Fastest Known Time attempt on the JMT

1:07 a.m. on July 23, 2014 (EDT)
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This is interesting to follow ... 

... two top female trail runners - Krissy Moehl and Jenn Shelton - are going for JMT FKT starting today.

http://share.findmespot.com/shared/faces/viewspots.jsp?glId=0YM4WICOb2kKBHqqKfH1m9IK1V5WFi0G0

They started around 7am today at Whitney Portal and they made it to near the trail to Bullfrog Lake / Kearsarge Pass tonight ... from the track points it looks like they must have stopped to rest ...

So today they not only summited Mt. Whitney (14,505), but went over Forester Pass (13,200) and without calculating it, I guess probably 35-40 miles of trail. Whew! :)

10:36 a.m. on July 23, 2014 (EDT)
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The fastest way to ruin a hobby that you really like is to turn it into a competition.

5:51 p.m. on July 23, 2014 (EDT)
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We were along the same part of the trail (JMT/PCT) just north after passing the Whitney cut up to the summit -Sandy Meadow - and chatted for a few minutes with two obviously extreme trail runners male and female heading south.  It was 9ish in the morning and they each were wearing a small running pack, T-shirt and running shorts.  They said they had to get along on the trail as they were falling behind.  They were 50 miles from most places.  They looked fairly fresh and jovial.  I asked where the had started and they hooked their head north.

There is a couple down the street. The wife had her first baby 6 months ago.  They both are signed up to do the Pikes Peak Marathon. Her first, his 8th, his father's 20th (or something like that).

Probably wouldn't be a lot of fun hiking with them.

10:14 a.m. on July 27, 2014 (EDT)
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ppine said:

The fastest way to ruin a hobby that you really like is to turn it into a competition.

 Not if you are competitive.... then its just called enjoying your hobby :)

11:18 a.m. on July 27, 2014 (EDT)
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TJ,

This is a philosophical question. I have known plenty of compulsively competitive people, and I used to be married to one. Their jobs are a competition, they play golf for money, they make bets when they go fishing. They play all kinds of sports. They have high blood pressure and have a difficult time trying to relax. Backpacking is one of the sports least suited to competition. That is why it is referred to as outdoor re-creation. People that can't relax when they are backpacking, probably can't relax doing anything else either. I only pack with these types of people once.

There are too many wonderful distractions and amazing daily occurrences out there to rush through them. Being a trained observer is an acquired skill. You can't learn it while" making miles and pushing yourself."  Walk your own path.

 

11:50 a.m. on July 27, 2014 (EDT)
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ppine said:

TJ,

This is a philosophical question. I have known plenty of compulsively competitive people, and I used to be married to one. Their jobs are a competition, they play golf for money, they make bets when they go fishing. They play all kinds of sports. They have high blood pressure and have a difficult time trying to relax. Backpacking is one of the sports least suited to competition. That is why it is referred to as outdoor re-creation. People that can't relax when they are backpacking, probably can't relax doing anything else either. I only pack with these types of people once.

There are too many wonderful distractions and amazing daily occurrences out there to rush through them. Being a trained observer is an acquired skill. You can't learn it while" making miles and pushing yourself."  Walk your own path.

 

There is a balance with everything, and I'm no expert but I know there are many ways to enjoy the outdoors. Some people like to go slow and take it all in.... others enjoy pushing themselves, taking on difficult routes, and making great time. We all get a different thrill from such experiences, and neither is less valid than the other.

I know this forum tends to be dominated by backpackers, but it is an outdoor gear forum, and like I said some tend to enjoy it differently, not just through what I would call "standard" backpacking.

I simply dont have the time in my life to take 3 weeks and meander through the wilderness. If I did, I would love that! What I can enjoy is fast-paced pursuits which are great fun in their own right, though obviously not everyones cup of tea! So I can definitely relate to people trying to make great time and do things quickly as that is also my way of doing things.

1:25 p.m. on July 27, 2014 (EDT)
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I hope the girls are doing their "fastest known time event" with 80lb packs.  Then we'd really have a competition.  Otherwise it's just a running event.

Beyond this, I see setting trail records as above like having a relationship with someone---a dog, a pet, a spouse, a child---and setting a timer and seeing exactly how fast you can connect and respond, show love, and be gone out the front door.  The fastest wins, of course.

1:46 p.m. on July 27, 2014 (EDT)
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I'm not info setting speed records when backpacking.  As was mentioned, that would somewhat defeat the point.  But, as Tipi Walter points out, what Jenn and Krissy did was a running event, something completely different.

It was fun to follow along & recall being at the various points along the trail, and even pulling up photos to "see" the places again :).  Too bad the Spot performance was so intermittent, there were long gaps without updates.  Also it stopped updating completely from Edison Lake to Reds Meadow (I haven't seen anything indicating whether it was due to dead batteries or something else).

Anyway, apparently Krissy left the trail at Vermilion Valley Ranch (VVR) and Jenn continued on to finish yesterday afternoon.

For a backpacker like myself, and knowing what the terrain is like, it's hard to imagine covering it that quickly... looks like approximately 4d, ~8h based on the SPOT start time & the unofficial end time I saw in a tweet.

3:07 p.m. on July 27, 2014 (EDT)
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I'm with TJ on this one.

There are lots of different ways to enjoy the outdoors. And those ways can even differ for an individual depending on what they feel like doing at a particular time.

I think that's part of following your own path out there. As long as it gets you out there responsibly and fulfills you, go for it.

9:49 p.m. on July 28, 2014 (EDT)
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In a way I agree about competitive sports, my ideal record would be how long I could say on the JMT, My goal is 3 weeks but my competitive side says go for 5 weeks.   I will do my best to meet my goal when I turn 60.

7:43 a.m. on July 29, 2014 (EDT)
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Oldman Mike said:

In a way I agree about competitive sports, my ideal record would be how long I could say on the JMT, My goal is 3 weeks but my competitive side says go for 5 weeks.   I will do my best to meet my goal when I turn 60.

 Now this is what I'm talkin' about!  Why do a 5 day trip when you can push it to 30 days???

11:17 a.m. on July 29, 2014 (EDT)
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I want to go hiking with Mike and Walter. The choice of partners for longer trips is the most important thing. You need like minded people that do not complain.

I just finished a week long canoe trip with 7 friends. It was hot, we had some long days, and some swimmers that came out of their boats, but no one complained at all. I place a very high value on people like that and takes time to find them.

Nature is my religion, and I am in church whenever I am outside. There is never any rush for the service to be over.

 

2:35 p.m. on July 29, 2014 (EDT)
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And I’ll agree with most comments on this thread and especially with Alicia: what I love most about backpacking is the “no rules” aspect.  

On my recent four day trip with Tipi we really took our time to enjoy the place; spent nearly a whole day at one very fine swim hole and I loved it.

Last weekend I wanted to stretch my legs and did an overnight backpack with a 24 mile day 2 and 4000 feet of gain. I didn’t stop at any one place for more than an hour and had a blast. So yeah, I revel in changing it up from trip to trip or even day to day. Generally speaking, there is no wrong way.

4:46 p.m. on July 29, 2014 (EDT)
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agree...no right way. However, having said that, I will say that I have been following a lot of the PCT bloggers. I have noticed that the younger crowd seems to be the ones that feel they have to keep up with the Jones, so to speak. They seem to be more negative, not enjoying the experience as much, and, IMO, trying to define themselves by their performance....generally. The "older" crowd, seems to spend more time interacting with the environment, taking pics, enjoying lunch by the lake, and taking a dip. They seem to make decent miles....you need to on the PCT, but again IMO, the pressure to achieve is not as much an issue as the desire to experience and enjoy. having said ALL that, I am a marathon runner, lol. But again....even in that space, I run my own race, my own way.

11:20 a.m. on July 30, 2014 (EDT)
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In the age of electronics people are used to a lot of input. They tend to have shorter attention spans. Even when people leave their gadgets at home, it is hard from them to slow down, especially the younger ones that have grown up with instant access to everything.

Colin Fletcher has never been given enough credit for his long discussions about watching ants for 2 hours, other quiet times just making observations. He pioneered the concept of thresholds of attention. It takes the first 3 days on a backpacking trip to cast off the effects of modern society. After a week most people get into the routine and rhythm of life on the trail. After 3 weeks people calm down and start to see what they are looking at. After 6 weeks some things happen that most people have never experienced while backpacking. This is an important concept, lost in a world where people are always in a hurry, and can't really tell you much about the places they have been.

12:16 p.m. on July 30, 2014 (EDT)
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ppine said:

In the age of electronics people are used to a lot of input. They tend to have shorter attention spans. Even when people leave their gadgets at home, it is hard from them to slow down, especially the younger ones that have grown up with instant access to everything.

Colin Fletcher has never been given enough credit for his long discussions about watching ants for 2 hours, other quiet times just making observations. He pioneered the concept of thresholds of attention. It takes the first 3 days on a backpacking trip to cast off the effects of modern society. After a week most people get into the routine and rhythm of life on the trail. After 3 weeks people calm down and start to see what they are looking at. After 6 weeks some things happen that most people have never experienced while backpacking. This is an important concept, lost in a world where people are always in a hurry, and can't really tell you much about the places they have been.

 Your post reminds me of a guy who thruhiked the 300 mile Benton MacKaye trail in 10 days (uh, 30 mile days) and I wrote a long screed in my trail journal about what he missed along the way.  As in---

Did he see the hidden campsite next to Sycamore Creek, did he hike to the bald on Whiggs Meadow, did he take a side trip to Haw Knob, did he blue blaze down to Wildcat Falls??  You get the idea.

December 22, 2014
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