Fastest Known Times have become really popular – as we found out when Ultimate Direction, along with partners La Sportiva and GU Energy Labs, announced the intention to award four Grants to people attempting FKT projects – and we received 315 Applications! After screening those 79 projects were still left – and each one was totally worthy and really interesting. I planned to crush that down to 20 projects our Award Panel could vote on – but I just couldn’t do it – they were too good!
I could only get it down to 39 Applications, then turned it over to our Panel to decide. Here’s what they said: “I want to do this one!!!”. “An iconic trail that’s incredibly challenging”. “This is one of my pipe-dream projects.” “OH MY GOSH!”.
So enough spray, these four athletes will be awarded $1,000 plus all the partners gear they want (from East to West):
Hut to Hut – Samuel Jurek – New Hampshire – June 30-July 1
“The White Mountains Hut Traverse is an extremely rocky and rugged route connecting the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) huts in the White Mountains of New Hampshire.”
“FKTs bring you to territory rarely frequented. They are unlike experiences on a race course, yet access that same competitive spirit. There are no spectators, yellow ribbons lighting the way, aid stations, or a crowd to cheer you down the homestretch. You have to continue on under your own volition. Digging into the soul, these attempts are raw, authentic experiences that force an examination of vulnerabilities and access of true grit.”
Award Panel comments:
“Lots of history!” “East coast trails are different than California – very burly.” “It’s going to be hard.”
Colorado Trail Unsupported – Heather Anderson – Colorado – September 1-9
Wind River Traverse – David Anderson – Wyoming – September 1-14
Norman’s 13 – Andy Gohlich – California – September 22-24
“Norman’s 13 (AKA the Sierra Nevada 14er Link-Up) will connect all thirteen of the 14,000′ peaks in the Sierra Nevada range in one push on foot, north-to-south, following the model of Colorado’s Nolan’s 14 challenge.”
“I am going to attempt this new FKT route because the Sierra Nevada have been so formative to my love for the mountains, and putting up a Nolan’s-style route in my home range (especially a range so iconic), in good style, is a way to pay tribute to these mountains that I can be truly proud of. I hope that by having the vision for this route and sharing it with others that I can somehow give back to the sports that have given me so much, inspiring others to combine climbing and running to experience the same route, and hopefully inspiring someone to come along someday and do it faster as well. Trail running/hiking and climbing are my bread and butter, and the technical nature of the peaks of the Sierra Nevada compliment the fusion of these sports like no other.”
What the Award Panel said:
“Brilliant – the comparison to Nolan’s is apt and obvious.” “Creative! Great range and I like the idea of a Nolan’s style in CA!”