Peter's assessment of my background is dead on: decent ultra-distance trail racing background, virgin multi-day trail speed attempter! Not for much longer though. A big part of me really wanted to keep my attempt on the downlow since I feel a bit sheepish about even saying I'm attempting to break a record since this is my maiden voyage but in the name of respect for others who have blazed the way and set the standards and in keeping true to an "open book" policy here it is for those who care about such things. I will try to post info about what happens or does not happen(!) as soon as I can muster the energy to type upon finishing or bailing.
My JMT "Plan":
*camping in Upper Pines Cpgd./Yosemite Valley WED 8/26
Happy Isles 0.0mi 3am TH 8/27
*my girlfriend is starting the pre-dawn hike with me past the falls
Tuolumne Mdws 24mi 9-10am TH 8/27
*breakfast(real food!) at café/re-supply with my GF
Reds Mdw 61.7mi 8-10pm TH 8/27
*truck camping either at Rainbow Falls T/H parking or in nearest cpgd.
Being re-supplied by friend who will also hike with me in dark to Upper Crater Mdws
6hr eat/sleep/re-supply break 2-4am FR 8/28
Piute Creek 113.8mi 9-11pm FR 8/28
*a friend is setting up a full camp and will be hanging out from about 3pm FR to 8am SA, I will have hot food and coffee
5hr eat/sleep/re-supply break 2-4am SA 8/29
LeConte Cyn 137.6mi
*will have trail companion from Piute Ck to LeConte with another friend joining up where Lamarck Col trail meets JMT with a mini re-supply
Kearsarge Pass tr jcn 179.5mi 2am-6am SU 8/30
*friends will be setting up a full camp here and will be hanging out from about 6pm SA to 9am SU, I will have pizza and coffee!
4hr eat/sleep/re-supply break 6am-10am SU 8/30
Mt. Whitney 210.7mi 6-8pm SU 8/30
Portal 221.7mi 10pm-who knows when SU 8/30
*A note about the planned “sleep” breaks. They make up most of the difference between Sue’s 92 hour record and a non-stop 74hr 3mph pace for 222mi…obviously not an option for sleep-needing creatures. I hope to be able to “tweak” the actual length of these breaks based on how off pace I am. Also, if things are going magically and I’m anywhere near Sue’s pace late in the game I’m hoping that will be sufficient motivation to push harder and break for less time. Of course at some point no matter what I will simply most likely be in survival mode with sleep deprivation being factor #1. It seems this becomes paramount for just about everyone and I expect it will be no different for me. There will probably be unplanned daytime naps in random meadows…
Random but important additional info:
A big question by many has obviously been: why the hell would you go North to South? Well, I did the entire trail in training over the course of 8 scattered days in July-August of this summer. The logistics of car shuttle help from friends found me in Happy Isles for the first training run and since I wanted to do the sections in order I went with it. I feel the rhythm of the trail in the N to S direction is lodged firmly in my consciousness right now and to suddenly switch directions for the actual attempt would feel "against the grain" to me. That is the main reason but I also feel like the first 2 days N to S to Piute Creek contain some very runnable sections that are also at lower elevation. I'm hoping that by hitting these sections while "fresh" I will actually be able to do a lot of running. As we all know the southern half contains a lot of thin air, relentless climbs, and I think, much rougher trail overall- a lot of stuff that I would be hiking even if "fresh" coming from the S. By days 3 and 4 I figure fatigue, hammered feet and legs and sleep deprivation will have me doing mostly hiking anyway regardless of the terrain. We'll see how well this theory pans out. I certainly am not psyched about the climb to Whitney at mile 203!
Because I have plenty of re-supply/bivy set-up help I will be travelling as light as when I do, say, the 56 mile "Evolution loop" as a 1 day training run...4-6# max on my back (using Nathan mesh vest pack minus bladder, carrying 2 20oz handhelds). Last weather check shows a forecast as good as it can get. I should be able to minimize even further the foul weather survival gear I plan to carry.
I will not be taking a camera. This is a tough one for me but I took hundreds of photos on my training runs, know how much time I can eat up with a camera in hand and am hoping that my "support" will get some "action" shots along the way. I know there will be some spectacular "Range Of Light moments" where I will regret this. It simply is not a part of the going as fast as possible equation.
I plan to carry enough food between re-supply points to be able to eat something EVERY HOUR whether it be a gel, energy/electrolyte chews, energy bar, pop tarts (Nature's Path Organic! they are a magic food to me in the BC). More food weight to start each section than most would carry I'm guessing but I am convinced from my 3 day 100+ mile fastpack earlier this month that it is not possible to maintain consistent energy levels for such sustained periods by eating any less frequently. For fluids I plan to drink 20oz every hour mixing water with either Accelerade(protein content) or GU2O. I do not bother to filter in the Sierra. I'm fairly discreet about my water sources however this adventure may cause me to get a little more reckless (I will have a straw for desperate moments...great idea Buzz!). I will be ravenously consuming pizza and coffee at each of my 3 main re-supply points, courtesy of a support crew open to my requests!
I plan to take an Endurolyte cap every hour, a glucosamine/chondroitin cap every 2 hours (while on the move), a multivitamin/multimineral supp each morning and night, and 600 mg ibuprofen before each planned sleep break (i find more than anything it helps to calm the "jimmy legs" syndrome caused by trying to be motionless after 15-20 hours of continuous motion, which at least allows for the possibility of sleep!)
I will have an iPod shuffle with about 7 hours of battery life to be judiciously spread out for use when I need more than the sounds of nature.
No maps will be carried. I feel I know the trail so well and it is so heavily signed (except in the Reds to Crater Mdws area where it need it the most which is simply baffling to me!) that no map is detailed enough to be of any help where I might have issues. For instance the upper south side of Muir Pass where the trail crosses/recrosses/becomes one with the creek numerous times in a desolate rock bowl always has me looking around even in the daylight...could be weird at night when dead tired.
Hopefully I'll end up having some trail company for more of the journey but the only sections I know I will for sure are a few miles at the start, the "Bermuda Triangle" zone in the dark on morning 2 from Reds and from Piute Creek to LeConte Canyon on the morning of Day 3.
I will probably not set foot on a single patch of snow. There will be some stretches where water sources are more limited than normal, at least by Sierra standards which are very generous!
And last but definitely not least: I care far more about experiencing the intertwining of the physical, mental and spiritual aspects of this journey in a magnificent setting than I do about what the stopwatch reads at the Portal BUT it is fun to see how you stack up against others and you do need some sort of timetable so why not go for it!
That's about it. All's that left is to start putting one foot in front of the other and see just how much of this plan goes out the window!