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Climbers summit Rainier, Adams and Hood in 28 hours!

Cascades Trifecta
By pbakwin
posted 2005-06-11

"This is a brief report on the success of our Cascades Trifecta project. Starting Thursday at 2:42 a.m. Buzz Burrell and I climbed Rainier, Adams and Hood in one continuous 28 hour push (including drive time between peaks.) We had hoped to go under 24 hours, but knew that we be very hard, and also conditions were not optimal, especially on Rainier.

Rainier (14,411') is the highest peak in Washington, and the 4th highest in the conterminous USA. Adams (12,276') is the second highest peak in WA. Hood (11,239') is the highpoint of Oregon. Stand on any one of these huge volcanoes and the other two dominate the view. All are snow climbs, with Rainier being by far the most serious from the technical standpoint. All these peaks also have huge vertical gain compared to what we are used to in Colorado (Rainier is 9,000 feet, Adams 6,700 and Hood 5,300.)

On Rainier we did the Ingraham Direct route, which had been well tracked by guided groups from RMI. But, the weather being how it is things are changing rapidly and a lot of crevasses are opening up. Buzz fell in a narrow crevasse but managed to self-extricate in short order. It was no place to be pushing for a time, so we just took our time and did a safe ascent/descent in 9.5 hours (Buzz did 7:11 "casually" last year under excellent conditions via the Disappointment Cleaver route.)

Adams was totally straightforward. Just a bit snow slog. It was really cool standing on the summit near dusk with Hood and Rainier on either side. Adams took 6 hours, and we finished it just at dark.

We started Hood at 12:35 a.m., quite tired but still moving well. The last few hundred feet was a little tricky, very steep and firm snow. We were wearing Kahtoola crampons and running shoes, so had to use extra care to do this safely. Sunrise on Hood was spectacular!

We finished at 6:43 this morning, a total time of 28 hours and 1 minute. I think it is 35 miles with 21,000 feet of gain.

These are GREAT mountains! I never set foot on any of them, so it was especially rewarding for me. We have nothing remotely like this in Colo.

Somehow, we hit a tiny weather window. NW weather has been unsettled for weeks. We came very close to simply canceling the trip, but Buzz had to be out there anyway for a photo show. Weather cleared just long enough for us to complete the project, and now another front is moving in.

Outstanding support came together for this project. Tom Borschal, one of the World's best masters mountain runners, came out from Idaho to support. He was super-enthusiastic and capable, and also climbed Adams with us (actually, more than an hour faster than us...) Dan Pattitucci showed up at Rainier to snap some photos, and was also very helpful. Also, a team of budding Videographers from "Un-cage the Soul Productions" came out to document the entire event. No less than 12 people were involved, and they had teams stationed on the summits and along the routes of all three mountains. These guys are totally hard-core! Their enthusiasm was hugely captivating, and their presence provided an additional element of safety for us. Their "leader", John Waller, rode with us between the trail heads, and was a great source of beta on driving and climbing routes. This is probably the best documented "record" in history!

Time to catch up on some sleep!
--Peter Bakwin, Boulder, CO


Note: Some of the posts on the bulletin board were a bit critical of this "Trifecta" and its announcement by the two climbers from Boulder Colorado. Others were supportive. We are reporting this prodigious feat to emphasize that not everyone has the ability to run up 35 miles with 21,000 feet of gain in one 28 hour push. For example, not everyone can do back flips on a balance beam, even though they really want to and train hard every day.  --Webmeister Speik





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