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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2003 Express Publishing Inc.
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For the week of September 10 - 16, 2003


Peak baggers net
15,000 vertical
in 21 hours

Redfish employees climb
Borah, Castle, Thompson

"The muscles felt okay as long as you weren’t doing a really high step. They felt a little giggly if we stopped."


Express Staff Writer

After climbing more than 15,000 vertical feet in three mountain ranges in 21 hours in August, two young Idaho men said their legs felt "pretty good, but just kind of sore at the joints."

Steve O’Connor smiles for the camera at the summit of Castle Peak in the White Cloud mountains. Courtesy photo

Scott Yribar and Steve O’Connor, both 26, have spent a good part of their summer hiking and peak bagging in the Sawtooth Mountains. But in mid-August, while sitting in the kitchen at Redfish Lake Lodge where both men work, the pair dreamed up the seemingly far-fetched idea to climb the highest peaks in three Idaho mountain ranges inside a 24-hour period.

Their quest took them first to 12,655-foot Mount Borah in the Lost River Range, then to 11,815-foot Castle Peak in the White Cloud Mountains and finally to 10,751-foot Thompson Peak in the Sawtooth Mountains. They started and ended their day using headlamps under the dark cloak of night.

"It kind of seemed ridiculous at first, but we decided to give it a shot," Yribar said. "We were just trying to think of something to do."

The highlight, both agreed, was watching the sun rise from the lofty summit of Mount Borah, Idaho’s highest peak.

"Getting it done that early made it seem hopeful that we would get to the other ones," said O’Connor. "Just being there that time of day—it was awesome."

Atop Mount Borah at sunrise, Scott Yribar takes some refreshment before heading on to Castle and Thompson peaks. Courtesy photo

After finishing work at Redfish Lake Lodge on Monday, Aug. 18, the two Idaho natives drove to the base of Borah, arriving at 12:30 a.m. They slept for three and a half hours and woke at 4 a.m. Tuesday morning. They were hiking 25 minutes later.

"We were just hiking, hiking fast and not stopping too much," Yribar said.

Having climbed Borah’s 5,200-foot vertical rise, they reached the summit at 6:51 a.m. and were back at their car at 8:37 a.m.

They then drove to the Fourth of July Trailhead in the White Cloud Mountains and saddled up their mountain bikes for the long ride to Chamberlain Basin, the base of the standard scramble up Castle Peak. The bike ride took them over a ridge, adding to the day’s total vertical rise.

They reached the Chamberlain Basin at 1 p.m., arrived at Castle’s summit at 2:21 p.m. and reached their car at 5:14 p.m.

That’s when doubt first entered their minds. They drove across the Sawtooth Valley, contemplating the impending darkness and considered calling it a day.

"We knew it was going to be dark, and we were an hour behind schedule. But we decided to do it anyway, because we had done everything already," Yribar said.

They left the Fishhook Creek Trailhead at 6:35 p.m., hiked to Marshall Lake and then cut off toward Williams and Thompson peaks.

"At that point, it was definitely pretty tough," Yribar said. "We were going pretty slow."

At about 9:15 p.m., the sun set and they donned headlamps. They reached Thompson’s summit at 9:42 p.m. Including a five-minute nap along the Fishhook Creek Trail, they reached the trailhead at 1:13 a.m. O’Connor was back at work at Redfish Lake Lodge at 9 a.m. the following morning. Yribar was back at work that afternoon.

While the two men wanted to complete the climbs within 24 hours, they estimated the ordeal would take 19 hours.

"We were pretty close," O’Connor said. "Going into it, we weren’t even sure if we could do it or not."

While hiking, they took "almost nothing," O’Connor said. They carried water, a water filter, food and windbreakers.

For body fuel, they made a late-night stop at Jackson's convenience store in Ketchum.

"We tried to eat and drink as much as we could on those two drives," Yribar said. "We had cheese, Snickers bars, Nut Rolls, Hostess pies, fruit, Cliff Bars, Wheat Thins, jerky. Oh and those Peter Pan cheese crackers for 25 cents."

Reflecting on the three peaks, O’Connor said the climb up Thompson Peak was the hardest part of the trip.

"The muscles felt okay as long as you weren’t doing a really high step. They felt a little giggly if we stopped."

As for whether anyone else had strung the three peaks together in one day before, O’Connor chuckled:

"I don’t know why you would. It hurt."



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