FKT: Karel Sabbe - Pacific Crest Trail (CA, OR, WA) - 2023-08-26

Route variation
South to North
Gender category
Start date
Finish date
Total time
46d 12h 50m 0s
GPS track(s)

EDITOR'S NOTE: Karel and crew accidentally went through a closure (Williamson Rock Closure) mistakenly believing it had been reopened. FKT does not condone the use of closures and encourages PCT go-ers to follow PCTA guidelines. We believe this was an honest mistake that can happen to anyone.


FKT report

What was supposed to be the worst year ever to run the Pacific Crest Trail, according to forums and social media, turned out to be a pretty great year to run the Pacific Crest Trail. Up until 100 miles from the Canadian Border there were hardly any closures. One bridge was out at Reds Meadow - which required a small detour, and there was trail work being done at Castle Crags State Park, which also required a small detour. There was one closure we had missed, the Williamson Rock closure, where my crew briefed me that the trail had reopend, but we were mistaken. Luckily, it was only 3.6 miles of error. 
As we got into Washington State, wildfires started to pop up left and right of the PCT, and there were hardly any smoke-free days. However, closures luckily got limited to one pretty big detour of 100 miles to cover 50 closed miles of the PCT. We followed the PCTA recommended detour - which was hard with steep terrain and unmaintained trails - but we were grateful that the PCT had a complete closure but that there were alternates available. 
Overall, the record attempt went great - starting out with a solid desert section during which I covered 59 miles a day for the first 13 days. Then it was time for the notorious high-snow Sierra Nevada, which I entered with my teammates Henri and Kobe, so we could do river crossings together and climb the difficult, snowy passes together. 
I later cruised through Northern California, narrowly running a sub-30 day California section of the PCT, at 29 days 23 hours 58 minutes (will submit this record too).
I continued cruising through Oregon, pushing 60+ miles day after day, and despite starting the Oregon section of the PCT with a 5 minute hike and an 8 hour break - I still ran the overall Oregon speed record of the PCT (will submit this record too). 
We are so grateful for the amazing adventure we had on the PCT and were so happy with the incredible support from the community of through hikers and trail angels. They were all rooting for us and we often stopped to take a few selfies. 
Despite the 1 day addition because of the wildfires, we managed to set a really strong time of 46 days 12 hours and 50 minutes. 
The PCT is the most unique and beautiful trail in the world!