Here's a quick update on the 14er speed record that John Prater AKA Homie is attempting to set. He's climbing strong and steady still and the good news is that his foot problem as basically disappeared. As of right now, Prater has climbed 35 of his projected 58 Fourteener summits, with lots more on the agenda today.
After climbing Pikes Peak a couple days ago, Prater headed over to the Mosquito Range to the northwest, figuring that the easier peaks there would be less stressful on his aching right foot. He first climbed four Fourteeners--Democrat, Cameron (unranked), Lincoln, and Bross--in 4 hours 15 minutes, then headed north to climb Quandary on the north side of Hoosier Pass in the middle of the night. Yesterday morning, Prater went to the south part of the Mosquito Range and quickly climbed Mount Sherman, Colorado's easiest Fourteener, and descended west to Leadville.
After fueling up in Leadville, Homie's support party drove him south on US 285 and he climbed Mount Antero. Last night he climbed Shavano and Tabeguache, the southernmost Fourteeners in the Sawatch Range, with Jason Halladay, a fast mountain runner from New Mexico, reached Shavano's summit at 2:55 a.m. and Tabeguache's summit at 3:41 a.m., then returning back over Shavano and descending back down to the Blank Trailhead, reaching the support vehicle about 5:35 this morning.
After breakfast and supplies in Buena Vista, Prater headed north on US 24, then west up Clear Creek into the heart of the Sawatch Range. Today he is doing a mega-traverse in the Sawatch Range through the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness Area, with plans to tag six Fourteener summits along the way--Missouri, Belford, Oxford, Harvard, Columbia, and Yale. This ambitious plan will take about 18 hours of fast hiking with lots of miles and elevation gain and loss.
Right now Homie's Spot locater indicates he is currently climbing the western slopes of 14,067-foot Missouri Mountain from Cloyses Lake. From there he will drop east and climb Belford and Oxford before descending into a broad basin in the upper Pine Creek drainage and climbing 14,420-foot Mount Harvard, Colorado's third highest peak.
Tomorrow or Friday, depending on the weather forecasts, Prater will probably do another mega-traverse in the rugged Elk Mountains southwest of Aspen, climbing five big peaks, including Capitol Peak, and trudging a lot of miles, doing lots of difficult rock scrambling, and losing and gaining lots of elevation. It will be interesting to see how that traverse plays out because it's out there in the Elks that he will either break the speed record or lose it.
Photograph above: Gerry and Jennifer Roach watch John Prater prepare to do a night climb of Mount Shavano during his attempt to climb 58 Colorado 14ers in record time. Photograph courtesy Jason Halladay