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Aspen hiker climbs Aspen Mountain nine times, which is the elevation equivalent of Mount Everest

<i>Winter Van Alstine hiked Aspen Mountain nine times — the elevation equivalent Mount Everest on July 28, 2023. As part of the challenge, she raised over $10,000 for the philanthropic organization Acumen.</i>
Courtesy of Winter Van Alstine
Winter Van Alstine hiked Aspen Mountain nine times — the elevation equivalent Mount Everest on July 28, 2023. As part of the challenge, she raised over $10,000 for the philanthropic organization Acumen.

Winter Van Alstine climbed Aspen Mountain nine times in a row on July 28, or the equivalent of the elevation gain hikers climb up Mount Everest, which is 29,029 ft. tall.

It’s called “Everesting,” and athletes around the world take on this challenge on foot or on a bike.

You can take as long as you need to complete it, but you have to do it without stopping.

As part of this process, Van Alstine raised over $10,000 for Acumen — an organization that invests in sustainable businesses that lift people out of poverty around the world.

In this audio postcard, Van Alstine describes the training and support necessary to hike Aspen Mountain 9 times in a row in a single day.

Winter Van Alstine: I was born on the backside of Aspen Mountain. My parents had a mining claim back there, and there was a tipi on Midnight Mine Road. And this year marked my 40th birthday.

I started thinking about it about eight months ago and started thinking about what I would do to train and how I could really take on something like this. And I had some plans for some big events: the Power of four, the Grand Traverse this winter. And I separated my shoulder in January, and I worked really hard in [physical therapy] and in chiropractor appointments and all the things I was supposed to be doing.

I think around April, I started to really think, “OK, I really want to dig in. I know I can do this.” So I started working with my coach. At that time, I couldn't hold a pole, and I couldn't carry a pack. And she set up a training plan for me that really worked, and I put in the time.

During the event, I had seven pacers [and] multiple drivers. I ended up doing six car laps down and three gondola laps down. And my boyfriend, he was kind of behind the scenes doing a lot of the coordinating with the Pacers, making sure people were set up at the right time, trying to estimate my time so that I had minimal time in between because I knew I needed to just keep moving.

My first lap, I was pacing myself for a reasonable pace, so I was trying not to burn out. I was trying not to go too fast out of the gate, although I was excited and had a lot of coffee. I started around 1:45 a.m. So, the first lap I started around an hour and a half laps, and I definitely started to slow down. Little by little, lap after lap, but I stayed pretty consistent.

I ended around two-hour laps, but I didn't really ever stop. Even if I slowed down, I just kept moving. For me, at times, I think I zoned out for a few hours and I don't really remember much.

My last lap at night I got out of the truck and was trying to mentally prepare myself, and I got out and there were so many people cheering and taking pictures and having so much excitement. And that was when I knew I was going to do it. I could finish. My overall climbing time was about 16 hours and 23 minutes.

So this summer, I have now climbed Aspen Mountain 35 times. I'm excited now to spend a little bit of time and get back on my mountain bike a little bit more, go rock climbing, do some of the really fun adventures that I'd like to do, and some of the thirteeners and fourteeners and just kind of have some more fun adventures.

I guess I had always heard this idea that if your goal is something that you can achieve by yourself, it's just not big enough. I never expected in a million years to have so much support.

Copyright 2023 Aspen Public Radio

Halle Zander
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