3 More Join Me in Cathedral of Learning Everest Club

by Danny Chew

On Sunday, February 15, 2009, we were going to start climbing at 6am, but when we got there, my friend Jon Pratt had jumped the starting gun and began climbing at 4:47am so he was already on his 7th/8th climb when triathlete Ken Delraso & I started climbing at 6am.  One climb later, rookie multiple climb (23 times up) record holder endurance runner Richard Burgunder joined us.  Climbing about one time up per hour faster than Rich & I, Jon & Ken kept lapping us all day.  Being High Man (person with most climbs in) for most of the day, Jon finally called it quits after 68 climbs in 12 Hours, 10 Minutes or 12:10.  Averaging 5.6 climbs per hour, Jon bettered his old PR from 40 climbs to 68 for a 70% increase.  Still High Man of the day when he quit, he briefly held the 3rd most climbs ever done behind my 101 and 86.

Lapping Jon about 4 times throughout the day, Ken stopped after 70 climbs in 12:04.  Averaging 5.8 climbs per hour, Ken bettered his old PR from 55 climbs to 70 for a 27% increase.  Wanting to beat my 101 record, Rich wasn't eating or drinking enough (despite me constantly reminding him) and began cramping - slowing his pace way down.  When his rate of decay implied he might not have even tied my 101 record in 24 hours, he decided to call it quits at 9:44pm after 71 climbs in 15:34.  Averaging 4.6 climbs per hour, Rich bettered his old PR from 23 climbs to 71 for a whopping 209% increase.  On only his 2nd time ever climbing the building, he more than tripled his PR.  Asking his body to more than quadruple his old PR was too much.  He also nearly doubled his longest exercise effort - an 8 hour, 50 mile trail run.  If anything, I hope this taught him the importance of nutrition.  I do commend him for pacing himself properly.

Still recovering from a herniated disk in my lower back, I climbed with Rich the entire day, and after he quit, I climbed some more - stopping at 10:26pm after 75 climbs in 16:26.  Averaging the same rate as Rich, I ended High Man of the day with the 3rd most climbs ever done behind my own 101 and 86.

66 times up is 5.5 vertical miles or the equivalent of going from sea level to the top of Mt. Everest!  Congrats to the 3 new people who joined me in the Cathedral of Learning Everest Club.  The top 6 climbs are now:

101 times by Danny Chew     in 2007
 86 times by Danny Chew     in 1993
 75 times by Danny Chew     in 2009
 71 times by Rich Burgunder in 2009
 70 times by Ken Delraso    in 2009
 68 times by Jon Pratt      in 2009

Ken was clearly the fastest/strongest climber of the day!

Mark Bailey climbed 32 times, bettering his old PR of 24 by 33%.

Rich's endurance running friend Jeremy Shearer beat Rich's rookie multiple climb record by 3 times.  Doing 26 climbs in 4:30, Jeremy averaged 5.8 climbs per hour.

Northern Group ride leader Mark Hess also climbed 26 times to set his new PR, and to beat his buddies Dave Shaffer & Chad Huddy who just set their new PRs of 24 climbs each before Hess.

Ken's girlfriend Dina Sulyma set the new women's multiple climb record of 24 times up or two vertical (Warren Delraso) miles.  This tripled her old PR of 8 times up!  Dina beat Julia Ross' old record of 20 times up.

George Kastrounis set a new PR of 17 times up.  A big thanks to George who went home, showered, ate a meal, and relaxed before coming back to the building (with his mother) to climb more times with Rich & I in the evening.  He is a golf course caddy in New York State where he worked for/with Michael Jordan.

Meredith Wessel set her new PR of 14.25 times up.

We made the local news on KDKA at:


These are photos Rich e-mailed me:

Rich & I with his parents

Rich & I with his parents Richard (far left) & Margie (far right)

Ken videotaping Rich

Ken videotaping Rich

New women's record holder Dina Sulyma

New women's record holder Dina Sulyma