The rules are simple, climbers have ten hours to hike up Alyeska’s North Face Trail, ride the tram down and repeat as many times as possible. Sounds easy right? Well, maybe the first couple of laps are. The 7th annual Alyeska Climbathon is taking place from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, September 13. This endurance competition is like no other mountain run, marathon or other endurance event in the state, mainly because there is never any real relief from the vertical climb and the steepness of the trail. Participants are constantly climbing up the North Face Trail and this year they’ll be climbing to raise money for different GYN cancer programs throughout the state of Alaska and this year’s event will be capped at 300 participants. The 2013 event was able to raise almost $50,000 for its beneficiaries which included the Girdwood Health Clinic, Let Every Woman Know – Alaska and Globathon all of whom are dedicated to the fight against ovarian and cervical cancers.
Each lap is counted as 2,000 vertical feet in elevation gained and each lap has been given the name of a prominent Alaskan peak (until you get above 10 laps) ranging from Matanuska Peak to Mount Hunter to Moose’s Tooth and of course the coveted goal of Denali in a day. A small handful of climbers complete eleven and even twelve laps which have been named Aconcagua and Chamlang respectively. Up until this point however no climber has completed thirteen laps for a total of 26,000 vertical feet. The first person to hit thirteen laps not only is in fantastic shape and is an incredible athlete but they also get to name the lap. The tram will be running at winter speed for this event which is about a three and a half minute trip. The tram will also be departing every ten minutes instead of every fifteen; this altered operating schedule will allow participants for maximum on-trail time. For more information on Climbathon, to sign up or to sponsor a climber, please visit www.alyeskaclimbathon.com