FKT: Laura Matsen Ko - Mt Rainier (WA) - 2024-07-05

Route variation
sea to summit
Gender category
Start date
Finish date
Total time
11h 40m 27s
GPS track(s)

For the latest big goofy adventure thing I wanted to see how fast I could bike & climb “sea to summit” for Rainier. It turns out there is a whole culture around the Fastest Known Time (FKT) and there are records set for women/ men/ non binary and supported or unsupported. 

On the day of the ride, Claire informed me I was to eat a total of 4.5g carb per lb so I spent the day making steelcut oats and eating bagels w banana 🫣 and trying to nap. Colton and I managed to pack full summit gear in small packs (a running vest for me!). I got myself new mountaineering shoes for my birthday (with help from monilee) which are trail runners that take crampons and have an external gator. Light fast and fun!

Claire law and I rode from Tacoma at 9:41p under a frightening amount of very loud firecrackers. I had picked the “supported” option and Claire pulled me to Ashford and then we started to climb together. It was surreal to go from dusk to firecrackers to the quiet mountain road going up to paradise. I know those rivers and roads so well and it was extra special to ride and smell them by headlight. We rode the 75 miles with 7k climbing in under 5 hours.

Colton dropped 2 more bike bottles for us in Ashford and met us in Paradise with climbing gear ready. 

I ate 1400 calories to stay topped off for the climb (4 bottles w skratch, 3 plain bagels and a tube of shot blocks). In retrospect, I am pretty sure that was too much food for my stomach because I wasn’t able to eat much the rest of the day. 

At paradise, Claire climbed in the back of the truck to snooze and stay warm until the sun came up and she could ride down. 

After a 10 minute transition  (I got changed into boots/ Sunshirt/ harness/ gloves/ poles and chugged 200 calories w a little protein plus a jar of cold brew) Colton and I started climbing at 2:52am. Snow was soft the whole way up which made it slow going. We reached Muir around 5:30a. We got a quick water refill (thank you Lindsay) and roped up. The upper mountain was beautiful- I love the DC (except the actual cleaver). Route was in awesome condition- one vertical ladder. Layering  was simple bc we only had room for a down jacket so we climbed in tights + sun hoodie and I put on the down jacket when leaving Muir.   I topped out at 9:19a which is o couple minutes ahead of the men’s record (yay) and 7 hours ahead of the women’s record. We descended slowly, catching up w other parties and friends.  Celebrations included lukewarm hot chocolate at Muir, a root beer float at paradise and blackberry pie from Copper creek. I’m still in search of the onion rings I craved all day.