In a never before attempted feat, outdoor enthusiast Jesus Leon took it upon himself to traverse the 78.6 mile distance from the Santa Monica beach to the summit of Mount Baldy and back down.
In this daring sea to summit journey Leon was on his feet for over 21 hours, braved 35 mph winds, and descended the steep mountainside in the dark — all without any assistance.
Leon is a remarkable man in many ways. He beat cancer in his early twenties and then discovered a love for fitness and the outdoors.
When people meet him they often mistake him for a coach or a motivational speaker, as he is always cheering others on or heading a pack of hikers.
“I guess I give off the vibe of being a leader, but I’m actually just a simple cook,” said Leon, who works at UCLA.
This campus is where he first discovered his passion for running. With a goal of improving his fitness, Leon set off for a simple 30 minute jog after work one day only to find himself continuing for two and a half hours.
“I remember I felt so energized and alive,” said Leon. “Actually, the only reason I stopped running was because I had to use the restroom.”
Soon Leon was running marathons, hiking every weekend, and looking for any opportunity to push his limits. The Santa Monica beach to Mount Baldy expedition provided a new type of challenge, requiring both an ultra marathon run and a 10,000ft elevation hike.
“My inspiration wasn’t just to be the first one, but it was to test myself to the extreme,” said Leon. “When you are feeling down, the best way to make yourself feel better and to get out of that mindset is to make yourself feel accomplished.” ...