For most of the people that climb Denali, America’s tallest peak, it is a huge endeavor that is followed by weeks of rest and recuperation. But for Maddie Miller, native Idahoan and senior at Colorado College, it is just the beginning.
Maddie, with the guidance of Melissa, photographer Jon Mancuso, driver Ali, and trusty (usually) Sprinter van Tiffany, set out to climb the highest peak in all 50 states, within 50 days. The clock starts on the summit of Denali, and ends on the summit of the last peak (Hawaii in Maddie’s case). They encountered literal and figurative roadblocks, forest fires, extreme temperatures, 19,000 miles of driving, hundreds of hours of walking, and times when it felt that the goal was truly unattainable.
While both Maddie and I are mentored by Melissa, there is a sort of ladder of seniority. And I am endlessly fortunate to be at the bottom of that ladder. I have two amazing women to look up to: both Maddie and Melissa. I was stunned and inspired to see Maddie’s perseverance, and levelheadedness in the face of the unknown, and possibly unachievable. While I was only able to follow along via social media, as I am in San Francisco training for soccer, it made it no less special to watch to amazing women do an amazing thing.
And despite their worries that they would not be able to complete it in the allotted 50 days, they surpassed that like Usain Bolt competing at a middle school track meet. Beating the previous fastest time by a full 48 hours, Maddie Miller became the world record holder, completing the 50 peaks challenge in 41 days, 16 hours, and 10 minutes. You can check out the full journey at eddiebauer.com Congrats Maddie, you deserve it.