Podcast: Episode 158: Let's hear this again: Kelly Halpin goes solo and unsupported on the gnarly Wind River High Route


Welcome back to a classic episode of the Fastest Known Podcast. That’s right, this week we are re-airing our August 15th, 2020 interview with Kelly Halpin who had just completed the Wind River High Route, solo and unsupported.

The route is about 97 miles with 30,000 feet of vertical gain. Her standard point to point route FKT still stands over a year later. A new men’s FKT was set this summer by David Aalya in ​​1d 13h 41m 0s, beating Gabe Joyes by about 9 hours. David’s first FKT on the route was back in 2019. We interviewed him on episode #118 during our FKT of the Year 2020 show if you want to learn more about him.


We receive 50 FKT submissions per day but this one immediately caught my eye: the Wind River High Route is big, wild, and rough, and a woman just did it alone, faster than anyone except one male.  Women have always been athletic equals of men, but we don't often see them alone on the high routes.  Turns out Kelly Halpin does a lot of the big routes. WHO IS SHE?

"I grew up in the mountains, my favorite way to challenge myself is to do firsts, in the mountains, usually Unsupported."

The WRHR traverses the length of the Wind River Range, perfectly bookended by the northern and southern most 13,000' summits in the range.  What did she think?

"It comes close to being technical, but never is - it's an incredibly beautiful, challenging, high alpine route ... it's one of the most beautiful places in the world."

Kelly was over a day faster than the previous women's team - listen to her description as she makes it sound normal, matter-of-fact:

"I really like to go light and fast. I'm pretty good with sleep deprivation. I brought no emergency gear, no sleeping, tarp or stove, just to move as fast I can."

"And I gotta admit ... I stopped and went skinny-dipping; otherwise I would be a little faster. But it was refreshing."


Full CV

Kelly Halpin

  • Age: 34
  • Hometown: Jackson, WY
  • Family: my cacti 
  • Work/Occupation: freelance illustrator/ pro mountain runner
  • Running/Sport Highlights: First woman to complete the Grand Teton Picnic, 4 other picnic variations, establishing the Teton Center Punch Route, climber for 28 years, snowboarder for 20, big mountain free rider and banked slalom racer.
  • FKT Highlights: Wasatch Ultimate Ridge Linkup first woman to finish in under 24 hrs; Teton Crest Trail; Shorty's Well to Telescope Peak Death Valley (biggest vert in lower 48); Wind River High Route (both variations); Granite Peak MT.
  • Social - - - 
Mp3 Download

Subscribe to the Fastest Known Podcast on iTunes, SoundCloud, Stitcher, or Spotify.

Subscribe in iTunes Listen on SoundCloud Listen on Stitcher Listen on Spotify