Owen Hatcher summited five of Juneau’s major peaks in one 15-hour endeavor, relying entirely on his own power, on Wednesday, July 29, 2020. (Courtesy photo / Owen Hatcher)

Owen Hatcher summited five of Juneau’s major peaks in one 15-hour endeavor, relying entirely on his own power, on Wednesday, July 29, 2020. (Courtesy photo / Owen Hatcher)

High 5: Juneau man summits 5 peaks in one Herculean run

His 15-hour trek covered nearly 60 miles of running and biking.

With the coronavirus affecting all aspects of human endeavor, many of us have turned to alternate ways of keeping busy.

Baking. Knitting. Video games.

Or, in Owen Hatcher’s case, summiting five mountains in one brutal run on manpower alone.

“I was just waiting for a nice day to try and do it,” Hatcher said in a phone interview. “There’s no racing or anything going on this year, so I was looking for something to go spend a day doing.”

A medevac pilot with Airlift Northwest, Hatcher is an avid cyclist turned runner, who ran up and down Mount McGinnis, Thunder Mountain, Mount Roberts, Mount Juneau, and Mount Jumbo in one exceptionally long run: 59 miles total distance, 20 miles of biking between trailheads, 39 miles of running with 19,000 feet of climbing. Biking between trailheads, Hatcher took 15 hours Wednesday, kicking off at 6:23 a.m, to hit all five peaks.

Courtesy photo / Owen Hatcher                                 Owen Hatcher ran up and down Mount McGinnis, Thunder Mountain, Mount Roberts, Mount Juneau and Mount Jumbo on July 29, 2020. He biked from trailhead to trailhead.

Courtesy photo / Owen Hatcher Owen Hatcher ran up and down Mount McGinnis, Thunder Mountain, Mount Roberts, Mount Juneau and Mount Jumbo on July 29, 2020. He biked from trailhead to trailhead.

“I’ve been running for three summers. I was a cyclist in Colorado. Cycling isn’t the most attractive thing in Juneau, so I was like, I should probably start running,” Hatcher said. “I basically just started running all the ridges in the Juneau area.”

The challenge, to hit the five peaks on manpower alone in one day, was inspired by a pair of runners who tried to do it earlier in the summer, in the face of all of 2020’s canceled races, Hatcher said, who were in turn inspired by a first-grader some years ago who did all five peaks in a summer. They laid out some rules for the challenge.

[First-grader summits five mountains in Juneau]

“One was that you have to bike to all the trailheads. It was all self-supported. You had to go up Thunder Mountain from the Jennifer Drive side,” Hatcher said. “The other one that was a big kick is that you had to get to Roberts Peak.”

Hatcher said it was a slog getting through to the end.

“Going up Jumbo, I was going to quit. Then, my wife told me she was going to meet me up there. I thought, ‘Ah, I can’t do that,’” Hatcher said. “You get to the top, and you’re kind of ready to celebrate, but you still got to make it down. My stomach was turning on me. I enjoyed the sunset, puking on top of Jumbo.”

Hatcher documented the trip on his Instagram, and other runners and outdoor enthusiasts saw him along the route, offering support and a much-needed beer at the finish.

Courtesy photo / Owen Hatcher                                 An inspirational rock atop Gastineau Peak seen as Owen Hatcher summited five of Juneau’s major peaks on Wednesday, July 29, 2020.

Courtesy photo / Owen Hatcher An inspirational rock atop Gastineau Peak seen as Owen Hatcher summited five of Juneau’s major peaks on Wednesday, July 29, 2020.

“I saw a lot of cool people on the trail. We all suffer through the rain and we’re all going through the same things and suddenly it’s nice out,” Hatcher said. “There’s a rock on top of Gastineau Peak that’s painted like an M&M guy, and on the back there’s painted on “Go a little past your comfort zone.” That really spoke to me. I chuckled to myself and thought, ‘OK, rock.’”

[Man flown to Seattle after early morning crash]

Hatcher carried all his supplies with him. He said that while the rainy summer has made running more difficult, he manages to get through. And when the weather cleared this week, he saw his shot and took it.

“Just carried some water, some electrolyte mix, some gels. PB&Js, stuff like that. I probably should have brought more food,” Hatcher said. “This summer’s been hard with COVID and quarantine and nonstop rain. It’s harder. The days when it’s pouring rain, I’ll look at my shoes for a long time and think, do I really want to do this? Sometimes the weather wins, and sometimes I push through.”

Hatcher had some suggestions for those who would attempt the challenge or anything like it.

“Plan a day where it’s not super hot. A nice overcast layer,” Hatcher said. “Remember why we’re out doing it, and it’s to have fun and push yourself through things you didn’t think you’re capable of.”

Hatcher said it was a rough ride, but after a day of being in rough shape, he’s bouncing back.

“This is by far the longest day I’ve ever done,” Hatcher said. “I couldn’t walk real well yesterday. Today I went on a walk on Sandy Beach with my dog and I’m about to go kayak with a buddy. I recovered a lot faster than I thought I would.”

• Contact reporter Michael S. Lockett at 757-621-1197 or mlockett@juneauempire.com.

More in News

Aurora Forecast

Forecasts from the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Geophysical Institute for the week of Feb. 5

Folks at the Alaska State Capitol openly admit to plenty of fish tales, but to a large degree in ways intended to benefit residents and sometimes even the fish. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
The bizarre bills other state legislatures are considering

Alaska’s Legislature isn’t mulling the headline-grabbers some statehouses have in the works.

This photo shows snow-covered hills in the Porcupine River Tundra in the Yukon Territories, Canada. In July 1997, a hunter contacted troopers in Fairbanks, Alaska, and reported finding a human skull along the Porcupine River, around 8 miles (13 kilometers) from the Canadian border. Investigators used genetic genealogy to help identify the remains as those of Gary Frank Sotherden, according to a statement Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023, from Alaska State Troopers. (AP Photo / Rick Bowmer)
Skull found in ‘97 in Interior belongs to New York man

A skull found in a remote part of Alaska’s Interior in 1997… Continue reading

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
Police calls for Saturday, Feb. 4, 2023

This report contains information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Officer William Hicks stands with JPD Chief Ed Mercer and Deputy Chief David Campbell during a swearing in ceremony for Hicks on Thursday at the JPD station in Lemon Creek. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire)
New officer joins JPD’s ranks

The Juneau Police Department welcomed a new officer to its ranks Thursday… Continue reading

These photos show Nova, a 3-year-old golden retriever, and the illegally placed body hold trap, commonly referred to as a Conibear trap, that caught her while walking near Outer Point Trail last week. (Courtesy / Jessica Davis)
Dog narrowly survives rare illegally placed trap in Juneau

State wildlife officials outlined what to do if found in similar situation

Gavel (Courtesy photo)
Public defender agency to refuse some cases, citing staffing

ANCHORAGE — A state agency that represents Alaskans who cannot afford their… Continue reading

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
Police: Gift card scam connected to hoax Fred Meyer threats

This article has been moved in front of the Empire’s paywall. A… Continue reading

This is a concept design drawing that was included in the request for proposal sent out by the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities seeking outside engineering and design services to determine whether it’s feasible to build a new ferry terminal facility in Juneau at Cascade Point. (Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities)
DOT takes steps toward potential Cascade Point ferry terminal facility

It would accommodate the Tazlina and or Hubbard, shorten trips to Haines and Skagway

Most Read