On May 7th, 2016 at 2:48 am, Erik Pohlmann of Boise completed an impressive first when he completed a self propelled ascent of all four Grand Slam Peaks (Kepros, Shaw Mountain aka Lucky Peak, Heinen and Cervidae) in just over 20 hours. His ordeal began on the 6th at 6:35 am. Combining mountain biking and hiking, dodging thunderstorms, getting soaked and demonstrating tremendous fortitude he reached the top of the fourth summit, Cervidea, in total darkness in 16 hours and 22 minutes from his start at the Three Point Mountain trailhead. He returned to his starting point on Idaho-21 near Hilltop in 20 hrs 13 minutes. Thirteen of the 20 plus hours were spent on his bike. (Erik had previously become the first person to ascend all four peaks on a mountain bike.) His total elevation gain was 15,500 feet with 12,000 done on his bike and 3,500 done on foot. This was accomplished as he covered 93 total miles (81 on the bike and 12 miles hiking).
Although a lot of people have considered climbing all four peaks in one day, to my knowledge, Erik is the first person to attempt and complete this feat. The crux of doing all four peaks in one day is the fact that it is illegal to cross the Arrowrock Dam which is by far the shortest route between Heinen and Kepros. Others have discussed overcoming this obstacle by crossing the reservoir in canoes or swimming across. This would shorten the route considerably.
This was an incredibly impressive feat by Erik and his effort set the bar high for anyone planning on challenging his time. His efforts also set the parameters for future challeges: start and finish at the same spot; all self propelled travel. As Erik discusses below the route he chose could be shortened.
Erik shot and edited video of his trip and the resulting fifteen minute movie is linked below. It will give you a good idea of how he spent 20 hard hours.
Here is Erik’s timeline:
05/06 06:35am CAR
05/06 08:50am trailhead
05/06 10:00am KEPROS
05/06 11:12am trailhead
05/06 12:52pm trailhead
05/06 03:06pm LUCKY PEAK
05/06 03:41pm trailhead
05/06 05:11pm trailhead
05/06 08:26pm HEINEN
05/06 11:07pm trailhead
05/06 11:50pm trailhead
05/07 01:12am CERVIDAE
05/07 02:07am trailhead
05/07 02:48am CAR
And here are a few of Erik’s reflections on his big day:
“Actually my time would be easy to beat provided somebody has desire to keep pedaling. Unsure if you saw I documented my “mistakes” in my Strava/YouTube descriptions (see links below), but most significant hindsight is I should have avoided trying to access Heinen via Cinch Creek. I misjudged how far I could ascend up the creek and it turned into a steep (and absolutely wet) 9 mile hike that cost a lot of time. I should have stuck to my route the week before which allowed me to bike clear to the summit despite the longer distance.”
“I also was more focused on enjoying the day, exploring new routes, and completing all four peaks over achieving the fastest time possible while being miserable. I ate lunch at Hilltop Station which cost time, and also relaxed at a few points to suck it in. Dodging heavy rain didn’t help either (think stripping raingear off/on). Also wondering if I should have used my cyclocross instead of mountain bike due to all the road riding. Finally I have foot problems and have to stop every couple hours for a few minutes. Notice my Strava link shows my moving time was only 15 hours, that means my 20 hour adventure consists of 5 hours of not moving which is nearly free time for grabs!”
“There’s also the private property variable. I haven’t been convinced of other conclusive legal routes although my investigation has found the property boundaries are unsigned. So there’s potential my route could be shortened with more investigation, I simply wasn’t that interested in investigating further because I desired to explore some sections of my chosen route.”
“Please don’t misinterpret, I’m not making excuses. My point is there’s a lot of margin to shave off! I’m purposely documenting this in hopes the next contender finds it useful and can set the bar higher. Please ask me any questions, I’d be happy to discuss.”
Route and Photos: Strava data and photos
The Movie: A fifteen minute movie of the adventure including some dicey weather.