Colorado Springs resident Greg Cummings, a Type 1 diabetic, reached another big goal on Thursday (May 29, 2013) when he tagged the summit of the famous Incline for the 1,000th time in only 250 days.
About 30 friends and family members, including his wife, Alison, and daughters, Christi and Danielle, made the climb to celebrate the moment.
"It feels very cool," Cummings said. "Two-hundred and fifty days, 1,000 ascents, no days off."
Cummings began the adventure on Sept. 22, 2013, with the goal of climbing 1,000 times in a year to promote his new nonprofit Change 4 Diabetes, http://change4diabetes.org/.
Cummings wants to find a practical cure and essentially stop the deadly disease. Researchers believe that a cure can be found in the next 10 years.
Though one Incline ascent per week is plenty for most people, Cummings wasn't finished.He plans to climb a few more times in the month of May to increase his world record of vertical feet climbed in a month.
The numbers look like this:
The journey to 1,000, has included climbing a whopping 2 million feet.
In the last 29 days he has claimed the world record for vertical feet climbed at 330,000. The old record had been 328,000 feet set by skier Greg Hill of Revelstoke, British Columbia (http://mjm.ag/1iw6XPW).
"I'm going to try to move that up a ways in the next three days," Cummings said.
The Incline community - a rugged group of trail runners and hikers - has followed Cummings' journey. They cheered and popped the cork on a bottle of champagne as he ran the final steps to the summit.
The Incline is an old railway bed that stretches to the sky above Manitou Springs, Colo. It is a mile in length with a staggering vertical gain of about 2,000 feet. In some places the grade exceeds 60 percent.
Cummings had initially set out to climb 1,000 times in a year. He began on Sept. 22, 2013, and the numbers rolled up quickly as he gained momentum through the winter, often climbing by himself and monitoring his blood sugar levels in freezing weather.
He hit 500 on Valentine's Day (in 146 days). Then set a new record for Incline climbs in a year with 720 on April 4. The old mark (719) was set by his friend Roger Austin in 2013.
Alison Cummings said she was skeptical when Greg told her of his plans to go for 1,000.
"I thought he was crazy and I wasn't sure it was a good idea," Alison said. "But I'm glad he did it and I'm proud of him. I think he has overcome an amazing obstacle. There is nothing he can't do. Sometimes he'd get as little as four hours of sleep and he'd be back up climbing. But this has changed him for the better."
His daughters noticed a change, as well.
"He worked really hard for this," Christi Cummings said. "I think this is the happiest I've ever seen him."