Speeding across Idaho’s 12ers

Paul Lind and Brittany Peterson hustle to the top of Hyndman Peak, one of Idaho’s nine 12,000-foot mountains, on Aug. 19 during a bid to climb all of the peaks in record-time. Lind dropped out of the effort after getting sick, but three others pressed on to complete the peaks in fewer than two days. Photo courtesy Paul Lind

Cody Lind, left, and Brittany Peterson arrive at the top of Leatherman Peak, Idaho’s second highest point and begin to traverse south along the Lost River Range to other high points. Photo by Nate Bender

From the left, Nate Bender, Cody Lind and Brittany Peterson hold up nine fingers to signify the completion of all nine 12,000-foot peaks at the foot of Diamond Peak in the Lemhi Range of eastern Idaho. The trio completed the speed climbs on the morning of Aug. 21. Photo courtesy Paul Lind

On Aug. 19, while most were sleeping a trio of endurance runners were pounding out an incredible effort at one of Idaho’s long-standing mountain speed records.

Cody Lind, 21; Brittany Peterson, 30; and Nate Bender, 27, managed to climb the state’s nine 12,000-foot peaks in 37 hours and 44 minutes. The record is 28 hours 18 minutes set by Luke Nelson and Jared Campbell in 2014.

“My son and I have been planning it for a few years,” said Paul Lind, of Challis. Paul coaches the Challis cross-country team and also coaches endurance runners, including Peterson. He said he spent a great deal of time “climbing all over the Lost River Range” to learn the fastest routes and tricky sections to tag the top of each peak. Unfortunately for him and the rest of the team, after climbing Hyndman Peak and part way up Borah Peak, Paul Lind became sick.

“It was a bad time for the old man to come down with something,” he said.

He bowed out of the adventure on Borah Peak, but followed the trio’s progress from the valley floor with a spotting scope, offering tips via modern communication.

Peterson, of Boise, is one of the top-ranked endurance runners in the nation, having recently won the Tillamook Burn Trail Run, a 50k race — beating all the men. Cody Lind, Paul’s son, works for the Pocatello Running Company while studying geology at Idaho State University. He was the runner-up national champion in 2015 for the Altra US Skyrunner Series. Bender, of Missoula, Mont., is a river raft guide and endurance runner who recently won the Ouray 50 Mile Endurance Run in Colorado.

Paul Lind said the key to speeding through the 12er challenge was getting across the Lost River Range in daylight where the route poses the most challenging scrambling sections.

“This section was the lowest of my lows,” Peterson said of traversing along the ridge to Mount Church. “I have gotten so much better at dealing with exposure, but as my body grew weary, so did my mind and I was losing the mental strength to not get totally freaked out.” She made the comments in her trip report on Idahosummits.com.

The trio just made the final summit of Lost River Peak before dark.

From Lost River Peak, they zipped down to the valley floor where they were driven to the base of Diamond Peak in the Lemhi Range to climb the last of the nine.

“This one ranked up there as something special,” Paul Lind said.

Do they want another crack at the record?

“Next year we’ll come back and shoot for the 24-hour record,” he said. “Cody never pushed his heart rate up that much the whole time he was climbing.”

For a complete trip report and several summit photos of three smiling adventurers, go to tinyurl.com/zsbufu7.