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Kendall Mountain Climbing

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  • Charles T. Thorn
    Below is an account taken from the November 16, 2006 Silverton Standard that reports the original article from the August 27, 1908 edition of the Silverton
    Message 1 of 2 , Nov 28, 2006
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      Below is an account taken from the November 16, 2006 Silverton
      Standard that reports the original article from the August 27, 1908
      edition of the Silverton Standard. I've heard several versions of
      this legend but this is the first time I've seen it written,
      apparently by a first hand observer. Enjoy.

      Charlie
      ==========================================
      Neil McQueig Establishes a New Record in Mountain Climbing

      Some time last week Charlie Worden of Animas Forks and J. H. Slattery
      got to talking about mountain climbing. Worden said that he knew a
      man working at the Frank Hough mine who could climb Kendall Mountain
      and return to Silverton in one hour and a half. Jack thought Charlie
      was suffering from a fit of temporary insanity and told him so. The
      question discussed pro and con and at last a wager of $200 a side was
      made.

      Worden bet that Neil McQueig could go from the center of the street
      in front of the Grand Hotel to the top of Kendall Mountain and thence
      back again to the place of beginning in one hour and thirty minutes
      or less. Slattery bet that he couldn't. The trial was arranged for
      Monday of this week between the hours of 9 and 11 a.m. The news of
      the wager had spread through the camp and interest was at a fever
      heat. The feat seemed so impossible to many that numerous bets were
      made that it could not be done in one hour and thirty-five minutes,
      forty, forty-five minutes and even two hours.

      When Monday morning came spectators began to line the street early.
      Every field glass and opera glass in the vicinity was brought into
      service to watch the climb. The judges selected were E.W. Hunt,
      Chas. Waters and S.D. Cunningham. The start was made promptly at
      10:45 a.m. Neil McQueig started off at a brisk walk with an easy
      stride, keeping up this pace until he reached the slope of Kendall
      Mountain nearly a mile from town. Then began the most remarkable
      exhibition of mountain climbing that has ever been witnessed anywhere
      in the world. The climber went steadily up, sometimes in a fast walk
      but more often he was seen running up the side of the hill like a
      mountain sheep and like his proto type, leaping over rocks and other
      obstructions in his way. Not once in the ascent did he stop to rest
      and in just one hour, seven minutes and forty seconds from the time
      of starting he touched the flagstaff on the summit of the peak. As
      soon as his hand had touched this staff the descent began and this
      was the most wonderful part of the whole performance. In going from
      the top to timberline McQueig took but six minutes. He leaped over
      rocks and bounded over small cliffs like a frightened deer. When he
      reaches the first bunch of timber, however, he lost his way for a
      time and thus lost a few precious minutes.

      When he again struck the route he came down faster than before, but
      near the foot of the mountain again took a wrong course and lost a
      little time. He arrived at the starting point just one hour,
      thirty-one minutes and forty-two and three-fifths seconds from the
      time he left.

      Kendall Mountain has an elevation of considerable 4,000 feet above
      the town, the slope is in the neighborhood of thirty degrees and the
      base of the mountain is nearly a mile away from the town. The round
      trip is a distance of between three and four miles. Taken altogether
      the wonderful performance of Neil McQueig is as remarkable an event
      in the athletic line as will ever be witnessed. We doubt if his
      equal in mountain climbing can ever be found in the world. He is a
      man small of stature apparently slight of build and when we consider
      that he is fifty-three years of age we marvel yet the more at his
      powers of endurance.

      We understand that arrangements are now being made to match him
      against a Colorado Springs man who claims to be the champion mountain
      climber of the world and we venture to say that when the match takes
      place the man from Colorado Springs will realize that he took in too
      much territory in making his claims.
    • Matt Mahoney
      Amazing. I recall the winning time in the Kendall Mt. half marathon in 2003 was 1:50, and that was on a nice jeep road with aid stations. I took a couple
      Message 2 of 2 , Nov 28, 2006
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        Amazing. I recall the winning time in the Kendall Mt. half marathon in 2003 was 1:50, and that was on a nice jeep road with aid stations. I took a couple pictures of the course at http://www.mattmahoney.net/2003/index.html (about 1/4 way down the page). A couple years before that Aki Inoye and I took the more direct route straight up Kendall Mt bushwacking up the north couloir you can see from town, probably more like the route McQuieg took. I can't imagine it being faster than the road.

        -- Matt Mahoney, matmahoney@...

        ----- Original Message ----
        From: Charles T. Thorn <thorn@...>
        To: HRList <hr100@yahoogroups.com>
        Sent: Tuesday, November 28, 2006 2:34:32 PM
        Subject: [hr100] Kendall Mountain Climbing

        Below is an account taken from the November 16, 2006 Silverton
        Standard that reports the original article from the August 27, 1908
        edition of the Silverton Standard. I've heard several versions of
        this legend but this is the first time I've seen it written,
        apparently by a first hand observer. Enjoy.

        Charlie
        ==========================================
        Neil McQueig Establishes a New Record in Mountain Climbing

        Some time last week Charlie Worden of Animas Forks and J. H. Slattery
        got to talking about mountain climbing. Worden said that he knew a
        man working at the Frank Hough mine who could climb Kendall Mountain
        and return to Silverton in one hour and a half. Jack thought Charlie
        was suffering from a fit of temporary insanity and told him so. The
        question discussed pro and con and at last a wager of $200 a side was
        made.

        Worden bet that Neil McQueig could go from the center of the street
        in front of the Grand Hotel to the top of Kendall Mountain and thence
        back again to the place of beginning in one hour and thirty minutes
        or less. Slattery bet that he couldn't. The trial was arranged for
        Monday of this week between the hours of 9 and 11 a.m. The news of
        the wager had spread through the camp and interest was at a fever
        heat. The feat seemed so impossible to many that numerous bets were
        made that it could not be done in one hour and thirty-five minutes,
        forty, forty-five minutes and even two hours.

        When Monday morning came spectators began to line the street early.
        Every field glass and opera glass in the vicinity was brought into
        service to watch the climb. The judges selected were E.W. Hunt,
        Chas. Waters and S.D. Cunningham. The start was made promptly at
        10:45 a.m. Neil McQueig started off at a brisk walk with an easy
        stride, keeping up this pace until he reached the slope of Kendall
        Mountain nearly a mile from town. Then began the most remarkable
        exhibition of mountain climbing that has ever been witnessed anywhere
        in the world. The climber went steadily up, sometimes in a fast walk
        but more often he was seen running up the side of the hill like a
        mountain sheep and like his proto type, leaping over rocks and other
        obstructions in his way. Not once in the ascent did he stop to rest
        and in just one hour, seven minutes and forty seconds from the time
        of starting he touched the flagstaff on the summit of the peak. As
        soon as his hand had touched this staff the descent began and this
        was the most wonderful part of the whole performance. In going from
        the top to timberline McQueig took but six minutes. He leaped over
        rocks and bounded over small cliffs like a frightened deer. When he
        reaches the first bunch of timber, however, he lost his way for a
        time and thus lost a few precious minutes.

        When he again struck the route he came down faster than before, but
        near the foot of the mountain again took a wrong course and lost a
        little time. He arrived at the starting point just one hour,
        thirty-one minutes and forty-two and three-fifths seconds from the
        time he left.

        Kendall Mountain has an elevation of considerable 4,000 feet above
        the town, the slope is in the neighborhood of thirty degrees and the
        base of the mountain is nearly a mile away from the town. The round
        trip is a distance of between three and four miles. Taken altogether
        the wonderful performance of Neil McQueig is as remarkable an event
        in the athletic line as will ever be witnessed. We doubt if his
        equal in mountain climbing can ever be found in the world. He is a
        man small of stature apparently slight of build and when we consider
        that he is fifty-three years of age we marvel yet the more at his
        powers of endurance.

        We understand that arrangements are now being made to match him
        against a Colorado Springs man who claims to be the champion mountain
        climber of the world and we venture to say that when the match takes
        place the man from Colorado Springs will realize that he took in too
        much territory in making his claims.


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