Duo sets new speed record for climbing Idaho’s 9 highest peaks

Jared Campbell, left, of Salt Lake City, and Luke Nelson, of Pocatello, pose for a photo on the summit of Donaldson Peak in the Lost River Range in central Idaho. The pair set a new speed record for climbing to the top of all nine of Idaho's 12,000-foot peaks last weekend. Campbell is indicating the number of peaks they had thus far climbed. (photo by Dave Robb)

Jared Campbell negotiates the narrow ridge to the south of Mount Idaho in the Lost River Range on his way to climbing all of Idaho's 12,000-foot peaks. (Photo by Luke Nelson)

Luke Nelson, of Pocatello, and Jared Campbell, of Salt Lake City, have something to brag about. The pair set a new speed record for climbing Idaho’s nine 12,000-foot peaks. This past weekend, starting with Hyndman Peak in the Pioneer Range, then seven peaks in Lost River Range and finishing with Diamond Peak in the Lemhi Range, they topped them all in 1 day, 4 hours, 18 minutes.. They improved on the old record held by Hailey hardmen Dave Bingham and Rob Landis of 1 day, 14 hours, 50 minutes.

I have been interested in attempting it since I first heard of Dave and Rob’s record,” Nelson said via email. “It was intriguing to me the way they linked the peaks together and I was drawn to the challenge of linking the peaks together and moving quickly through difficult terrain.”

Nelson and Campbell are professional mountain runners and sponsored by outdoor gear companies. Moving fast in sketchy mountain terrain is their stock and trade.

There were a lot of elements that made this very challenging,” Nelson said.”We had a hard time finding out route information for some of the aspects of the peaks we wanted to climb, so we went into the adventure a little blind for a couple of sections. The Lost River range is full of lots of loose scree which also made travel challenging.”

So, what did the pair fuel their super-charged engines with over Idaho’s highest peaks? A lot of high-calorie snacks.

We both ate a lot of energy gel, Jared had some energy bars, snickers and other miscellaneous stuff,” he said. “Aside from the gel, I had a bunch of sweet potato, egg and turkey burritos, some gummy worms and a couple of snickers.”

Besides hundreds of hours of mountain running, Nelson said that the pair prepared for the epic by doing their homework.

Jared spent countless hours scouring the Internet for trip reports and route descriptions, as well as using satellite imagery from Google Earth to plot our route,” Nelson said. “We also spoke to as many climbers as we could who had been in the range to get as much information as possible.”

Besides fitness and directions, Nelson says there’s another ingredient needed to get it done:

“I think a large part of having success in an endeavor like this is to believe you can do it,” he said. “I can’t speak for Jared, but I did not doubt that we would complete the project. The only thing I was unsure of was how long it would take.”

Not one to sit still, Nelson’s next project is overseas.

“I’m headed to Sweden to run the King’s Trail above the Arctic Circle in nine days,” he said.