70: The 100-miler: Part 17 (1973-1978) Badwater Roots


Manage episode 281888758 series 2396657
על ידי Davy Crockett התגלה על ידי Player FM והקהילה שלנו - זכויות היוצרים שמורות למפרסם, לא ל-Player FM, והשמע מוזרם ישירות מהשרתים שלכם. הירשמו כדי לעקוב אחר עדכונים ב-Player FM, או הדביקו את כתובת העדכונים באפליקציות פודקאסט אחרות.
By Davy Crockett Walks and runs across Death Valley, in California during the hot summer started as early as 1966 when Jean Pierre Marquant (1938-) from Nice, France accomplished a 102-mile loop around the valley that included climbing two of the high mountains. (see episode 62). This started a Death Valley hiking and running frenzy in the lowest and hottest place in North America. It mostly concentrated on 100+ mile end-to-end journeys across the blazing wilderness. End-to-end records were set, broken, and recorded by the Death Valley Monument rangers. All of these accomplishments were the roots for what eventually would be the Badwater Ultramarathon. But when did trekking from Badwater (-282 feet) to the top of Mount Whitney (14,505 feet) start? Please help support this podcast. I’ve joined a partnership with Ultrarunning Magazine. I can offer a 25% discount on Ultrarunning Magazine subscriptions and renewals. Visit https://ultrarunning.com/ultrarunning-history/ Subscribe or renew today. Early Ideas In 1937, Texaco tested 14 automobiles of various models going from Mt. Whitney portal to Badwater in temperatures in the 120s to see if both engines and tires could handle it. It was called, “one of the most grueling tests ever given to automobiles in history” and was successful. In 1939, the low and high points received more attention when the San Francisco Examiner published a “motorlogue” stating that seeing both in one drive was a “must see.” More attention brewed in 1956, when a Los Angeles newspaperman, Richard Hathcock made a film of a four-day trip by car from Badwater to Mt. Whitney that was shown on ABC’s “Bold Journey” show. In 1958 an article in the Boston Globe promoted the area with, "Do you like extremes? You can see Mt. Whitney, the highest point in the United States, and Badwater, the lowest point, from the same place at Dante's View. You can travel in a few hours from the heat of the desert to the snow fields of the High Sierra." First Badwater-Mt Whitney Trek The first documented hikers to go from Badwater to the top of Mount Whitney were James Harvey Burnworth (1926-2013) and Stanley David Rodefer (1925-2019) from San Diego, California, who in November 1969, backpacked the route in two weeks. Instead of using the roads, they took a direct route across the Valley. They said they did it “just for the heck of it.” They survived on food and water that they had buried in various locations ahead of time. By 1970, many hikers were making the trek across Death Valley, but not yet up to Mt. Whitney summit too. It was reported, “The way park rangers tell it, they’ll need crosswalks pretty soon to handle all the foot traffic across Death Valley." In 1970 about a half-dozen hikers made the trek including one pulling a miniature covered wagon. A ranger reported, “We’ve got a big list of inquiries from persons who want to walk, run, hike, skip, jump and handstand their way through here and we just can’t keep up with them all anymore.” In 1978 a man even went across the Valley on a Tricycle. Rangers stopped trying to keep end-to-end Valley records. They had given up keeping tabs on hikers. There were just too many. Paul Pfau Paul Pfau (1950-), age 21, of Arcadia, California, was a student at St. Mary’s College in California. As a class project in psychology, he decided to try to run Death Valley end-to-end, 120 miles. He accomplished it during the winter of 1971 in three days, two hours. He thought he was the first to do this but was not. (see episode 62). About a month later, he ran back in the other direction, again taking three days but was on his feet for 26 hours. He was the first known person to run it in both directions. A couple months later in May, he also climbed Mt. Whitney with a friend, but not in a continuous trip from Badwater. But news of both his Death Valley runs and climb up Mt. Whitney were widely published together. In January 1972,

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