Podcast: Episode 98: Kelly Halpin - Unsupported and Solo on the Wind River High Route


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."

Excellent photos and illustrations:

WRHR photo show:


Kelly's FKT Description

Solo unsupported fastest known time completed on the in 59hrs and 37 min. The route is between 97-100 miles with 30k vertical gain and 65% off trail over loose mountain passes, glaciers, snowfields, and alpine tundra. The majority of the route stays between 10,000 and 12,000 feet and is bookended by Downs Mountain (13k) and Wind River Peak (13k). I began at Glacier Trail Head at 2:38am on August 4th and ended at Bruce’s Trail Head in Lander at 2:15pm August 6th. I used a new Osprey 18L pack that weighed in at about 12 lbs when full of all my food. In retrospect I packed too many calories ( about 10k).  I did not pack sleeping gear or shelter or a stove. I did choose to bring bear spray and brought micro spikes specially for the Alpine Lakes Pass area but in the end could have left those behind. I used two soft flasks for water (one with a filter) and just drink water as a traveled. I tried to get a little sleep in a shiver bivy (emergency blanket) set up the first night near Europe Peak between 3:20am and 5:20am but only managed maybe 20 minutes total due to shaking and opted out of sleeping at all the second night. 


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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 - - - 

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Profile picture for user Jason Hardrath @jasonhardrath

FKT of the Year material here, for sure!

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A beautiful and inspiring woman for us girls ... and guys too.