Aurelien unsupported JMT attempt
Aug 31, 2018 at 9:08 pm #3554068
Aurelien Sanchez is taking another run at the unsupported FKT on the JMT. Started 10:00am today, first split is 3h12m on top of Whitney.
Go Aurelien!Sep 1, 2018 at 4:53 am #3554131
He’s looking great so far!
His Spotwalla page lays out his plan, in terms of intended splits and rest stops. Looks like he’s not planning a nap until Deer Meadow, along Palisade Creek. Huge “day”!
Here’s my reading of the Spot entrails:Sep 1, 2018 at 7:49 pm #3554191
Aurelien is looking strong!
Looks like he skipped his planned stop in Deer Meadow, but took an unplanned (albeit brief) stop on his way up Mather.
Even with the stop, he was about 40 minutes ahead of his own splits atop Mather.Sep 2, 2018 at 12:11 am #3554216Sean RBPL Member
Jeezo, he’s flying Should be around 31 hours over Muir, which is faster than anybody but Francois. Since he skipped his rest last night I’m guessing he’s making hay while the sun shines and will knock out when it gets dark. Will be interesting to see how far he pushes it on one hour of sleep.Sep 2, 2018 at 2:19 am #3554228
Yeah, looks like he was over Muir in about 31h 26m. He slowed down a bit getting over Muir–maybe some short breaks, or maybe moving slowly–but he’s picked up the speed again descending.
I’m curious too to see how he does with sleep, and will be interested to see if he stops for a few hours tonight. His next planned stop (per his Spotwalla page) is a five hour nap along Bear Ridge–some ten hours away.
Either way, go Aurelien!Sep 2, 2018 at 6:43 pm #3554295
Looks like Aurelien’s tracker has gone dormant. :-(
Definitely cruising, but seems to have had very little rest in 2 full days. ? That could certainly haunt him tonight!Sep 2, 2018 at 7:36 pm #3554300
Well, he came back to life–making good progress; just below Silver Pass now.
He probably took a break between this morning’s pings and this most recent one, but probably on the order of only 60-90 minutes.
So yes–he’s running on very little rest. I know that affects different people in different ways. Maybe he’s experimented with this already, although it’s worth noting that his Spotwalla splits look like he had planned some significant stops (3.5 hours, 5 hours), but his boots-on-the-ground decision was to forego those.
All that said, he’s screaming along–he was ahead of Leor’s time to the Mono Creek Footbridge.Sep 2, 2018 at 9:07 pm #3554304Allen CBPL Member
Super impressive so far! It’s about to get real out there for sure!Sep 2, 2018 at 9:16 pm #3554306Ralph BurgessBPL Member
Yup, very fast – I think he’s about 4-5 hours ahead of an even paced schedule for the record. But only short breaks, probably no REM sleep at all.
The 10am start was unconventional. But if he’s going all-in for the record, it doesn’t affect his total daylight time, because a record time would have him reach Happy Isles right around dusk. Maybe the 10am start gave him a better prior night of sleep.Sep 3, 2018 at 1:10 am #3554322
Well, I’m going off the grid soon, so I won’t get to see how this ends. I will be very interested to see what he does about sleep tonight, and how that plays out.
He’s still moving well, but he’s definitely slowed. His last >3 mph split was yesterday, around this time.Sep 3, 2018 at 1:46 am #3554325Ralph BurgessBPL Member
He’s still up on record pace overall, but he has dropped about an hour and a half between Silver Pass and Duck Lake Jct. Seems to be from moving more slowly rather than taking any significant rest stop. He could rest for 3-4 hours, and if that enabled him to resume more like his prior pace he could still get the record.Sep 3, 2018 at 1:22 pm #3554371Dave GreyBPL Member
He arrived at Thousand Island Lake at 0430 and has been there since, looks like he’s taking a break there instead of the one he had planned at Tuolumne Meadows.
Still on schedule.
DaveSep 3, 2018 at 2:19 pm #3554374
I believe Andy’s 3:10:59 record is from the summit of Whitney not the Portal. If so, I think that means Aurelien has to hit Happy Isles by 11.11pm tonight. That means he’s got almost 16 hours to complete ~43 miles. That’s ~2.7mph if he left right now. This seems doable if he doesn’t sleep for too long. Exciting!Sep 3, 2018 at 3:41 pm #3554376Scott BentzBPL Member
@scottbentzLocale: Southern California
Andrew’s 3:10:59 is from the Portal. I can’t imagine how Aurelian is feeling now. It’s a brutal undertaking to say the least!Sep 3, 2018 at 7:16 pm #3554401
Ok. I must have misunderstood the post I read about it. I went over to YouTube and looked at Andy’s video which confirms that you are correct.
I think Sanchez is about 37 miles from HI with about 9 hours left. That makes it sound like Bentz’s record will stand for now, right?Sep 3, 2018 at 7:25 pm #3554404
Looks like he stopped for maybe 2hr near Thousand Island Lake, and then 3-4hr going up Donahue. Suddenly he’s hours behind the projections on his SpotWalla. Hopefully he’s doing OK and just suffering from lack of sleep, rather than an injury. He needs to finish by 8:59pm it match Andy, which seems very unlikely at this point.Sep 3, 2018 at 10:39 pm #3554421
He finally got over Donahue, but he spent something like 10 hours from Thousand Island Lake to Donahue, which is only like 6 miles! Hopefully he’s just tired & not in trouble!Sep 4, 2018 at 2:19 am #3554442David ThomasBPL Member
@davidinkenaiLocale: North Woods. Far North.
” probably no REM sleep at all.”
The most brutal thing I did, on the least sleep, resulting in my later seeing white, undulating creatures tearing up the asphalt with their talons. It was a few miles later, that I realized it was a barn owl, feeding on roadkill that flapped and took off in my headlights.
Brains need sleep.Sep 4, 2018 at 7:43 pm #3554511d kBPL Member
I’m not experienced at reading the tracks, but am I correctly surmising that his last known location was yesterday evening at 7:30 pm, around Tuolomne Meadows? I hope he’s OK, and just recovering from sleep deprivation.Sep 4, 2018 at 8:37 pm #3554517Scott BentzBPL Member
@scottbentzLocale: Southern California
A friend of mine said he posted on another format, maybe Facebook, (John Muir Trail 2018 or something like that) that he hit the wall at Red’s Meadow. I’m sure more will be forthcoming.
(Not sure, but that comment may be from last years attempt as he made it over Donahue and down Lyell, albeit, quite slowly)Sep 4, 2018 at 10:32 pm #3554532Kevin BBPL Member
@newmexikevLocale: Western New Mexico, USA
Aurelien’s trip report from last year was a really entertaining read and im already looking forward to his report from this attempt!
I hope everything is okay and thanks in advance, Aurelien, for sharing the high, lows, and hallucinations with the forum.Sep 4, 2018 at 10:52 pm #3554535Sean RBPL Member
He finished at Tuolumne, said he was feeling good the whole time until Reds when lack of sleep caught up with him, but no acute injuries. Said he had a total of 1.5-2 hours of sleep up to that point!!Sep 5, 2018 at 12:58 am #3554553
I’m glad to hear he has no injuries.Sep 7, 2018 at 5:02 am #3554894aurelien sBPL Member
Thank you very much for following, this give me a lot, I truly appreciate your interest about my attempt, and this motivates me even more to give it another try next time.
I have posted my report on my facebook: https://www.facebook.com/auresanchz/posts/10215668950944268
But here is a copy as well below:
Last year I quit at Red Meadows feeling miserably, after 260km, 65 hours, and 1h30 total of sleep. I was thinking nutrition was my biggest issue, but without any certitude, and this is what I was hoping to figure this time.
This year I started this second attempt with many doubts: physically trained but slowed down due to many knee injury, and long event nutrition not dialed in yet.
Start time at 10am is a first, but it made sense to me for several reasons:
- I would have a long good night of sleep before starting.
- I would be fresher to face the first night when sun is setting at 8PM.
- Finishing at Yosemite before a 4th night at 8PM if I match the record pace.
My strategy was to start strong, to always stay ahead of Andrew times, and then manage my advantage and my rest time depending my needs, trying to stay ahead of schedule.
My second John Muir Trail:
- 0h / 0 km / Whitney Portal: I was suffocating by the stress and adrenaline the first 20min once I started, even more than last year, it was like if I was in an airplane, and I was about to jump out of it without wearing a parachute. I was then anxious to know my time at the summit, I felt fast last year doing this in about 3h35min, and I was scared to be much slower, so I continued uphill strongly until I reached the summit.
- 3h12min / 17 km / Whitney Summit: I am already at the top of the contiguous US in a personal record time, I now feel more confident, but the route is only starting.
- 9h / 52km / Forester Pass: I continued towards Forester Pass without any issues, alternating jogging and walking, and arrived there within 9 hours, which is 1 hour faster than last year again. I could not expect anything better than this, and I am gaining again more confidence. I was able to eat and drink properly every hour, did not take useless break, everything went perfect, so far.
- 10h / 60km / Vidette Meadow: It is now 8pm, and the sun is setting as I run down. It is getting colder, I still feel strong, and I get ready before starting a full night of hiking.
- 12h30 / 72km / Glen Pass: It has been full night for some time now, and I am starting to feel the exhaustion going up Glen Pass. I arrived at the top of the pass at 10:30pm, still making good progress, being 1h30 ahead of schedule.
- 15h20 / 90km / Woods creek: The way down to Rae Lakes then was even more difficult, the trail is technical on the top, with an uneven rock terrain hard to step on at night. This is how I lost about 20min going down to woods creek, but I was still able to keep a good pace regarding the freezing temperature and the dark environment.
- 18h15 / 99km / Pinchot Pass: Last year I felt very exhausted going up from woods creek to Pinchot Pass, and I was hoping to feel better this time. I felt better, but I felt more and more exhausted, and especially cold, it is around 0 degree Celsius out there now. I am still 1h15min ahead of schedule, and it is now 4:15am, I can’t wait for the sun to rise again.
- 19h45 / 107km / Kings fork creek: I kept pushing on my way down to keep my time advantage, until I reached the bottom at 5:45am. The sun was rising now, and I tried to have a nap next to the creek since I started to feel very exhausted after almost 20 hours of hiking, but it was still freezing cold, so I decided to keep moving a little more towards Mather Pass.
- 21h30 / 110km / Before Mather Pass: At 6:30 I am finally laying down just before Mather Pass for what was planned to be a 2 hour nap. Every time before each nap, I had a specific routine always in this order: free my feet from my shoes and socks, drink bunch of water, drink recovery powder, eat consistently, stretch and massage painful area, and try to sleep. With the sound of water flowing next to me, and the floor still feeling cold, I was barely getting asleep, and decided to move again after a break of 1h15, and maybe 20min of sleep total. Before leaving, I refilled my two 500ml soft flask full of water, but by clumsiness I dropped the cap of one of the soft flask into the river (I felt sorry about that by the way, so I picked up some trash I found on the way to compensate my impact). From this I would need to continue with only a 500ml container, which should be ok on this trail, but a bit risky and not convenient.
- 22h50 / 115km / Mather Pass: As the temperature was rising again, I felt my throat more and more painful, like if I got sick again this year due to the cold of the night. This was not very promising, but I made it to the top of Mather Pass anyway at 8:50am, hoping my throat would feel better later.
- 27h15 / 140km / Le Conte Ranger Station: The long descent towards Bishop junction was painful at the beginning because of the technical terrain but was getting easier in lower elevation. I arrived at Bishop junction at 1:15pm, making a big gap with my schedule, since I skipped a long 3h30min break that I did not feel the need yet, the sun keeping me awake, and the food keeping me in shape. From Bishop junction, the trail was starting to go up towards Muir Pass, and I was about to face one of the biggest suffering so far.
- 31h20 / 151km / Muir Pass: Temperature were getting higher than I thought, and my throat was now even worse: I felt like I had asthma, and when the cardio was going up as the trail was going up too, I was unable to breathe, in complete suffocation. I was unable to make any progress at all, stuck every few meters trying to get back my breath. Thus, I decided to take onehour break on the way up. I did my routine and tried to get some sleep … but now there were insects everywhere, enjoying my arms and legs, keeping me awake for most of the time. I maybe got around 15min of sleep this time. It was time to keep going, and I got motivated when I saw a lake, since I remembered last year there was a lake just before the top. I actually did not remember there were three lakes on the way, and every time I was thinking I was there, I was actually not, and my motivation was dropping very fast, while I was still in complete suffocation. I finally made it up to Muir Pass at 5:20pm, 3h20min ahead of schedule, keeping still a good advantage.
- 36h30 / 175km / Goddard Creek: I felt now confident about my throat, because a long descent was waiting for me, and then finally the night. This is the first time I am waiting for the night to arrive, because I hoped for the throat to clear with the cold temperature. I took a break of 45min just before Evolution creek at around 8pm, getting about 30min of sleep this time. And magically when I woke up, my throat was clear again!
- 41h50 / 197km / Selden Pass: The second night started, and I then continued towards Selden Pass. I was about 2 hours ahead of schedule before going up the pass, but the exhaustion started to be very present still I have not rested much in the last 40 hours. I had to make some short stop of the way up since the trail was steep, and I made it to the top of Selden at 3:50am not losing much time, staying 1h40 ahead of schedule.
- 45h30 / 210km / Bear Ridge: The night was long on the descent toward Bear Ridge, and I lost a little extra time due to exhaustion, but I was waiting for the sun to rise again to get some more rest. I then arrived at Bear Ridge at 7:30am, 1 hour ahead of schedule, with the sun already hitting my face. The return of the sun gave me some energy and kept me awake, since I did not feel the need any longer to have some sleep. I kept pushing towards Silver Pass for another day, which I knew would be again very difficult depending on my throat situation.
- 50h30 / 228km / Silver Pass: I skipped a planned 5hours nap and took only 40min instead, making sure to eat properly, but did not take any sleep at all this time. This gave me a big advantage in my planning that I would need later, since I was expecting the worst to happen.I started to climb Silver pass at 9:15am, and as I expected, I was again not able to breathe due to the heat and the steepness of the trail, my throat being very painful again, even worse. It is now very hot around here, above 25degre C for sure. This climb was the worse I felt along the entire trail, I was suffocating every meter, and it felt like I would never get to the top. I lost much time, arriving at the top at 12:30pm, but now staying 5 hours ahead of schedule thanks to the break I skipped.
- 55h20 / 245km / Duck Pass: I then went down ok, but faced again same breathing issues going up Purple Lake, and from that, every small uphill were not manageable, were I had to stop every single meters as soon as it was slightly going up. I lost precious time. I was waiting to reach Duck Pass junction, since I knew it was then all downhill, and the 3rd night was coming again.
- 58h / 260km / Reds Meadow: It is now 7pm, the sun is going down, and I decided to take a 1hour break near Dear creek, getting about 30 min of sleep, before starting another full night. I finally reached Reds Meadow at 10pm, This is it! I know now that I did a lot better than last year, covering the same distance, in a faster time, and feeling a lot better, I still can run, last year I was not able to walk. I am now 3 hours early compared to record pace, even 5 hours if I skip the next planned break, and I still feel very strong. I start to feel the adrenaline, getting emotional, this is getting real, I am maybe going to get this record in the end, and I start to believe it very strongly now. I was even considering chasing the time from Leor or Darcy since I felt in good shape, which was about 3hours faster than Andrew. I was sure it was going to be a piece of cake, I have done the most difficult high passes, and it is then all downhill, so my throat will not bother me anymore, there is no chance I will fail this time. I WAS WRONG!
- 76h45 / 302km / Donohue Pass: I did not know the Donohue pass segment, and it is not a downhill segment, and maybe I should have looked into a bit more to understand what to expect. I left Reds Meadow, and I was not racing anymore, I was just walking towards the finish, still 100km away, like if I was picking up some mushrooms, but I got time, who cares right ? I know I am going to finish in a record time already. I got bored on this trail by night that I did not know, and I saw my brain starting to wire differently due to the lack of sleep. I started wondering very weird things, the existence of this trail, where does it want to bring me, why is it going up and down, is there any project or purpose behind ? Where is north, where is south ? My imaginary started to play me tricks, replacing my two feet by something similar to two “minions”: my feet became two teammates, they were talking an unknown language in my head, “blablabla, blablabla”, I just understood that they were complaining about being out there on the trail, working for me, suffering a big amount of pain for me. I felt sorry for them. When I stopped for small breaks they stopped to complained, and they started again when I was moving. Then I felt being on a rollercoaster, I was driven by the trail, not deciding where I was going, my body moving forward by itself attracted by the trace of the trail. Everything on my side was moving away, and it all looked similar, trees and rocks, and I felt I was in an infinite circle, not making any progress at all. I was doubting I was in the right direction, how could I know? I stopped sometimes, and when I started again, I did not remember for sure the direction I came from. I don’t believe my watch anymore, it is trying to lie to me, I know it, since the green dot did not move much, but I know I made more progress than what it said. I don’t believe you watch anymore, you are trying to make me fail. But what can I do? I am going to follow what you said, even if I lost confidence in you, I have no other choice, I need to move towards somewhere, towards what you are showing me event if it looks very far. And you all trees and rocks, don’t watch at me like this, you are making yourself looking very similar to confuse me and make me think I was there already, but no, I am making progress, I know it. They annoyed me very much being all very alike. I am losing it all, I am not thinking straight anymore, I could not manage my pace anymore, could not make any calculation on where I am, and how fast I can finish. I am now running randomly sometimes, and stopped eating and drinking, this is for wise people, not for me anymore. I looked at my watch over and over again, and I try to analyze this, but I am losing faith, even though I was still making good progress, I was not aware of it. I then see a hiker at 5am next to a lake called “Thousand Island”. I remember this name, but no idea where Donohue pass is. He tells me about 7 miles, while I was hoping 2 at maximum. This killed me. I lay down on the frozen floor waiting for the sun to rise, I am done, I mentally quit. I wake up at 6:30am, “I cannot quit!” I am shouting to myself, “Go Get it!”. I start again moving, but it has been now about 6 hours I did not drink or eat anything, I have no energy anymore, I am extremely weak, and I am still not thinking straight, not doing my routine before a break. This is too late, I lost it all. I fall asleep again, and around 11am, I decided it was time to start quitting the trail. My legs felt now terrible, and the nearest road was at 35km! I make my calculation, it is about 10 more hours of walking. So be it. I made it over Donohue Pass miserably with no energy, but the throat is now cleared (really? Now that I gave up?).
- 82h / 325km / Tuolumne Meadow: I am now starting to think better, seeing people on the trail, starting to eat and drink, and finally arrive at Tuolumne Meadow at around 8pm, before a fourth night. No, I did not continue towards Yosemite even If I was able to physically, mentally It was just impossible to go for another night after what had happened, and I knew I had 12 hours drive the day after. I had enough fun, I will come back next time…
I am very satisfied about how things went, I am now confident that I was physically ready for it despite my previous knee injuries, and I have for once made the nutrition a success. Sleep deprivation and lack of knowledge of the Donohue segment, and over confidence at Reds Meadow, were enough reasons for me to fail at finishing the JMT. I am going back next time, with the same gear, same food, same strategy, same everything, in 4 days 3-night length, trying to make it as far as possible. Just little extra knowledges on this last segment, little extra sleep at Reds Meadow, and being humbler and more careful, will help me next time I hope very much. And also, maybe some Vaporub to add to the gear list for preventing or curing the throat, or any advice?
Thank you again for reading this and for the support, the mental and physical suffering during the training and during the JMT are all rewarded by the support I get around me.
See you next time.Sep 7, 2018 at 7:14 am #3554901GumboSpectator
@redgumLocale: Aussie in exile in the PNW
Wow. As torturous as that sounds, I am full of admiration of your strength and determination. Good luck next time, Aurelien!
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