Southern Utah News Articles
Top Stories for November 12, 2020
Stroeer and friends set R2R2R-alt record
What’s on your to-do list? Mine often consists of writing a couple of stories, getting several things accomplished around the house, and maybe a walk around the block! Not a challenging list.
Well Suzanne “Sunny” Stroeer, new owner of Dreamland Safari Tours in Kanab with husband Paul Gagner, had her sights set a tidbit higher. Sunny grew up in Germany, went to college and earned an MBA at Harvard Business School. She fell in love with long distance running and rock climbing while in college.
The ultra marathoner, after having moved here and taking on the beautiful scenery and dramatic and inviting recreational opportunities, decided along with two Colorado friends, to take on a really large challenge. Large really doesn’t quite describe it. We’re talking an amazing, record-setting accomplishment by the three women.
So, what did they do? A Grand Canyon Rim to Rim to Rim alternate run. That means what they accomplished on the Bass Trail was dramatically more of a challenge than a typical Rim to Rim hike.
“There is a Grand Canyon Rim to Rim, but this is a double cross,” said Stroeer.
So two times, rim to rim and back to rim! They were able to establish the first female record of a double-crossing of the Bass Trail.
Stroeer did it with a good Colorado friend Christin Healey, and her friend Lexi Miller, also of Colorado. The trio started on the North Rim around 2 a.m., on the North Bass Trail, and made it to the river shortly after first light. The South Bass side was easier and faster compared to North Bass. The main concerns for them were the heat and managing their water.
After reaching the South Rim, the group returned to the river around 3:30 p.m., and crossed back to the north side. The river crossing went well because of low water caused by a drought over the summer without any monsoon rains. They carried two wetsuits, swim buoys, and a pack raft for the crossing, as Lexi did not want to swim across.
They started the slow and tedious ascent back up to the trailhead. Navigating the trail on the return trip in the dark was even a bigger challenge than the hike down.
Their accomplishment covered 42 miles, 30,000 feet of elevation change, and for good measure, two swims across the Colorado River, since there’s no connecting bridge between North and South Bass Trails! They did the trek in 22 hours, 27 minutes, 20 seconds. Night, daytime and elevation temps varied dramatically, from mid to high 30’s on top, to 80’s at the bottom.
A website specifically for ultra marathoners called ‘Fastest Known Time’ keeps the records and validates record runs. Their feat was also validated by live GPS tracking.
“I get bored easily,” said Stroeer, “so I’m always looking for a challenge. I really like pushing myself in outdoor endeavors. I’m always looking, because I love the Grand Canyon.”