Route: Western States 200 (CA)

Submitted by Dan Barger on Wed, 07/22/2020 - 01:16pm
California, US
200.4 mi
Vertical Gain
41,060 ft

This Route is used in the famous Western States 100 Mi Endurance Run. And out & back run between Placer High School in Auburn Ca where the WS100 finishes, and follow the modern day route run in 2019 to Squaw Valley, and return to Auburn 200.4 miles. 

GPS Track


User Picture
Profile picture for user Scott Sambucci

I'll be starting at Squaw Valley with an estimated start time of 5am on Friday, October 8th.  

The attempt is will rely on cooperation from Mother Nature with the changing weather patterns in the area that should reduce the wildfire smoke and air quality, providing me with a window to give this route a clear attempt.

I live in Davis, CA so I've been able to train on the WS course over the past few years, covering many parts of the 100-mile trail in sections. As an ultra-runner, I've completed the Tahoe 200 twice (2017, 2019), three 100-milers and several 50-mile and 50k races. 

For this attempt, my crew includes my wife and son, and my crew chief is a good friend and highly accomplished ultra-runner knows the course well as a three-time Western States 100 finisher. He'll be helping me with some pacing, crossing the river and coordinating the rest of my pacing and support crew throughout the effort.

I expect to take anywhere from 72-84 hours, depending on conditions.

User Picture
Profile picture for user Scott Sambucci

Clarification on the above comment – 

I'll be starting at Squaw Valley with an estimated start time of 5am on Friday, October 9th.

This is a supported run.  

The Sierra did not give up this FKT easily. As WS, TDG (TORX) and othere events were cancelled I made an attempt Aug 1st 2020 throwing in the towel at Duncan Canyon mi 125. Attemp # 2 was quickly schedulled for mid September  as I knew I had made a major mistake. California Wildfires made air quality hazardous and the USFS closed the trails to all for 2 weeks.  Another Runner Scot Sambucci was unsucessful in early October. I schedulled my second attempt for Oct 30th.

It should be noted the official supported FKT for this route is from Auburn to Squaw and finish in Auburn and follows the exact route of the modern day WS 100. This means that all trails run during the official WS 100 were followed exactly. For future attempts runners should know the trail details inside and out, for example trails through ALT and the single track near Millers Defeat are some examples. If anyone needs help identifying any areas I will be happy to help. October 30th came and my enthusastic team and I were underway. Clear Air, Open trails and highs in the low 80's with lows over the summit in the low 20's looked favorable.

Unlike the first attemp I didnt have any altercations with snarelling charging bears near FH. Jim Howard picked me up at Robinson mi 70 to pace through the night with Greg Boyer picking up at Squaw. The section from Robinson to Squaw back to Robinson Mi 70 thru mi 130  demands some attention. Woirking through the Canyons with 3 pacers helped get me to FH just before dawn I decided to take a 1/2 hr break and start the last section FH to Auburn in daylight. Attempt #1   I swam the American River but this time I waded accross waiste deep both directions. Check the water flows out of Oxbow Res, upriver to help with flow levels.

Finsihing on the track at dusk with not a sole in the stands and my team of 14 socialy distance humans accross the finish was... Unforgetable. I put the experience up there with my 2002 9th pl finish of Eco Challenge in Fiji in 9 1/2 days. Splits shown below.

Auburn 0500   0

Mi 22 River #1     3 hrs 39min.

Mi  38  Forest Hill  7:23

Mi 70   Robinson   10:02

Mi 100   Squaw     26:53 arrive 7:53am depart 9:34am

Mi 130   Robinson   37: 48

Mi 162   Forest Hill   48:30

Mi 178   River #2   53:32

Mi 200.2   Auburn  59:48


In Adventure DB

User Picture
Profile picture for user Jason Hardrath @jasonhardrath

Hey FKT Enthusiasts, 

I submitted an identical format to Western States 200, but for Hardrock. Since running the course both ways is already considered an accomplishment there, as it alternates directions each year it seems like a grand challenge. The editors decided not to accept it, because it seemed to similar to the race, which is fine. But if you have found your way here, and read this far, I would imagine you are the type who might be interested in this challenge. So, without the possibility of tagging your name to an official FKT as of now, here you go!

Submitted by Jason Hardrath… on Sat, 10/15/2022 - 01:27pm

Route Name: "The Hardrocker" - Hardrock 200

Distance - 205 mi

Vertical Gain - 67,000 ft


"Hardrock" is a globally iconic course and world class 100 mile race. It has been contested in top form by generational talents like Jim Walmsley and Kilian Jornet. Each year the race director alternates the direction the course is run, people argue over which directions is faster. But a top honor within the Hardrock community is becoming a "True Hardrocker" by officially finishing the race under the 48 hour cutoff in each direction, on different years.

Jamil Coury has a film out romanticizing this very undertaking over the course of 5 years of completing the race titled "True Hardrocker"

This FKT and challenge packages this multi-year journey into a single push outside of the race - to become a Hardrocker - in other words this is the "Hardrock 200" or "Hardrock Yo-Yo".

First things first, the Hardrock 100 benefits local students through the Joel Zucker Memorial Scholarship. As of 2022, this has supported local students with over $247,550 in scholarship support. If you are going to attempt this FKT in their space, please strongly consider supporting their community.

Donations are recommended since a portion of the race fee normally benefits these students, do good for the places you FKT!!!

Now, on to the details...

Hardrock course at a glance [and you get to do this twice, once each direction]

  • "100-mile run with 33,197 feet of climb and 33,197 feet of descent for a total elevation change of 66,394 feet with an average elevation of 11,186 feet - low point 7,680 feet (Ouray) and high point 14,048 feet (Handies Peak)." - from Hardrock 100 website, now multiply all those numbers by 2.
  • The cutoff is 48 hours. Therefore, each direction should be finished in under 48 hours for an FKT attempt to count.
  • You must go once in each direction. Each in 48 hours. If you finish your first lap faster, it earns you some rest before starting your return.

Here is a Caltopo Map for planning and course gpx files.

"True Hardrocker Challenge" one could take on this challenge without gunning for the FKT, the challenge being: complete a continuous push each direction of the Hardrock 100, beating the 48hr cutoff each way.  If you are attempting the challenge or succeed at the challenge, please post links to strava and your report in the comments below!

Since this not done during the race you will not have the advantage of course markings but will still be expected to stay on course, if you deviate, you must return to where you left the course then continue.

Here is a Caltopo Map for planning and course gpx files.

First Double Hardrock, First Known Time, and inspiration: Peter Bakwin

Peter Bakwin, one of the founders of Fastest Known Time, was also the first to ever accomplish this task - before and during an actual running of the race - though you do not have to.

He was supported both directions and his times were as follows

  • First lap (counter-clockwise) - 41hrs 22min
  • Rest time (before race start) - 6hrs 38min
  • Second lap (clockwise, race) - 42hrs 50min
  • Total FKT time = 3days, 18hours, 50min 

Peter's time is well documented and should be considered the time to beat, he should also be considered the inspiration for both this challenge and this FKT route.


Resources and history:

Conditions report

Peter Bakwin's double report

course directions 2022 - - Jamil Coury - Jim Walmsley

skim through the legacy of Hardrock