Trail Shots: Nine 12ers in a weekend

Cody Lind and Brittany Peterson make their way down Donaldson Peak. Photo credit: Nate Bender

Where did you run last weekend?

Maybe you summited a couple of mountains close to home. Or you drove a little and went up a super-steep ridge. Or you and a group of friends camped and did a classic loop in a national park.

Or maybe you set the second fastest known time to the top of all nine 12,000-foot peaks in the state next door, with one of your partners claiming the women’s FKT.

That’s what Missoula’s Nate Bender did.

Bender, Brittany Peterson of Boise and Cody Lind of Challis completed the Idaho 12ers in 37 hours 44 minutes between Friday evening and Sunday morning.

Bender has known Lind for several years and met Peterson, who holds the women’s 50K record at the River of No Return Endurance Runs, this summer.

“I’d heard about the challenge originally about five years ago while working as a raft guide on the Middle Fork of the Salmon (River), and my original motivation was pretty simple – do it just to prove how tough I was to other guides that I looked up to,” Bender wrote. “As the years went on and I became more familiar with what the challenge would actually require, though, it became more about getting to do something very difficult and rewarding in a part of the country that I’d spent a lot of time in and had come to love.”

Nate Bender, Cody Lind and Brittany Peterson celebrate after completing the Idaho 12ers. Photo credit: Paul Lind

The three, who were crewed by Paul Lind and Lyn VanSchoiack, started with 12,009-foot Hyndman Peak in the Pioneer Range about 5 p.m. Friday. Then they drove to the Lost River Range and traversed Borah Peak (12,662), Mount Idaho (12,065), Leatherman Peak (12,228), Mount Church (12,200), Donaldson Peak (12,023), Mount Breitenbach (12,140) and Lost River Mountain (12,078) in the Lost River Range between Friday night and Saturday night. They finished with Diamond Peak (12,197) a little before 7 a.m. Sunday after driving to the Lemhi Range.

In all, they covered about 42 miles with 26,000 feet of elevation gain. Of that, 28 miles was off-trail class 3 to 4 ridgeline scrambling, Bender wrote.

“The hardest part was negotiating the loose, endless scree in the Lost River Range, especially Saturday afternoon when we were all feeling the miles and lack of sleep. … I remember coming off the Lost Rivers Saturday night and literally feeling myself falling asleep on my feet,” Bender wrote.

After a couple of weeks of rest, Bender will run The Rut 50K in Big Sky, then he’s running his first 100-mile race, the Mountain Lakes 100 in Oregon. He plans to finish the year with the Rim-to-Rim-to-Rim run in the Grand Canyon with friends in November.

“That should be a great way to cap off the year.”

Read more in Peterson’s trip report here.

Here are the rest of this week’s Trail Shots:

Ross Carlson runs the trail between Dawson and Pitamakan passes in Glacier National Park. Photo credit: Erin Clark

Erin Clark, Ross Carlson, Jessica Zephyrs, Jen von Sehlen, Vo von Sehlen, Sally Cannata and Milton Zhinin celebrated this week’s centennial of the National Park Service early with a classic loop in Glacier.

After camping in St. Mary on Saturday night, they ran the Dawson-Pitamakan Loop on Sunday in the Two Medicine area. The day “delivered bluebird skies and nearly unending ridgeline views,” Clark wrote.

Gray Wolf Peak is seen behind the ridge up East Saint Marys Peak. Photo credit: Ethan Richards

Ethan Richards, Christi Nowak and Henry Reich were among the latest the make the super-steep climb up East Saint Marys Peak in the Mission Mountains.

The ridge rises 4,300 feet in the first two miles – ouch.

“Hard to get a sense of scale when looking at photos of the Mission Mountains, which rise nearly 7,000 feet above the Mission Valley. This shot gives you just an inkling,” Ethan Richards wrote.

Craig Macholz and Dana Bandy leave the summit of Lolo Peak. Photo credit: Justin Grigg

Dana Bandy, Craig Macholz and I finished the weekend Sunday with a 13-mile out-and-back up Lolo Peak, at the north end of the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness.

That and Saturday’s 26-mile loop out to Sheep Mountain in the Rattlesnake National Recreation Area got us up above the haze of wildfire smoke around Missoula.