Author Archive

John Muir Trail Record!

September 24, 2009

A totally unheralded Brett Maune crushed the John Muir Trail record this September 3-6. Peter Bakwin’s site describes it best:

Brett Maune has destroyed both the unsupported and overall records for this classic trail. Maune travelled unsupported from Whitney Portal to Yosemite in 3d 14h 13m (3d 9h 58m from Whitney Summit), beating the Sue Johnston’s overall (supported) record by 5h 47m, and beating Michael Popov’s unsupported record by over 19 hours! Prior to this trip Maune was a virtual unknown in the ultra and fastpacking scenes.

The JMT is possibly the finest “long trail” in the world. During it’s 223 mile length, not only is the route all single track, but it doesn’t even cross a road, while starting from the highest mountain in the lower 49, and finishing in the fabled Yosemite Valley.

It doesn’t get any better than this. Or any harder. The JMT is not obscure; many top endurance athletes have given it a go.

“We had over 8 hours to hike the last 12.7 miles with a net downhill run of 5,300′. I was feeling great and believed the record was mine. Then the wheels fell off…”

– Flyin’ Brian Robinson, on his 2003 record attempt that came up short after 210 miles.



Kilian Jornet – Tahoe Rim Trail

September 23, 2009

Earlier I reported that Kilian Jornet was planning to go for the fabled John Muir Trail record. He is one of the best mountain runners in the world, so that was big news. I suggested that he had the talent to crush the existing record, but his planning was questionable.


The latter turned out to be the case … his team discovered that in the US, access to public land is not guaranteed, and athletic achievement is not encouraged as it is in Europe. You can’t say, “Hey, I’ve trained for this for months, I going to see how fast I can run this, now can I please have a permit?” Not only will this not work, but it will probably backfire.

In short, they couldn’t get a permit to run the John Muir Trail. So they’re going to try the Tahoe Rim Trail instead.

Kilian3The website describing this effort is so over-the-top and filled with hype, that it’s impossible to figure out what he’s actually doing. However, sources say he’s going to start early this Monday morning. As in all his runs, he will have massive support from his sponsor Solomon, including pacers, and probably a video crew. The current record is 45 hrs 45 mins set by Tim Twietmeyer in 2005; he should be able take a minimum of 5 full hours off that. Hopefully, this will be practice for a JMT run next year.

Stay tuned.


Long Trail Record

September 9, 2009


Jonathan Basham on the trail now! He is over halfway done and on pace for a new record. Reports below are coming in from JB’s crew (check back for updates as they come in) – – –

Progress Reports Verbatim

10:54 am, 9/6

JB and crew heading up to North Jay for the night. Will begin the hike at 5am. I will send you texts to keep you updated.

6:38 am, 9/7

JB and Travis just completed the first 12 miles in 3.5 hours. JB feeling great! Weather is spectacular.

3:53 pm, 9/7

JB is looking strong on day one. He is five miles from ending his 53.6 mile day. Plans to start day two at 4 am.

5:43 am, 9/8

JB started out at 4am. Completed the first 10.9 mile section at 645 and headed out for 18.4 section with two HUGE climbs over Mansfield and camels hump. He looks and feels strong!

5:06 pm, 9/8

Waiting for JB to end day two. Should be here in two hours. Looking real strong. Will complete 56.2 for day.

? am, 9/9

JB started at 3:30am at Appalachian gap after putting in 55.2 miles yesterday. He will finish at green road today. Its a short day because he added a 2.6 section to the end of yesterday. His right knee was hurting a little in the downhills this morning but still looking good!

* 5:17 am, 9/10

Hello from the trail! JB started out at 2:30 this morning. He is starting to get some hot spots on his soles which slowed him down a little. He picked it back up and is still on record pace. He is unsure if he will be able to sleep tonight or not but he did get a solid 4 hours last night. I will keep you posted.

** 12:36 pm MDT, 9/11

13 to go.  Looking solid for the record.

*** 6:33 pm, 9/11

NEW RECORD: 4 days, 12 hours, 46 minutes, & 4 seconds (4:12:46:04)


Gannett Peak – FKT

August 3, 2009

Gannett may be the best mountain you’ve never heard of. At 13,804′ it is the highest in Wyoming (the Grand Teton is slightly lower), and is in the heart of the rugged Wind River Range. It’s remote – requires a 40 mile round-trip – and rugged – requires glacier travel and some rock scrambling. On August 1, Peter Bakwin established the Fastest Known Time on this fine mountain, a splendid 12 hrs, 39 mins.

Gannett (more…)

Multi Day Update

July 30, 2009

“I DIDN’T FAIL” – David Horton on the Colorado Trail

David, the multi-day king, wanted to go out on a good note after a sour day on the CDT last year. He and Jonathan Basham came to Colorado to train and acclimate for three weeks; their preparation was good.

I was thus taken aback when David’s smiling face greeted me at the Grouse Gulch aid station during the HR100. He was in excellent spirits, looked good, and it was great to see him. He had called it quits after 6 days – oddly while still right on schedule for the record – but with mounting issues that clearly precluded continuation.

His blog has an excellent account, excerpted here:

DH“Going after the CT record might have been my most difficult multi-day attempt so far. The CT record is very TOUGH. The trail itself was tougher than I thought it would be. I averaged 40 miles per day on the PCT and AT and 45 miles per day running across America. Averaging over 54 miles per day on the CT was VERY tough. I started very day before daylight, usually around 4:00 AM and finished every day after dark. My average time on the trail was around 17 hours per day. This left very little time for anything. I was usually in bed 30 to 45 minutes after finishing each day. Each day, the last section ATE my lunch. It took everything that I had to finish each day. I never knew at night if I would be able to go again the next day.”

“Day 6 should have been an easy day but it was not. We got lost before daylight and ran 4 miles off course. Later in the day it was very hot and the dry heat started sucking the life out of me. In the middle of the days my hands started swelling, sausage fingers you say. I have had them before but NEVER as big as they got this time. In the last section of the day, I became very concerned about them and how big can they get before damage occurs. On the back of my hands, the skin stuck grossly very high. My forearms started swelling all the way up to my elbows. It was getting tighter and tighter. How big can they get?? What damage can occur?? I was also thinking about the next day as it was going to be the toughest day yet, over 60 miles with one road crossing. I knew the possibility that if I got in trouble in this section that I would put myself and my crew in a serious problem. I knew then that I must stop. Could I have run the next day? Yes. Could I have caused myself or others some serious problems? Yes.”


Zion Trifecta

June 29, 2009

We’d been planning the Trifecta for over a year, and as of June 27, there is now one less amazing project in Zion National Park “undone”. Jared Campbell, Ryan McDermott, and I did the 3 biggest canyons in the Park in one day.

Zion is aptly called a “Sandstone Yosemite”. An appropriate name, but what “Yo” lacks, are the extremely narrow slot canyons deeply incised into the soft sandstone; they are often filled with cold water, are dark, and end in high vertical pour-offs above the main canyon bottom; an entire world apart, literally invisible until one finds and rappels into their depths.

Only in the last 10 years has the sport of canyoneering developed. Needless to say, the thought of not just doing them, but seeing how fast I could do them, entered my mind years ago. I’m way too old to win any trail races or set records on well known big routes, but age paradoxically has some benefits similar to those of youth: 1) You don’t try to fit in, and instead do what pleases you; 2) You can be a pain in the ass and your friends and family still tolerate you.

We’ll leave #2 alone; #1 is the aspect pertinent to this project. ¬†Projects like the Trifecta, are like “Plucking the low-hanging fruit, located way far out on the limb.”