...and will have to think about the Northbound/Southbound. Its not clear to me which is faster. for some reason all the JMTers go Southbound while all FKTers Northbound.
For JMTers taking a couple of weeks, SOBO makes more sense for acclimatization. And it's more aesthetically pleasing to finish on top of Whitney.
For a 3-day FKT attempt, you obviously need to be acclimatized before you start, so I don't think that's really a factor. The net elevation change is not that great for the Portal vs Happy Isles, but the southern part is significantly more difficult, so it's probably better to have that at the beginning when you're stronger. I also think it's considerably safer going NOBO, because it's less dangerous to be hallucinating and disoriented between Red's and Yosemite than on top of Whitney, and there are easy exit points in the northern section.
Setting safety aside, on a clear run in good weather I doubt that there's more than 2-3 hours difference. But that's pretty significant now that the record is getting quicker and quicker.
Post by seanranney on Sept 7, 2017 10:13:45 GMT -5
Headed out Friday Morning 9/8/17 around 5.00 AM for a northbound push, hoping to match Andrew Bentz’ intimidating time of 82h 59m 40s from Whitney Portal to Happy Isles. I'll be following the unsupported FKT ethos of no support or resupplies along the way.
Post by Ralph Burgess on Sept 12, 2017 6:58:47 GMT -5
Best of luck, Aurelien.
The weather forecast looks excellent later in the week. Be prepared for some cold temperatures overnight. The coldest overnight lows will be in the deep valleys at higher elevations, notably Le Conte Canyon and Evolution Valley. Compare the forecasts below for Muir Pass, Evolution Valley, and the Muir Trail Ranch area:
Although Muir Pass is much higher, Evolution has the coldest overnight lows down to around -5 C.
I took a lot at your gear list, and my main thought is that you're quite light on food with only 14,000 calories total. It's critically important to be eating constantly to make it to the end of such a long route. Re your clothing: do you have any kind of puffy for insulation, I'm not sure what a "Mammut sweater" is? I'm also concerned about the lack of any sleeping pad - not so much the comfort issue, but insulation from the ground. You will probably be able to find spots to sleep early in the night where the temperature will not drop below freezing, but you definitely do need to be prepared to sleep in temperatures down to zero C. A short NeoAir X-Lite only weighs 8oz, and will make your rest periods so much more comfortable. Aside from calorie intake, sleep deprivation is probably the biggest barrier to finishing this route.
Post by aureliensanchez on Sept 12, 2017 10:27:16 GMT -5
Thank you Ralph for this great comment, this is helping. I will then bring more clothes for insulation and hope it will be enough. I do not have a backpack but a salomon vest already full, and it would be tricky to bear the sleeping pad now. I believe calories will be enough given several tries already, on single days long hikes though so I will see how it goes with this, I dont have room for more :/. Thank you again.
Post by seanranney on Sept 12, 2017 12:42:12 GMT -5
I had to pull the plug in the last throes of the trail, just before Donahue, when I started having a lot of trouble breathing, gasping for air even walking downhill on easy paths at low elevations. Looks like pulmonary edema (fluid in the lungs), which was building for a few days and became acute with the smoke from the wildfires. Very disappointing, the legs and mind were still feeling good and I was looking forward to running the last section with some intensity. I wasn’t going to match the record time, but was confident I would go under four days.
Ralph, thanks for organizing the threads on backpackinglite, those are interesting and helpful.
Post by Ralph Burgess on Sept 12, 2017 14:00:33 GMT -5
Aurelien - I think you have a great opportunity with the weather forecast looking so good, I wish I was out there too!
A couple of thoughts on route finding. I know you have done some (or perhaps all?) of the trail in training, and it's pretty well signposted throughout. But take care to study the route through Red's Meadow, and also the very last descent down into Happy Isles. You would think that these sections would be easy to navigate, but there are multiple trails intersecting, so stay alert for the signs. And bear in mind that if you ask random people for directions in these busy areas, they may be dayhikers who don't know which trail is the JMT. Also, be aware of the junction at the north end of Devil's Postpile where the PCT takes a different route to Thousand Island Lake; and where the PCT diverges to continue north at Tuolumne. Anywhere OTHER than these places (and Mt Whitney), JMT/PCT are the same trail.
I know the trail very well, so if you want any more information, ideas on good places to sleep etc., feel free to give me a call on 631-327-4395.
Post by Ralph Burgess on Sept 12, 2017 14:25:06 GMT -5
Sean, similar breathing problems stopped me, and I'm sure you've read Brett Maune's graphic account of what was coming out of his lungs at the end of his FKT. I thought that I had picked up a lung infection, but it resolved within a couple days, so in fact it was probably an immunological inflammatory reaction in the lungs from being insulted with dust & smoke particles while breathing hard through the mouth constantly for 3 days, with little time to recover. For me, I don't know if this would just be something that would always stop me after 3 days if I ever try again. The only solutions might be use of some kind of dust mask (which would not be fun), or possibly taking a prednisone inhaler. I don't think I would ever plan to use an inhaler as a routine matter, but it might give me the confidence to try to push through, knowing that the inhaler was available if things got worse. Heavy smoke must have made things even worse for you.
Post by garygellin on Sept 17, 2017 7:49:40 GMT -5
Note: Darcy's DeLorme may run out of juice after Tuolumne Meadows. But she has a Spot Tracker and the link is here: tinyurl.com/y8rzoh3e Someone with access to the BPL forum may want to post this link on the comment thread over there this morning.
Last Edit: Sept 17, 2017 7:50:38 GMT -5 by garygellin
Darcy clearly had an amazing run...even with the wheels coming off a bit on the 3rd night on the Thousand island/Tuolomne section. Clearly substantially faster mens times are possible. A lot of chatter on BPL about the mist trail detour. In my humble opinion, if it’s a small detour of equivalent distance/time it’s irrelevant. Over 200+ miles it’s not easy to know what is the official trail...the Yosemite section is a maze...the Whitney Portal/summit section has no official trail and multiple options. Would my run have been disqualified given that I went around a snow field on Mather in the middle of the night as the icy snow was not passable? the route through the snow is different every year on all the snowy passes. The route isn't the same for every step of the JMT. How many of the old FKT followed 100% of the official route? Was Leor's run disqualified because he used a sleeping bag carried by a pacer? Was Andy's run unsupported given that he got batteries for his spot from a hiker...purity isn't easy. My view is that Darcy clearly has the fastest "official" FKT on the JMT...which is Whitney summit to Yosemite and if the FKT governing body takes the official title away for a minor detour on the mist trail that would be a mistake. Put an asterisk next to her record if you want but she clearly earned and deserves the title.