Podcast: Episode 126: Roman Dial: FKTs, many OKTs, even "LKTs", and the invention of packrafting


Roman Dial has done things you never imagined.  Do you aspire to do a 100 mile trail race?  He's never done one - instead he invented races that make 100's look like a 10k in Central Park.

"Three of us decided to see how far one could go completely Unsupported. I ended up hiking 625 miles across Alaska in 25 days. All food and gear with me start to finish. My pack weighed 59 lbs; 45 of which was food."

Most of Roman's trips were "OKTs" - "Only Known Times".  But in this very podcast, he coined the term "LKTs".  What's an LKT??

"Loneliest Known Time. When you're out there forever, by yourself, and nobody knows about it or cares!"

"Anytime we can put the limelight on Roman, he deserves it. What he did in Alaska for decades is almost entirely overlooked because he did it in Alaska and because his activities predated social media and the blogs." - Andrew Skurka

Purchase Roman's book, "The Adventurer's Son: A Memoir".
“A brave and marvelous book. A page-turner that will rip your heart out.” —Jon Krakauer

Full CV
  • Age: 60
  • City: Anchorage
  • Family: Wife of 35 years Peggy, adult daughter Jazz, wonderful puppy Poppy
  • Occupation: professor of biology and mathematics; occasional writer
  • Sports and Adventure Highlights - - -
  • Climbing:
    • 1979: planned and led month-long Brooks Range rock climbing expedition at 18
    • 1980-1985: new routes and first ascents in Alaska Range (10,910, Hess, Deborah, McGinnis) and Valdez grade V (Keystone Greensteps solo; Glass Onion; Big Brother; enchainments of Greensteps, Bridal Veil, Simple Twist)
    • 1987: First ascent of 1500-foot Broken Dreams in Chitistone Canyon, AK, longest waterfall climb in AK at the time
  • Racing:
    • 1982, 83, 88, 2002: Alaska Mountain Wilderness Classic winner
    • 1987: founder of Alaska Mountain Wilderness Ski Classic
    • 1988: Alaska Mountain Wilderness Ski Classic winner
    • 1989: second place Iditabike
    • 1996: second place Eco-Challenge British Columbia
  • Packrafting:
    • 1984-2016 many first packrafting descents (US, AK, Australia) and some first descents in packrafts
    • 2008 publication of first packrafting book
    • 2015 first permitted packraft-supported full Grand Canyon
    • 2017 300-miles, four separate river watersheds (Firth, Kongakut, Egaserak, Jago)
  • Biking:
    • 1988-1995 150-250 mile wilderness mountain bike traverses  with packrafts (FOT)
    • (Wrangell-St. Elias, eastern Ak Range, Brooks Range, Chugach, Kenai Mountains)
    • 2011 Lost Coast South (FKT)
    • 2016 Lost Coast North
  • Tree-climbing and canopy trekking:
    • 1999-2005 Tree-to-tree transfers self-contained (camping aloft) for up to five days
    • (CA Redwoods, CA Sequoias, Australia Mountain Ash (eucalyptus), Borneo Dipterocarps)
    • Climbed tallest known tree (CA) and tallest known tropical tree (discovered in Borneo) in the world
  • Skiing and skating:
    • 1988 FKT 150-mile ski traverse of central Alaska Range (76 hours)
    • 2014 FKT 100-mile Arctic wilderness ice skating weekend (40 hours)
  • Longish wilderness (off-trail) traverses:
    • 1986 1000-mile traverse of Brooks Range by ski, foot, packraft, and kayak (first single year)
    • 1996 800-mile traverse of Alaska range by mountain bike and packraft (FOT)
    • 2006 625-mile self-supported walk through most remote spot in USA (FOT)
  • Social Media  - - -

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