Kyle O'Dell finishing the 29029 challenge at Snowbasin Resort in Utah

Rain, Sleet, or Shine: 29029 Snowbasin was the Event of a Lifetime

This past weekend, EdgeRock president, Kyle O’Dell, took to Snowbasin Resort in Utah with 250 others from across the country to attempt the 29029 challenge. The goal was to scale the peak thirteen times in thirty-six hours, an elevation climb equivalent to 29,029 feet—or the height of Mount Everest.

It was to be a personal test of perseverance—a challenge to himself, something to work toward during the summer months. More importantly: It would be a vehicle to raise money for a couple of great causes.

He had been training for months in the Colorado foothills, driving up to nearby trails around Morrison before work. Having never before been a regular hiker, he worked to build both the strength and endurance to work his way up the steep grades, slowly getting better and better with each trip up the mountain.

But none of his training could prepare Kyle for the frozen weather waiting for him in Huntsville, Utah.

Sleet and hail pounded the challengers toward the end of the first day, many of whom were forced off the mountain, unable to do anything except wait out the inclement weather.

Click to watch a video recap of the event.

“Lots of people hung it up for the night,” he said. “But that hail only made me more determined. I’d come all this way, done all this work. If the mountain was going to throw all of that at us, I was going to push back twice as hard.”


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Kyle O'Dell at Snowbasin Resort
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Kyle O'Dell at Snowbasin Resort
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But all the effort in the world couldn’t overcome severe body temperature drops. Sitting in the summit lodge, soaked head-to-toe from the frigid rain, Kyle found himself with a few dozen other challengers struggling to warm up.

A former Navy SEAL on-site with the event organizers quickly recognized the potential danger and soon had everyone shedding drenched layers of clothing, drying off with paper towels, and warming up the best they could with steaming cups of Cup O’ Noodles hurriedly being handed out.

“All of us were shivering so hard, we were spilling the soup.”


Though the weather would cause many to pause until the next day, the skies would eventually clear up, and Kyle’s group, determined to maintain a finishing pace, found themselves drying off and headed back up the mountain the night for another lap. They would eventually complete all thirteen with a few hours to go on Saturday.

Kyle returned safely to EdgeRock headquarters on Monday, legs tired, reflecting on his accomplishment. When asked if he’d ever do the challenge again, he laughed: “Absolutely not!

 

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