Podcast Episode November 6, 2020

Episode 32 | Jeff Garmire on the Colorado Trail FKT



In this episode of the Backpacking Light Podcast, Andrew and Ryan interview some of the folks who came together to make friend’o-the-podcast Jeff Garmire’s recent FKT of the Colorado Trail a success. First, Ryan talks with the Fastest Known Tiger himself to get an insight into the physical and mental stresses Jeff underwent while achieving the record.

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Jeff Garmire on his FKT attempt of the Colorado Trail. Photo: Elisabeth Tizekker

In the second interview, Andrew chats with filmmakers Nik Tizekker and Dylan Harris about the logistics (and adventure) of shooting a film about Jeff’s FKT.

Finally, Ryan takes the mic again for a brief chat with BPL Columnist (and Jeff’s partner) Maggie Slepian about the highs and lows of watching a loved one complete such a challenge.


  • Jeff Garmire Interview
    • General check-in
    • Starting pace and strategy
    • Tackling the San Juans at the start vs. the end
    • Struggling with altitude
    • Weather
    • The climb up Elk Creek
    • Dealing with touch sections of the trail
    • Finding a tempo
    • Sleep deprivation and hallucinations
    • Going FKT style means he had to sacrifice on some things like electrolytes
    • Food
    • Ate his last bit of food 24 hours before he finished
    • Footwear
    • One giant blister and several smaller blisters
      • Probably didn’t swap out socks as much as he should
    • Gear
      • What didn’t he use?
      • What would he have left behind?
      • FKT – Skills, Training, Grit, Luck
    • Film crew – no interaction, setting personal boundaries
      • Two different adventures
    • Unique opportunities
      • Pushing the boundaries of unsupported travel
    • Can this FKT be beaten and if so how?
      • If luck breaks a little towards the challenger
      • More scouting
  • Film Crew Interview
    • Introduction to Nik and Dylan
    • The genesis of the project and how it developed over time (fast)
    • How did they get ready to shoot so quickly?
    • The challenges of shooting in the backcountry
    • What makes this film different?
    • The ethics of this type of filmmaking
    • How to make a documentary film without communicating with the subject
    • Gear
    • Dylan’s goal is to make Jeff cinematic!
    • Lenses
    • Interview schedule, interview philosophy,  and other logistics
    • The intimacy of filmmaking
    • What went wrong?
    • Planning around Jeff’s changing pace
    • An adventure for the crew as well as for Jeff
    • A self-funded project
    • The realities of shooting in the backcountry vs. a more cinematic, structured feel
    • Post-production plans
  • Maggie Slepian Interview
    • How she helped prep
    • The struggles of watching a loved one struggle on an FKT
    • Outside contact vs. having no contact
    • When did she know it would actually happen?

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