49 Days - 1 Hour - 9 Minutes
DAY 1: Few people attempt to summit Denali every year. For those that try, the National Park Service reports that there is about a 52% success rate of actually making it to its 20,310’ peak. After 9 days of climbing over 16,000’ of elevation gain, each hauling over 120 lbs of gear, fuel, food, and diabetes supplies in temperatures as low as -25 degrees, we officially reached the top of North America at 6:16PM Alaska Time on June 29th. This summit marked the official start of our 50 day time clock and high point 1/50 is now on the board!
Did we have perfect blood sugars during the climb? Far from it - Dozens of lows, several short episodes with ketones, one mini dose of glucagon administered, loads of basal adjustments, and a decent amount of time factoring in for AMS (acute mountain sickness). Did diabetes stand in our way? - It was never an option.
Climbing mountains and diabetes share a lot of parallels. If you’re trying to digest everything at once, whether that’s looking at a summit from base camp or setting a goal to achieve that “perfect” a1c, there’s a potential to become easily overwhelmed with everything that’s involved in making it happen. Some days it’s all about focusing on just putting one foot in front of the other, relying on a solid support system to share some of the load, finding peace in the fact that some days are going to go way better than others, and recognizing that a positive mental attitude (PMA!) can get you through just about anything!
49 high points to go! Mauna Kea, Hawaii is next!
DAY 5: High Point #2 is officially on the board: Mauna Kea - 13,796’! Hawaii was FAST and furious, but we are leaving the Big Island with full hearts!
We were joined on this high point by two fellow diabadasses @annie0285 and @seanreymond! We couldn’t have asked for better company on the 14.5 mile round trip hike - gaining over 4,500’ of elevation! Fun fact: When measured from its oceanic base, Mauna Kea is actually the tallest mountain in the world!
The day only got better as we shot up to Waimea to grab dinner with the Jordan family! The Jordan’s have a 5 (and a half!) year old that is kicking T1D’s butt with the amazing support of his folks and little sisters!
The love and support of the T1D community never ceases to amaze us! We can’t wait to continue to grow the tribe!
Heading back to the lower 48 tonight! Stay tuned for updates!
DAY 7: High Point #3 is on the board! Charles Mound, IL - 1,235’. A short 1.25 mile hike brought us to this beautiful location in Scales Mound.
Charles Mound is located on private land and only open to the public on very limited days of the year. When we reached out to the land owner, Jean, she welcomed us with open arms. It turns out Jean’s mother lived with T1D for over 62 years and she has multiple other diabetes connections throughout her family. Jean couldn’t have been more hospitable! Historically, it is tradition to leave a coffee mug from your home state at this high point, so we were sure to leave Jean with an official @project50in50 mug!
We were also fortunate enough to be joined on Charles Mound by an amazing crew of women: Patty, Sally, Beth, Nancy, and Kristie! Thanks so much for joining us, it was so great to meet ALL of you!
Off to Missouri!
DAY 8: Bagged #4 early this AM! Taum Sauk Mountain, Missouri - 1,772’!
Off to Arkansas! See ya in 6.5 hours!
DAY 8: 10% complete! High point #5 is in the books! Mt. Magazine, Arkansas - 2,753’!
We’ve received a lot of great feedback regarding our choices in high-pointing footwear, so we decided to not take any chances on this one...
Off to Louisiana!
DAY 8: Bagged our first peak in the dark! Driskill Mountain, LA - 535’ - High point #6!
We arrived at this high point a little after 10:30PM. There was about a 1 mile hike behind an old church/cemetery. Although the humidity may have been 150%, we managed to see some pretty awesome Louisiana wildlife along the short trek!
Off to Mississippi!
DAY 9: Not much of a “hike” for this one, but #7 is in the books! Woodall Mountain, MS - 806’!
Off to Florida! The lowest high point!
DAY 10: #10 was definitely a special one! Brasstown Bald, GA - 4,784’!
We were joined on this high point by two very special guests: @rhetthuffman and @jsdoiev! Patrick and Rhett grew up going to diabetes camp together in NC! This has been the first time they’ve seen each other in over 12 years. Rhett just got off tour last night with his band @americanaquarium and drove overnight from Nashville, TN to surprise us!
Jasmine and Patrick worked together in CA with the T1D nonprofit, Diabetes Youth Families @dyf_t1d! Jasmine is now a student in an AMSN program @emoryuniversity! She was also kind enough to check out Patrick’s lung sounds to ensure he’s all healed up from Denali!
It’s been an awesome morning!
Off to TN! See ya in 2 hours!
DAY 10: #11 is on the board! Clingmans Dome, TN - 6,643’! The most crowded high point we’ve hit to date!
We had some very special guests join us all the way from Nashville, TN for this one: Kady and Dan Decker (@kady_day @3sistersfarm)! As a former 2014 thru-hiker of the Appalachian Trail, Dan was familiar with this particular high point as it syncs right up with the AT!
We also had the chance to meet up with Dr. Adil Irani, an oncologist from India. Dr. Irani was thrilled to share the PROJECT with his colleagues back home!
We’re off to Sassafras Mtn, SC! We should be there by 7PM!
DAY 10: Ending the day with a beautiful evening in South Carolina! Knocked off #12 - Sassafras Mountain, SC - 3,553’!
North Carolina meetup at Mt. Mitchell tomorrow - 10AM! We can’t wait to see you there!
DAY 11: Mt. Mitchell, NC - the highest point east of the Mississippi - 6,884’! High point #13 and our largest meetup to date!
We were beyond blessed to be joined on this peak by this stellar crew of rockstars! This 6-mile hike gained over 3,700’ in elevation. We got caught in the rain and cold for this one, but this group pushed on with the best of attitudes! We couldn’t have asked for a better team to join us.
We’re off to Asheville to pick up our new support member and then off to Kentucky! See ya later tonight!
Day 11: It was a late one, but we bagged #14 - Black Mountain, Kentucky - 4,145’!
We were joined on this high point by a few deer and some massive frogs! Unclear on their ties to T1D, but we appreciated their support nonetheless!
Off to VA! We’ll be bagging Mt. Rogers at 8AM tomorrow!
DAY 12: It was a gorgeous morning in Virginia to knock out #15! - Mt. Rogers, VA - 5,729’!
We were joined on the 9 mile hike to the high point by Kelly (@banurse16). Kelly is a school nurse who has been volunteering her summers at T1D summer camps for the last 7 years! We couldn’t have asked for better weather or a cooler trail! We even got the chance to see some wild horses along the trek!
Off to West Virginia! See ya at Spruce Knob in a few hours!
DAY 12: John Denver sure knew what he was talking about - #16 was breathtaking! Spruce Knob, WV - 4,861’! We got here just in time to enjoy this beautiful sunset!
Knocking out one last one tonight! See ya in MD!
DAY 13: It was a late night, but we bagged #17 just after 12:30AM - Backbone Mountain, MD - 3,360’!
We’re sure this one is beautiful in the daytime, but it sure makes for one heck of an adventure in the middle of the night!
DAY 13: #18 is on the board! Mt. Davis, PA - 3,213’!
Patrick’s big sister, Molly (@mollymchiavetta) and her dog, Homer, joined us all the way from Washington, DC for this one! Homer was really invested in the adventure! Beautiful views!
Full steam ahead to Delaware!
DAY 13: High point #19 - the highest point of Delaware - Ebright Azimuth, DE - 448’!
Michael and I utilized this high point to do a complete set change of our @tandemdiabetes t:slim X2 insulin pumps - diabuddy style! We also had the chance to meet a fellow high pointer who has a niece living with type 1! He was thrilled to hear about the PROJECT and gave us some great advice for some of the peaks out West!
As we were on our way out, we were stopped by Doreen, who has been living at the high point since the 1960’s! She shared some great history on the area and had us sign the official high point registry!
We’re off to Rhode Island!
Day 13: Knocked out #20 with an awesome crew! Jerimoth Hill, RI - 812’!
We were joined on this high point by Liam, Stephen, and Joe. Liam and Stephen run an amazing RI based T1D nonprofit, @rocktype1. Rock Type 1 takes kids and teens living with T1D out on rock climbing adventures - further proving that with proper planning ANYTHING is possible with Type 1! Liam, who has been living with T1D for the last 9 years, already has some amazing peaks under his belt (to include Mt. Rainier)! Amazing! Be sure to give them a follow on social media to keep up with all of their adventures!
We’re tackling Katahdin in the AM! See ya then!
DAY 14: We definitely had to put in some work to bag #21, but it felt great to get out of the van and get the blood pumping - Katahdin, ME - 5,267’!
We reached the summit via the Knifes Ridge Trail, which involved some Class III/IV scrambling (not an ideal situation given our rainy start)! Once we neared the summit, we were able to break out of the clouds and enjoy some gorgeous panoramic views in the sunshine! We also met some wonderful folks on the peak who were kind enough to share some trail magic (candy!) with us (thanks again @elizabethcorny & @julirof)!
Check out our Highlighted Story on Instagram to view a full recap of the day!
Katahdin also marks the terminus of the Appalachian Trail! There are some amazing T1D’s currently crushing all 2,190 miles of this thru-hike! Be sure to give these fellas a follow to keep up with their T1D adventures on the trail:@hiking_on_insulin @sweet.hiking
We’re heading for Mt Washington, NH early in the AM! Should be there around 8AM!
DAY 15: Adding #22 to the list - Mt. Washington, NH - 6,288’!
We were disappointed to learn of a partial closure of the Tuckerman’s Ravine Trail, preventing us from hiking this one from base camp. Fortunately, there was a road constructed to the summit over the course of 7 years that opened in 1861! A lot of cool history (and wind!) involved with this high point!
We’re off to Vermont! We’ll be meeting folks around 2PM. Hope to see you there!
DAY 15: #23 was an extra special one - Mt. Mansfield, VT - 4,393’!
We were joined on this one by Emma whose daughter Nyla was diagnosed just 3 months ago! With the fatigue from the previous 22 summits starting to set in, Emma truly re-lit a fire for us and reminded us why we started @project50in50 in the first place! It was such a pleasure to share this high point with her!
The day only got better once we hit the summit. As we were taking photos, we were stopped by @devon_kirk who was hiking Mt. Mansfield as a part of a bachelor party! Devon was diagnosed with T1D 3 years ago and was proudly rocking his @dexcom G6! It’s been so amazing how many T1Ds we’ve met throughout this journey! Such a fun experience.
Off to Massachusetts!
DAY 15: Highest point in Massachusetts - Mt. Greylock - 3,487’! #24!
Ending the night with a cool evening in Adams, Mass. Finally on our way to catch some showers before a BIG day tomorrow!
Kicking off the morning with a 14 mile hike on Mt. Marcy in NY then off to Mt. Frissell in CT and High Point, NJ!
DAY 16: Had an early morning sufferfest to bag #25 - Mt. Marcy, NY - 5,344’!
We got on the trail just after 6:30AM to knock out the 15.2 mile out and back that covers 4,000’ of elevation gain. We had a decent amount of lows on the ascent, but still managed to reach the summit in 2.5hrs! It was a wet and muddy one, but an awesome morning all together! Check out our Highlighted story on Instagram for the full trip report.
It’s wild to think that we are already halfway done with @project50in50! (Although our climbs out West will get significantly more challenging!) What a ride it’s been so far! Thank YOU ALL for your continued well wishes and support! We LOVE to hear from you - while life on the road/trail limits our opportunities to respond to every comment, your words of encouragement keep us going!
We’re off to the airport to drop off @kayglassman and then on our way to CT - it’s looking like we’ll be there closer to 6PM!
DAY 16: Connecticut sure filled our cups! #26 - Mt. Frissell, CT - 2,380’!
We were joined on this high point by this wonderful crew of folks: Rachael, Laura, Susha, and Nicole (plus Hobbs!) This ~4 mile hike far exceeded our expectations! The energy of this group was contagious. The evening was filled with loads of laughs, story sharing, and catching up! Thanks so much for the support and trail magic! Y’all are the best!
We’re off to NJ!
DAY 16: Just getting ready for bed at the high point of New Jersey - (appropriately named) High Point, NJ - 1,803’...just kidding we don’t sleep...#27 is on the board!
We managed to log over 25 miles in our boots today and a heck of a lot more on the road! What a day!
The East Coast has been great to us! Now off to Ohio!
DAY 17: #28 was no walk in the park...okay maybe it was...Campbell Hill - the highest point in Ohio - 1,549’!
We’re off to Indiana! Not every high point is Denali and we’re OK with that!
DAY 17: The show goes on! Managed to bag a high point in the middle of corn country! Hoosier Hill, IN - 1,257’! #29!
We’re off to Wisconsin for Timms Hill! See ya in the AM!
DAY 18: Knocked out #30 with this inspirational group! Timms Hill, WI - 1,951’!
After a long night of driving, we were joined on this high point early this AM by Amanda (@typeonegeologist), Brian (@t1dmountaineer), Ethan, and Gabriel!
Amanda joined us all the way from Ashland, WI. She’s been living with T1D for over 17 years and was determined to bag this high point with us despite a broken tibia and fibula! What a rockstar!
Brian, Ethan, and Gabriel joined us all the way from Illinois! Ethan has been living with T1D since he’s been 18 months. Together with his dad, Brian, Ethan has ALREADY knocked out 13 of the 50 state high points - with a goal of bagging all 50 by the time he heads off to college! They’re living examples that diabetes can’t stop you from crushing your dreams! Such a fun and inspirational family!
We’re off to Michigan! We should be there just after 2PM!
DAY 18: #31 was filled with great company! Mount Arvon, MI - 1,979’!
We picked up Kate (@bloodandnumbers) in the sprinter van in Land O’ Lakes, WI and spent the drive to MI exchanging T1D backcountry tips and tricks. Kate has been living with T1D since 22 years old. Her amazing and supportive folks, Darcy and Ray, joined us at the trailhead for the short hike to the high point!
Deanna (@deannarussell88), her husband, Josh, and their pup, Ace, win the award for traveling the farthest to support @project50in50 ! They got on the road early this AM to make the 350 mile drive (ONE WAY!) from Traverse City to Mt. Arvon! We could not be more appreciative of their love and generous support! Deanna was diagnosed 7 years ago and has a sister who is also living with T1D!
Because of their onset of symptoms later in life, both Deanna and Kate were misdiagnosed with type 2 diabetes - a potentially life threatening mistake that occurs far too often for modern medicine. Fortunately, they were both strong willed and advocated for themselves when their conditions did not improve with traditional type 2 treatments. Upon a proper diagnosis and subsequent type 1 treatment plan, they are now both thriving with T1D! It was so great to spend the afternoon with them and their families!
We’re off to Minnesota for Eagle Mountain! Depending on our energy levels when we reach the trailhead, we may knock this one out as a night hike or a very early morning climb! Stay tuned!
DAY 19: We knocked out #32 early this morning - Eagle Mountain, MN - 2,301’ - Mosquito Mountain probably would have been a much more fitting name!
We got to the trailhead just after 1AM last night and opted to get a few hours of sleep before tackling this 7 mile high point. We managed to finish in just under 2 hours with only 17,384 collective mosquito bites - feeding the hungry! Full trip report in our Highlighted Instagram stories!
We’re off to Minneapolis for an oil change, shower, and to pick up our newest support driver! We’ll be bagging Hawkeye Point, Iowa late this evening and Harney Peak, SD first thing tomorrow AM!
DAY 19: Iowa went all out to showcase their high point! #33 - Hawkeye Point, IA - 1,670’!
Located on Sterler Farm, this may not have been much of a “high” point, but it sure was a fun one to visit. This peak contains signs marking the 49 other high points along with distance markers for each one. They’ve even built their own selfie station (#THISISIOWA #MyCountyParks)!
We’re also excited to introduce our newest support member, Michael’s dad, Graham (@grahamshelver)! We’ll be sure to offer a proper intro for Graham in the days to come!
We’re off to South Dakota. We’ll be tackling this high point around 7AM! Stay tuned!
DAY 20: #34 is officially under our belts! Harney Peak/Black Elk Peak, SD - 7,242’!
We were joined on this beautiful 7.8 mile hike by the Somers Family - Jodi, Olivia, and Lexi! The Somers joined us all the way from Custer, SD. Lexi was diagnosed with T1D about 5 years ago and is excited to report that she’ll be attending her very first T1D summer camp later this August! We spent the climb talking diabetes, sharing dad jokes, and learning about all sorts of interesting nature nuggets (thanks Olivia!)! It was a wonderful morning! Check out our Highlighted IG story for the full rundown!
We’re off to Whitte Butte, ND (after a quick stop for lunch in Biker City - Sturgis, SD)!
DAY 20: Throwing #35 up on the board! White Butte, ND - 3,506’!
To be completely honest, the Dakotas were two high points that never popped up much in conversation during our planning sessions, but after spending a full day driving and hiking through SD and ND, we’ll definitely be coming back this way very soon. Between the hospitality of the locals and the breathtaking landscape, we feel like we’ve stumbled upon one of America’s best kept secrets! Check out our Highlighted Instagram Story for more epic views!
We’ll be a bit out of pocket tomorrow. We’ll be attempting to tackle Granite Peak, MT - a 24 mile, 6,300ft elevation gain, complete with a bit of technical climbing. We’re planning to start this one around 4AM and will check in with a full report once we’ve safely made it down! Onwards and Upwards!
DAY 21-22: We truly cannot thank you all enough for all of the well wishes, prayers, and support that we have received over the course of the last 24 hours. A brief update: Due to multiple factors that included an atypical amount of remaining snow fall from the winter/spring and a last minute trail change, Granite Peak proved to be a much more taxing climb than we were initially anticipating. We hit the summit around 1:30AM (after a 28 mile, 9000’ ascent) and made the safety call to throw on all of our layers and bivy on the ridge-line until sunrise. As we were descending the north slope the following morning, we set up ~12 rappels before hitting steep snow fields. At one of the final snow fields, we made the decision to attempt to down climb using only our ice axes. After about 25 feet, I (Patrick) lost my footing and was unable to self arrest using my ice axe. I slid about 25 yards before crashing into a rock field. As I began calling out to Michael to report my status, I saw that he too had lost his footing and was quickly sliding down the slope, unable to self arrest. Michael fell ~150 yards before crashing into a rock field at a very high speed. He remained alert and awake, but it was clear that he had sustained significant injuries from the fall. After tending to immediate needs, we were able to activate emergency services using our personal locator beacon (NEVER enter the backcountry without one!). Within two hours, a search and rescue helicopter arrived at our location (the lead paramedic was living with T1D!) Michael was packaged up and we were both flown off of the mountain.
Upon initial assessment both in the field and at the hospital, we were told with near certainty that Michael sustained at least one, if not bilateral, femur fractures. Due to the mechanism of injury and velocity of the fall, there was an additional concern for a potential spinal injury along with other non-visible injuries associated with blunt trauma. We were told that Michael would likely be entering surgery today.
After multiple CT scans and x-rays (reviewed at least “50 times”) the radiologist was astonished to report that no broken bones could be seen on the images. Michael sustained a pneumothorax, a laceration to his right leg, and significant bruising throughout his body, but it is looking like he could be discharged from the hospital as early as this afternoon. We are beyond relieved and grateful to hear such positive news!
We are currently 21 days and ~12 hours into our time clock with 36 high points officially summited. We obviously have A LOT that we need to discuss as a team regarding our plan moving forward - with our priorities focused on health and recovery. We appreciate ALL of the love and support we have received to date and appreciate your patience as we develop a plan for our next steps.
We would also like to give a special thanks to the wonderful search and rescue team who helped us out and our family members who have moved “mountains” to ensure our safety.
With heartfelt thanks,
Patrick and Michael
DAY 23-32: We’ve been truly overwhelmed by the outpouring of love, encouragement, calls, texts, comments, and DM’s we have received over the last 24 hours. As you can probably imagine, the last few days have been chaotic to say the least, but we are very much looking forward to responding to each and every one of you. We cannot thank you enough for the support. There is something inherently unique about the collective empathy shared by the T1D community - the past 24 hours have been a testament to this. It’s hard to put into words our gratitude. We feel beyond blessed to be a part of this community!
Michael is still in a significant amount of pain and is unable to bear weight on his legs due to his injuries. According to the trauma doctor, today is suspected to be the worst day in terms of pain management. He will see a physical therapist in the AM, who will hopefully give a clearer picture on a realistic recovery time. We are hopeful that he will be discharged from the hospital in the near future so that we can get him on the road to recovery (with real food, showers, and clean clothes!). Rest assured he has still not lost his sense of humor and finds every opportunity he can to make a wise crack. He is the bonafide definition of a “diabadass”!
We are still in a holding pattern in terms of next steps for the PROJECT. If T1D has taught us anything, it’s how to navigate adversity with a positive mental attitude (PMA!). With only 14 peaks left to bag, we are committed to seeing the project to its completion, but are still hashing out the details on how that will look. Michael is still on a number of medications in the hospital and we want to ensure he has full mental clarity before we make any big decisions regarding next steps. We appreciate your patience and would not be where we are today without your continued love and encouragement! THANK YOU!
Believe it or not, the first 70% of the Granite Peak summit was actually pretty amazing.
Again a heartfelt thanks to the heroes over at @gallatincountysar - they even stopped by the hospital this morning to check in on Mike.
DAY 33: PROJECT 50-IN-50 is back on the move! Adding #37 to the board - Borah Peak, ID - 12,662’!
This one was a morning scramble, but you won’t find this one on the Denny’s menu - ZING! We hit the trail just after 4AM to avoid this high point’s blazing hot temperatures and afternoon thunderstorms. After a steep start right from the trailhead, climbers are met by Chicken Out Ridge, a Class IV scramble notorious for turning around the faint of heart. Thanks to the early start Patrick had the summit all to himself! All together this was an awesome high point for getting back in the saddle.
Full trip report in our Highlighted Instagram Stories!
We also had the pleasure of meeting Emily (@emilyann_wright ), Cathy, and Thomas along the way! We were able to share stories from the road and loads of laughs - an all around awesome group of folks!
We’re off to Utah to tackle Kings Peak - TBD if this one will be an overnight! Stay tuned!
DAY 34-35: Throwing #38 on the board - Kings Peak, UT - 13,528’!
Turned this 28.8 mile high point into an overnight backpacking trip. Gaining 4,100’ (all near the summit!), this peak was full of epic views! Check out the full trip report in our Highlighted Instagram Stories.
We’re off to Humphrey’s Peak, AZ. Mountain forecast is calling for a 1PM thunderstorm on this summit, so looking to start this one around 7:30AM - we know it’s early, but we’d love to see ya!
DAY 36: According to @backpackermag , Saturday, August 3rd is National Summit Day (no seriously, we’re not making this up)! What better way to celebrate than to bag high point #39 - Humphreys Peak, AZ - 12,633’!
Molly, Dani, and Karis joined us on this one all the way from Phoenix, AZ! We kicked off the 9.5 mile (round trip) out and back just after 7:30AM. Our timing was near perfect as we managed to knock out the 3,400’ elevation gain and hit the summit just before a thunderstorm rolled in! The skies opened up on us during the last leg of our descent, but it just added to the adventure! An all around awesome day, filled with new friends made on the trail!
Off to Boundary Peak, NV! We’ll be tackling this one with @kelsbee and friends! We’re planning on starting at the Trail Canyon Trailhead around 7:30AM - be sure to shoot us a DM if you plan on joining!
DAY 37: The morning was definitely a rough start (full story in our Highlighted IG Story), but we managed to add #40 to the board - Boundary Peak, NV - 13,146’!
This was a hot one - gaining close to 4,300’ in elevation in ~3.5 miles (from trailhead to summit)! So grateful to have had the opportunity to spend at least a short time in the AM with Kelsey and Matt!
Tomorrow is a much needed rest day! We’re posted up on the eastern side of the Sierra catching up on sleep, doing some laundry, and eating everything in sight! We’ll be starting our Mt. Whitney climb shortly after midnight on Wednesday with an AMAZING crew of folks - be sure to stay tuned!
DAY 40: 13 climbers, 18 hours, 26.4 miles, 6,800ft of elevation gain, 1 epic thunderstorm, 1 subpar base manager, and the tallest peak in the contiguous United States - We’re still having a hard time putting into words the magic that took place over the last few days. We had folks from all over the country join us for #41 - Mt. Whitney - 14,505’!
The crew hit the trail from the Whitney Portal shortly after 1:00AM on Wednesday. The team experienced altitude sickness, freezing temperatures, painful mom jokes, and one epic thunderstorm - persevering through it all to further prove that with proper planning (and PMA!) ANYTHING is possible with type 1 diabetes! What an experience!
Full trip report in our Highlighted Instagram Stories!
We can’t express enough gratitude for our amazing group of climbers and support crew:
@typeoneoutdoors @keaton.viadro @elizabethshelver @cj_shelver @grahamshelver @cresshandmade @claynwhit @michael_leggett21 @rilezzzzzzzzzz @elliegert @mike_petzold @kfmrnc @lauradunnruns
DAY 42-43: It’s been a long time coming, but we’re glad to finally add Mt. Rainier, WA to the board - 14,411’ - #42!
To offer some background - Rainier has been the most logistically challenging high point to reconfigure post the accident. The mountain requires highly competitive permits, you cannot climb the mountain solo, and climbing partners must have proficient skills in glacial travel; rope teams; and crevasse rescue (as you can imagine this narrows the pool of potential candidates to a very small selection). Fortunately, we were able to finally bring a plan to fruition and successfully summited this high point just after 7:00AM this morning!
The conditions during this climb really turned it into a “Type II Fun” experience (Type II Fun - something that is miserable while it’s happening, but fun in retrospect). After ~4 hours of sleeping in a communal climbers hut, we hit the trail for our summit attempt at 1:00AM. A big weather system moved in during the evening, but our climb started with only a mild misting. As we gained elevation, the mist turned into a relentless wet snow that seemed to pierce right through our layers. As the morning progressed, the winds blew stronger and the visibility diminished - turning around many of the climbing teams attempting their summit bid. By the time we approached the summit, not only were we freezing, but it was near impossible to see the trail - not a fun game when you’re surrounded by crevasses! Nonetheless, we persevered and after 6 hours of climbing we officially hit the highest point in Washington State!
DAY 44: Two big summits within a 24 hour period! Adding #43 to the board - Mt. Hood, OR - 11,239’!
We got down from Rainier yesterday afternoon and stopped twice to scarf down cheeseburgers during the 3.5 hour drive to Mt. Hood. We got a few hours of sleep at the trailhead and set our alarms for 1:45AM for an alpine start. It was pouring rain when we woke up so we decided to give it an hour to see if it would let up. 3:00AM hit and it was still raining. Unfortunately for us, Hood has a lot of added obstacles this late in the season. It is not advised to climb this high point from July-September. If you are to climb during these months it is recommended to do so well before the sun has the chance to warm up the mountain - this meant we were going out in the rain! It was a cold and wet morning (deja vu!), but we managed to keep on trucking! After thorough review and discussion on mountain conditions, we decided that it would be safe to summit! We reached the top right at 7:00AM (almost exactly 24 hours after our Rainier summit)! Although the early hours of the morning may have been brutal, the conditions on the summit could have not been more perfect. A much needed reprieve!
Full trip report in our Highlighted Instagram Stories!
We’ve had loads of folks asking about the story behind @kev_clark ! Full interview to come!
We’ll be out of pocket for the next few days starting tomorrow. We’re off to Wyoming to knock out our last technical and most remote climb (50 miles round trip) - Gannett Peak! Hopefully the grizzlies don’t have a sweet tooth for low supplies!
DAY 45-47: It’s hard to properly put #44 into words - Gannett Peak, WY - 13,804’!
Gannett Peak is the most remote of all of the 50 high points. Day 1 consisted of a 16 mile hike through some of the most pristine backcountry that the US has to offer. Every turn of the trail was more breathtaking than the last. Day 2 started with a 3:00AM alpine start to kick off the biggest sufferfest since Denali! We hiked 3 miles to the base of Bonny Pass, climbed 1,600’ of snow, and immediately descended 1200’ just to hit the base of Gannett Peak. Next came the grueling summit attempt complete with a near melted out snow bridge, Class IV scrambling, and an additional 2,200’ of climbing. We finally hit the summit around 12:10PM. As the saying goes “what goes up, must come down!” After a brief celebration at the summit, we down climbed Gannett, crossed the glacier field, reascended Bonny Pass and hiked back to base camp. Our heads didn’t hit our pillows until 10:30PM - 19 hours worth of nonstop climbing. Day 3 (today) consisted of the 16 mile hike back to the van. All together the trip consisted of 9,500’ of cumulative elevation gain over the course of 48 hours! Yowza!
Full trip report in our Highlighted Instagram Stories.
We’re off to Nebraska for a well welcomed drive up summit! We’ve entered the home stretch!
DAY 47: Adding #45 to the board! Panorama Point, NE - 5,424’!
Pro-tip: If you plan on visiting this high point after midnight, be sure to not follow directions via Google Maps...unless you have an affinity for ending up at questionably haunted abandoned houses in the middle of a car junk yard... We eventually found the actual high point. Never a dull moment!
We’re off to Colorado! Can’t wait to see ya on Mt. Elbert tomorrow AM!
DAY 48: If anyone ever tries to tell you, you can’t do something because of diabetes - please go ahead and direct them to the diabadasses of #46 - Mt. Elbert, CO - 14,439’!
-Meet Mike Gaudet: Mike’s been kicking diabetes’ @$$ for over 42 years. He’s a chemical engineer and mountain guide who averages over 100,000ft of vertical climbing every year! When Mike says “we’re taking our shirts off at the summit!” - you better believe you’re taking your shirt off at the summit!
-Meet Stephen England: Stephen has been living with T1D since childhood. Next month he’s competing in the Tor des Géants - a 205 mile trail race (yes, you read that right...205 MILES!) in Italy that gains over 31,000 meters in elevation!
-Meet Joe Mac: It’s debatable whether or not Joe is actually part mountain goat (Joe crushed us all up the mountain, never breaking a sweat or even so much as taking a deep breath). Joe was diagnosed with T1D later in adulthood and moved to Colorado in part to peruse his love of adventure sports. Joe is an avid mountain biker and bombs trails throughout CO at least 3x a week!
-Meet Sarah: Sarah was diagnosed with T1D 5 months ago and is determined to not let it stand in her way! She was already showing us new diabetes tech we hadn’t even heard of yet!
We gotta show a whole lotta love to our Type 3 supporters who came out as well. MUCH LOVE to Corey, Stephanie, Tiffany, and Annie 🐶!
Oh yeah! Did we mention MICHAEL’S BACK?!? It couldn’t have been a better day!
DAY 49: Just downing some @davidseeds sunflower seeds at the tallest point in Kansas - Mount Sunflower - 4,039’! High Point #47!
A huge thanks to our friends @wrangler for hooking us up with the new threads! When you look good, you feel good - We were obviously feeling GREAT this morning!
We’re off to Oklahoma to tackle Black Mesa this afternoon! Here’s to hoping we don’t melt in the 100+ degree weather.
DAY 49: High Point #48 - the top of Oklahoma - Black Mesa - 4,972’!
This near 10 mile trek was a hot one - with temps approaching 100 degrees! We distracted ourselves from the heat by brainstorming our 2020 challenge/adventure!
We’re going to bring her home tomorrow! New Mexico in the morning, Texas in the evening! Stay tuned!
DAY 50: It’s starting to get real! #49 - Wheeler Peak, NM - 13,161’!
We hit the trail just before 6AM to tackle the 3,686’ of elevation gain on this high point! This one snuck up on us in terms of difficulty - giving us both a run for our money in the early morning hours. We finished the 7 mile round trip climb in just under 4 hours.
We’re off to #50! Guadalupe Peak, TX!
DAY 50: 49 Days, 1 Hour, and 9 Minutes! We have COMPLETED PROJECT 50-IN-50!
PROJECT 50-IN-50 would not be possible without the generous support from our sponsors and media partners: @dexcom @tandemdiabetes@beyondtype1 @symantec@companionmedical @thenorthface @1hotchillys @mtnhouse @nuunhydration @vasquefootwear @clifbar @walnutcreeklaserdentistry @roadid @sawyerproducts @medangelco @staceysimms @type1tactical @thinksport