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A man is using his nose to push a peanut up to the summit of Colorado's Pikes Peak


OK. So hiking to the top of one of Colorado's highest peaks is a favorite summertime activity. But what about crawling? Well, right now, one man is ascending Pikes Peak on his hands and knees, pushing a peanut with his nose. From member station KRCC in Colorado Springs, Abigail Beckman reports.

ABIGAIL BECKMAN, BYLINE: Fifty-three-year-old Bob Salem is lying on his stomach in the red dirt at the base of the nearly 13-mile trail to the top of Pikes Peak.

BOB SALEM: Basically, I'm just going to sit here and low crawl my way up here.

BECKMAN: The Army vet and stay-at-home dad is wearing a device affixed to his face that looks like both a homemade gas mask and the trunk of a very skinny elephant. It's made out of a mask from a CPAP machine with a black plastic serving spoon duct taped to it. A peanut in its shell rests on the ground in front of him.

SALEM: I mean, there's not really much to it but just to keep flicking.

BECKMAN: There's nothing fast about pushing a peanut this way, especially to the top of a mountain more than 14,000 feet above sea level. But for Salem, this isn't about working quickly.

SALEM: It gives me an opportunity to celebrate our nice little city here. And I have a charity that I'm on the board of, and I get to actually talk about that a little bit. Where'd it go? There it is.

BECKMAN: The charity works to house people experiencing homelessness. Salem never touches the peanut with his hands. As he flicks it forward, he encounters a trail runner coming down.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: You're not doing this all the way up to the peak, are you?

SALEM: Oh, yeah.


SALEM: Yep, all the way up.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: Oh, my gosh. You are the man, I tell you.

SALEM: (Laughter).

BECKMAN: Salem is attempting to become the fourth person to push a peanut up Pikes Peak with his nose. The first was in 1929. Local historian Michael Maio says it took three weeks.

MICHAEL MAIO: There were stories about squirrels and tourists taking his peanuts. And so he had to keep replacing the peanuts with a new supply.

BECKMAN: Other pushers made it to the summit in 1963 and 1976. Salem thought he could finish in three days. That was three days ago. His current progress is about 4 1/2 miles, less than halfway. He's camping along the way. A spotter is carrying his backpack.

SALEM: Well, I got kneepads and elbow pads - OK? - in my trusty little hat here. For the higher elevations, I got, like, a one-piece snow suit if I need it or something like that. But other than that, just some sunscreen and (laughter)...

BECKMAN: He hopes he'll reach the top by the weekend. For NPR News, I'm Abigail Beckman in Colorado Springs. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Abigail Beckman
Abigail grew up in Palmer Lake, Co. She has a bachelor's degree in Mass Communications and Spanish as well as a Master's degree in communications. Previously, she worked for the Dodge City Daily Globe in Dodge City, Kan. and for 89.1 KMUW in Wichita Kan.