Jacqueline Florine's unsupported record was broken by Michelle "MJ" Jung (though in the other direction), 6d11h35m from Whitney Portal to Happy Isles (6h6h5m from the summit) on Sept. 16-22, 2013. Jung's full trip report is here.
On Monday, September 16th, 2013, at 5:25am, I left Whitney Portal to fast pack the JMT. There are many reasons why I decided to do this trail, but the main reason was to do a memorial hike for two people who recently passed away within the last two years. John Rosendahl, who set the men’s solo, unsupported back in 1988, was one of those individuals. He was the reason why I fast packed the JMT back in 2004 (I finished in 8.5 days) and a big reason why I attempted it again this year.
I made it to the top of Whitney at 10:48am, signed the register, and took off from the summit at 10:55am. Monday through Friday I had great weather, bluebird skies, but Saturday's weather did a 180 degree turn on me. Approximately 12pm near Garnet Lake, the winds really started to kick up. Hail began to fall around Thousand Island Lake, followed by snow for the rest of the way over Donahue Pass and down into Tuolumne Meadows. With the snow covered trail, I kicked in my tracks where I finally arrived at the Meadows, 11pm. Sunday morning, cold and feeling beat from the night before, I wasn’t sure if I should even attempt to get over into Yosemite. I weighed in on the pros and cons and, ultimately, decided to go for it.
Hiking in the snow, breaking trail, was not fun. I lost the trail several times, but was able to easily backtrack and get back on the right path. Finally, after trudging through snow, running in flooded trails, on slippery rocks and hard uneven pavement, I arrived at Happy Isles Bridge, 5pm. A new women’s unsupported FKT on the JMT, 6d6h5m from Whitney Summit to Happy Isles (6d11h35m TH to TH), set Sept. 16 - Sept. 22, 2013.
As a means of verification, I started out with GPS on my phone, but the solar charger I brought with me ended up not holding a charge. My phone was down to 21% so I turned it off to conserve battery, ~17.7 miles after I started from the portal. I was able to take a handful of photos with my phone with date and time stamps. A picture of my name in the Whitney summit register, a picture before the Le Conte/Bishop Pass Junction, a couple more pics in Tuolumne after the snowstorm, and a pic at Cathedral Pass. I handed out cards for people to call my friend of my location, but sadly (as I found out later), no one ended up calling him. I was able to make a call with someone else’s phone on Saturday near Garnet Lake and left a message on my friend’s phone before the storm moved in. I meet a solo female hiker, Briana, after Silver Pass and before Tully Hole junction, and can have her verify my position there.
I hope to get a full trip report together with more details of the hike soon. If any of you have questions, please message me and I’d be more than happy to answer them.
Michelle “MJ” Jung
Costa Mesa, CA