Greg Hill has just begun an unprecedented and grueling undertaking: The aptly-named, 39-year-old mountaineer will climb a total of 328,000 feet over the next 31 days, summiting 30 peaks in the Canadian Rockies near his home in Revelstoke, British Columbia. Hill will accomplish this feat, the vertical equivalent of summiting Mount Everest every day for a month, by using skins on his skis for traction on the way up. Once he reaches the top of each mountain, he'll ski down. "That's just bonus," Hill told Men's Journal the evening before his departure.
Hill is no stranger to feats of endurance in avalanche terrain. A former randonée racer, he set the record in 2010 for the most human-powered vertical in one year (two million feet), as well as in 24 hours (50,000 feet). By requiring himself to work constantly for a month, Hill seems to have finally found a way to maximize his suffering. On a good day – mild weather, stable snowpack – Hill anticipates spending eight hours in the backcountry. On a bad day, twelve hours will be a success.
"My biggest month ever was 77 kilometers [253,000 feet]," Hill said. "But I wasn't trying to max out my vert. So I'm really curious how this is going to turn out." In the days leading up to March Madness, he enthusiastically blogged that ski mountaineering offers a very concrete measuring tool: "Vertical feet climbed = how much you have lived that day."
He also plans to get some "real work" done during his conquest by testing gear for Salomon. Men's Journal will check back with Hill at the halfway point to see how he's faring. If he's successful, he'll have a third world record and a good excuse to kick his feet up.