Upward Mobility: Greg Hill’s March Madness
Backcountry athlete Greg Hill has ascended 50,000 feet in a single day. Greg Hill has ascended 2 million feet in a single year. Greg Hill is a machine—not to make his conquests seem any less corporally and mentally punishing than they are; Greg is candid about the pain, exhaustion, and self-doubt inherent in his objectives. But that never seems to stop him from cooking up another crazy vert-inspired scheme. In March of 2014, he decided to find out what he could do in a month, setting his goal at 100 vertical kilometers (approximately 328,000 vertical feet), averaging 10,580 feet a day, with no zone traveled twice.
Check out his pre-challenge clip:
“This last month was a quest to figure out if I could average over 10 grand a day for a month, all uphill human powered. For years I’ve been training my mountain sense, fitness, and recovery, and finally I felt like I should attempt this ludicrous goal. Sometimes weeks go by—months even—and nothing in my life really changes, so this goal was entirely about “maximizing” my life … about grasping the “goat” by the horns and becoming a wild mountain-climbing animal for a month. It took absolutely everything I have and a bit more.”
At the point of the halfway video [below], the going was pretty tough, the avalanche hazard was high, and things were a little spicy. It required all my avalanche senses to make sure I was not making any mistakes. I had an escape plan from everything I skied, I was always looking over my shoulder and making sure I was ready if the mountain decided to follow me down the hill. Eerie remote triggering of large avalanches kept me on edge looking for the easiest and safest ways up all mountains. But the major payoff of working toward this goal was great powder skiing, as good as it gets, really.”
Watch the halfway-point video:
On March 31st at 5:23 p.m. in Revelstoke, Greg hiked his final feet, achieving what he calls “the biggest human-powered powder month ever:” 328,615 feet. “Another totally pointless Greg Hill goal,” he writes, “yet it’s the challenge that is important, the desire for more and the willingness to work hard towards something.”