Nathan Longhurst was no stranger to the outdoors as a child. He grew up skiing and running with his parents just outside his hometown of Spokane, Washington. The town has what Longhurst describes as a “mellow outdoors scene,” and that the culture surrounding the outdoors there is not intimidating, making it feel more accessible. He was introduced to rock climbing in a gym in middle school and started running on the cross country team around the same time. He found enjoyment in running the trail system near the house where he grew up.
As Longhurst matured as an athlete, he found a passion for long endurance efforts that combined climbing and running. He fell in love with mountaineering and speed-mountaineering, and began climbing mountains in a “fast and light” style. Longhurst gave college a try, but ultimately decided it wasn’t for him and chose a nomadic lifestyle where he could follow the seasons in order to climb and ski in the best conditions.
In 2021, Longhurst became the youngest person to complete the Bulger list, a list of the 100 tallest peaks of Washington State, by climbing them all in a 94-day timespan. He was also the second person to complete the list within a single season. The completion of the Bulger list gave Longhurst the confidence and experience to be able to take on the SPS list. Having spent enough time in the Sierras to appreciate how amazing they are, but not enough time to truly get to know the mountain range, Longhurst is excited for an in-depth exploration. The variety of modes of travel through the mountain range, from skiing to trail running to scrambling and technical climbing, also captures his attention. Longhurst will be working with the Bishop Paiute tribe alongside Travis Soares to help raise funds for the tribe’s food sovereignty program.
Travis Soares considered himself the “angsty hippy kid” growing up. He was a bit of an oddity, insisting on attending track practice barefoot and voraciously reading works by John Muir and Henry David Thoreau. After high school, Soares attended a small college in Prescott, Arizona, majoring in adventure education and outdoor leadership where he discovered and cultivated a passion for rock climbing, trail running, and backpacking. Soares took on the 2,190-mile Appalachian Trail in 2018, climbed The Nose of El Capitan in Yosemite Valley, and holds 17 FKTs throughout California, Arizona, and Nevada.
Soares realized how much he enjoyed run-plus-climb style efforts when he started jogging out to the crag behind his dorm room in college. He couldn’t find a climbing partner who wanted to run to the crag with him to climb, so he started doing it on his own and free-soloing some of the easier routes. A few years later, Soares found himself running FKTs that involved the same style of athletic play, and he recognized that his body was built for the niche sport of moving fast over technical terrain.
The SPS list caught Soares’ attention because of its many aesthetic routes on ridgelines and peaks. Climbing all the peaks on the SPS list will take him places that he may not otherwise go, and it plays to his insatiable sense of curiosity and exploration. Soares hopes to use the FKT attempt on the SPS list to bring awareness to and start conversations about land acknowledgment and paying respect to the history of the land and indigenous peoples. Soares also finds a passion in decreasing food waste and making environmentally responsible foods more accessible to those who need it. Combining these two passions inspired Soares to work alongside the Bishop Paiute Tribe Food Sovereignty Program.