Hiker Falls Short on Bold Rockies ‘Grand Slam’ Attempt

A man who endeavored to link up virtually all of the United States’ tallest Rocky Mountains on foot has bailed on the challenge.

Jason Heyn, 26, launched his attempt at the “Rocky Mountain Grand Slam,” a 120-peak circuit throughout Colorado, Wyoming, and Montana, in June. The challenge consists of summitting all 58 Colorado “14ers,” or peaks over 14,000 feet, then all 36 peaks over 13,000 feet in Wyoming, then all 27 over 12,000 in Montana.

Though a small coterie of hikers had previously completed the route, Heyn’s effort would be unprecedented: He would undertake it without help from cars or other motor transport.

Heyn’s on-foot tour ended last week near the town of Red Lodge, Mont. He finished with 104 peaks in 111 days and 2,681 miles (4,315km), Out There Colorado reported. Walking toward the small mountain town along a highway, he took a ride when it was offered, ending his bid.

Heyn only gave up on this one when he feared he might lose appendages to frostbite.

“There’s definitely some discoloration still,” Heyn told Out There after the attempt, back at his parents’ house in Gaithersburg, Md.

Heyn offered a daring report of the adventure, involving risky ropeless escapades and open country where grizzly bears outnumbered people. He estimated his most dangerous moments, though, were likely in civilization — walking along busy highways for hundreds of kilometers.

The young hiker looked to the future with a feeling familiar to anyone who engages in so-called “type 2 fun.”

“I was thinking, man, I’m never gonna have this again,” he said. “But in the back of my head, I’m definitely gonna do something like this again.”

Sam Anderson

Sam Anderson spent his 20s as an adventure rock climber, scampering throughout the western U.S., Mexico, and Thailand to scope out prime stone and great stories. Life on the road gradually transformed into a seat behind the keyboard, where he acted as a founding writer of the AllGear Digital Newsroom and earned 1,500+ bylines in four years on topics from pro rock climbing to slingshots and scientific breakthroughs.