Mountaineers establish ‘Trifecta’ speed record

June 18, 2005

Two endurance athletes from Boulder, Colo. recently accomplished a local feat never before documented. Buzz Burnell, 53, and Peter Bakwin, 43 completed back-to-back summit climbs of Mount Rainier, Mount Adams, and Mount Hood. The two completed the "Cascade Trifecta" in a record time of 28 hours 1 minute, which is a new mountaineering speed record.

The climbers tackled 42,000 feet of elevation change— 21,000 feet as ascending— and over 36 miles on foot in their trek, which started at 2:40 a.m. on June 9 and finished at 6:43 a.m. June 10. They drove by car between each of the three climbs.

The climbs were not without incident. Poor weather and snow conditions on Rainier and Adams slowed the climbers at length in Washington. In a pivotal instance, Brunell actually fell into a crevasse on Mount Rainier due to the collapse of a snow bridge. The two experienced mountaineers were well-prepared, however, and Brunell extracted himself from the crevasse under belay of Bakwin.

"The trip was especially rewarding for me, since I had never set foot on any of these beautiful mountains before," Bakwin said. "We had hoped to go under 24 hours but we know that would be very hard, and conditions were not optimal, especially on Rainier where we had to move slowly to stay safe."

The new record was documented and verified by a Portland based production company called Uncage the Soul Productions. The Uncage the Soul team of 11 videographers and photographers was staged in advance at each of the tree peaks to verify departure and summit times and to take photographs and video footage.

Uncage the Soul Productions organizer John Waller commented on Brunell and Bakwin's accomplishment: "Even though they had this goal of doing the Trifecta as fast as they could, you never got the impression that this was their top priority. It was to have fun, and enjoy the experience. These two things would not be compromised for the sake of shaving off a couple of minutes from their overall time. They were very interactive and social with our team, stopping frequently to talk, snap photos, and express their appreciation for our efforts."

Photos of the Trifecta and other Uncage the Soul adventures can be viewed at:

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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