People have been traveling from Badwater (279' below sea level) to Mt Whitney (14,505') by various means for decades (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Badwater_Ultramarathon). The most standard route is about 135 miles of paved roads to Whitney Portal, followed by 11 miles up the Mt Whitney Trail, though some have used the shorter, harder Mountaineers Route. The Badwater 135 is an annual (supported) event in July covering just the road part, though competitors sometimes continue up Whitney on their own. There is an historic tradition of doing the crossing in July or August - the hottest months of the year, when temperatures in Death Valley routinely exceed 120 degrees Fahrenheit, see https://sites.google.com/view/bw146/ for more information about completions and a discussion of "rules". We include variations for crossings completed in July - August, as well as those done at other times. We have a separate route page for the Badwater Duathlon, which consists of bicycling the ~135 mile road section, and then ascending Whitney on foot. And, another route page for "Lowest to Highest", which is a primarily off-road route.
In the spirit of holding it to the letter in going for the record (FKT) of the lowest to highest place in the continental USA I will begin at the exact time of Marshall Ulrich’s 1991 quest at 6pm tonight for a pm start in the hottest time of the year on the hottest place on the planet.
I will be going for the supported record for the FKT (in the hottest required time period of July/August) covering the 146 miles from Badwater -282 feet sign in Death Valley National Park to the summit of Mt. Whitney, the original route of endurance pioneer Al Arnold.
Marshall has been super supportive and always had the strongest character of sportsmanship. Two reasons; starting at 6pm is tougher than 10pm. In Marshall’s words “Having done the race using multiple starts (speaking of starts only), the PM start at 6 was the hardest as a person had to run to Furnace creek with the sun off the shoulder to the left, which effectively goes down slowly as the valley rises gently to the west.” Also, it is more difficult to summit Whitney entirely in the dark and arrive at the top at the coldest possible time (before 3:54am).
I immediately agreed with Marshall Ulrich and want to be fair as well as consistent with his journey to the FKT of 33:54 from 1991.
We will leave at 6pm Pacific time. You can follow our progress from this link.
I am running for the charity City Gospel Mission that does great work in our community providing shelter, food, jobs program and a running program to homeless and individuals in recovery.
Tracey Outlaw will be providing posts throughout the journey on FB and Instagram via Harvey Lewis - Ultra Runner beginning at 6pm tonight (August 9th, 2020)