Colin O’Brady, former Olympic triathlete and son of New Seasons co-founder Eileen Brady, has already climbed the tallest peak on every continent in what’s known as the Explorer’s Grand Slam. He beat the world speed record while doing it, too, completing the challenge in 139 days. On July 19, the Portland native broke yet another speed record closer to home: early on Thursday morning, as he reached the top of Mt. Hood, he became the fastest person to summit the highest peak in each of America’s 50 states.
According to O’Brady’s website, only 273 people have completed this “50 High Points” challenge—and for most, it’s a lifelong endeavor (the fastest completion up to this point has been 41 days). O’Brady completed the challenge in just under 22 days. As he neared the finish line at his home mountain, he encouraged experienced climbers to join him in watching the sunrise at the 11,250-foot peak. Those who couldn’t make it tracked his progress online. His all-inclusive invite was part of a movement of nationwide athletic encouragement, which he called the “Forrest Gump Effect.” Anyone could join in on the history-making when O’Brady visited their home state.
He started the challenge with Alaska’s 20,310-foot Denali, the highest point in the United States, on June 27. He then made his way to Hawaii’s Mauna Kea and crisscrossed his way through the states before reaching the Pacific Northwest. For more, check out out in-depth interview with the super-athlete.