New & Time-officiated Mt. Hood Speed Record

Hood River News
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Climber sets new speed record on Mt. Hood

Story by: Dave Leder

April 28

MT. HOOD — Portland-based speed climber Dan Howitt took his sport to new heights on April 9 when he set the official speed record on Mount Hood.

Howitt, who has been involved in the sport for nearly two years, scaled 5,357 vertical feet in a time of one hour, 56 minutes and 39 seconds — a mark that was verified by Jacob Kammermeyer of Climb Max Mountaineering.

“Dan has posted a series of consistent times, and that only adds to his credibility,” said Kammermeyer, who was assisted by his associate Charlee Gribbon.

“He wants to take this sport to a new level, and after coming out and posting another time of under two hours, I don’t think the results can be disputed.”

Howitt hired Climb Max to officiate his climb from Timberline Lodge to the summit. He and his dog, Caddis, left the lower parking lot at 6:41 a.m. and arrived at the top at 8:38 a.m., also setting the human-dog record in the process.

“This climb takes the typical climber eight hours to complete,” Howitt said of the 3.67-mile route. “Plus, the spring season is more difficult than summer because the route is 100 percent snow and ice.”

In order to make the climb official, Kammermeyer and Gribbon took digital time- and date-stamped photos, as well as some video clips of the ascent.

In addition, both officials have “third-party” status, which is required to verify a climb of this magnitude.

“There have been three or four unverified climbs for this distance over the past 20 years,” Howitt said. “There were no witnesses to attest to their starts or arrivals at the summit. And there were no timers at any point along the way.”

Of the four times recorded, the average time was 1:47. But until someone else can beat Howitt’s time of 1:56:39 with witnesses, he is the official record holder.

“Dan really cuts loose out there,” said Kammermeyer, who has known Howitt for about two years. “He wears track shoes and doesn’t carry a backpack, and after completing a number of climbs of this magnitude, I believe he has upped the ante in the Northwest.”

Howitt has also speed climbed on Mt. Adams, Mt. Rainier this year, and he hopes to add to his growing résumé throughout the spring and summer.

But while he is confident that he has done everything in his power to prove his worth to the climbing community, there are still some skeptics out there.

“Climbing is very dogmatic, and when you challenge the institution, there is often some resistance,”

Kammermeyer said. “But I don’t believe Dan is trying to prove anyone wrong. He just wants to add credibility to the sport of speed climbing.”

For more information about Howitt or the sport, visit:

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