Colorado is the leanest state in the country. Of all the states we have the lowest average BMI, attributable to the abundance of truly awesome outdoor activities available.

But, from a life insurance standpoint the companies have figured out a way to take the wind out of our sails and knock us down a notch. Most applications ask about “dangerous activities”, looking for those who would free climb some sheer 3000′ rock wall, or go scuba diving in caves. But almost all of them ask about mountain climbing over 13,000 feet.

Well, Colorado is home to, I believe, 54 mountains over 14,000 feet and one of the favorite pass times for anyone who hasn’t had knee replacements, is to go to the top, look down, take a picture and head home.

Well, that puts us in the awkward position of answering the question. Technically very few of the mountains need to be “climbed”. Because it is so common a practice, most have well worn trails to the top, and while it is not a 100% safe activity because someone, at least once a year, does something stupid, it is relatively bombproof. Pacing yourself to your own physical limitations is probably the most technical part of the “climb”. Hydrating and pace will get you to the top of most of them without incident.

The issue that comes up with a lot of life insurance applications is that people have a tendency to want to make things sound cooler than reality. In Colorado hikers like to call themselves climbers. The truth is that insurance companies don’t care about hikers. Climbers have to complete a questionnaire and divulge all the sordid things they do on the mountain.

Bottom line. My recommendation is that if you are prone to outdoor activities, from hiking or climbing to snorkeling or scuba, that you discuss the real story behind what you do with your independent agent before you paint yourself in a corner by calling that last 14,000 foot hike a climb. If you do actually participate in “dangerous activities”, let your agent guide you to the right company where the impact will be the least.