News & Features

Kalispell Firefighters Take Third in Seattle Stairclimb Competition

Local firefighters placed third out of 199 teams, climbing 69 floors of stairs in full gear

A team of firefighters from Kalispell placed third in a national stair climb competition in Seattle, Washington over the weekend.

Taylor Zachary, Kyle Gully and Don Thibert conquered the Columbia Center, the second tallest building west of the Mississippi at 788 vertical feet, in a total time of 42 minutes, seven seconds. The three men wore full gear and breathed from oxygen tanks strapped to their backs while climbing a total of 69 floors of stairs, or 1,356 steps, to reach the famous observation deck overlooking Seattle.

The local firefighters’ time was third fastest overall out of 199 teams from across the U.S. competing in the annual Scott Firefighter Stairclimb. The event is a fundraiser for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and raises money through sponsorships, individual and department fundraising and entry fees. In 2015, the event featured 1,900 firefighters from over 330 different departments and brought in a record $2.2 million dollars for blood-cancer research and patient services.

All three men who participated this year work for the Kalispell Fire Department and represented a team of Kalispell and Whitefish firefighters that formed years ago to participate in the fundraiser competition.

“Their accomplishment is awesome, not necessarily due to their time but for their involvement in the charity,” Kalispell Fire Chief Dave Dedman said.

Zachary, 32, placed 13th overall for his individual stretch. Gully, 34, placed 33rd and Thibert, 34, took 43rd.

A team of Missoula firefighters — Andrew Drobeck, Benjamin Brunsvold and Blake Meyers — won the event on Saturday for the fifth year in a row with a time of 36:42. Drobeck placed first as an individual, clocking 10:43 for his stretch, and Brunsvold took second, 11:18.

A team from Boise took second in 40:58.

For a complete breakdown of results, click here.