By Ryan Good
Meet Rob Barlow, one of the most adventurous athletes we have ever sponsored. Rob is attempting a feat that has never even been attempted. He is hiking, biking, climbing, and rappelling the 100 highest mountains (the "Centennials") in Colorado without the aid of a car. The effort will require 1200 miles of biking and 500 miles of hiking in 65 days. The average work load is 28 miles per day, 32% hiking and 68% biking. It has never been done before. In fact, the Centennials have never even been navigated in one effort using a car to go between mountain ranges.
This will be a record on two fronts:
- Fastest known time to complete the Centennials
- Self-powered (no car) fastest known time to complete the Centennials.
UPDATE - Where is He Now?
Total Time Elapsed: 45 days
Peaks Conquered: 60/100
Since we last checked in with Rob Barlow he has completed 20 more peaks and moved that much closer to completing his goal of all 100 centennials without the help of a car. Since summiting Mt. Sneffels just 3 weeks ago Rob has faced a whole new set of challenges. As the climbing has gotten more difficult Rob has spent a substantial amount of time climbing on his own while his crew waits at camp for his return. Of all the peaks Rob has completed since his journey began, potentially the most notable is the 13,943’ Cathedral Peak. Rob is just one of two climbers to summit this peak this year and could be one of the most difficult summits of the entire journey.
At the halfway mark of Robs trek he summited Thunder Pyramid at 6:15 pm, it’s all down-hill from there, and then back up-hill just a few more times. After that Thunder Pyramid summit Rob faced some less than optimal weather conditions as he moved through the next three peaks a little slower than he would have liked. None the less Rob reached peak #53, Snowmass Mountain, on August, 9th.
The next two peaks would be far more difficult as an early morning storm that left Rob with a bout of hypothermia threw a wrench into Barlow’s plans. Now fully recovered Rob is back to his normal pace. In the last week Rob has summited 10 peaks, including the 3rd highest peak in the continental United States, Mt. Massive, and gave us a quick look at all of them through his Instagram @r.l.m.Barlow .
Keep up to date with Rob's progress by following his blog.
To complete a feat like this, Rob has been route planning and scouting for the last five years and has been training full time since last October. Finally, he has an incredible support team of 12 people. Typically the quality of one's crew has determined the success of similar ventures where folks have attempted to climb all 58 14ers self-powered.
Rob and the INFINIT Team designed the Mountain Man Blend to help fuel him on his adventure. High calories and protein help to keep Rob energized while being able to fuel on the move.
"INFINIT is perfect because it allows me to pack a ton of calories into my bottle and doesn’t take up too much space in my backpack. All I have to do is mix my powder into my bottle, filter some water and I have energy for hours. This can make all the difference when time and day-light is of the essence."
The Centennials are made up of 53 Fourteeners (14,000ft or higher mountains) and 47 Thirteeners (13,000ft or higher mountains). To give perspective, outside of Colorado, there are only 16 other Fourteeners in the continental United States (Rainier in Washington; and 15 Fourteeners in California).
There are five more points above 14,000ft in Colorado known as "unofficial Fourteeners" and Rob will be climbing those too! These peaks are "unofficial" because they lack sufficient prominence or independence from their parent peak such that despite having their own name, there is not a sufficient drop in altitude between them via ridge line to be considered a true different peak from the parent peak.
The USGS data is always subject to change as mapping technologies get better and better. There is a finicky nature of measuring peak height as well as prominence. For instance, just a few weeks ago, Rob climbed Mount Ouray (13,971ft), which today is known as a Thirteener but in the 1920s and 1930s it was believed to be a Fourteener. The highest peak he will climb is Elbert (14,433ft) and the lowest peak will be Dallas (13,810ft). However, Barlow explained to us, "Dallas is actually more difficult as it and 4 other peaks will require me to lead climb because the only possible routes up them are class 5 climbing routes."
Who is Rob Barlow?
Rob was born in Grosse Pointe Woods, Michigan. In 2008, he followed his sister to Colorado after skiing in Steamboat Springs. In 2009, he climbed his first Fourteener, Mount of the Holy Cross, in a t-shirt, shorts, and skate shoes, with no hydration (don't be like Rob). He swore he would never climb another mountain.
In 2010, he walked up twelve Fourteeners during his sister’s summer of fourteen Fourteeners (he admits, she’s always been tougher than him). After that, he was officially hooked.
Since, he has summited all 58 of Colorado’s Fourteeners, 84 of Colorado's Centennials (including Dallas Peak), a California Fourteener (White Mountain Peak – 14,252ft), two mountains in Mexico (Pico de Orizaba – 18,490ft; Iztaccihuatl – 17,159ft), and Mount Rainier via the Kautz Glacier (14,410ft). He has summited 136 peaks higher than 4000m.
He currently lives in Arvada, CO, with his dog and best friend, Bandit, his childhood friend, Tim, and their "somewhat derilict basement-dwelling troublemaking" friend, Will.
Rob is attempting a feat that has never even been attempted. He is hiking, biking, climbing, and rappelling the 100 highest mountains (the "Centennials") in Colorado without the aid of a car. The effort will require 1200 miles of biking and 500 miles of hiking in 65 days. The average work load is 28 miles per day, 32% hiking and 68% biking. It has never been done before.
Why Do This?
Rob simply likes a challenge but in the midst of his adventures, he hopes that he can raise awareness and money for the American Lung Association Foundation.
Rob has had asthma since a young age and understands how asthma and other lung diseases can affect one's ability to live their life the way they want. Rob was told by his pulmonologist that he wouldn't be capable of being active in his thirties (he's now 30).
1 in 3 Emergency Room visits in the United States is due to asthma.
1 in 12 people in the United States have asthma.
Visit Rob’s Website to learn more or to make a donation to the American Lung Association Foundation 1700mountainmiles.com