The North Face Vertical Challenge at Alyeska Resort on September 10

Posted By: The Ski Channel on August 19, 2011 9:59 am

GirdwoodAlaska – The Steepest Race is getting ready to challenge athletes. The North Face Vertical Challenge Climb-A-Thon Alpine has runners from all over Alaska will hike or run the North Face Trail starting from the Alyeska Tramway base area as many times as possible within ten hours. The Race will take place on September 10, 2011 between the hours of  9:00 A.M. and 7:00 P.M.

Held on the North Face Trail, the trail was just completed a few years ago in the summer of 2009. The trail is a little over two miles with a 2,200 vertical foot gain and multiple switch backs. Racers will also enjoy amazing views of the Girdwood valley while pushing themselves to the limits, exactly what a race in Alaska would be.  

Not only is the race a challenge, it’s based on how many laps can be completed. The Race Coordinator and Alyeska Resort Mountain Services Manager Brain Burnett said, “Timing is everything. You need to know where the Tram is in relation to your climb so you don’t waste time at the top waiting for a ride down.” 

The record number of laps is currently 12, which was achieved by Clint McCool of Anchorage in 2010. The amount of laps is equivalent to 26,400 vertical feet. That’s higher than most of the Himalayan mountains. Athletes must be in top shape in order to gain that vertical in the competitive time needed. 

This Race, the summer Climb-a-Thon compliments the winter Ski-a-Thon held in March. Similar to the summer race, athlete’s must shuttle up the tram and instead of climbing, they have to ski as many runs as they can down North Face. That competition usually gives skier and snowboarders 20-30 runs and equaling between 50,000 to 66,00 vertical feet.  

Participants of all fitness levels are encouraged to register for the Vertical Challenge Climb‐a‐thon but please be warned, you must be very strong-willed. Entry fee is $20 in advance and $30 on race day. Early registration is available at the Tram Ticket Office located in The Hotel Alyeska.

For more event details, visit the resort website at