Anyone have thoughts on speed records or simply long fast hike completions that are totally unsupported and unresupplied in any way. Basically you must carry all gear and consumables from start to end. Wilderness fast hikes of 600mi covering have been done this way. I am not thinking about hunter / gatherer / survival type wander trips that take a long time. An example would be all 544 mi of the AT in VA in one push starting out with about a 6lbs base pack wt + 30lbs of consumables. Maybe a 40mi p/d avg with a slower start and faster finish as consumable weight dropped.
I think this is a good point to bring up. Coming from a climbing/backpacking background I can
I honestly find it in-accurate when people claim an "unsupported FKT", only to include the fact that they had crew members at road crossings or trail intersections, received food or gear items dropped for them at predetermined locations, or had cached gear along the route in days prior to the attempt.
In my opinion, "unsupported" should mean exactly that, there was no external support, planned or self-made (i.e. cached gear), for the entirety of the trip.
I'd be interested to hear what others' opinions are on this, specifically, what defines an "unsupported FKT" and at what point does it become a "supported" FKT.
It all seems quite subjective, and dependent on the area and nature of the route.
Seems some people could use to read Peter's post outlining this exact thing, as quoted from this site:
"Supported, self-supported, unsupported? What does it mean?
Supported means you have a dedicated support team that meets you along the way to supply whatever you need. This generally allows for the fastest, lightest trips, and for an element of camaraderie and safety, since someone knows about where you are at all times. Self-supported means that you don't carry everything you need from the start, but you don't have dedicated, pre-arranged people helping you. This is commonly done a couple different ways: You might put out stashes of supplies for yourself prior to the trip, or you might just use what's out there, such as stores, begging from other trail users, etc. Unsupported means you have no external support of any kind. Typically, this means that you must carry all your supplies right from the start, except any water that can be obtained along the way from natural sources. This approach has also been termed "alpine style". The longest trip I'm aware of using this style is Coup's 20-day thru-hike of the Colorado Trail. For most people, carrying enough food for more than a few days to one week will be prohibitive. Unsupported also means unaccompanied!"
I should have been more focused in my question. What is the longest totally unsupported speed hike known or recorded? How far is possible with no type of resupply? It would be interesting to see what could be done on the very long trails in the US or elsewhere. Is 700 mi on the PCT possible....
I think these are very good topics. Unsupported is so often mistaken for self-supported. Unsupported is what you guys are saying. Non-stop, no-resupply, no-partner. I could imagine bulking up thirty of forty pounds for a 700. Humans have unlimited internal fat storage capacity.
Post by Gregory Wagner on Mar 30, 2014 17:37:38 GMT -5
I agree with Peter that the term "support" refers only to "material" support (not "psychological" support) and can be applied to team efforts as well as individual efforts.
There is already a well-established term to describe efforts involving only one person -- and that is "solo"! A traveler who is both alone and without material support is "solo and unsupported".
I feel it is unnecessarily confusing to use the term unsupported to conflate material and other psychological or strategic factors (like sharing gear). It obscures the important differences between the types of support. And in this respect, I think it actually serves to deemphasize the importance of a partner or team for long adventures, rather than emphasizing its importance, which I think some are trying to do.
It is also worth noting the origins of the concept of unsupported, as pointed out by an commenter above. The concept of going "unsupported" has its origins in the concept of "alpine style" in mountaineering. In mountaineering, of course, there is no restriction on sharing supplies among a team. In this context, too, when one travels alone, one travels "solo" -- an extremely important distinction when considering travel in technical terrain.
I think there is certainly possibility for a rich debate about the relative importance of material support, psychological support, and the strategic advantages of having a partner or team. I think material support is the most critical for endurance efforts (which are not "technical" or don't involve "technical" climbing), and the other two are of secondary importance.
Post by Howie Schwartz on Sept 3, 2014 18:59:31 GMT -5
Hi, this thread and good discussion links well to the one about the John Muir Trail (starting here - fastestknowntime.proboards.com/thread/21/john-muir-trail-ca?page=5) I have been using to discuss a similar topic in light of the recent FKT activity on the trail. I think the rules of the game and terminology should get sorted out, sooner than later. It will be interesting to see what is more advantageous for various FKT's: solo or team efforts. In any case, they are hard to compare to each other directly due to the "material" and psychological support factors that have been discussed. There should be a team versus solo distinction made for most FKT's in my opinion. All types of supported efforts without clear race parameters set are difficult to impossible to compare to one another as well. I love the speed record concept, but I think the framework and some of the definitions listed on this site should be reworked and better detailed to make these FKT's more meaningful.
The pair carried all their supplies and food, taking only water from natural sources.
I think that's a perfect definition of "unsupported". It's "alpine style".
Certainly the AT could never be done this way, so "self-supported" and "unsupported" come to mean the same thing for trips of that length, although I prefer the "self-supported" term, to be consistent. Thus, Self-supported is "thru-hike style"
I don't really think it matters if a self-supported trip is done by having the hiker/runner themselves leave each cache in advance, or if they pick up supplies at a store in town, or if someone else meets them at the road and hands them the supplies. The key difference is that in a supported attempt, someone carries gear for them, sets up camp, cooks meals, etc.
It should go without saying that all these definitions implicitly assume the participant is following LNT principles, leaving only properly-disposed-of human waste, if that's appropriate for the area.
As Peter said, group efforts are fine. There may be an advantage to sharing some common gear, but I think we all know that multiple people together move slower than the pace of the slowest person. In either case, multiple names will make multi-person FKTs obvious.
Unsupported: The participant carries all supplies and food from start to finish, taking only water from natural sources.
Self-supported: The participant is supplied with food, water, and gear at pre-arranged caches. These resupply points may be established by others, but those helpers may not provide any other assistance.
Supported: Assistants may carry supplies, food, and water for the participant. They may set up camp, cook meals, treat injury, provide massage, and otherwise assist the participant, provided they never directly aid the participant in making progress (physically assisting them with motion along the trail in any way).
Post by Peter Bakwin on Sept 8, 2014 16:09:00 GMT -5
Good points Phil. But, to now it has generally been considered "supported" if you have someone meet you with stuff (resupply). This is a step beyond "self-supported". Self-supported generally means making use of things that are available to anyone, such as mail drops or stores. Pre-arranged caches would count in there. I guess you could get technical about who puts the cache there, but I think most people would stay that having someone meet you somewhere, whether they actually hand you something or just set it on the ground for you to pick up, would be considered "supported". For example, PCT thru-hikers would definitely consider it support if someone met you at a road crossing with your resupply, which would save you walking into town and would save you having to time your resupplies to business hours (stores or post offices). You could say that anyone could drop a cache there, but this is not how the PCT thru-hikers play the game. So, I'd go so far as to say that if you are going to use caches you should put them out and remove them (LNT!) yourself in order to be within "self-supported". Again, these are nuances, and what is important is to be clear and detailed about what you did.
Post by Ralph Burgess on Sept 9, 2014 1:40:18 GMT -5
Yup, I think as Peter says, you have to respect the remarkable precedent that has been set for self-support on the long thru-hikes. I don't recall which particular purist (or is it masochist?) first did things this way, but from reading PCT trip reports, there's an established pure "self-supported" approach of walking into towns for resupply, and never getting into a vehicle throughout, not even hitching rides. I think the spirit of this is easy to understand and respect.
Th unsupported inking of An Non resupplied through hike of the Colorado Trail. at certain points betrayal comes near enough to a town for a meal. I was just wondering what people's opinion would be I'm stopping to get a big meal in a town but taking nothing with you......?