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Baldy Hill Climb Turns Out a Record Number of Participants
A future Baldy Hill Climb participant shows off the ribbon she won for running 200 yards up Lower River Run in the Kindercup race.
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Monday, October 2, 2023


Tess O’Sullivan has taken part in the Baldy Hill Climb at least 10 times. But it wasn’t the year that it snowed that she remembers. It was the time her then-10-year-old son Duncan Fryberger beat her husband Jeremy Fryberger.

“Now, both my kids—Duncan and Nina, who’s 10 now--beat me. But I love it. The Baldy Hill Climb is part of the community, what Sun Valley’s all about. It’s a fun part of mountain culture,” she said.

Duncan Fryberger, now 14, is still running strong. On Saturday he beat not only Mom but he came in fifth among the 87 serious competitors as they ran 1.8 miles and 2,045 vertical feet from the bottom of River Run to the Roundhouse Restaurant.

Peter Wolter pounds his way down Roundhouse Lane enroute to the finish line, which lay just uphill from the Roundhouse Gondola.

Peter Wolter, the defending Baldy Hill Climb champion, won the climb for the second straight year. He edged out Miles Fink-Debray, who has won the Hill Climb six times, by just under a minute. Mariah Bredal came in first among the women, edging out two-time winner Alexa Turzian, the 2022 leading female, by more than five minutes.

“I didn’t care much for the start or the run down the cat track to the finish line because you’re forced to run,” said Wolter, who won the 2022 Boulder Mountain Tour and took part in his first Nordic World Cup race in 2022. “I like pole climbing up the hill.”

This year’s Baldy Hill Climb brought out a record number of participants despite a forecast of rain. Nearly 300 adults and youth took part, perhaps because the race course was moved from its usual 3,140-vertical foot climb up Warm Springs because of chairlift construction on the Warm Springs side.

Another 15 youngsters 3 and older took part in a 200-yard dash up Lower River Run for which they were rewarded for with blue ribbons and--even more coveted--cookies.

Miles Fink-Debray holds the course record for the Baldy Hill Climb but Peter Wolter denied Fink-Debray his seventh overall title on Saturday.

One dog—Kelly Cavanaugh’s husky mix named Canoe—also took part.

As it turned out, the weather couldn’t have been more perfect with temperatures hanging in the 50s, no wind and a thin cloud cover that kept the runners from getting too hot. An overnight rain had settled the dust and the mountains north of Ketchum were crowned with snow.

It would be another 24 hours before snow would fall on the top of Baldy.

“I figure people looked at this and said, ‘We’re not going to top of the Baldy this year. I can get a hike in and take the gondola down,” said Kim Nalen, who was among the hikers.

Stratton Cunningham and Dan Chudleigh lead a line of runners up Mid-River Run.

Fifty-eight men ranging in age from 10 to 83-year-old Sam East ran competitively. “You’re looking at the last place finisher,” East quipped as he did a little jig around his hiking poles while climbing up Lower River Run.

As it turned out, he did not finish last.

Twenty-nine women ranging in age from 12 to 67 took part in the competitive class with all but two youngsters finishing in 55 minutes or less.

“It’s really tiring. And if it’s sunny, the heat gets to you,” said 13-year-old Katie Cannon.

Wes Fleuchaus makes his way up Mid River Run ahead of Daisy Fair. He would go on to finish 26th among the competitors.

Now in its 45th year, the Baldy Hill Climb is one of Sun Valley’s hardest races, especially if you’re climbing 1.86 miles and 3,140 vertical feet to the top of Warm Springs, said Kelly Yeates, who has been helping to put the race on now for 16 years.

The Hill Climb is put on by the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation’s Nordic team as a fundraiser. There are now 250 kids involved in the Nordic program alone.

“It’s hard—the steepest race I take part in, but it’s something to do,” said 14-year-old Lauryn Stevens, a mountain bike and Nordic racer.


1-Peter Wolter, :30 minutes, 38 seconds; 2-Miles Fink-Debray, 31 minutes, 42 seconds; 3-Jackson Long, 32 minutes; 4-Mariah Bredal, 32:02; 5-Duncan Fryberger, 0:33:07; 6-Richard Feldman, 0:33:16; 7-Galen Grohusky, 33:50; 8-Zack Beatty, 0:34: 23; 9-Jack Adicoff, 0:35:25; 10-Otus Beason, 0:35:390.


1-Peter Wolter, 25 years old, 0:30:38; 2-Miles Fink-Debray, 35, 0:31:42; 3-Jackson Long, 29, 0:32:00; 4-Duncan Fryberger, 14, 0:33:07; 5-Richard Feldman, 54, 0:33:16; 6-Galen Grohusky, 18, 0:33:50; 7-Zack Beatty, 37, 0:34:23; 8-Jake Adicoff, 28, 0:35:25; 9-Otus Beason, 18, 0:35:39; 10-Townes Van Der Meulen, 14, 0:36:15.


1-Mariah Bredal, 25, 0:32:02; 2-Alexa Turzian, 35, 37:29; 3-Lili Hansen, 36, 0:38:32; 4-Daisy Fair, 47, 0:40:14; 5-Heidi Peterson, 34, 0:40:14; 6-Dayna Gross, 49, 0:40:36; 7-Sophia Deming, 25, 0:43-12; 8-Tizz Strachan, 55, 0:43-29; 9-Geraldine Carter, 48, 0:43:42; 10-Julie Cord, 56, 0:43:42.

See complete results at


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