THREE OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA'S HIGHEST PEAKS IN 24 HOURS.
The 8000 meter challenge. A 40 mile, 8000 meter elevation gain dash up the three highest peaks Baldy (10,000) San J (10,5) San G (11,5) in socal. All with a 24 hour clock ticking that you've got to make it under. The 8000 meter challenge is an annual event hosted by marmot and jansport where outdoor retailer teams from across the southwest participate in the challenge and raise money for the big city mountaineers a charity that does something.
for the coopers willing to take the trek we trained by setting out each wednesday leading up the the hike to climb the three peaks
the evening before the event, the gear coopers met with other retail teams across the country big pasta meal, a couple drinks and some last minute preparations before heading to bed early. of course, sleep was minimal as exictment ran high.
5 am came quick for how little sleep we got, but slow as tension and anxious kept up most the team up that night as we slept on the side of the road at the trail head with a couple hundred others.
by 6am, we were on our way with over 200 others in a race for the three peaks in 24 hours.
our team from the beginning was split between the store staff and online store staff, those that didn't make the baldy cut off were ushered to san j but decided to make a stop in palm springs to take some time to get some camp supplies, which ended up being a lifesaver for those still left in the running.
for those that went for all three our tactic was to stick it and stay close together (except jake philpot who stayed in the top 6 places till nearly the end and is a true machine) our dependence on each other was critical to get us all up and down each summit. The crux move is definitely the 11,500 summit and 18 mile trail of san gorgo which takes up a bulk of the daylight hours.
by night fall we had summited both baldy and san g, and just barely made the tram for san j, which takes you to the trailhead to start the 6 mile hike to the summit via the name trail. at san j we made the summit as a team around midnight, by this point full blown pain and exhaustion, but in high spirits as what remained would be 6 miles of downhill. Though the downhill proved just as rough we arrived back at camp around 2am, the finish line, only to be greeted by the rest of our team with stove made lobster ravioli and warm soup, which one could argue may have saved our lives.
in the end our team took 4th place overall for the amount of people who completed the race (shout out to steve, ej, will, jake), and combined with the proceeds we raised for the big city mountaineers. it was an incredible event and one we look forward to doing next year. We are already committed to raising more for the charity and bringing many more gear coopers!
3 peaks in a day is a commitment, however doing any of just one on a day is an incredible adventure and doing all three at some point is a must. the views, wildlife, and scenery are incredible.
for resources on the hikes take a look at these sites. remember that all of these require you to be in peak performance, have the gear, food, supplies and equipment you need to be safe. always bring friends and always tell someone where you are going.