An Unalaska local climbed Bunker Hill more than 300 times this year

A man standing on top of a hill at night holding a sign that says 321 on it. The lights of Dutch Harbor and Unalaska are in the background below.
Sean Peters completed his 321st trip up Bunker Hill on Tuesday night, beating his personal record up the iconic Unalaska landmark. (Courtesy of Sean Peters)

Unalaska resident Sean Peters broke his personal record this year by making the one-mile hike up Bunker Hill 321 times. The 24-year-old says that averages out to more than once a day for every day he’s been on island in 2021.

Peters said he’s leaving town this weekend and won’t be back until the new year. But before heading out for the holidays, he wanted to break his personal climbing record up the iconic Unalaska landmark.

KUCB’s Hope McKenney sat down with Peters on Wednesday to talk about why he hikes Bunker and how it felt to reach that milestone on Tuesday night.

Listen here:

Sean Peters: In 2017, I just got 19 [hikes up Bunker Hill]. But in 2018, I got 155. My dad and I got it together. In fact, my dad actually was the one who kind of got me started on that. He and I both wanted to see how many we could do. And we both ended at 155 together in 2018. In 2019, I got 111. But in 2020, I wanted to get 201 because I knew someone who got 200 in a year. I was like, ‘I gotta get just one more,’ but I had over a month left. So I went from doing once a day to twice a day so I could get past 250 and I ended up getting 255. And then yesterday, I got, you know, 321.

Hope McKenney: Wow. I love going up Bunker, because not only can you do it kind of in any weather — there’s a road that you can go up — but also when you get to the top, it’s just such a beautiful view of kind of every part of Unalaska. Can you talk a little bit about what it’s like when you get to the top?

Sean Peters: Oh, it’s just a beautiful view. On windy days, you got to be careful though, because sometimes, like if you go up the backside, especially, you’re protected and then you get pretty much to the top and then you could get blown off. The day after that major storm in October that we had that was blowing over 100, my dad and I went up there and it had calmed down a lot, but it was still pretty windy. So you have to climb the rocks to get to the bunker. I was afraid I’d get blown off, so I crawled to make sure I was safe. And it’s amazing what I’ve seen on that hike too, though, like I’ve run into people I haven’t seen for years on that hike. It’s just always exciting, you never know who you’re going to run into. Sometimes I’ve run into over a dozen people just on one trip. But last year — I’ve only seen one here in my entire life — it was a night hike up Bunker Hill, I saw snowy owl and my first thought was there was a seagull, but I was like, ‘Why would a lone seagull be flying around at night?’ And it was flying different than a seagull flies. But like I was shining the flashlight at it and it was like kind of hovering over me looking at me and I got to see its flat face. I got to see its feathers and I got to know for sure it was a snowy owl. That was last year. This year, I saw some sort of falcon. I’m not sure what kind of raptor it is. It could have been a kite, a falcon, a hawk or whatever. But I saw one. And then just last week when it was night, down towards the bottom, I saw some sort of black raptor flying around.

A view of harbor and city lights from above, in the dark
Looking down on Unalaska from Bunker Hill. (Courtesy of Sean Peters)

Hope McKenney: Yeah, I was gonna ask you, do you have kind of a most memorable trip up Bunker Hill? Sounds like you’ve had a few pretty beautiful experiences.

Sean Peters: Oh, man, it is tough to pick a single most memorable one. Because whenever I hike it with friends and family and stuff, those are my favorite. I know, oftentimes, they’ll say, ‘Go on ahead of me, I’ll slow you down.” But like no, I’d rather go slowly with people than fast on my own. But probably the most memorable one would be my 10th trip up during the endurance challenge. Like, I mean, it wasn’t pleasant at the time. I mean, every step was really exhausting, but I was thinking I’m actually going to do it 10 times in one day, I’m actually going to walk 20 miles today. And I set so many new records on my Fitbit, like I’d never come even close to doing that much since I had my Fitbit, so that was a pretty memorable one.

Hope McKenney: And so what’s next? We’re almost to the end of the year. You’re about to leave town this weekend till early next year. Are you going to continue to try to beat your record next year do you think?

Sean Peters: I hope so. But like, I don’t know if I’ll be able to or not. It all depends on how much I’m gonna be on island and everything. Basically, like this year, I was hoping I’d get 300. But if it’s nice weather, I’ll usually do it twice, if it’s nice weather and I have the time. If it’s kind of iffy, I’ll probably do it once. If it’s bad weather, I won’t do it. I just take it day by day. I would like to get to 365 sometime though, but I don’t know when that’s gonna happen.

Hope McKenney: And, I mean, 321 times in one year is a lot. It’s multiple times a day, a lot of the time. How do you feel? Are you proud of yourself? How do you feel?

Sean Peters: Yeah, it’s uh, it is really nice. I am really happy to be able to do this. I’m blessed to live in a place where I have that option. I mean, I would much prefer doing that over going to the gym, going on a treadmill or elliptical. I’d much rather be going up Bunker Hill or something, because it is a satisfying experience to get to do it that much.

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