If you’ve stopped into the shop recently, it’s likely you found yourself mesmerized by the woodwork lining the walls. The intricate wood-carved depictions of mountain ranges, National Parks, and Colorado’s 14ers never cease to spark curiosity and excite one’s imagination. I had the pleasure of sitting down and chatting with Peter Frykholm of Precision Peaks; here are some things that I learned about his life and his work:
Peter has been a Leadville local for thirteen years now, and doesn’t plan on going anywhere. Born in the shadow of Pike’s Peak, in Colorado Springs, he found his way to the high country frequently, skiing at Ski Cooper in the winter as a kid. Incessantly inspired by the high peaks, Peter began venturing to 14ers.com in order to peruse maps and plan trips. What most captured his attention were the 3-D holograms available on the website, which allowed a prospective hiker to spin and angle a model of a peak in order to better grasp the relative situation of any given ridge or gulch. He had recently become aware of the existence of CNC routers, which are essentially the opposite of 3-D printers. so the idea came to utilize this technology to create tangible 3-D models of mountains.
At this point Peter and his wife, Amy, took the idea and ran. Really, though, they left Leadville and headed to Chicago to attend a tech school. After a year of intensive study, Peter watched his first mountain materialize; Mt of the Holy Cross, the first 14er he ever climbed.
Equipped with knowledge and passion, Precision Peaks returned to Leadville and began their operation. Precision Peaks receives topographical data from the USGS and uploads the desired datasets to a software program. The program allows Peter to control the 3-D modeling of the peak, park, or mountain range, determining the orientation and the desired prominence. This data is processed and transmitted to a 3-axis CNC milling machine, that carves the topography into a block of locally-sourced pine. The carving process for an intricate piece can take as long as 24 hours, but the memories and stories embedded in the finished model last a lifetime.
Stories are one of the reasons Peter feels so passionately about the art produced by Precision Peaks. He recently prepared a model of Mt. Lincoln for an elderly woman that commemorated the 50th year since she summited her first fourteener! A man carried carving of Captiol Peak to the namesake peak’s summit and gave it to a woman along with a marriage proposal. Every mountain has it’s story, whats yours?