The Oregonian: Portland man climbs Oregon's 5 tallest mountains in one run
Author: Jamie Hale, The Oregonian
Posted: August 25, 2016

Read the original story on OregonLive. 

Most people would be satisfied climbing Oregon's tallest mountains in a lifetime -- Christof Teuscher decided to do them all at once.

The 44-year-old runner, who works by day as an associate professor at Portland State University, completed his latest accomplishment last week: scaling Mount Hood, Mount Jefferson and the Three Sisters in one run.

And that "run" is literal, by the way -- he didn't drive from mountain to mountain, he traveled by foot. Assisted by his wife, Ursina, who brought him food, water and additional gear, he managed a feat that certainly nobody else has ever done.

"That's attractive," he said of the challenge. "After doing Adams to Hood I was looking for something new, something in Oregon different, something challenging."

Teuscher attracted a lot of attention in 2015, when he summited Mount Adams, then ran to Mount Hood and summited that peak as well. He finished the 158-mile trek in less than 65 hours, a feat that earned him spots in outdoors magazines and local news outlets.

Looking for another adventure, he found inspiration in Colorado's Fourteeners challenge: climbing all 53 peaks in the Rocky Mountain state taller than 14,000 feet. Oregon doesn't have any mountains that high, but it does have five taller than 10,000 feet, and Teuscher aimed to scale them all.

His trip started at Mount Jefferson (10,495 feet), then progressed to South Sister (10,358 feet), Middle Sister (10,047 feet) and North Sister (10,085 feet) before concluding at Mount Hood (11,250 feet).

"I knew nothing of these mountains," he said. "So it was really about discovery."

Teuscher spent most of his life in Switzerland, immigrating to the U.S. in 2004 and Oregon in 2008. Since then, he's spent his weekends running and hiking through the Pacific Northwest, documenting his biggest adventures on his website.

He makes the runs look easy, but they're the end result of months of preparation -- "the tip of the iceberg," he explained.

For his five-mountain run, he took backpacking trips to each of the peaks during different seasons to get a feel for the conditions. It helped him know, for example, not to climb the precipitous pinnacles atop Mount Jefferson and North Sister. But despite the work, he found himself unprepared when his run concluded on the slopes of Mount Hood.

When he reached the portion of the climb called the Hogsback -- about 650 feet below the summit -- he was turned back by ice he wasn't equipped to climb. Had he carried his heavier mountaineering boots and crampons, he would have been able to reach the summit, he wrote in his post-trip report.

"Of course that was a big disappointment," he said. But he's since shrugged it off. "The summit is a small part of that adventure, so to me it feels like I was successful even if I didn't make it all the way up."

There might be purists who call his attempt incomplete, but Teuscher has a response at the ready: Try his five-mountain run yourself before criticizing what he's accomplished.

Any takers?

--Jamie Hale | | @HaleJamesB