Sunday, September 2, 2012

1,000 feet per day for a year

A while ago I read about this ski mountaineer, Greg Hill, who strapped on a GPS-altimeter one day and set out to climb and ski two-million vertical feet in one year's time.

Me on the summit of Gobbler's Knob---a 4,000-foot day.

I decided to try something similar. Being a dad with a full-time job, and being only an amateur athlete, I figured 1K per day---365,000 feet in a year---seemed like a fun and doable goal. My rules: the vertical gain can be anything human powered: bike, run, ski, hike. Of course, biking is much easier to gain vertical quickly, and 1K a day on the bike could be done with minimal effort, so in the spirit of Greg Hill's feat, I've committed to doing most of it through hiking, running, and backcountry skiing, but I go on rides as well, most notably my bike tour of the Wasatch plateau where I tallied 25,000 vert in three days, but I also count my 300-foot vertical gain bike route to work and back every weekday.

In a little over two months since I bought a GPS-altimeter, I've tallied about 110,000 vertical feet, so I'm way ahead of my quota. For now. Doing a half-million in a year would be really cool, but probably not realistic. We will see.

So I spend a lot of time in the mountains. Consistently. It looks here like an inukshuk escaped Canada and decided to summit the Phiperhorn!

 Most of my vertical is done on trails, but sometimes scrambling.

The Red Pine Lakes---true high country.

Not everyday is agro. In fact most days are pretty mellow. I do some road running in the hills above my house and some hikes with the kiddo on my back.

Relaxing at Desolation Lake with the Fam after casting a few flies.

Sometimes the run/hike has another goal entirely.

Too little to keep, so I keep on casting, and running....

Mostly its a good excuse to keep visiting the mountains in every season.


  1. For me, this sounds like an amazing goal. I'll look forward to hearing more about it. Love the pictures.

  2. Love the broadness/non-raceness of your goal. Best of luck. My goal will be to actually do a 1000 ft or so with you sometime as we have talked about getting out for several yrs though have never quite pulled it off.

  3. Thanks for the support, guys! In a way, this is as much a spiritual practice as an arbitrary quest of tallying numbers---prayers counted on a rosary. There are so many books in recent memory in the doing-X-for-a-year vein. Not that its passé, but more that all the various and sundry pursuits people do for year have a common goal of some awakening or awareness amid the sometimes tedious practice. I'll have to do a follow-up post soon.