Travis Soares on Setting the Sierra Peaks Section List FKT (Ep.134)

Established in 1955, the Sierra Peaks Section List includes 247 of the most prominent peaks scattered throughout California’s Sierra Nevada Range, all the way from its southern limits in the Mojave Desert to its upper stretches north of Lake Tahoe. Reaching every summit is a lifetime’s work for most, and up until recently, no one had completed the list within a calendar year. Far more complex than a thru-hike, the SPS List is an undertaking that requires a mix of endurance, logistical know-how, technical climbing skills, and a fair amount of good fortune.

So, we sat down with Travis Soares, who finished tagging all 247 peaks in a record 117 days earlier this month, to find out how much luck had to do with it. In the process, we talk about how the idea for the project came together; how things went, including close calls with the Mineral King Marmot and coming across wreckage from a plane crash; his relationship with his climbing partner for most of the project (and previous FKT holder), Nathan Longhurst; and a whole lot more.

TOPICS & TIMES:

  • What is the Sierra Peaks Section List? (2:22)
  • Travis’ background (7:04)
  • Logistics & planning (9:00)
  • His relationship with Nathan Longhurst (14:10)
  • Settling into the project (17:29)
  • Raising money for the Bishop Paiute Food Sovereignty Program (20:03)
  • The Palisade Traverse & the Mineral King Marmot (22:39)
  • ‘Crux’ of the trip (24:40)
  • Backcountry traffic (29:55)
  • His gear setup (33:55)
  • Dodging fire season (35:02)
  • “What have you learned about yourself from this project?” (36:06)
  • What’s next? (42:17)

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