Fellow Forum Fanatics, Thread initiator Kevin Sawchuk, aside from winning many ultra-endurance running events, recently broke the speed record on the JMT by one hour dropping the time to travel the 211 mile jaunt from Mt. Whitney to Yosemite Valley to 3 days 21 hours! Read Kevin's article on this feat in BPL's print magazine. We have royalty in our midst!
Kevin, Thanks for sharing your pack modification ideas. My G6 pack is my intended sack for my next JMT. I plan to do it unsupported starting with a 10-12 lb.pack. In case you're wondering about this absurdly low weight, I'll have no tent, no sleeping bag, most all of my food will be vegetable oil and I'll run out of food in 5 days. I will be starting with a large amount of calorie free electrolyte salts to add to my water. All this to try to beat a 64 year old former Marine.
I did the trail unsupported in 12 days carrying 2 bear cannisters and a 41 lb. starting pack weight. The load was murder in my 1.25lb. frameless GoLite Gust. Fashioning a sternum strap out of cord helped tremendously. After a layover day at Red's Meadow I cached one empty bear cannister. At 26 lbs. (and beginning to adjust to the altitude)the experience was transformed. From then on I ran 20-25 miles/ day all the way to Whitney.
Last summer Reinhold Metzger took 3 hours off the unsupported record (which he had set)and dropped it to 5 days 7 hours. It's going to take all I have to give a man 16 years my senior a "run" for his money, but I'm enjoying every minute of my planning and training regardless of whether I ever break his record.
I have 2 favorite traing runs. I run up the climber's approach to the base of the south face of Half Dome, solo a technical route to the summit and run down the trail back to the valley floor. My best time is 4:52 for one lap with :33 spent on the technical route itself. I've done 2 full laps in a day but my time was not good due to route finding problems on the approach. Now that I've got the approach dialed in, I plan to get in 3 laps (14,400' vertical and 42 miles)in well under 24 hours.
My other training run is the climber's approach to Mt. Whitney's east face, solo the 1400' East Face Route to the summit and then run back down the main trail to return to the trail head. My best on this is 10:06, but now that I've got the approach route down I think I can do one lap in 8:30 and 2 laps in under 20:00.
For shorter training runs I like to climb 2000' hills in Big Sur and Fort Ord near my home in Monterey with 35 lbs. of water and dump it out on top to save my knees on the descent.
I too swear by GTX socks - best invention since sliced bread. I ran 25 miles through a thunder storm from Forester Pass to Whitney with no problems from blisters, cold or wet.
I never trail run without 2.1oz./pair scree gaitors to keep dust, rocks, burrs, snow etc. out of my shoes. I velcro them to my shoes to avoid the problematic under-sole strap. I glue/sew velcro onto all of my hiking boots and runners for this purpose.
I sweat heavily when I exercise so it was a godsend when GTX Paclite III came along for rain pants and jacket. Only GTX breathes well enough to keep up with my moisture output. My Large Montbell Torrent Flier Pants weigh 7.1oz. and my 15 year old Montbell jacket comes in @ 12oz. (Outdoor Research's Zealot jacket is on my wish list @ 7.7oz.).
Thanks for joining our party, Kevin. I hope you'll be sharing lots more ideas and experiences with us. I am very fulfilled performing the personal exploration and goal development that I've been doing lately and I have people like you and Reinhold to thank for inspiring me.