Seven Summits of Big Bear – Straight
There are several variations on the Seven Summits theme. You can be among the mountaineering elite who climb the Seven Highest Summits in the world. If you are young, driven, and well-supported, you can be the youngest person ever to climb these 7 highest summits like Big Bear’s teenage Jordan Romero. Or for those with day jobs, you can do Big Bear’s annual Seven Summits Challenge, which encourages mere mortals to hike the 7 highest (and quite scenic) points around Big Bear Lake. Here’s another variation: do Big Bear’s Seven Summits Challenge, but do them all straight in a row, from one summit to another, without stopping. Just 60 miles. With only 13,000 feet of climbing.
The idea goes something like this: You start and finish in the Big Bear Lake Village (say at the Copper Q because you will need some of their baked goods to restore yourself afterwards). The clock starts when you leave, and stops when you arrive back after having reached each of the 7 specified summits. You go exclusively by foot. You determine the route. (Highways, roads, trails, even bushwhacking across open terrain would all be acceptable assuming you do so safely, responsibly, and legally.) You provide 3rd party proof of reaching each Summit. (Timestamped photos posted to a public website like Flickr, Spot Personal Tracker report, GPS track on Google Maps, etc.) You support and supply yourself as you see fit.
This Straight version of the Big Bear 7 Summits poses some interesting questions. What order do you do the summits in? What route do you go between each summit? When is a longer road or trail faster than a direct cross country route? How often and for how long do you rest? How much do you carry with you? What do you eat and drink? Where do you stage food, water, and extra supplies? When do you do it? Did you consider snow can in some cases allow easier and straighter travel?
Below is a sample route to give you an idea. It mostly follows existing roads and trails, but does go straight cross country in some spots. It is hypothetical and has not been traveled. It may be the perfect route. Or there may be much better routes. It travels 62 miles and climbs 13,222 feet. If you hiked it straight, fairly quickly (3 mph average) without stopping, it could take you about 24 hours. If you ran it non-stop at a consistent 10 minute mile pace, slowing for climbing, it could take around 8 hours. Hiking more comfortably (2 mph), but still consistently, with brief stops and a few hours of sleep each night, it would be more like 48 hours. It contains arguably the most breathtaking views in Southern California as you circumnavigate Big Bear Lake and will put you places not regularly traveled by others.
Want to do it? Thoughts? Comment below…