FKT: Steven "Aria Zoner" Thompson - Mt. McLoughlin Circumnavigation (OR) - 2020-10-20

Route variation
Circumnavigation + Summit
Gender category
Start date
Finish date
Total time
9h 27m 24s

Up until the last second, I was weighing my options. Do I camp at the trailhead or at the summit/loop junction? Do the loop first or the summit? Go clockwise or counterclockwise? Not to mention the little things like what time do I start and how much food & water do I bring? In the end, I decided to sleep extra cozy near the trailhead then warm up slowly during the 1.4 mile approach to the summit/loop junction.

Instead of carrying anything, I had things stashed around the mountain (16.9 oz bottles of water at both Highway 140 crossings, a mid-way bump on Butte Falls Hwy and another at the turnoff from it, at the start of FSR 3760, plus a water and a 16 oz banana/avo/cucumber smoothie at Twin Ponds Trailhead. Each cache had a few pieces of dried fruit and/or a bar as well. At the starting point, I left 3 caches. One for when I got back from the loop, one to take with me for the climb up Mt McLoughlin, and one for when I got done, to get me back down the extra 1.4 miles to the car.

I left the trailhead at 7:15am but didn't leave from the summit/loop junction to start the run until 8:45am. Being mid October, it was cold even in the sun. 

I ran the loop clockwise and it went much faster than my first attempt, on September 2, 2020. By the time I returned to mile 0, I was 1 hour and 37 minutes ahead of my previous time; meaning, I had reclaimed the FKT for this option! However, I still needed to climb 3,200 feet to the summit and back in order to claim the loop plus summit option.

What about my trash? With empty pockets on the outset, I was able to keep my trash until the end, dropping off what I had from the loop at my junction stash before sending the summit, which I did in an extra 3 hours and some change. With all traces of my passing packed away, I made it back to the trailhead at last light, just in time to avoid having to break out my headlamp.


I think you reclaimed your own fkt! The gender categories are each separate, right? Plus a team is considered quite different from a solo attempt. You couldn’t pay me to do that route again. Definitely learn though and I’m sure it’s much easier the second time around... just not the most scenic route!