Elaine Howley - Lake Pend Oreille

Buttonhook Bay to Sandpoint

32.3 miles

20 hours, 25 minutes on

Observed and documented by Andrew Malinak

Originally published at andrewswims.com, website of observer Andrew Malinak.


  • Name: Elaine K. Howley
  • Age on swim date: 36
  • Nationality: United States
  • Resides in: Waltham, Massachusetts, USA.
  • Previous marathon swims: English Channel, Catalina Channel, Manhattan Island Marathon Swim, two-way Boston Light Swim (record), Lake Memphremagog lengthwise, Lake George lengthwise, IISA-certified Ice Mile.


  • Body of Water: Lake Pend Oreille, Idaho
  • Route: South-to-North lengthwise crossing, Buttonhook Bay to Sandpoint.
  • Shortest Swimmable Route Distance: 32.3 statute miles
  • Start Time/Date: July 30, 2014, 7:50pm local (Mountain Daylight)
  • Finish Time/Date: July 31, 2014, 4:15pm local
  • Swim Duration: 20 hours, 25 minutes, 55 seconds

Route Details

  • Start: NE end of Buttonhook Bay, Farragut State Park, ID. N47 57.202, W116 34.608
  • Finish: Sandpoint City Beach, Sandpoint, ID. N48 16.313, W116 32.354
  • Intermediate Route Markers: Cape Horn, Granite Point, Picard Point, Anderson Point, Contest Point

Due to the shape of the lake, the swim plan was the shortest swimmable route between Buttonhook Bay and Sandpoint. The swim distance was calculated by summing the straight-line segments between the start, intermediate waypoints, and the finish. See illustration below:

route map

Summary of Weather Observations

  • Air temperature: mid-60s to low-70s (F).
  • Water temperature: high-60s to low-70s (F).
  • Winds: glassy to 5-7kt (NE).
  • Skies: full sun.

Historical Claims

First solo lengthwise crossing of Lake Pend Oreille.

Support Personnel

  • Pilot: Val Kasper
  • VesselSeabiscuit (46’ houseboat)
  • Crew: Mark Howley (chief), Sunny Blende (nutrition)
  • Kayak: Randy Hickson
  • Others: Eric Ridgway (organizer), Bruce & Chris Usher (2nd boat), Scott Rulander (video), Jackie Kasper, Duke (poodle)
  • Observer: Andrew Malinak

Rules and Conduct

  • Swim Category: Unassisted marathon swim
  • Swim Rules: MSF Standard
  • Standard Equipment: standard swimsuit, silicone cap, goggles, simple wristwatch
  • Additional Equipment: none
  • Exceptions to Standard Rules: none
  • Feeding: UCAN every 45 minutes, solids as needed.
  • Timing: Dual stopwatch with iPhone stopwatch backup.

GPS Data

Full Route

gps tracks full


gps tracks zoom1


gps tracks zoom2

Observer Log

Link to Full Report (PDF)

observer log typed

Observer Narrative Report


“Solo Swim” Lake Pend Oreille - documentary (Scott Rulander)
Live footage of finish (Josh Comstock)

Media Coverage

  • Pre-swim article in Sandpoint Online
  • Post-swim article in Boise Weekly
  • Post-swim article in CDAPress.