Trip ReportEvolution Traverse FKT Attempt (failed)
8/29/18 I slept through the 2am alarm and woke a half hour later, feeling like a pesky marmot that had raided an unprotected food stash in the high country. I had spent the previous day in the Vons parking lot in bishop eating as much as I could stomach. Walk into the store, buy food, walk back to the shaded grass,eat, sleep, return to store. I vibrated with energy pacing back and forth trying to get the coffee down without letting everything out. The frost on the cars urged me to throw the puffy I was not planning to take into the pack. It was enough evidence to suggest a cool breeze on the ridge could justify its warmth. Or the though of being trapped under a boulder for a freezing night with only my UL windbreaker did not sound appealing if things took a turn for the worst. It took the commitment level down a notch and I felt confident. Shoving one last PB and honey wrap down my throat as I walked down the dirt road to the trailhead I checked the time, took the puffy off and impatiently stuffed it in the pack, check the time once more,2:45am, go.
Lamarck col was crest only an hour and forty six minutes after starting up the trail. Running down and through the benches a headlamp was visible. I passed the lone man and exchanged a brief conversation. I admired his drive. It's not often you see someone out pre dawn just to watch the beauty of the stars and the first rays of sun to glow among the summits.
5:45am, I had contoured the buttress and began up the left side of the gully and the base of Peak 13,360. By the time the sun grazed me with warmth I was on the first summit. Six hours and fifty minutes into the adventure and I stood atop Darwin. And by 11:37am I was through the crux difficulties of the route. I attempted to eat frequently to keep energy high, but to get anything more then GU to stay down took copious amounts of that precious liquid. The way to Fiske is long, arduous, never ending ridge line of pure choss that made me bonk. Made me hate myself for trying, for even being there. Made me hate my legs that they couldn't keep up with my ambition.
I passed the familiar boulder, under Mt. Warlow's summit, that I sought shelter in for three hours in a snowstorm a year ago when I on-sighted the traverse in a twenty nine hour car to car push.
5:11pm, 14hrs,26minutes and I stood atop Mt. Huxley. I had three hours and sixteen minutes to make it back to the car if I wanted to beat the 17hrs,42min FKT. I accepted that this was improbable, but I wanted to make the best time I could. Going under 24hrs was without a doubt. But how fast could I do it? I wanted to find out. I ran the decent, I drank precious liquid from the first source I found. And drank lots of it. I put on my dry pair of socks I was saving for this very moment. The moment to rejoin the trail. I ran as fast as I could. The way slopes downhill so moving fast is easy and to say the least most enjoyable, to feel free from technicalities of the ridge, to move fast and cover ground. Most importantly i had the fresh memory and intimate knowledge of the ridge line I was staring at for the run to Darwin benches. I could pick out any point and know exactly what was up there. It kept me entertained enough to forget about the pain and exhaustion.
A group of campers by evolution lake stopped me. They thought something was wrong. Why is this maniac running while the sun hangs low? Where is he headed? I assured them this is the easiest part of my day, but didn't elude to where I had been or what I was up to. I kept them guessing. So they could have something to ponder over a campfire. The way back to the col was slow and I made my way locating my stashed poles. 17,42 passed as I gained elevation in the moonless night. I crested the col once more and ran the way back to the trail head. 20hrs,10min. I collapsed in the middle of the dirt road. Panting, hacking up flem and eventually shivering as I contemplated taking a nap before walking the road back to the car. The feeling of defeat loomed. I had failed at what I wanted. My training wasn't good enough. My pacing was poor. I didn't eat enough while on the go. I didn't drink enough. And most importantly I was one puffy too heavy. I never even thought of putting the puffy on let alone my windbreaker. I could have gone two and a half hours faster without those two jackets..... or so I tell myself, looking for a scapegoat for my failure. I picked my broken ass up and drug it to the car. Dennys was the only place open at midnight and I ordered the gnarliest burger on the menu listening to the under attentive waitress bitch about her shift. I wanted to down another burger but grabbing the attention of someone who could provide such a thing was too difficult so I threw some cash on the table and left.
GPS Specifics: I recorded the traverse from trailhead to trailhead using both Gaia and Mountain Hub. The specs should be public to anyone looking on mountain hub. But I noticed on Gaia that elevations marked on summits were incorrect and recorded less distance traveled and less elevation gain/loss then on mountain hub. When compared to other profiles of the traverse Gaia comes up short on all the specs and mtn hub seemed more accurate.
Some lightweight trekking poles
Battery: goal zero venture 3.0
Pack: The North Face Route Rocket 16
Shoes: La Sportiva TX2 leather
Socks: 2pair Smartwool Phd pro Approach mini
Pants: Smartwool Phd thermal pants
Shirt: Smartwool merino150 micro stripe hoody
Layers: Smartwool Ultra light sport jacket. TNF summit series 800 fill UL down jacket.
Headlamp: Petzl Actik +3extra batteries
Food: 4larabar, 1clif hazelnut butter bar, 2 clif shot block packs, 5GU, 2 pack peanut M&M, 2 clementines, 4 Voke tabs, Nuun hydration tabs, and a bottle of ibuprofen.
Food consumed: 3larabars, 1/2 clif bar, 2 Clif shot block packs, 5 GU, two clementines, 3 voke tabs, 3nuun tabs, and ~8-200mg ibuprofen.
I carried 1.7L of water on the ridge.
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