FKT: Danny Fisher, Hakon Rozell - Kings Mt - Elk Mt Loop (OR) - 2023-12-16

Route variation
Double loop
Gender category
Start date
Finish date
Total time
5h 42m 8s

I'm not a huge fan of the existence of this FKT, only for the reason that I find double-loop and repeated-terrain routes to be redundant and therefore against the spirit of FKT'ing.  That said, I needed a long run for training; grabbing a crown always adds a little bit of fun to a day in the mountains, so Hakon and I headed out to the Tillamook Forest as soon as we got back from our fall college semesters to give this one a shot.  

We got to the Kings Mountain trailhead at around 7:55 and took turns abusing the vault toilet before clicking on the watch and heading out at 8:07am.  Despite the counter-clockwise variation being a bit faster, we both felt like using poles, which are certainly more appropriate on the Kings Mountain climb, so we took this one clockwise.  We held a decent effort getting up to the top of Kings, taking a couple of minutes to rest at the top to take photos and let Hakon grab food/water from his pack.  After that, we made our way across the traverse to Elk Mountain and hit the summit in pretty good spirits.  Having not descended anything as technical as the EMT in a while, I dragged ass going down that hill and we lost a bit of time there, but managed to pick it up a little bit once we hit the Wilson River trail.  We got back to the car with a one-loop time of 2:41:30.  After a 6-and-a-half minute break to refuel and let Hakon drop another dump, we started the second loop around 2:48 elapsed.

We had another hard start to the Kings climb, at which point I realized that I should've had a larger breakfast and promptly bonked halfway up the mountain.  Hakon dragged me up the rest of the climb and then through the traverse, where we both felt like shit.  Once we hit Elk Mountain, Hakon lost a bit of time on the descent trying to stow his poles without a proper quiver or pack attachment, though the descent was a lot smoother for me having done it once.  We got some momentum rolling on the Wilson River and were on track for a sub-5:40 finish before running into a very clueless dog owner whose pet we startled into a sprint toward the trailhead.  We had to wait behind the ill-equipped human with poor cardio while he tried to catch his dog, so we just kind of ended up walking back to the KMT/WRT intersection before he could grab ahold of the pupper and we could start running again.  We hit the trailhead at just over 5:42 elapsed.

Though I don't understand why the route exists, it's certainly a difficult challenge.  Our times up Kings Mountain were decently stout, but lots of time could be made up on our attempt, both by eliminating resting time as well as a couple very inefficient rips of the backside traverse.  A fit, well-motivated athlete could easily go sub-5 for the double, so we're happy to have set at least a passable benchmark for male efforts on the variation.  Big shoutout to Katie Gunvalson for establishing the original OKT and putting up a strong effort.