FKT: Brett Maune - John Muir Trail (CA) - 2009-09-06

Athletes
Gender category
Male
Route variation
south to north
Style
Unsupported
Start date
Finish date
Total time
3d 14h 13m
Report

Prior to Koerner and Wolfe, Brett Maune, a 30-year-old laser physicist from LA, crushed previous JMT records on September 6, 2009, when he arrive at Happy Isles TH in Yosemite at 2:58pm, 3d14h13m after leaving Whitney Portal, and 3d9h58m after leaving the summit of Mt. Whitney. Maune's trip was unsupported, yet he smashed the overall (supported) JMT record by nearly 6 hours, and obliterated the unsupported record by over 19 hours! Prior to this trip Maune was unknown in the ultra and fastpacking scenes. He made an attempt on the record a month prior to his successful trip, but made several "rookie" mistakes and crashed and burned on the first day. Undaunted, he resolved to make a second attempt on the next full moon, and was ultimately successful. The story is detailed on www.backpackinglight.com, where there is also an in-depth discussion of all things JMT (Portal vs. Summit, NoBo vs. SoBo, sleep deprivation, nutrition, etc.) Maune's report is on the 8th page of the BPL link. Because Maune was unknown, and because his trip was unsupported and therefore essentially un-witnessed, we made an attempt to verify his claim on the record, which is discussed on this page. Following this effort, we believe he did what he said he did (subsequently, Maune became the first person to finish the Barkley 100 twice, and holds the record for that insane event.)

At the start of his trip, Maune met Ian Alloway on the summit of Whitney, where Alloway was acclimating for his own unsupported record attempt (Alloway's view is that the southern terminus of the JMT is Whitney's summit, while Maune wanted to challenge the records from the Portal and the summit as well.) Alloway left the summit 1 hour after Maune, and arrived at Happy Isles 4d5h5m later, breaking Michael Popov's previous unsupported record by 20 minutes. It is of note that Alloway took the Mist Trail into Happy Isles, which is about 1.5 miles shorter than the official route of JMT, which has been used by other record seekers. Unfortunately for Alloway, Maune had crushed that record the previous day. Alloway's report also appears on the www.backpackinglight.com forum, and is archived here as well.

What is this disgusting yellow crap I'm coughing up? Should I be concerned? -- Brett Maune, hours after completing his JMT record.

Brett's reported record breaking time on the JMT is so amazing that he is indeed Jesus. -- Art Messier

If the guy sees the formula for something, then he can solve it. -- Carl Laniak about Brett Maune (after they spent many hours together on the Barkley course)

 

Brett reflected on the record (and the controversy about it's veracity):

Records are interesting things. On one hand they provide a common framework upon which people focus their time and energy to surpass all previous efforts for some arbitrary athletic achievement. They challenge, inspire, and—at times—completely mesmerize us. On the other hand, records can smother us. They can limit ambition and impede progress. People can be blinded by records. They may improperly assume the existing record is near what is humanly possible—after all, how could it be the record if it were not? In seeking to break records people often (probably) strive to simply surpass the existing one by a conservative amount. The tendency to do so is completely rational and understandable. Attempting to break these records consumes enormous time and energy and people naturally want to maximize the probability of success and minimize suffering along the way. Once a record exceeds a certain level of difficulty one can understand that doing the least to surpass the existing record becomes the default strategy. Follow the previous guy’s/gal's time sheet but do a little better.

I simply didn’t do that. Even after the blow-up on the first attempt I could not bring myself to employ a conservative strategy and risked everything to feel satisfied with my effort at the end.

I became interested, some would say obsessed, with the record when I learned it was >3 days. I felt the JMT could be hiked unsupported in less than 3 days. After my run I know this to be true. My run was far from perfect and I lost significant time due to avoidable circumstances. My time can be crushed, which has obvious implications for the supported record. Doing a quick survey of the records on the other trails I would argue the same for those. All current records can be crushed (except TRT) and many totally annihilated.

Throw away the other guy’s time sheet.