Velocity North

According to NASA’s Sentinels of Climate Change, the earth loses approximately 400 billion tons of ice from its glaciers each year due to climate change.


It’s hard to imagine 400 billion of anything, but it isn’t difficult to see the effects of warming temperatures on glaciers around the world, and the Arctic has been losing its glacial mass at a much faster rate than anywhere else in the world, with Greenland and Iceland alone accounting for more than 280 billion tons of annual ice loss.

While running 400 billion miles would be a bit too much to take on in a year, taking on 400,000 (or 0.0001% of the total) might be more manageable.

In 2019, I’m inviting people from around the world to join a challenge based on this data to help make the scale of ice melt at least a little more tangible.

I will be taking on the challenge of running, skiing, climbing, and biking 400,000 feet (or 125,000 meters) of vertical ascent, and would love as many people to join me as possible!

Here’s how it breaks down:

125,000 meters / 400,000 feet a year = 2,400 m / 7,700 ft a week = 345 m / 1,100 ft a day

Some Vertical North runners (or skiers, bikers, and climbers) may choose to work together in a group or aim for some fraction of the 400,000 feet.

You could tackle 40,000 feet for the year — or 12,500 m (800 ft/wk) to make the goal more manageable.

For comparison, a flight of stairs is about 12 vertical feet, so 40,000 ft a year that would be an average of 10 flights of stairs each day for a year.

Are you in?

Share your goal in the Vertical North Facebook group and join the VN Strava page to share your progress.