Wow, this route is a total treat. I went into the day a bit unprepared and underslept, but managed to snag an unclaimed parking spot at the gate after getting there at 5:30 am. Heading up Helon-Taylor there were very few people and a lot of blueberries, though it was pretty muggy down low. Once about treeline a nice breeze kept things a bit more tolerable, which turned out to be rather gusty coming through the cols of the knife edge. Took my time and enjoyed the scrambling- deciding this may well be my favorite section of trail in the northeast. It's the perfect balance of exposure without feeling sketchy IMO and looks more like the Tetons than the northeast.
Once at the summit sign I found some through-hikers finishing their journey (which is always very fun to see!) and made my way down the saddle toward Hamlin peak where I found one of the most runnable sections of trail. Unfortunately, I got my ankle pretty good with a misstep in the section of pink granite beach pebble-looking scree and had to reel it back a good amount for the second half. Hamlin ridgeline was no joke on the way down and I found myself moving less efficiently there than I would have thought. Even I (avid rock lover) found myself rather sick of boulders by the time I hit Chimney pond. Stopped for some water at the pond (it was HOT down low at this point) and jogged my way out. The last mile and a half or so of Chimney pond are pleasantly runnable- always nice to have routes where you can open it up a bit at the end.
There is a lot of time left on this attempt and I'm excited to see more ladies get out there and go for it. I know this thing can go sub 4:30 easy and maybe even sub 4 on a good day. No matter what time it takes, this route is FOR SURE worth it. I will be back myself, even if just to enjoy everything this beautiful ridge has to offer :)
Technical notes: I did this solo and carried all of my own food and water (2 500ml flasks, gels, and m&ms). I signed in and out at the hiker log at the Roaring Brook Ranger station and have an inreach track as backup verification if needed,