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Results: John Muir Trail (JMT) Record Attempt - Unsupported, Without Resupply
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Carol Crooker
(cmcrooker) - MLife

Locale: Desert Southwest, USA
Results: John Muir Trail (JMT) Record Attempt - Unsupported, Without Resupply on 10/31/2006 21:34:47 MST Print View

Companion forum thread to:

Results: John Muir Trail (JMT) Record Attempt - Unsupported, Without Resupply

(jhaura) - F

Locale: Trail
Re: JMT Shaver on 10/31/2006 22:34:33 MST Print View

Good on you Al! It sounds like you got that out of your system, now you can rest for awhile.

I sympathize with you on the nocturnal navigation and the pain of missing a turn. Sometimes those reflective NFS trail markers are a man's best friend, at least when your internal dialogue is running 100 miles per hour.

Anyway, you've got a short memory too right? You'll be back in no time, ready to get go a few more rounds :)

Edited by jhaura on 10/31/2006 22:35:51 MST.

Brett .
(Brett1234) - F

Locale: CA
An honorable accomplishment on 11/01/2006 03:07:22 MST Print View

Your story was very inspiring; thank you for your attempt and telling us about it.

Edited by Brett1234 on 07/19/2007 00:34:22 MDT.

Ron Khosla
( - MLife

Locale: Southwest
Great Inspiration on 11/01/2006 09:04:16 MST Print View

Your story of is so inspiring to me! So few among us are perfectly qualified enough to undertake all the adventures we want to take. I am definitely NOT one of those "perfectly qualified" folks, but with careful planning and intelligent exit strategies in place you make me feel like I should try harder for the challenges I seem to convince myself are too stupid to try for.

Thank you for sharing your story, and I will be only too happy to hear that you decided to try again... after you forget the pain and suffering!

Ryan Jordan
(ryan) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Greater Yellowstone
JMT Attempt Inspires Awe on 11/01/2006 10:04:42 MST Print View


After this all sinks in, you'll be content to know that you tried and bailed (...and tried and bailed...and tried and bailed...) rather than written yourself off as a fool and never tried at all.

I'm really pleased and impressed you tackled this unsupported. I think the record is ripe for the taking, but Reinhold's current mark still remains an impressive goal.

Heal well,

Roger B
(rogerb) - MLife

Locale: Here and there
Well done on 11/01/2006 17:07:35 MST Print View

Al All I can say is "well done mate"

The willingness to push ourselves to the limit (and beyond) is something that sets us apart from others.

Sam Haraldson
(sharalds) - MLife

Locale: Gallatin Range
Results: John Muir Trail (JMT) Record Attempt - Unsupported, Without Resupply on 11/01/2006 18:16:00 MST Print View

Al -

Your narrative has been awaited with much anticipation. Your efforts alone were amazing and success all a matter of relativity. How can one know their limits without testing them?

The value of your efforts are useful to all of us in planning our more modest pursuits as well as those who follow you and the likes of Metzger and Sawchuk in pushing the limits.

Chris Jackson
(chris_jackson) - F
awesome writeup on 11/02/2006 21:29:19 MST Print View


Thanks for the awesome writeup. It's reminiscent of a Shakespearean tragedy in three parts, with the hero nobly battling ravens and blisters, while being preordained to succumb to the bugs!


Aaron Sorensen
(awsorensen) - MLife

Locale: South of Forester Pass
Re: awesome writeup on 11/04/2006 17:54:02 MST Print View

Hey Al,
First of all, thank you BPL for publishing Al’s story and getting us inspired in the 1st place. Al, your story was great! I also hope you are satisfied with what you have done, and hope you make another attempt at it. With blisters that are better prepared and treated water this attempt would have been in a whole other realm.
I am still going for the attempt next year. I decided to see what my body can take over a 24 hour period and signed up for the San Francisco 1-day run last weekend. I have covered 45 miles in a day a few times during adventure races but that was in different segments. The longest I have ever run straight is a 50K.
While thinking I would get to mile 40 and die slowly over the rest of the night, it was just the opposite. I did not go out too fast and maintained a good pace until mile 90. At 90, things started to go down hill from my legs and feet getting stiff. I still managed to hang on the 4th over-all and cover 103.7 miles over the 24 hours.
This race summed it up for me to go for the JMT attempt next year.

During the race I met up and ran with Catra Corbett for a few hours. She has the record for the fastest female record over the JMT. Al, she said hi and was glad she was finally able to meet you.
She is an amazing woman. She can run circles around all of us. If you haven’t checked out her blog or her birthday challenge, check it out, (11-hundreds in one year), and she is going for the women’s PCT Record next year.

Al, I have given a lot of consideration in route choice.
If I can get a Lottery Ticket for a Saturday, I will just cruz up with my brother and stay the night and start the attempt the next morning. If not Saturday, I will start the time at the portal, but not try to rush too much to the top, then note the time I leave the top, (for the attempt in breaking Reinholds record).
If I hit Reds meadow during the day, I will take the north of the road route. Navigating parking lots at night just doesn't seem as fun.
Al, hopefully we can talk soon, so I can get you all buttered up to go for it again next year. Maybe at the same time, with Reinhold as well???

Edited by awsorensen on 11/11/2006 21:26:19 MST.

Carol Crooker
(cmcrooker) - MLife

Locale: Desert Southwest, USA
Aaron - share your story on 11/05/2006 10:42:24 MST Print View

We'd love to do YOUR story next year!

John Phillips
(jphillips) - MLife
Clif Bars Mystery on 11/08/2006 18:40:08 MST Print View

Al: Good on Ya for your attempt. I'll wager a dozen Clif Bars (with Green Tea Caffeine!) that it was neither humans or ravens that stole your 22 Clif Bars. The marmots are notorious at that trail junction and appear very large and healthy. Clif Bars should consider their picture for an advertisement. keep getting out there! John Phillips--Ahwahnee, CA

Aaron Sorensen
(awsorensen) - MLife

Locale: South of Forester Pass
Hey Al on 11/14/2006 22:22:00 MST Print View

Hey Al, please send me a PM.

Edited by awsorensen on 11/19/2006 11:59:37 MST.

Al Shaver
(Al_T.Tude) - F - M

Locale: High Sierra and CA Central Coast
PM? on 11/25/2006 00:52:01 MST Print View

Again, thanks to all for your supportive comments.

Aaron good for you for getting some real world experience in taking your body to extremes. I need to do more of that. I don't know what a "PM" is that you referred to. If it's a post-mortum, I think I already provided that.

By early October the Whitney area climbs were filling in with snow so I changed venue from the 13,100' East Face rope-up to the 4000' starting elevation climbs in Yosemite Valley.

I was in the process of climbing 2 laps on Half Dome's SW Face (26 miles/10'000' vertical) and ran into Catra training for a 100 mile race. She just became the first woman to do 4,100 milers in as many weeks.

A month later I saw her in climber's camp and she suggested that we go for Reinhold's record together next fall after she sets a new unsupported PCT record. I'm flattered that she would even consider me to be in her league.

Al Shaver
(Al_T.Tude) - F - M

Locale: High Sierra and CA Central Coast
PM II ? on 11/25/2006 14:04:46 MST Print View

Aha. I discovered what a PM is. I found a forum post that said I can contact you from your profile page. I looked all over the website for clues to accessing you and then did a BPL search under Aaron Sorensen but still came up empty. PM is a lovely idea, but I'm afraid accessing this feature is not very user friendly.

Aaron Sorensen
(awsorensen) - MLife

Locale: South of Forester Pass
Re: PM? on 11/25/2006 20:58:46 MST Print View

Hey Al,
I'm with you for the record, however we mortal humans will not be able to keep up with Catra. She does the JMT as fast as we do while still sleeping 7 hours a day. During her hiking she runs (A LOT) more and averages over 3 mph most of the time.

After the San Francisco 1 day, I could not run for a few weeks due to my left arch killing me. Catra ran 3 more 100's over the next 3 weeks.
I don't think she would go for the option of doing 20+ hour days, but I'm sure she wouldn't have a problem catching us each day.

Speaking of which, Catra is going for the unsupported female record of the PCT and I can not find any where in the internet that tells who has it now.

Anybody else know?
A link to the story would be nice to.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: PM II ? on 11/27/2006 02:19:47 MST Print View

Hi Al

Look at Aaron's latest posting. Under his name you will see it repeated, maybe not exactly, but in round brackets.
Put your cursor on that second line/name and it will underline. Click. This brings up a bio page for Aaron. Midway down the page there is a blue 'email this user'. Click. Email...

Edited by rcaffin on 11/27/2006 02:20:16 MST.

Jonathan Chiappa
(chiappaj) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Results: John Muir Trail (JMT) Record Attempt - Unsupported, Without Resupply on 11/29/2006 15:04:02 MST Print View

Is there a person/group/organization that keeps track of these official/unofficial records?

- Jon

Martin Ritsi
(fmritsi) - F

Locale: Sierra High Trail
Re: Results: John Muir Trail (JMT) Record Attempt - Unsupported, Without Resupply on 12/04/2006 19:56:44 MST Print View

I ditto Jon's question. Al, you have me going at thinking about making an attempt with my son. But what I can't figure out is where does anyone find what "The" current record is????

Aaron Sorensen
(awsorensen) - MLife

Locale: South of Forester Pass
Re: Re: Results: John Muir Trail (JMT) Record Attempt - Unsupported, Without Resupply on 12/07/2006 00:16:38 MST Print View

Hey Martin,
Here is everything you need to know about the current and past JMT records.
Reinhold Metzger is the only owner of the unsupported record and has dropped his own record 2 times to it's current standing.
The current records:


Kevin Sawchucks outright record:

Reinhold Metzger's current unsupported record:

The past records:

Blake Wood's record 1998:

Peter Bakwin and Buzz Burrell's attempt in 2000:

Peter Bakwin's record in 2003:

Brian Robinson's attempt right after in 2003, (excellent story):

Catra Corbett has the women's supported record at 5 days 10 hours.

John Stamstead attempted the unsupported record this year and would of had it if he had not had to catch a flight before he was able to finish.
There is a very nice write up about this in July's issue of Trail Runner Magazine. His time would have been around 4 days 20 hours.

Then came Al's attempt about 2
months later.

I have read some where that Trail Runner Magazine was supposed to be the official magistrate for these unofficial records, but have not found any thing on it. Maybe they have a list some where???

Edited by awsorensen on 12/07/2006 00:24:19 MST.

Al Shaver
(Al_T.Tude) - F - M

Locale: High Sierra and CA Central Coast
Speed Records on 12/07/2006 16:14:27 MST Print View

Roger: Thanks for the PM instructions.

Martin: Good luck on your adventure with your son.

The un-supported, un-resupplied JMT Speed Record was set in 2005 by then 64 year old Reinhold Metzger of Pt. Loma, CA. He travelled 208 miles and 34,000' vertical ascent from the summit of Mt. Whitney to Happy Isles Trailhead in Yosemite Valley (taking the southern route through Tuolumne Meadows to avoid crossing Hwy 120)in 5 days, 7 hours, 45 minutes.

In 2004 Alamo, CA resident Kevin Sawchuk ran 219 miles and 40,000' vertical ascent from Whitney Portal to Whitney's summit to Happy Isles taking the northern route through Tuolumne Meadows in 3 days, 21 hours, 5 minutes setting the current JMT Speed Record. (see BPL print mag Issue 2)

Aaron: Thanks for researching and posting all those speed record links. I could have used those last year.

Regarding terminology: I have learned to differentiate between un-supported and un-resupplied. Here's why: Catra Corbett will be attempting to set a new un-supported PCT speed record next year. Huh? 3,000 miles without support? That would require a 1000 lb pack! Not so, Grasshopper. By this, she means that she will not have food and equipment caches or people waiting for her along the trail. Instead, she will have to hike/hitch to towns to buy supplies or p/u parcels mailed to her and then make her way back to the point where she left the trail.

To some people (and there are a surprisingly large number of them) this is a worthwhile distinction. Referring to Reinhold's achievement as un-supported might lead these people into thinking that he hiked off the trail to re-supply. That is why I refer to his style of travel as un-supported, un-resupplied.