FKT: Steven Lange - Mt Washington (NH) - 2023-01-11

Route variation
Round tour from Pinkham Notch via Lions Head
Gender category
Start date
Finish date
Total time
1h 36m 33s
GPS track(s)

Jan 11, 2023 one of my wildest dreams became a reality. For a few years now I have had Mt. Washington round trip FKT on my radar. I didn't know if the opportunity to tackle this goal would be possible with such erratic weather fluctuations and constantly changing trail conditions. I honestly got really lucky.

Driving up to the mountain that morning I saw how prominent and beautiful she was towering over everything. I was so excited & nervous. I started to smile & cry at the same time. It was time to slay and enjoy the magic of pushing hard in big mountains. 

Now for some stats & how the day went 😎

Ascent: 3.3 miles w/ 4,255 ft of gain

Time: 1:08:18 just missing Kevin Tilton's PR of 1:07:18

Round trip via winter lions head: 6.57 miles w/ 4,596 ft of gain & loss

Time: 1:36:33 besting the Kevins previous record of 1:45:31

Conditions were near perfect, clear skies, no wind, mostly hard packed trail except for the top. 9 which had some soft snow. Overall I'm very happy with the result and extremely lucky to do things like this. I overdressed a tad with a windbreaker from the start. Took me a minute to get it off while hiking uphill which could have cost me 20 secs if that. My uphill legs didn't feel great due to the high volume I've put in the past 2 weeks but when conditions are good you gotta go. Heading up the winter lion head crux I performed a few rock moves with both trekking poles in my left hand. I had practiced these movements the day prior and a few other times. Rehearsing the route as much as possible is so important. I finished the grind up to the summit just missing Kevins time. That dude is freakin fast, honored to have such a stout time to chase.

On the descent I knew it was my time to shine, downhill is my jam. Navigating the upper boulder field I pulled back a tad to make sure I got through safety and didn't grt lost. I was flying after that jumping off rocks, shoe skiing down the steep stuff out of the alpine zone. The trail becomes narrow just as you pop below the tree line. A branch sticking out wailed me in the left quad (it hurt, but nothing more than a strong wack). The crux on winter lions head, I strategically tossed my trekking poles down, then deployed my 20' cordelette and zipped down that thing. Quickly I pulled the rope down, stuffed it in my vest and grabbed my poles. After navigating that section I knew it was time to run fast and I sure did! Here's where the road running background pays off. Double wide trail and packed firn snow. I lit it up throwing down 5:15-5:30 pace. It was in the bag, the hard work was done, this part was so peaceful. It ain't over till it's over though, I stayed engaged till the whacked that sign for the official finish. I yelled and celebrated with nobody around, kind of weird racing the mountain with no one knowing what the hell you're doing. It was done!!!!! Once again I'm a lucky human being for being able to throw down with the big dogs here in the Whites and making it down in one piece 🙏.

Shoes: NVII forest w/ hill sound micro spikes

Alfit: leggings with shorts over top for wind if there was any, 2 long sleeve spandex,nylon blend running shirts, wind breaker (too hot with wind breaker), light liner gloves which I eventually took off, buff which I also removed 

Used trekking poles, no ice ax needed

In pack: 20 ft 7 mm cordelette, 8 ounce mountain hardwear down jacket (in case of injury), emergency bivy (in case of injury), extra pair of warmer gloves, down hat

Nutrition: 3 gels, only used 2 (gu, which isn't my favorite but that's all I could find in Conway), 1 soft flask bottle with amino acids.

Yes, running fast in the mountains may not be the safest but we are all responsible for our own risk and I felt comfortable running up and down this beast of mountain. I have been practicing my footwork for years, almost now a decade. Just know this type of stuff isn't for everyone and I don't advise doing this without having 1,000's of hours of experience. 

Last but not least I am an extremely privileged person with the luxuries of having seasonal time off from my union job. I also thank my parents, friends and loved ones for all the support they give me. This cannot be overlooked and I am eternally grateful 🙏❤.