JMT unsupported – Sean Ranney
Aug 16, 2018 at 11:41 pm #3551669
What would a summer be without a JMT FKT attempt? Sean announced this on FastestKnownTime.com
This Saturday, 8/18/18 around 5.00 AM I’m headed out on an unsupported South to North run at the JMT. Goal 1 is to finish, goal B is to go sub 4 days, and the tertiary goal is to match Andy Bentz’ time of 3d 10h59m from Portal to Happy Isles. I’ll be tracking here:
P.S. My SPOT is strapped to my pack, which I’m planning to leave at the trail crest junction when I go up and tag Mt. Whitney, so you won’t see any dots at the summit. I’ll take some pics from the top in case verification is in question.
Sean RanneyAug 17, 2018 at 5:08 am #3551705
Go get it Sean, we’ll be rooting for you!!
Hey, we have the same rallying call–ADVENTURE!!
Ye Grand Table with All Answers:Aug 18, 2018 at 11:46 pm #3551966
It’s still early but he was over Forester Pass in about 9.5 hours which is pretty fast. Looking good so far!!!
Edit: Woods Creek in about 16 hours…still making good time.Aug 19, 2018 at 4:56 am #3552020
Yeah, looking great. Looks like Woods Creek at 15h 38m.
Not sure exactly what his strategy is, but on Spotwalla, he split the route into four segments, with the first ending at Woods Creek. So, my guess is that’s each of his four days, if things go according to plan (like they always do on these things!)
He sent an OK message from Woods Creek, so he’s likely stopping.
The three stops on Spotwalla are at Woods Creek, the MTR cut-off, and Red’s.
As solid a first day as you can ask for!Aug 19, 2018 at 2:26 pm #3552050
Just woke up to find Sean at Mather Pass at 7:04 AM which is right about 27 hours, after nearly 4 hours of rest at Woods Creek last night (8:43pm-12:36am). I’m guessing he’s enjoying a nice sunrise as he heads down the north side of Mather into the Palisade Lakes basin. Hopefully the smoke isn’t too bad out there and his stomach holds up this time…Aug 19, 2018 at 5:20 pm #3552064David ThomasBPL Member
@davidinkenaiLocale: North Woods. Far North.
So what’s the strategy, Sean’s or in general? Run the flats and mild slopes and hike the uphills and tricky downhills? With some sections as fast as 4.7 mph, he must be jogging/running good portions of it.
4 days of food at 2 pounds per day? (Not that 2 pounds/day would cover even half the burned calories). Plus bivy, quilt, water containers, an extra layer or two – base weight of 5 pounds plus 8 of food at the start?
And what about acclimatization to altitude? Live at Tahoe? Hang out at Toulumme Meadows for 3 weeks prior? I know peak-bagging Whitney was so much easier for me when I was coming off a 9-day high-Sierra BPing trip then just driving up to the trailhead from sea level.Aug 19, 2018 at 5:27 pm #3552066
It looks like he’s following the same plan I followed, with a 5am start and 3 low elevation rest stops at Woods Creek, MTR & Reds. On this plan, the steady pace target schedule that I worked out to match Andrew’s record would be (these are times of day rather than elapsed time):
0916 Mather (he passed here 2h ahead of this)
1333 Bishop Pass Jct
1633 Muir Pass
2029 Evolution Crossing
2243 MTR cutoff
(~ 4 hours rest)
0520 Selden Pass
0941 L Edison Jct
1208 Silver Pass
1543 Duck Pass Jct
(~2.5 hr rest)
As we know, it’s really all about the last day, but this is roughly the schedule he needs to beat through Reds to put himself in position to do it.Aug 19, 2018 at 5:42 pm #3552072
David, on a steady pace with a total of around 10 hours rest, there’s no need to run at all to beat Andrew’s time. Having said that, on some terrain & gradient I think a gentle run may be more natural and efficient than a fast hike. And with the sleep deprivation element, maybe it’s optimal to go faster and sleep more.Aug 19, 2018 at 6:22 pm #3552080
David, I’m pretty sure Sean is at least doing an easy jog on the smoother downhill sections, as I know he has trained this way in the past (running a lot with a fully loaded pack) and it would be pretty tough to match his split times without some running – maybe Ralph could do it though! I’m pretty sure Andrew ran a good chunk of the downhills as well.
Personally, on my first attempt in 2015 I found that running the downhills with a full 15 lb pack on the first day flared up my hip flexors, which slowed me down on day 2-3. On my second try I did very little running on the first day and felt much better on day 2 and 3, and although I was a bit slower overall it was not by much. I also didn’t train a whole lot for running with a fully loaded pack, which I think was a mistake.
This is Sean’s 3rd attempt, so I think he has a pretty good idea what he’s capable of and how to pace himself. I’m sure he has gotten a decent amount of acclimation time and lots of vert in his training in the last few months, but as far as I know he doesn’t live at elevation and he has a family so I’m sure his preparation has not been totally ideal. Ideally you would have no job, kids, or other obligations, live at 8-10k feet, run and hike in the Sierra all the time, be fully fat adapted (maybe), have no pre-existing injuries, plenty of thru-hiking experience and 100-200 mile mountain races under your belt, an incredibly supportive spouse or partner with plenty of free time to shuttle you around the mountains and/or train with you, etc.
Ralph’s comments are accurate as well, he has studied this as much as anyone I’m sure. Both Brett and Andrew slept more than they planned to and it worked out well for both of them.Aug 19, 2018 at 9:43 pm #3552104
Alright, on top of Muir Pass at around 2:23pm. Looking great!
About two hours ahead of Ralph’s splits posted above.Aug 20, 2018 at 1:50 am #3552120
Still >2 hours ahead of schedule, 6:20pm or so at Evolution Crossing.Aug 20, 2018 at 6:07 am #3552135
Updated the table through Piute Creek (which was a bit of a forecast; his tracker has been silent for a few hours).
He’s looking super strong, putting up consistent splits > 3.0 mph since Muir Pass.
I have Sean’s time to Piute Creek as 38h 45m – here are some comparisons from other recent attempts (and my apologies if I am missing any notable ones–I am just spreadsheet-mining those attempts I have tracked):
Francois, ’17 – 31h 40m
Darcy, ’17 – 37h 11m
Sean, ’18 – 38h 45m
Leor, ’14, – 38h 58m
Allen, ’15 – 42h 29m
Aurelian – 43h 50m
Sean, ’17 – 44h 30m
Gavin, ’15 – 49h 13m
Amber, ’16 – 50h 2m
According to this, Sean has the unsupported FKT to Piute Creek. Which, of course, is not a thing–but congrats to Sean nonetheless!Aug 20, 2018 at 1:56 pm #3552156
It looks like he stopped as planned near MTR for around 4 hours. Last ping is N of the L Italy junction approaching Bear Ridge. He’s now about 1h15m ahead of the splits I put up above, which are based on maintaining a steady pace to beat Andrew’s time, and allowing for one more ~3hr rest stop at Red’s.Aug 20, 2018 at 4:51 pm #3552172
Across Mono Creek, looks like he’s about 40 minutes ahead of Ralph’s splits, and two hours ahead of Andy’s time. It appears he took a brief break (~25 minutes) going over Bear Ridge. Kind of unusual–that’s a long break to do any minor chores that might need doing, but too short to get any real rest. It was right around sunrise… Waiting out sunrise, because headlamp batteries were dead? Or just pausing to savor the brilliant palette of color that many Sierra sunrises bring?
Splits coming down Bear Ridge looked strong–let’s hope he’s doing well!Aug 20, 2018 at 5:05 pm #3552174
At that time of day a 10min “dirt nap” can work wonders! You lie down and fall asleep instantly, then wake up when you start shivering. Oh joy.Aug 20, 2018 at 7:03 pm #3552191
Silver Pass, 11:28 am, still 40 min ahead of Ralph’s schedule. Lots of downhill and rolling terrain between there and Red’s Meadow, although there is a significant climb from Tully hole up to Lake Virginia and the more rolling terrain between Lake Virginia and Duck Lake is fairly rocky and slower than it looks on paper. From Deer Creek to Red’s is mostly easy with lots of runnable downhill. Sean is looking good so far, hopefully he can keep it up for another 27 hours or so!Aug 21, 2018 at 3:02 am #3552282
Looks like he passed through Red’s and is continuing without a significant break.
He’s probably still about 30-40 minutes ahead of Ralph’s splits, but I’m having to interpolate quite a bit with limited SPOT points available.
(edit to update): He just sent an “Okay” from near Johnston Lake. Perhaps breaking there?Aug 21, 2018 at 3:19 am #3552286
Yup, looks like he reached Red’s maybe 30 mins ahead of the steady paced split. He has pushed on past Red’s without stopping yet. This is really tough, pushing on into a third night – sleep deprivation is a big factor now.
Some more split times, these are applicable on the assumption that a last 3-hr stop has been taken – perhaps he’s taking this now at Johnston Meadow – then maintaining a steady pace to the end to target Andrew’s time.
2312 Trinity Lake outlet
0040 Shadow Lake Jct
0350 Rush Creek Jct
0847 Tuolumne first junction (HSC)
1119 Cathedral Pass
1327 Merced Lake Jct
1555 Happy IslesAug 21, 2018 at 5:30 am #3552311
Interestingly, he’s pinged a few times after he sent the okay message. Unless it’s GPS error (doubtful), he’s slowly making his way up the slope towards Trinity Lakes. Last ping was about two hours ago at 8:37pm, so hopefully we’ll get an update soon.
Not sure I understand that. Seems like he either wants to be moving quickly, or resting.
Man, I hope he’s not sleep-walking. Wouldn’t that be the worst. Just what your legs needed–more miles.Aug 21, 2018 at 5:37 am #3552313
I can say from personal experience that doing this section in the dark after 2 nights with minimal sleep is ridiculously hard, slow, and interminable. It is heavily forested, and somewhat disorienting in the dark, especially when exhausted and sleep deprived. “Moving quickly” is very likely not an option at the moment. Things we tend to take for granted like balance, clear vision, clear thinking and just keeping the eyes open become more and more difficult. He may be just looking for a decent place to lay down for a while.
It does seem like he got a decent amount of rest each of the last 2 nights but my guess is he will stop sometime between now and midnight to get another 1-2 hours of sleep and then power onward feeling at least a bit better. Sunrise will help a lot, but tonight is going to be tough. Sean is also tough, so I think he’ll get through it.Aug 21, 2018 at 5:48 am #3552316
It’s not made any easier by all that toxic water up there–that’s for sure.
I would think that hunkering down for a solid 2-3 hours would be optimal, rather than either moving slowly (but not sleeping) or taking a few piecemeal stops.
I am a really good armchair fastpacker, btw.Aug 21, 2018 at 7:32 am #3552318
He’s on the move again! He pinged from the descent to Shadow Lake at 12:15am.
He’s going to have to average just over 3 mph from here on out to catch Andy.
Nice work Sean!Aug 21, 2018 at 12:19 pm #3552328Lydia KBPL Member
@lydiack-2Locale: Northern California
I’m camped at Trinity Lakes and pretty sure I saw him pass by just before crawling into my tent last night. It surprised me to see anyone hiking so late, but then I realized it must be Sean! The timeline on his spot matches. He was moving along at quite a good pace. :)
(Still can’t believe there’s 4G coverage here!)Aug 21, 2018 at 3:22 pm #3552350
Lydia, thanks for the boots-on-the-ground update! :) Very cool…
It looks to me like he slowed down considerably last night, but he’s been moving steadily this morning and he has daylight now and he’s nearly over Donahue pass, so he should pick up some speed again as he heads down into Lyell canyon and Tuolumne.Aug 21, 2018 at 3:47 pm #3552351
Yes, he seemed to be moving very slowly last night – something like 15 miles in 12 hours???? If I have this right, Andrew was at Donahue in 70.5 hours, which would be 3:30 this morning for Sean, so he’s quite a bit behind that. Andrew rested a couple hours at TM, but Sean’s still well behind even w/o further rest. I believe he needs to finish before 4pm today to get the FKT? Which gives him only less than 8 hours from Donahue (was 400′ below Donahue at 8am). Not likely.
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