2021 Centennials Speed Record Attempt

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andrewhamilton
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2021 Centennials Speed Record Attempt

Post by andrewhamilton »

***UPDATE***
Sorry everyone I originally posted thinking we were starting tomorrow (the 26th) but it turns out our reservation for Culebra was the 27th! Thank goodness it wasn't for the 25th haha! So we will be starting a day later than planned.

Hello! There was another thread about this started by jfm3 (Jamie), I decided to start my own thread so that people could see a bunch of information that I am about to post at the beginning of the thread.

For those of you that don't know me, my name is Andrew Hamilton, I am 46 years old, and I am known in the 14er community for setting the speed record for climbing the 14ers in 2015 in under 10 days. I've also done a self-powered attempt where I climbed all the 14ers by biking between them in about 20 days, I climbed all of the 14ers in a single winter season in 2018, I've done Nolans way too many times, I've failed many of these attempts as well, and I spent many seasons hiking the 14ers with my kids. All of these were amazing experiences, but I have to tell you even with all that experience I am terrified of what I have planned next...

I am (finally!) about to head off to begin my long anticipated attempt to climb the Centennials in about 20 days. For anyone that doesn't know what a Centennial is, it is basically a name given to the hundred highest peaks in Colorado, it includes 53 14ers and the 47 highest 13ers. I started thinking about this back in 2015, and at the time no one had climbed all of the Centennials in a single season. Since then for various reasons every year my plans were delayed. Now 3 people have climbed the Centennials in a single season (as far as I know). Two via bicycle (Rob Barlow and Justin Simoni) in about a two month time frame, and one (Eric Gilbertson) in a self supported fashion that took about 34 days.

I am going to do this in the same style I used in 2015 when I made my successful attempt on the 14er speed record. I will have a support crew, and what I love about that is that it allows me to focus on finding the most elegant route I can through the mountains. And let me tell you there are some spectacular routes involving the Centennials. The support crew and logistics piece is a critical part of this attempt and I am so thankful for those people who are taking time to help out. Vince Noone, David Keopke, Laura Keopke, Brenda Siracusan, are all helping out and of course Andrea Sansone is the one really making this possible as she will be there the entire time, managing the record attempt.

I decided to go with the same rules used for the 14er record, which are based on the 3000 foot rule, and I think are pretty well understood from the 14er record.

One of the difficulties in planning something like this is that my schedule is not super flexible because the support crew vacation schedules can't really be changed. Once they get time off from work it is pretty hard to change it. Also Culebra, the peak that you all know is only open on weekends and requires reservations, allows no flexibility this year. So I only get one day to do it and have to be there at 6:00 am that day.

If you remember the 14er record from 2015, you know that we were on a very tight schedule trying to beat Cave Dog's record that had stood for 15 years. With one exception I never slept unless I was in a car getting transported from one trailhead to another. But that style takes a toll on the body. Those 10 days were basically just a struggle to keep the body going. I don't think I could sustain that pace for another 10 days. So this time I am trying to plan in at least 4 hours of sleep every night. That amount of sleep worked well for me in 2003 when I set the record for biking/hiking all the 14ers in about 20 days. So I am hoping it will be just right again this year.

You may also notice that my schedule this year is not exactly ideal. Originally I had a much more efficient plan, but for various reasons (Culebra, snow not melted as much as expected, bad weather moving in, etc) I now have a less than ideal route. This wouldn't have cut it with the 14er record that had such a tight schedule. But with the 4 hours of sleep built in to every night we can afford to drive around a bit to try to avoid difficult peaks in bad weather, or deal with other issues. Also starting with Culebra? Well that is basically so I don't have to stress out about getting there on time after a week in the San Juans.

So there you have it. If you are the sort of person that likes to follow along these sorts of adventures the link to my tracker is here:
http://share.garmin.com/14ers

We will post updates here, and we will also post updates and pictures to our instagram account:
http://www.instagram.com/A2Summit/

I have a website that hasn't been updated since 2015 but it also provides a link to the tracker and has some history...
http://www.andrewhamilton.com

I have a couple of more things to add but I'll do that in some follow-up posts so this doesn't get too long.
Last edited by andrewhamilton on Fri Jul 02, 2021 9:44 am, edited 4 times in total.
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andrewhamilton
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Re: 2021 Centennials Speed Record Attempt

Post by andrewhamilton »

Another wrench that has been thrown into the mix is the closing of Decalibron (Democrat, Lincoln, and Bross -- Cameron does not count as a Centennial) this year. No one seems to know for sure whether or not if they will open up anytime soon. But it sounds like it could happen...I guess the underlying issue is that the landowners on the peaks are concerned that they may be liable for injuries people sustain while hiking on their property. I have to say that I fully support the landowners. I think it sucks that they have to worry about lawsuits for millions of dollars if someone gets injured while illegally exploring a mine on their property.

At the same time I want those peaks to be open! I would never want to hurt the efforts to open up the peaks, so I simply would not climb and then publicly post that I had climbed those peaks. For that reason, I have decided to climb the next 3 highest mountains in Colorado. These peaks are American Peak, Niagara Peak, and Trinity Peak, all in the San Juans.

So if by the time I get to Decalibron those peaks are legally off limits, then I will just have to leave them out of the record and call this the "Legal Centennials Record" or "Legal Highest Hundred" record or something like that.
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Re: 2021 Centennials Speed Record Attempt

Post by andrewhamilton »

One more thing...many people like to have a cause when they do a big adventure like this. Raise money for charity or something like that. I used to take pride in inspiring other people to get out in the mountains and try big adventures, or inspire them to get out and hike with their kids. This year though I really want to talk about something that has always been an issue, but seems to be getting worse as more and more people head to the mountains.

I have been horrified at seeing how many people are willing to trash our mountains and wild spaces. Just recently a beautiful lake in the San Juans was closed down because hordes of people completely trashed it over memorial day weekend.

Last year in another area in the San Juans a large group of people completely trashed another backcountry destination near the Wilsons.

How many times have you all gone off the trail to go pee and seen toilet paper strewn all over the place.

I don't know how anyone that loves the mountains cannot be horrified when they hear about or see this sort of stuff.

Sometimes I wonder is it just young people that don't know any better? It is people who just don't care? Whatever it is, I feel like the vast majority of people that would be following a thread like this would agree with me.

So what can we do? Well I think one thing we could all do is if we are leading a group of people into the mountains, make sure they understand that you don't leave trash in the wilderness. Let them know that if they see trash on the ground...just pick it up, even if it wasn't theirs. And toilet paper? Look we don't leave toilet paper laying on the ground people. And don't think that burying it is ok either. You just pack it out. I always have a little kit with me that includes a ziploc bag for storing the used toilet paper, and you can throw that out when you find a trashcan after you get back to civilization.

I am open to suggestions here as well, but I don't believe anyone really wants to trash the wilderness. I think just having the conversation could help in many cases.
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Re: 2021 Centennials Speed Record Attempt

Post by bdloftin77 »

I’ll be watching your progress! Best wishes!!
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rgarriott
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Re: 2021 Centennials Speed Record Attempt

Post by rgarriott »

Good Luck!!
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hellmanm
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Re: 2021 Centennials Speed Record Attempt

Post by hellmanm »

andrewhamilton wrote: Thu Jun 24, 2021 10:15 pm
At the same time I want those peaks to be open! I would never want to hurt the efforts to open up the peaks, so I simply would not climb and then publicly post that I had climbed those peaks. For that reason, I have decided to climb the next 3 highest mountains in Colorado. These peaks are American Peak, Niagara Peak, and Trinity Peak, all in the San Juans.
Love this. I initially saw the thread and was curious how the De(Ca)LiBron issue would be handled. Climbing the next 3 sounds like a good solution, and it would make the feat even more impressive given their respective difficulties relative to Democrat, Lincoln, and Bross. I don't particularly care about speed records, but it sounds like you're doing this attempt the right way and I wish you a safe and successful trip.
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Re: 2021 Centennials Speed Record Attempt

Post by andrewhamilton »

hellmanm wrote: Thu Jun 24, 2021 11:35 pm I don't particularly care about speed records...
I totally understand this. I don't even really follow speed records that much! For me its not really about being fast or really comparing my speed to someone else. Its not for the cash prize at the finish line -- there isn't one. For me I just get some big challenge in my head, and am just drawn (despite the stress, pain, fear, etc) to try to figure out how to make it happen. Doing all the Centennials in one continuous outing is an enormous challenge to figure out. It takes fitness (so it is a good reason to try to stay in shape), it takes planning and experience, it takes pain tolerance, it takes luck, and in my case requires lots of help from friends and family. There are no rewards for success except the personal fulfillment of achieving some big goal that you didn't even know or even necessary think was possible.. When you get lucky and everything just works out it becomes one of those experiences that just define your life. And when it doesn't work and you fail you learn even more.

I do like sharing these experiences with the 14er community because you guys are the only people that might even have an inkling of how hard something like this would be. Unlike most people who will be like "So you climbed 100 mountains? Thats nice. Where should we go for dinner?"
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Re: 2021 Centennials Speed Record Attempt

Post by hellmanm »

Yep, makes sense! It's cool to strive towards something and see just how much your body/mind is capable of (which, in your case, it sounds like is quite a bit). I find the logistics piece very interesting too, both for support and for strategic planning. We all make similar decisions when climbing (albeit on a much smaller scale and over more time). Here's hoping that there will be a post in 1-2 months highlighting a new record and an uninjured dude to hold it. Good luck!
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Re: 2021 Centennials Speed Record Attempt

Post by esskay1000 »

Dude - great to see you back doing insane stuff that us mortals can merely dream of. Good luck to you and I'll be following your dot when I need some motivation to get outside!
“Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, So… get on your way!” - Dr. Seuss
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Re: 2021 Centennials Speed Record Attempt

Post by bmcqueen »

Good luck Andrew! Looking forward to following along.
"Good judgment comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgment." --- Nasreddin

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Re: 2021 Centennials Speed Record Attempt

Post by glenmiz »

Glad to see you've rattled that idea loose and will take a big swing. Looking forward to seeing the red triangle again. Good luck to you and your crew!
Aim high to end high
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Re: 2021 Centennials Speed Record Attempt

Post by glenmiz »

I may have missed it, but when are you planning on starting?
Aim high to end high
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