John Muir Trail (CA) Sept 18, 2017 8:26:20 GMT -5
Post by Ralph Burgess on Sept 18, 2017 8:26:20 GMT -5
You raise some other interesting points, but this part is simply not true. The official JMT is extremely well documented. The route from Whitney Portal to the summit was not historically an official part of the JMT, but there is certainly only one on-trail route. The only part where there a recognized valid "option" is through Tuolumne, where the original trail went north of the road via Soda Springs; but the NPS have (officially) rerouted it south of the road.
And, yes, the Yosemite section is a maze. Ironically, you'll see that a few posts above that I warned Aurelien Sanchez about navigating this section, and in a subsequent phone conversation with him I described precisely that junction where Darcy took a wrong turn, because this is a common error - that junction is not well signed for JMTers, it's a busy day-hiking tourist area.
Also, it seems to me important to point out that one of the unique challenges of this route is managing sleep deprivation and "keeping it together" toward the end. It's not a racetrack, it's not just about physical fitness - backcountry skills and navigation are an intrinsic element of any FKT. So I think there's a clear qualitative difference between making a deliberate and necessary diversion around a dangerous snowfield and making a navigation error that takes you down the wrong trail.
Having said all that - I'm certainly not arguing that Darcy's run should not be recognized as the FKT. But the Mist Trail is really not an "option" for the JMT. This was a navigation error, albeit about as minor an error as one could possibly make, and the significance of the route deviation should be assessed in those terms. I don't think we need to be worrying about whether a run gets an "official" asterisk or not, there's no governing body here, just Peter who has to take all the abuse if people don't like the way he writes things up! But I do think any route deviations should be noted in the record (as Peter has done in the past) just by way of emphasizing that an important element of any effort is navigating the route accurately.
Finally, for what it's worth - just to note that I am virtually certain that (whatever the mileage) the deviation that Darcy took was slower than the JMT would have been. It's narrow, with big steps, and on a Sunday at midday, packed with day-hiking tourists; whereas the JMT there is a runnable gradient with far fewer people.
Fantastic run, Darcy.