ADMIN NOTE: This is a Premier Route - read the Guidelines. You must announce your attempt in advance, and track your attempt diligently; live-tracking is recommended for Premier Routes.
It has a solid history in the Fastest Known Time Of the Year Awards:
- 2018: Alyssa Godesky, #1 Female
- 2019: Nika Meyers, #3 Female
- 2019: Jeff Garmire, #4 Male
- 2020: Joe McConaughy; #2 Male
The Long Trail in Vermont runs 273 miles from the MA/VT border to Canada, along the spine of the Green Mountains. Built by the Green Mountain Club in 1910-1930, it is extremely rugged, steep and rocky.
The Long Trail has a long history of speed record attempts, as is detailed in part on at David Horton's site. Here's a brief synopsis of successful men's (supported) records:
- Sam Swisher-McClure, 6d6h50m, 1997
- Courtney Campbell, 5d14h55m, July 1998
- David Horton, 4d22h54m, June 1999
- Ed Kostak, 4d15h18m, 2000
- "Cave Dog" Ted Keizer, 4d13h15m, June 2004
- Jonathan Basham, 4d12h46m, Sept. 7-11, 2009
There have been fewer reported women's FKTs:
- Jennifer Pharr-Davis, 7d15h40m (self-supported), August 2007
- Nikki Kimball, 5d7h42m (supported), August 2012
Cave Dog's successful 2004 record bid followed an unsuccessful attempt the previous year. Cave Dog's website details his many amazing hiking records.
Champion ultrarunner Nikki Kimball set the women's (supported) FKT of 5d7h42m on Aug. 13-18, 2012. A well-produced, 55-min. film was made of Kimball's run, titled Finding Traction, which is available for streaming on Netflix. It gives a good idea of the nature of the trail, with plenty of GoPro footage shot by Kimball's pacers and crew.
As far as I know, Demetri "Coup" Coupounas, the founder of GoLite, was the first person to hike the Long Trail entirely unsupported, that is with no resupply of any kind (except for collecting ambient water). Coup hiked the trail in 12d19h53m, August 18-31, 2004. His trip was part of the "Triple Gem" of backpacking -- the John Muir Trail, Long Trail and Colorado Trail -- each of which he completed unsupported. GoLite's press release on the Triple Gem is archived here. The "Triple Gem" project also served as promotion for GoLite. Coup had these comments:
Enjoying an alpine style thru-hike of a trail as long as the Long Trail wasn’t even thinkable a decade ago. Now with 1 ¼ pound packs, 1 pound shelters, 1 ¼ pound sleeping bags, ¾ pound waterproof-breathable parkas and the like, it’s totally achievable. Actually, the load I started with was less than what I used to carry for a weekend before my wife Kim and I founded GoLite.
Coup's record was smashed by Travis Wildeboer of Winter Park, Colorado, who hiked the LT without support of any kind in 6d17h25m, Sept. 7-13, 2010. His very detailed report is here.
The Long Trail has also seen some fast self-supported trips. Self-supported means that you don't carry everything you need from the start, but you don't have dedicated, pre-arranged people helping you. You might put out stashes of supplies for yourself prior to the trip, or you might just use what's out there, such as stores, begging from other trail users, etc. Jennifer Pharr-Davis holds the fastest time for a self-supported trip on the Long Trail, 7d15h40m, in August 2007. Prior to Kimball, this was also the overall fastest time for a female. The following is taken from www.trainharder.com:
Pharr, of Hendersonville, North Carolina, completed the Appalachian Trail in 2005 and the Pacific Crest Trail in 2006, but yearned to thru-hike a substantial trail in a sustained push. 'I wanted to immerse myself in the trail and give it my all,' says Pharr. 'Nothing could have taught me more as pushing my limits on the Long Trail.' Pharr’s unsupported journey began each day at 5 or 6 a.m. She averaged 30 miles daily, hiking until 8 or 9 p.m., snacking all day. She had mailed three shipments of food to towns along the trail to restock her food supply. Pharr’s 10-pound pack contained food and clothing, but no tent, as she slept under the stars, and when weather looked threatening, stayed in Green Mountain Club huts.
After blitzing through 45 miles the first day, Pharr awoke on the second morning to a swollen knee and ankle and later that day, suffered a bee sting on the same leg. Mildly allergic, she endured a painful and swollen leg for two days, icing it in streams wherever possible, doubting her ability to continue. But day four was a turning point. 'I had physically overcome a great deal of pain and was now ready for the challenges ahead,' she says.
After graduating from Alabama’s Samford University three-and-a-half years ago, Pharr works seasonally for six months at a North Carolinian summer camp for girls and then travels and hikes the remainder of the year. She took up ultrarunning shortly before her Long Trail attempt, running Virginia’s 2006 Promise Land 50K in 7:00:19 and the 2007 Holiday Lake 50K in 5:34:14. After her record-breaking hike, she also completed Lynchburg’s Mountain Masochist 50-miler in 9:41:21.
'I know that hiking strong, fast and smart can teach you specific lessons, and [being really fit] is a gift that will not always be available to me,' says Pharr. 'So I want to take advantage of it while I can.'
Pharr’s Long Trail sojourn profoundly changed her. 'I am not the same person that I had been at the start,' she says. 'Endurance hiking had taught me to unburden myself from physical gear and emotional ties that slowed me down in the past, and in turn focus on what is positive in my life.'
Prior to Pharr-Davis, the self-supported Long Trail record holder was probably Dr. Warren Doyle, who, in 1978, covered the distance in 8d13h25m.
The Long Trail: Where even the downhills are uphill. - Alicia Hudelson
Duxbury Road - Lincoln Gap: We also have a variation for this challenging 30-mile section of the LT which includes the Monroe Skyline. This part of the LT includes three of Vermont's five 4,000 footers: Camel's Hump (4,081'), Mt. Ellen(4,081'), and Mt. Abraham (4,016'). The Green Mountain Club's Long Trail Guide calculates the mileage for this point to point section at 30.4 miles, and there is more than 11,500 feet of elevation gain.
|Ben Feinson||4d 11h 44m 0s|
|Jonathan Basham||4d 12h 46m 0s|
|Ted "Cave Dog" Keizer||4d 13h 15m 0s|
|Jeff Garmire||5d 23h 48m 0s|
|Josh Perry||6d 9h 48m 45s|
|Travis Wildeboer||6d 17h 25m 0s|
|Demetri "Coup" Coupounas||12d 19h 53m 0s|
Headed out 8/15 sobo, finally made time to take in this beautiful trail.