After four attempts, Bellingham ultra-runner Daniel Probst has completed a 108-mile run, hike and climb from Bellingham Bay to the summit of Mount Baker - and back.
Probst and two other runners left from the beach off Cornwall Avenue at 12:15 p.m. Friday, Aug. 1. The other runners were California resident Beat Jegerlehner and Bellingham resident Aaron Poh.
They reached the summit of the 10,781-foot volcano at 2:25 p.m. Saturday.
It took a tough 48 hours, 17 minutes in hot weather for them to finish the entire trek.
"I'm excited to have it completed this year," Probst said Monday, Aug. 4. "Now I'm excited to sit back and watch other people do it."
Probst, the founder of running group Cascade Mountain Runners, has been organizing the events to show such an endurance event could be accomplished, with the goal of launching a new Mount Baker Ultra Marathon in June 2015. The course will be different for the new race.
The attempts also were a tribute to the Mount Baker Marathon, a competition that lasted from 1911 to 1913 and was the forerunner of the Ski to Sea race.
Back then, competitors raced from Bellingham to either Glacier or east of Deming by car or by train, and then ran 14 to 16 miles to the summit of Mount Baker before retracing their steps to Bellingham.
For Probst, the temperatures on Mount Baker made for tough going.
"It was baking hot on the mountain," the 35-year-old Probst said. "The heat radiating off the snow was cooking you."
Jegerlehner, Poh and Probst were part of the group of eight runners who tried to complete the same route this year, starting on June 27, but bad weather thwarted their attempt to summit Baker. Still, the trio chose to run back to Bellingham, nearly completing the route minus the summit of Baker.
Poor conditions on the mountain also prevented a summit of Baker during the first attempt on Aug. 9, 2013, in which Probst was in a group of four.
Two weeks later, Probst went alone and reached the summit, with the help of an American Alpine Institute guide, but couldn't complete the return run.