FKT: William Rice, Nate Lynch - Kettle Crest Trail (WA) - 2019-09-15

Route variation
one way
Gender category
Finish date
Total time
9h 54m 32s

Rained for just about the whole trip. Although we both ended up being throughly soaked we managed to stay warm enough to function.
Started at 6:10am at the southern terminus and arrived at the Northern terminus at 4:05pm. We did the whole trip unsupported and carried everything we needed for the whole trip except for water which we filled along the way.


I thought i'd add a little more detail on our run. I'm sure many of us may be looking to FKTs at this point in the year to replace any canceled races...

Saturday evening we did the painful but necessary hour long car shuttle from the North to South end of the Trail and camped out at the Southern TH. It rained some overnight as expected, but the forecast said it was supposed to clear up in the afternoon Sunday so we had little concern.

We started off with headlamps for a mile or two and caught a view of some sunrise colors to the south on our way up White Mt. By the time we were passing by Bald Mt the sun was shining over low clouds and we thought all the rain had passed. We ran by two hunters around Snow Mountain who were the only other people we encountered until the Northern TH. As we dropped down to Sherman Pass we entered fog that stuck with us the remaining 30 miles along with off and on rain.

Despite the lack of the far off views that the KCT is (apparently) touted for, the run itself was actually stunning. I went into it with more thoughts on the FKT than the beauty, but the fall colors taking hold in the underbrush paired with the isolating fog and wet had a surreal quality I thoroughly enjoyed.

Things went well through Sherman pass (thanks to the pit toilet) and on to the trailside Spring at mi 21ish just before Wapaloosie MT where we made our only water refill stop. The perks of running in the cold and wet I guess...

Despite only being stopped for a few minutes, we both got a bit chilly at this point and were soon fully layered. I'm not sure we fully warmed back up until the extended climb up Copper Butte. The miles between the spring and Copper were a mental struggle for both of us. After we hit the high point of the trail at copper Butte, spirits lifted and we cruised the downhill passed a lot of cattle despite the muddy trails in that section. The last two climbs were a bit of a slog and both a bit larger than they looked on a tiny elevation profile. That, along with the ongoing drizzle, fog and relentless wet underbrush eliminated a most conversation and we both started focusing on just putting it to bed. By the time we crested our last hill we were both focused on breaking 10 hrs more than anything else and were able to turn it up slightly for the last few miles.

All in all a great experience. September is a beautiful time of year to be on the KCT and it was nice to not battle heat the whole way.