August 24, 2010. Grouse Mountain, North Vancouver, Twenty-threeyear-old Sebastian Salas of Vancouver knew when he reached the ¾ mark of the Grouse Grind trail in just over 18 minutes that he stood a real chance of setting a new course record today.
To say the previous record of 24:22 – set by New Zealand champion mountain runner Jonathan Wyatt – was “beaten” is an understatement. Shaving 32 seconds off a world-class, 6-year record is better described with superlatives such as “annihilated” or “destroyed”.
Says Salas of his astounding performance: “I was just trying for another fast time today. The last quarter was very fast for me; I didn’t really know how fast I could go. It’s kind of nice that the record for the Grind is back in Vancouver.”
Salas is now the current titleholder for both the “official” and “recreational” Grouse Grind times. Official times are set during the annual BMO Grouse Grind Mountain Run, where the start and finish lines are set a ways back from the trail entrance and trail head. Undertaking the Grouse Grind outside of the race sets the recreational time, in the same way the daily traffic of hikers would. Electronic devices known as “Grind Timers” record times.
Sebastian has been quietly attempting to beat Jonathan Wyatt’s recreational time by training on the Grind this season, building up to today’s mind-boggling climb.
The Grouse Grind is a 2.9km hike up the side of Grouse Mountain. It is a grueling workout that has earned the nickname “Mother Nature’s Stairmaster” and has become a cultural phenomenon in Vancouver. Having a good “Grind Time” is cause for bragging rights for locals.