In August 1998, Hans Florine, Russ McBride and Tony Ralph kicked off California 14ers mania by climbing all 14 "legal" peaks in 9d10h50m, car-to-car. Their report is here.
August 16th, almost kick off time. Vick has bowed out due to too much med school preparation. Tony and Russ are in altitude prep mode up in the mountains and Hans is fast returning from the Denver Outdoor Retailer show. Stay tuned.....
August 17, late afternoon -- Hans has arranged rendezvouz with Trip to load up paragliders, two ton bag of carrots, kilo of parmesan and a palette of Advil. They're almost ready but not quite. Trip has still to load more provisions. Russ and Tony still need to acclimate to altitude, and Hans still has to get to the mountains.
August 18 - Kava Coffee Shop in Bishop, CA, famous hiker/climber hangout and purveyor of fine grounds, has signed up as sponsor. All you Kava devotees out there can email them at Kavapublic@telis.org and let them know how they great they are for supporting our sport(s).
August 19 - Left the car at 5:36 a.m. and topped out on Mt. Tyndall at 12:33 p.m. All are tired and everyone's legs ache.
August 20th - In the last 20 hours, (20:10 to be exact), the madmen have logged 32 miles and gained 20,100 feet in altitude. They've hiked two mountains, consumed a dozen Power Gels among them and veritable poundages of trail mix. Spirits are still high.
Still August 20 - The athletes have just climbed Middle Palisade. Car-to-car time: 8:36 for Hans, Russ 10 minutes behind, Tony took a 1500 ft 4th class detour and looks like he'll get 3 hours sleep before the big Whitney day. They started a little before 11 a.m - not an Alpine start! All are completely "knackered."
August 21st - More than a few peaks later (Russell, Whitney, Keeler and Muir), the phone updates are getting garbled at best. These guys are spent. Tony, suffering from sleep deprivation, gave himself a self-imposed bivy at Iceberg. He'll catch up with Russ and Hans once he's caught up on his much needed sleep. All said, no one is hurt, everyone is tired, a rock fell and missed every single one of them. Can't expect more good news than that, can you? Russ and Hans bag Russel, Whitney, Muir, ( and Keeler as a quick little 15 minute "treat" along the trail).
August 22 - The guys are resting and hanging out at Kava's in Bishop. Russ is thinking about locating a doctor for a Cortisone shot for his knee. The big topic is food and rest right now. All are well.
August 23 - The toys came out today on White Mountain. Starting out at 6:30 a.m., Hans hit the trails on a mountain bike and Russ slogged up the trails. Tony caught up on sleep once again. Hans and Russ summited in about three hours. Russ considered making his first-ever paraglide launch from the summit but serious winds made him re-think the idea. Instead, he hiked down to a saddle below the summit and launched from there. He had a 30-minute ride down and landed in an alfafa field in Owens Valley where Trip, the trusty Pacific Ceiling Tour chauffeur, met him. Hans barrelled down the mountain on his bike in what he called a "controlled fall." Hans made it to the car by 2:15 where he met a very relieved Russ, who had been hanging out and waiting for hours. At 4:00 p.m., Tony was reported to be on the mountain and attempting the first downhill offroad in-line skate descent. No word on his progress as of this writing.
Tomorrow the team will hit the Palisades where they plan to summit five peaks in a day. The Palisades Traverse will mark the most technical hiking of the tour.
August 24 - Five peaks successfully summited. All went well with the exception of the cameraman throwing up in the plane as they flew over the athletes to film their exploits. Hans, Tony and Russ started out at 5:36 a.m. to climb Mt. Sill. They did the Swiss Arete and traversed over to Polemonium Peak, then to North Palisade, over to Starlight Peak, and finally Thunderbolt. By 12:40 a.m., the crew had hobbled back to the car.
August 25 - Tony and Hans did a painful slog up Mt. Langley, a 21-mile round trip. This is what they consider a "rest day." Russ goes to see the doc, finds out he has a bone tumor in his right chin and no real help for his knifeblade pain on his left ACL. What the heck - received a cortisone shot and an aspirin lolipop. He's icing it and taking it easy today. -Well.. he went "kiting" his new Funiac paraglyder at the local football field.
August 26th - Russ sucks it up and heads to Langley hoping for fair winds to descend via the Airtime paraglyding way. Bad winds, poor take off, and landing zones make him bail and he does it the old fashioned way. No worries on knee and joint impact - he's got a cortizone shot! Mean-while Hans and Tony are running up Split mountain getting the trail beta in hopes that Russ can use it to pull off a double header today. (little did they know that his paraglyder descent plans on Langley were foiled)
August 27th - Russ plays catch up, running up Split in 4 hours and 19 minutes. Slamming Tony and Hans' time of 5:19. Everyone on the crew packs up and drives into the night towards Shasta. Hans and Tony taking 30 minute shifts till 2 am. Russ not arriving until 5 am with crew captain Trip at the wheel.
August 28th - The team started up from the Shasta parking lot at a liesurely 7:50 am. They all three topped out 5 hours and 30 minutes later. Hans with a snowboard on his back until the last 150 ft of rock scree, Russ and Tony were smart enough to leave their Salomon Snowblades and Bigfoot skis down near Helen lake. The sun cups were horendous and Hans's attempt at snowboarding them was feeble at best. Lower down the mini skis got in a few runs where the snow was softer. The three returned to the car around 4:30 pm. Making their California 14ers tour complete! Stop the clock!
9days, 10 hours, 50 minutes "car to car time"!