The Spokane resident is the first to earn all 247 peaks in the Sierra Peaks section list in the calendar year

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Spokane resident Nathan Longhurst recently became the first person to climb all 247 peaks on the Sierra Peaks section list in a calendar year. He did it in 138 days, covering 1,800 miles and climbing 700,000 feet.

Longhurst, 22, climbed the 247 mountains that make up the Sierra Peaks section list between February and July. The SPS is a list compiled by the Sierra Club of the most intriguing and interesting mountains to climb in the Sierra Nevada range.

While talking about her experiences at an event at the Magic Lantern Theater on September 14, Longhurst described her adventures skiing, rock climbing, mountaineering, traversing the wilderness and living in her van.

“I’ve learned that being in the mountains is where I feel most comfortable and most like me,” he said. “And most like fully present in my own body and in my mind. This is where I feel most focused and lucid.

Longhurst’s mother, Maren Longhurst, said her son dedicated his life to mountaineering, rock climbing and skiing from an early age. Maren Longhurst said people always ask her if she’s worried about her safety. Her answer is no, as she believes in her son’s risk management abilities and outdoor expertise.

Longhurst has a long history of outdoor exploration in the Pacific Northwest. Longhurst said much of his climbing experience came from practicing at a popular climbing gym in Spokane, Wild Walls.

Before his Sierra Peaks project, Longhurst became the youngest person to complete the Bulger list. The Bulger List is a list of the 100 highest peaks in Washington. He climbed them all in 94 days. He also completed a 107-mile trip around and up Glacier Peak in 55 hours, his parents said.

Last October, a local outdoorsman, who preferred to remain anonymous, took an interest in Longhurst’s successes and offered to sponsor his next big project. With this support assured, Longhurst decided that his next project would be to climb the 247 mountains on the SPS list.

Before starting, Longhurst had to map out and plan his climbs, which took almost as long as the actual trip. He said he had spent hundreds of hours looking at maps, reading accounts and getting a plan of the area he was about to explore. While those hours might seem grueling, he “enjoyed the free space to focus on one thing” and said the planning was one of his favorite parts of the whole project.

In February, Longhurst was ready to begin his journey. With the support of his sponsor, he embarks on his adventure, starting first in the Lake Tahoe region. For the first part of the project, Longhurst mainly skied. He wanted to climb as many mountains as possible on skis as long as the weather permitted.

“It’s a weird style of skiing that doesn’t seem like fun, but it is,” he said.

Longhurst said for a mountain that took 3 hours to summit, he could ski down it in about 10 minutes. For the first two months, he saw no one while traveling in the mountains except his younger sister, who climbed the first two peaks with him.

Several months into the project, Longhurst met his partner, Travis Soares. Longhurst said their rule was that both feet had to be on the highest point of the mountain for it to count. For some summits, Longhurst and Soares would take turns climbing on each other’s shoulders in order to reach the summit.

The majority of the mountains they climbed were between 12,000 and 14,000 feet. Due to the size and physical strength required, he had to eat around 6,000 calories a day. After a while, eating so much became more of a chore than anything else, he said.

At one point, Maren Longhurst and her husband, Larry Longhurst, flew to Las Vegas, drove to their son’s van, then climbed the mountain he was on to give him the supplies he needed. .

Around day 80, Longhurst said he knew it was more than possible for him to complete what had become the most arduous and physically demanding journey of his life. He had summited a particularly difficult peak and watched the sunset when he realized he was actually going to complete what he had set out to do.

Longhurst traversed all sorts of terrain on its journey, from steep snow made of “ice hard as a bullet” to bushland through thick foliage. He said he saw a variety of wildlife, including bears, bobcats, bighorn sheep and large toads.

Wild animals weren’t the only thing he had to worry about on his trip. Longhurst had to account for nearby wildfires, rockfall, thunderstorms and even a snowstorm that hit on his last day of skiing.

In July, Nathan Longhurst reaches the last mountain. Longhurst and some of his friends climbed to the top of Mount Agassiz and ate victory cupcakes in the dark. The next morning, when he woke up, he immediately wondered what the next peak was. He was disappointed, but relieved, to know that his project had come to an end.

Shortly after setting the record for the fastest person to climb all 247 mountains, his partner, Soares, broke it. Soares climbed all 247 mountains in 113 days because, as Longhurst said, “he’s a machine.” Although Longhurst doesn’t know what his next big outdoor adventure will be, he hopes to head to Alaska in the spring to climb more mountains there.

“Don’t be afraid to immerse yourself in your passions and put in as much time and energy as possible,” Longhurst said. “Take all your little bits of extra time and energy, put them all together and do something that’s important to you, something that’s close to your heart. Because you know when I did, I had this amazing experience, it changed my life, helped me grow as a person, and I’m so grateful that I got to do it.

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