Route: Flagstaff Fearsome Four (AZ)

Submitted by SoMo_runner on Mon, 06/08/2020 - 01:17am
Arizona, US
71.77 mi
Vertical Gain
14,564 ft

This route connects the four summits around Flagstaff, Arizona:  Kendrick Peak (10,422'), Humphreys Peak (12,633'), Mt Elden (9,301'), O'Leary Peak (8,916').

Ultra Version (all running):  Started at the Pumpkin TH and went to the summit of Mt Kendrick. Descended Kendrick Trail to the trailhead. Ran along forest service road over to the base of Mt Humphreys and took Snow Bowl Trail all the way to the summit. Descended down Weatherford Trail to Schultz tank. Headed over to Mt Elden to the towers at the summit and descended Elden Lookout Trail and crossed over to Little Elden Springs to the TH. Went across Deer Hill Trail to the O’Leary Lookout TH and ascended and descended this to finish the fourth peak of the day.

Video of Start:
Video of Finish:

Original Peaks-Only Version (driving between THs):

Admin Note:  The "rules" of the original version of the Flag Fearsome Four include finishing within a 24 hour window while counting ONLY your cumulative TH-TH times for the 4 peaks.  This allows for more leisurely driving (so discourages gaining time by violating traffic laws), and adds an element of strategy in terms of resting between the peaks.  This is actually unique on the FKT website in that in every other route here your time starts when you start the route and ends when you finish the route - you never stop the clock.  The Flagstaff Fearsome Four is an established challenge, and we do not envision adding other routes with similar "rules" that allow stopping the clock along the way.

Link to the original Challenge Website:

The Flagstaff Fearsome Four "involves cresting 4 Flagstaff popular mountains, Humphreys, Kendrick, Elden and O’Leary in a single day (0:00 am to 11:59 pm)." 

4 Peaks, 34 miles (55 km), 10,307+ feet (3141 m) of elevation gain

Peaks-Only Rules:

  1. This challenge is not a race, it can be done anytime of the year, there is NO fee, no shirt, no medal, no aid stations, no chip timing, no medics
  2. You have to start the day at the start of your 1st peak and finish at the bottom of your last peak
  3. You can drive to the mountain of your choice, the order in which you proceed does not matter
  4. You start timing at the Trail Heads (O’Leary and Elden Lookout Road start and finish at the bottom gate, the top is the LOOKOUT TOWERS), record your time at the top, and finally stop timing once back at the same Trail Head. Keep track of your time for each mountain. Driving time is not included in your overall time, drive safe, respect speed limits
  5. A GPS watch is highly recommended but not mandatory.
  6. The use of hiking poles is authorized, same for pacers and crews
  7. A single day is defined as being from 0:00 am to 11:59 pm on the same calendar day.
  8. This is a runner and hiker challenge only, the use of bicycles is NOT allowed.
  9. Observe the Leave No Trace 7 principles. A lot of these trails are on Wilderness, observe all rules stated by the Forest Service


On Wednesday, 7/22/20, I plan to take my shot at the Flagstaff Fearsome Four FKT. I am going to start at the Kendrick Peak trail head around 5:00 am and make my way to Humphrey's Peak, then Mt Elden, and finally, O'Leary Peak. Buck Blankenship has a stout record and has been very generous in helping me work on my route. Without doubt, it's going to be an exciting day! Below is a link if you would like to follow along. This is my first time using a spot tracker for live tracking so hopefully I don't screw this up!

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Hello FKT world, I'm planning to try this route starting overnight at Kendrick, aiming for Humphrey's early in the day, and on from there.  Not sure how the trail conditions will be (with recent snow that hasn't melted up high), nor whether I have the speed to beat Helen's time, but I'm going to give it a go.  John will be supporting me at various spots, and my tracking link is:


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Phew, that was a big day!  First, my Humphrey's forecast failed me and it was crazy windy up along the summit ridge.  Then I completely forgot about how the recent snow might still be there on Weatherford - yep, it was slow going over to Doyle saddle.  I decided I was just doing a scouting day at that point, but made it down to Schultz a good bit quicker than expected and took off on a mission toward Elden.  There I discovered that my InReach Mini had frozen up (noooooo) so I turned on a tracker app on my phone.  Kept cutting it close on the rest of my splits, honestly had no idea if it was even possible to beat Helen's time, all the way to the final (cruel) little uphill run back to O'Leary trailhead.  Got it by 4 minutes!  How did that happen??  I couldn't have done it without super support by my husband John.  I'm working on piecing together the 2 partial (and incomplete) gpx tracks, photos, tracking sheet with my splits, and an affidavit from John, hopefully that will be enough to get this accepted.