore up your debt-to-income ratio if you expect any action. Only a squeaky-clean financial history can overcome such a substandard rating. Even then, it might not be enough. Stay away from banks and stick to high-interest brokers for a while, until you can add a few points to your outdoor score.

0-15 points: Don’t even bother applying for a loan. With your pathetic outdoor resume, every lender’s going to look askance, then make up some excuse about new federal regulations, blah, blah, blah. Scrimp & save, find an outdoor mentor, and work on improving your score, pronto. Until then, it’s cash & carry.