Speed hiker Ted "Cave Dog" Keizer has a blistering dream: to climb 140,000 vertical feet in the Adirondacksin five days
UPDATEJuly 1, 2002: Cave Dog Nails Adirondack Peaks Record
IN SEPTEMBER 2000, Ted E. Keizer smashed the record for climbing Colorado’ 14,000-foot peaks, scuttling up and down all 55 in ten days, 20 hours, and 26 minutes. This summer, the unsponsored 30-year-old—a wandering adventurer who goes by the name Cave Dog—hopes to do something similar in New York’s Adirondacks. On June 23, having memorized dozens of routes, run 7,000 vertical feet of stairs countless times, and assembled a 12-person crew to keep him fed and hydrated, he’ll blitz the range’s 46 highest peaks (most around 4,000 feet) to challenge the 1977 record of four days, 18 hours, 18 minutes. Why? Only the Dog can explain.
Q: What’s up with the nickname?
A: Well, when I was in Crested Butte, I had a friend who has the nickname Scurv E. Dawg. One thing led to another, and because I was living in this cave, I became Cave Dog.
Q: Doesn’t blasting over peaks in record time limit your enjoyment of the outdoors?
A: No. When you’re out there running in the mountains, your pulse is up, your blood pressure is up, and your mind works ten times faster. You appreciate a lot more.
Q: You had to deal with high altitude and iced-over routes in Colorado. What are you most worried about this time?
A: Blackflies. They’re legendary in the Adirondacks. They crawl up your nose, in your ears, in your mouth. I’ll be moving, but my support crew could be eaten alive.
Q: Will you sleep?
A: Probably not on this one, because it’s under five days.
Q: You’re a self-described bum. Where do you live?
A: Usually I live out of my car. When I was in Crested Butte, Colorado, in the winter of 1995, I lived in a cave. It was a great cave. It had a nice flat shelf high up, where it was a little warmer. It was regularly bottoming out my thermometer at negative 20.
Q: What sort of work have you done?
A: Oh, I’ve done everything from backing crabs on the docks of Charleston, Oregon, to flying hot-air balloons in the desert outside Phoenix. I’ve driven an ambulance, been a moving man, delivered pizzas, taught ninth-grade geology, guided sea-kayaking tours. The speed climbing is just one more item in my quest to figure out the world.