JMT speed record attempt
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Aug 8, 2009 at 7:32 pm #1519613
Thanks for the kind words, Mark. I'm sorry that my site does not yet allow you to post. But, I will try to put things up quickly if people send me info. I created the site because there seemed to be sneed for a central location for this type of info. You may email me at the address indicated on the site.
Yes, where is Popov???
PAug 9, 2009 at 12:21 am #1519645
Michael's probably asleep right now in his bed for the next week recovering from what was his worst night in his life.
No, Michael did not make it to Yosemite, (again).
He had to bail at Tuolumne, (again).
We left Red's Meadow at 7:35pm, 63:35 hours in with 57.? miles left and 28:25 hours to do it in.
He had a plan to do the trail with 2 longer sleep periods and then do the last 86 miles with some naps.
He also had me pacing him so it should have been fine. He was trying to do as many segments at a sub 80 hour pace.
That didn't happen from the start, but the time lost was consistent.
He was actually right on pace as the past attempt. Pretty much within an hour the whole time.
If he had just slept for 2 to 3 hours at Reds, he would have been fine, but things don't always go as planed.
It started with stomach problems, leading to not wanting much food, leading to a slower pace and consistently getting worse.
Until the crash, he was having a blast, and flying while doing it.
There were other problems he said added to this, but it led to a crash that lasted well into the morning.
22 miles after Reds the record had slipped away.
It was that bad of a night, and it took 16.5 hours to do those 22 miles.
It was also 28 degrees that night, so the stoppage time was freezing.
We were even expecting snow and dressed to easily stay warm enough, (while on the move).
We both learned a lot about that night and realized what it will take to get through it in the future.
As for his attempt. He was moving at pace for the first few hours after Reds Meadow and even approaching the third day, he was hard to keep up with.
If Kilian doesn't take a huge chunk off the record, guess what's going to happen next year?
You know what they say; third times a charm.
Michael can give the rest of the story whenever he wakes up.Aug 9, 2009 at 2:02 pm #1519709Art …BPL Member
Glad to hear Michael is at least safe with no serious medical issues.Aug 9, 2009 at 3:23 pm #1519724Brett MauneMember
Sorry to hear about the failed attempt but glad to hear everyone is safe. I kept calling my wife while hiking this weekend to see if there was an update. Given nothing was posted immediately I feared the worst but thankfully it sounds everyone will be fine. Although we are competitors, I genuinely wished Michael (and Mark) would have succeeded in their efforts. I know how much time and energy goes into one of these things and hope everyone can have their "perfect run".Aug 9, 2009 at 3:46 pm #1519725
Hello, everyone! Thank you for your support for Brett and Mark in their valiant attempts at the trail! And for me as well.
I have finally woken up; the problems I have encountered in between Reds and Tuo were not entirely digestive, but also sleep-deprived. Unfortunately I have dislocated my shoulder the day before the run and ended up in the ER after running down the mountain to Portal to get the ride. After ER, of course, I threw away the required sling immediately (wear it for a month? pleease!), but the pain kept me from sleeping and I only got a little over an hour of sleep just before the start. That, I think, was a substantial part of the crash at Reds – not topping off the sleep tank with peaceful rest.
Hohestly, Reds to Tuo was the worst night of my life when I really did not care whether I'd live or die. I was not moving b/c of fatigue, and it was impossible to sleep b/c of freezing temps. Throat was extremely parched from the air of Evolution Valley and even gels were getting stuck midway through. I was falling backwards while trying to go, and have seen amazing things including "the tunnel" itself. At one point Aaron tried to hold my head, but dropped it against the ground hard by accident, and I don't even recall this happening. The whole night was the blur. Aaron, thank you for being there for me, friend.
That's the short recap of the bonk. I'm working on the full report and it should be out Monday.
I also have some input on the Portal-Top debate, but will hold off for a couple of days. I respect all the opinions, but would like to bring it to some formal final uniformity.Aug 9, 2009 at 3:54 pm #1519726Aug 9, 2009 at 3:55 pm #1519727Jay WilkersonBPL Member
@creachenLocale: East Bay
Micheal and Aaron–Congrats on the attempt to do the JMT and give yourself alot of credit for what you attempted to do..There is not that many people in your circle (HOBBIE-PASSION) Sounds like you need to go on a EASY backpacking trip to a local lake a just CHILL-OUT and fish, swim and drink a lot of beer!!!
Cheers-JayAug 9, 2009 at 4:02 pm #1519730
I think it's a GREAT idea, Jay! These types of events are done once a year at the best, and make great round-the-fire stories for the rest of the year. Until the next one… But seriously, I'm thinking the good come-down trip would be something like double Lost Coast in 3 days. I even volunteer to bring a bear can. The one with a Heinie logo on the side.Aug 9, 2009 at 8:00 pm #1519763Art …BPL Member
Some More Rules – Details
1. Where is the Northern terminus ? The sign or the stone bridge where the pavement begins?
2. Which trail do you follow in the Tuolumne area ? the original classic trail or the newer "official trail?
3. How do you pass thru Reds Meadow area? thru the Devils Postpile or up higher on the actual JMT?
4. When minutes start counting, these things matter. I'm sure there are others.Aug 9, 2009 at 8:26 pm #1519767Jay WilkersonBPL Member
@creachenLocale: East Bay
I personally think Backpacking should never be a competition. Backpacking is a Hobby or Passion or something you do with the family and friends….I have much respect for Micheal and Aaron and even Andrew Skurka for all the things they have accomplished…There were no officials or referees when I did the JMT.. Hike your own Hike-Too each is there own….Aug 9, 2009 at 8:34 pm #1519770Nate MeinzerMember
@rezniemLocale: San Francisco
All I know is that if Jay was a fastpacker, the quality and quantity of JMT photos around here would seriously suffer.Aug 9, 2009 at 8:58 pm #1519772
Art, I agree with everything you say here. Except that if someone wants to call it a JMT run, it should be run from terminus to terminus (where the northern terminus is is another good question). But if someone wants to run from the Portal, it should be called the "Whitney Trail – JMT bundle", as it is essentially two trails stacked together on top of each other.
I can't say much because of historic precedents, but if I were to choose, I'd choose the original historic John Muir Trail without any extra timed approaches. It's not that hard, really. I don't see what all the fuss is about. If one feels that it's "logistically easier" to go from car to car, then one probably should not undertake the trail in the first place when you're 25 miles away from the nearest civilization at the most times and with car access only at miles 163, 196, and finish.
This needs to be discussed with all previous record holders for the supported attempt, and see what they think.Aug 9, 2009 at 10:43 pm #1519785Aug 10, 2009 at 12:16 am #1519796
I agree that if there only a small handful of people who really want anything to do with or have the input that counts, then it is only those peoples opinions that matter.
In retrospect to the previous records, the JMT goes from Yosemite to Whitney.
It is however another 10,000' of climbing in that direction and is hard to justify taking away a record that has already been established.
Kilian is now going for the record at the end of Sept.
From what I have read on the post that talk about his attempt have the JMT stated as 211 miles and for all I know Kilian is or may go for the record on the actual JMT at that distance?
This is not what is currently and hence more reason the discussion needs to be brought up.
Just my two cents…Aug 10, 2009 at 7:53 am #1519822
I have a strong suspicion that Kilian is going to scratch all the local ground rules, will have marshalls timing him from the top and along the route, and will actually start from the top for the supported attempt, because everywhere in Europe JMT is classified as a 211-mile trail. So much for Sue's record. Europeans know better than Americans how long the JMT is. It's really sad.Aug 10, 2009 at 10:46 am #1519844Mark DavisMember
Sorry to hear about your shoulder. That is unbelievably bad luck. I have to say you are one tough cookie to have gone ahead with your attempt with that kind of injury. Again I am glad you and Aaron made it to Tuolumne Meadows safely. I hope your shoulder is feeling better and recovers fully soon. I've helped a couple of people with dislocates in the past and I have seen how painful that is.
Get some rest.
MarkAug 10, 2009 at 10:52 am #1519846Mark DavisMember
I almost forgot, Thanks for the pictures!
MDAug 10, 2009 at 1:56 pm #1519875
Well, I said my piece on the summit vs. portal thing.
But, Aaron, there really is no support whatsoever for
the notion that the JMT is north to south! Most people
hike it that way, but so what. If people want to keep
NoBo and SoBo records that's fine, but let's not get
into this idea that the trail is from Yosemite to
Rumor is that Killian probably won't do the JMT this
year. So …. Sue's record appears safe for another
year! Hopefully today Sue is summiting Granite Peak,
MT, and thereby polishing off all the state highpoints
except 400 feet of Denali ("No, I'm not going back!"),
and leaving only a vacation to Hawaii! She's a tough
cookie & deserves that record.
Better luck next year Michael!
JMT 2003 3d22h04m
JMT 2001 4d14h39m
(car-to-car)Aug 10, 2009 at 4:27 pm #1519908
This is just my two cents.
I would just like to see some type of conformity on the matter. I really don't fell the need for a N-S and S-N record.
When ever you do see anything on the JMT, it is always N-S though. You do not see any thing saying it is from the other.
The list goes on and on.
If the supported record were to stay car to car and never been discussed again, that would be even better, but should be agreed upon because the Mount Whitney Trail is not part of the John Muir Trail.
I also love posting on BPL because I like to speak my mind and no one on this site really takes an offence to this.
It is just my opinion though and I never mean to do any harm or foul from it.
Besides, the JMT is such a tough trail that I could never even imagine averaging 60 miles a day on it.
You guys desirve all the praise you can get for being able to keep going and completed the trail in the times you, Sue and Michael did.
Yes, Sue is one tough cookie!!!
Her level of effort she laid down on the trail was amazing.Aug 10, 2009 at 5:20 pm #1519920
Sure the JMT is usually described from north to south.
You have to describe it one way or the other, and
the convention has come to be north to south. This
makes sense, since most hikers are going to do it in
that direction. However, it does not mean that you
are not hiking the JMT if you hike south to north,
and for obvious reasons the fastest trips are going
to be done that way. Either direction is equally
When Buzz & I set out to set the Colorado Trail
record in 1999 (he succeeded, while I dropped out
with an injury) we elected to start in Denver mainly
because the majority of backpackers hike that
direction. We knew that starting in Durango would
be easier, but we felt better about starting going
the other direction. That was just the run we were
doing at the time. The current supported and
unsupported records were set by starting in Durango.
I agree this is a great forum to vet these issues
& it is super to have so many experieced folks
involved in the discussion. In the end, everyone
is going to do what makes the most sense to them,
and I believe that everyone will accept what others
do. I suppose there may come a time when different
people hold the Portal vs. Summit records (as there
was before Buzz & I did the JMT in 2000). OK, no
Buzz & I felt strongly when we did the JMT in 2000
that one should stick to the current official route.
Hence, we used the gross horse trail into Happy Isles,
rather than the Mist Trail, and the official route
through Tuolumne. I did the same in 2003.
New records on the big trails (LT, CT, JMT, etc.)
are getting TOUGH! On that note, has anyone heard
anything about Scott Williamson on the PCT? He
should be finishing up before too long, no?
PBAug 10, 2009 at 5:22 pm #1519922
Thank you for the insight.Aug 10, 2009 at 10:02 pm #1519988
Listen to us.. Arguing like a bunch of kids. Well, maybe there's a grain of truth somewhere beneath, we just need to dig it out.
Peter, I personally don't mind starting from the portal as long as this is the universal approach to the trail start. I was just voicing that this is not a true JMT trail, but two different trails run together. If you feel it's better this way, I'm ok with this, you've been longer at this game than I was :) Maybe some day we can see some sort of agreement on where to begin both formats.
Aaron, why is SoBo is the only true trail? That's not entirely correct. The majority of people hike SoBo and most guidebooks and websites are geared towards SoBo. But come on, you know that classic direction is NoBo, in conjunction with PCT. But then again, it's absolutely subjective. Both directions are legitimate. One of them will be faster, and it is NoBo. But heck, this is a great argument!
Sue IS one tough cookie, did someone mention her record was "soft"?Aug 10, 2009 at 11:22 pm #1519997Dave TMember
.Aug 11, 2009 at 10:19 am #1520078
Yes and no. Yes, because there's majority of people hiking it SoBo, acclimatizing and culminating with Whitney. That is a traditional way to do it. But the classic way the JMT is done is NoBo.
The google search on the "classic direction" returned only one result, which is this:
From the review on the "John Muir Trail: The Essential Guide to Hiking America's Most Famous Trail":
"Backpackers trying to save space and weight have a couple of options. One is to simply tear out the sections of the book you will be using. You hardly need the classic South to North directions if you are hiking the other way."
I could not find anything on the SoBo direction being classic. If someone can, that'll be awesome. I'm curious in the matter.Aug 11, 2009 at 11:53 am #1520094
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