Friday, July 20, 2018

Colin O'Brady Smashes U.S. High Points Speed Record

Back in late June I shared the news that climber Colin O'Brady was about to attempt to set a new speed record for reaching the highest point in each of the 50 states within the U.S. At the time, he was just preparing to set out on his journey, which would begin with a successful summit of Denali in Alaska. Now, just a few weeks later we can report that O'Brady has completed his quest, smashing the previous record in the process.

The previous record for reaching all 50 high points as quickly as possible was 41 days. O'Brady managed to do it in just 21 days, 9 hours, and 54 minutes. His final summit came early yesterday morning when he reached the top of Mt. Hood in Oregon at 2:54 AM local time. That came just one day after he climbed Mt. Rainier in Washington too. 

This speed record venture officially began back on June 27, when he summited Denali a day earlier than he had expected. From there, he flew straight to Hawaii to quickly grab Mauna Kea, before returning to the continental 48 states to begin his odyssey. From there, it was a matter of being strategic, grabbing as many high points as he could in a short of time as possible. 

Many of those locations are simple walks-ups that take no time to scale at all, with long hours spent driving between them. For instance, he reached six high points in a single day, traveling through Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Missouri, Arkansas and Louisiana as part of the speed attempt. There were similar days in other parts of the country too, knocking off multiple high points wherever possible. 

O'Brady's story is an inspirational one in many ways. A few years back he was traveling in Thailand and was caught in a fire that left 25% of his body badly burned. Doctors told him he might not ever walk again. Undaunted, O'Brady set a goal for himself to compete in a triathlon, which he did in 2009. Eventually he would go on to compete in 25 different countries on six continents, before turning his attention to mountaineer. 

Now, he's ready to put the high points speed challenge behind him and get some rest. He says that he is tired, his feet hurt, and the effects of travel and climbing have worn on him. I'm guessing one day after setting the new record, he is now getting some much needed rest.

Congratulations Colin!

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