“The incredible feeling of no longer having this immense goal looming over my days is amazing. So much has gone into this tiny number on my watch – so much dedication, perseverance and passion,” said Hill, 35. “We all have dreams. I’ve realized that the fact is you have to work hard to achieve them and if you work hard enough it is possible to accomplish them.”
Joined by his wife, mother, stepfather, two brothers and a crew of friends for his final push on a bitterly cold day, Hill’s watch eclipsed 2 million at 1:30pm on Bonney Moraine – a special place for Hill, with impressive mountain views and untracked powder. It was the culmination of a long, exciting year inundated with emotional highs and lows, travel and a healthy amount of skiing. All of Hill’s 2 million vertical feet were logged completely under his own human power –no chairlifts, trams or gondolas.
“The toughest part of this challenge was the continuous need to always be on it – averaging 38,500 feet a week every week for a year,” said Hill. “Any time off meant extra huge days ahead. December was my biggest month where I covered 238,000 feet.”
Hill averaged 7,570 feet per day, scaled 71 peaks (including a handful of technical first descents) and powered through 77 days where he logged more than 10,000 vertical feet. To put Hill’s extraordinary and superhuman feat in perspective, it is equivalent to: running more than 200 marathons in a year, climbing Mount Everest 69 times and skiing back down, and taking the stairs up the Empire State Building four times and Eiffel Tower five times a day for 365 days. Now imagine accomplishing this in remote, high-altitude mountain ranges in avalanche terrain with 40 pounds of gear strapped to your back.
As the final days of 2010 loomed over Hill, he skied into the night lit by headlamp to maximize his daily vertical consumption. Hill completed his yearlong goal with style and grace and admits that being surrounded by family and friends for the finale was more emotional than anticipated.
“Every day during the last week of the year I was pushing out an extra hour in the evening with friends to be able to finish with a bit of grace,” said Hill. “Finishing was way more emotional than I thought it would be. When I hit 1 million and 1.5 million I was alone. It was so great to feel the support and psych of all my friends and family as I achieved this crazy goal – I most definitely cried.”
For more about Greg Hill 2 Mil check: Backcountry.com, Vanity Fair, ESPN and Globe and Mail.
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