Post by kurtachtenhagen on Sept 12, 2014 14:42:27 GMT -5
Throwing my name in the hat here, and I would like to claim the southbound unsupported record, with an asterisk - as Little Yosemite Valley was on fire, I traveled from Happy Isles up the Snow Creek Falls Trail, past Olmsted Point and Tenaya Lake before reconnecting with the JMT in Tuolumne. I believe this route is equal in mileage, and hopefully the difference in overall time negates any questions on route similarity.
Starting Monday September 8th at 2:00 am Summit – 3 days, 23 hours, 11 minutes Whitney Portal – 4 days, 8 hours, 12 minutes
Post by Ralph Burgess on Sept 13, 2014 12:57:13 GMT -5
Congratulations! Who are you?! Looking forward to your trip report. Awesome that you broke 4 days.
As the current FKT, I certainly have no objection (due to the slight detour) with your attempt still being listed as the new official SOBO FKT. You were obviously much quicker. My effort was a pretty "soft" time by elite standards, and really just a placeholder because nobody else seemed to have claimed a SOBO before. It was still fun for an old man to hold it for a few weeks!
As the various FKT terms & categories continue to expand & multiply, perhaps it's best to simply stand back and consider the entire topic from a more intuitive perspective.
I mentioned this upstream, but if you talk to the "man on the street" about the high, wilderness Sierra in general, but more specifically the JMT itself, it is going to #1 conjure up images of traditional backbacking. Not trail running, not trail racing, but boots, a heavy backpack, eating around a campfire, pooping in the woods, etc.
Now, if you told a 'civilian' that someone **backpacked** the JMT in 4 days all by themselves, that would instantly make sense and resonate at a fairly core level. No confusion, no splitting hairs, just man/women in the wild doing their thing. See how simple this is?
IMO, if surfing is any indication, that's what the general consensus will embrace and what the media attention will focus on: you put on your pack (even if it's only 10-15L), you start running down the trail from the peak @ Whitney, and you end up @ Happy Isles some time later. Clean, simple and easy to understand.
Post by Ralph Burgess on Sept 13, 2014 14:24:59 GMT -5
Hobbes, is your point that we should use the word "backpacking" record instead of "FKT", for marketing purposes? That would be great, but I don't think I could handle any more publicity. The paparazzi have already made my life a nightmare for the last couple of months. I have to go to Starbucks in a hoodie and shades. The groupies and the millions of dollars in endorsements have been great, though. In all honesty, I'm just glad the spotlight is off me and it's kurtachtenhagen's turn.
Here's my perspective: Great time! Wow! I too look forward to the full report. And I'm glad people are taking in interest in SoBo, which is the direction that most backpackers go. But, in my view it's not the JMT, and therefore not an FKT. While Kurt's pace and time is clearly much faster than Ralph's previous effort, that's not the point. I mean, what if someone goes out on the "official" JMT route and sets a time 15 minutes slower than Kurt? What do we then say is the FKT? This is not a "slight detour" but accounts for about 10% of the entire route! While the reality is that the next guy is likely going to target Kurt's time to avoid any ambiguity, I still consider Ralph's the unsupported (and overall) FKT for SoBo. I'm sure it must have been very frustrating for Kurt to get trained and ready for this high-level effort, only to find that the standard route was not doable due to the fire. Bad luck! Oh, I also appreciate that Kurt reported a time at the Portal, which Ralph did not.
Post by Peter Hirst on Sept 13, 2014 16:03:59 GMT -5
Kurt: Awesome achievement and it demonstrates your stalwart capability. Ahem, however, and although Ralph is too much the gentleman to be the one to assert it, there are some pretty persuasive arguments being made that despite the approximate equivalence of your route for some purposes, its not the JMT. Too much of a variation, and significant difference in total gain and loss on day one. Also introduces too many complications and variables in deciding what is or is not "equivalent" to the JMT.
I am here however to offer you a pretty attractive alternative, and that is the FKT for the John Muir ROUTE. You were probably moving too fast to notice, but there is one sign on the JMT (extra points for identifying it) declaring the trail the "John Muir Route". This got me me thinking, and when John Ladd started compiling alternates, variations and side trails, the idea clarified. Long story short, I have begun to take opportunities to promote the idea of the John Muir Route, defined as any walking route between Yosemite Valley and Mt Muir confined mainly to the High Sierra, and any reasonable exit from there. Does not require you to tag either Whitney or Muir (for reasons that would take a novella to illustrate) but ya gotta get to Trail Crest and walk by the base of Muir on that side.
SO here's the deal: Trade you your claim to the JMT (SOBO) FKT* with an asterisk shakier than Roger Maris's, for the undisputed combined overall FKT for the JMR. Whatta ya say?
Post by Ralph Burgess on Sept 13, 2014 16:08:26 GMT -5
I'm also pleased that SOBO is getting more attention. I've been contemplating what I should try next year. I've been trying to work out some conceivable way that I might be able to get the NOBO unsupported if I did some speed training and everything went absolutely perfectly.... but realistically I'm just not fast enough, I'd probably just be risking serious injury for something that I don't have any chance at. SOBO in under 4 days is a more realistic target for me, and I guess maybe this inspires me a little more that I should try that. Now I know there are at least two people who care about SOBO!
I'm just desperately trying to avoid the prospect of going for an unsupported JMT yo-yo, which is probably what I'm naturally best suited for. ~9 days of pain is not an attractive prospect.
Post by kurtachtenhagen on Sept 16, 2014 14:06:27 GMT -5
Hey Ralph, Peter B. and Peter H. and all...
I would like to propose recognition (obviously self serving!) of a distinction between official (Ralph's) and unofficial (mine) times. As several folks have said to me, and yourself Peter B. above, my time is the time to beat. To have to find that down here in the "weeds" may be a disservice to future hopefuls.
Ultimately, as I think even Brett stated 5 years ago, these times will continue to come down by big chunks, not just 15 minutes here and there.
Ralph - the more I read from/about you, you sound like a stand up guy. Glad to be running in good company!
Post by Ralph Burgess on Jul 4, 2015 18:10:10 GMT -5
I'm going to try for the northbound unsupported record, starting on July 8th, provided the weather forecast is good.
I will be following what I think is now the accepted standard for the route. I will report a start time at Whitney Portal (planned as 5am) and a summit departure time. I will follow the official JMT throughout, without cutting any switchbacks! At Tuolumne Meadows, I will follow the trail that remains south of the road and south of the campgrounds. At Happy Isles, I will record my finish time at the bridge (I think this now preferred to the trail mileage sign?).
I will carry a SPOT device - I will post a public link here the day before I start. For further verification, I published my plans on the JMT Yahoo group on June 27th, so that JMT through hikers (many of whom will now have left) can look out for me. There are a couple of photos of me there. groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/johnmuirtrail/conversations/topics/53107
As time permits in my preparations, I will post more information about my kit, food, planning etc. over the next few days.