Monday, September 22, 2008

The need for more speed!

For those anxious readers interested in yet another story of a climber who has set yet another new 'unofficial' round trip summit speed record, please read on. For the rest of you who are tired of hearing of such drivel, we suggest you continue reading anyway and perhaps you still may find the story interesting. Besides, how can you ignore such an amazing feat? A person climbs to the summit of Mount Rainier in under 3 1/2 hours, and then descends to Paradise in just over an hour, resetting the speed record to 4 hours, 40 minutes and 59 seconds.

For comparison, it takes most folks 5 hours just to make it UP to Camp Muir, never mind to the summit and back to Paradise again in less time! Can you imagine the feeling of being lapped on a day hike by someone who has summitted? Then again, the person running past you on the Muir Snowfield is Guillermo (Willie) Benegas, an international guide, sponsored member of the North Face team, and highly accredited guide with the American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA). Benegas' climbing portfolio is impressive. Among other credentials, he has been a guide with Mountain Madness for 10 years and is the previous speed record holder on Aconcagua... Oh yeah, he's climbed Everest seven times and leads expeditions up numerous peaks over 26,000 ft.

For more information and an account of the ascent by Benegas, check out his interview in The News Tribune.