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One of the premier land events of the FIBArk Whitewater Festival is the Tenderfoot Hillclimb; a breathtaking climb up to the top of Salida’s signature hill, and back down. Elijah Wilcox took top bragging rights for the men’s final in Thursday evening’s Tenderfoot Hill Climb, making it up the mountain and back down across the finish line in 10 minutes, 38 seconds.

Bean Minor and Jason Murphy came in at 11:04 and 11:07 respectively, for second and third place.

The annual event drew throngs of race watchers to Salida’s F Street Thursday night, officially starting the 2022 FIBArk events. The race begins at the corner of F Street and Sackett Avenue. Runners head straight up Tenderfoot (“S” Mountain), scrambling for the fastest route up and down, with nearly 600 feet of vertical gain.  The “social” paths are steeply angled and full of sand, clay, loose gravel and scrub brush. The best course is whatever a person needs to get to the top of the hill and back again, hopefully in one piece.

Winners typically make the route in under 12 minutes, with prizes for the top three male and female finishers.

Featured image: The pack breaks around the curve off F Street in Thursday evening’s Tenderfoot Hill Climb. Photo by Tara Flanagan.