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Climber Sets Record on Mount Shasta
By Tony Hopfinger, Record Searchlight (added 8/9/98)
This article, written by Tony Hopfinger, appeared in the Record Searchlight, Redding California, on July 15, 1998.
Forty-year-old Robert Webb of Mount Shasta climbed a total of 37,572 feet while summiting Mt. Shasta six times in 24 hours. 37,572 feet in 23 hours and 22 minutes is believed to be a world record for the most elevation climbed on a mountain in a 24 hour period.
MT. SHASTA Climbers and hikers peered through binoculars Monday and Tuesday to watch their friend reach the summit of Mt. Shasta six times in 24 hours. Robert Webb of Mount Shasta was inspired by their support to climb 6,262 feet to the summit a half-dozen times. The 40-year-old man broke his previous record set last year when he climbed the mountain five times in 24 hours.
"By having people and friends helping me this time, I was able to get that extra run in,'' Webb said. "I just picked my line, gazed up at the mountain and it was almost like I could feel myself being pulled up there.''
This past weekend, Webb and friends prepared camps on the mountain and stashed six pairs of skis at the summit.
At 1:30 p.m. Monday, a shirtless Webb started his marathon climb at the 7,900-foot Horse Camp, where The Sierra Club Foundation operates a cabin. It took him less than three hours to reach the 14,162-foot peak and ski down to Horse Camp. In the span of 13 minutes from the time he arrived, Webb ate dates and honey, vomited and headed back up the mountain.
"I was drinking so many fluids that my body was forcing them out,'' he said.
About 3,300 feet above Horse Camp, his friends waited for his arrival. There, Webb sucked a tube of Clif Shot, a concoction of brown rice syrup, and downed a high-vitamin drink.
His nephew, Tyson Phillips, 23, and a friend kept a tent warm at the summit. Each time Webb made it to the top, he changed into long underwear and dry socks before snapping into skies for his descent.
"At night, it took him a half-hour to go down the mountain,'' said Chester Kyle, 29, of Weed. "All you saw was this little light going back and forth.''
Webb completed his fifth ascent at 9:14 a.m. Tuesday and started hiking up the mountain 18 minutes later to complete his final climb.
"He was really stoked on his fifth run because he beat his record,'' said Allison Kyle, 22, who helped Webb when he came through Horse Camp.
Webb ascended a total of 37,572 feet in 23 hours and 22 minutes, believed to be the most feet ever climbed on a mountain in a 24-hour period.
Friends verified the times and elevations, and the data will be submitted to the Guineas Book of World Records for consideration.
"For most of us, one day up Shasta is enough. For a lot of people, one season is enough,'' said Leif Voeltz, owner of The Fifth Season in Mount Shasta. "I think Robert is just happy when his endorphins are at their max.''
Webb, who's been a caretaker at the Horse Camp cabin for 16 years, said his Dad started teaching him to climb when he was 5 years old.
His love affair with Mt. Shasta began 20 years ago, when he made his first trip to the summit. Since then, he has climbed the mountain nearly 140 times. In 1985, Webb set a mountain record when he climbed from Horse Camp to the summit in one hour and 39 minutes.
"Even though it's a big mountain and you have to give it a lot of respect, it's very soft and friendly,'' he said. "Sometimes, if you don't take risks, you don't get the adventures.''
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