I established a new female FKT on Mt Whitney today, August 9. Time was 3:10:08 for the ascent of the Mountaineer's Route, and then came down the Mt Whitney trail for a total time of 5:10:51. (The snow in the chute made it too dangerous to descend via the Mountaineer's Route without ice axe/crampons.) Great day on the mountain! -Charity Dubberley
In 2002, the community on the eastside of the Sierra thought that Jason Lakey had the record at 2:09. This was generally known information throughout the running communities of Lone Pine/Bishop/Mammoth and confirmed by Doug the owner of the Whitney Portal store. At that time we didn't have GPS watches or at least couldn't afford them. Apparently Lakey had used little postcards that he had people sign on the summit and then return to Doug at the store as proof of his time. That summer I went for the FKT and clocked in at 2:11. Took a few weeks off climbing in Colorado, then came back and hit 2:07 on the ascent. Instead of doing the post card trick I just brought a cell phone and had a hiker speak with Doug over the phone from the summit to prove my time. When I got back to the Portal, Doug had me write a little postcard to put up in the store, which surprisingly remains there today. According to Brett's research above, Dan Howitt bested us both with 2:02 in 2007.
I made a trip up there the last few days to give this another effort. On Sunday came in at about 2:03. Wasn't feeling acclimated and frankly got a little discouraged at Iceberg when I realized I was pretty far off the mark. Took Monday off, and rested as much as I could in Lone Pine then gave it another go on Tuesday. Came in at 1:56:36 on the ascent. A fun day in the mountains and stoked to break the 2 hour mark! Despite the large ice patch above iceberg, conditions are great for doing this right now. You can mostly climb around the ice at 4th class. Its still warm up there, and zero ice above the notch.
Also this is probably up for interpretation, but at least historically this climb has started from the Portal store, but there is also mention of folks starting their watches from the sign or the end of the road, etc. Any thoughts on this? Brett? Matt? Andy? Gina? What did you all do? As the times go down, the differences between runners are likely to get tighter, so 15/20 seconds of extra road running might actually make a difference. Would be nice to have some consistency. My vote is that the segment starts from touching the portal store, regardless of which route you are taking. Hand on the building. Its simple and doesn't require interpretation.