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Speed Hikes/Record Hikes


Dogwood
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Any thoughts on Heather "Anish" Anderson's unsupported PCT 2013 speed record hike averaging nearly 44 MPD or this yr's 2014 Joe McConaughy's supported PCT speed record hike averaging 50 MPD?

Seems like there's a need for extreme speed on an increasingly larger segment of long distance hiker's minds. Anyone care to comment on where that felt "need" might have originated or what's feeding into it?

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Any thoughts on Heather "Anish" Anderson's unsupported PCT 2013 speed record hike averaging nearly 44 MPD or this yr's 2014 Joe McConaughy's supported PCT speed record hike averaging 50 MPD?

Seems like there's a need for extreme speed on an increasingly larger segment of long distance hiker's minds. Anyone care to comment on where that felt "need" might have originated or what's feeding into it?

Dogwood,

Very good question! I suppose as Americans, we have some inner need to do things faster, "better". So I guess it's like seeing how fast a car, or jet, or rocket can go?

But isn't hiking and backpacking about "the experience"? To see the wonder of the outdoors, to see nature in all of it's unabashed, raw beauty?

Who really wants to go so fast? To me (at least) speed hiking is like racing to the end of your life. Congratulations, you win! You are now dead! If I want to go fast, I'll buckle my self in my car and buzz pass every National and State Park. Hell, if I drive fast enough I could drive pass three or four a day! I can take in the view while speeding past!

Sorry, that's not for me. I want to take my time, to really see what the wild has to show me.

Gary M

Olathe, Kansas

Edited by Gary M
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tmountainnut

Any thoughts on Heather "Anish" Anderson's unsupported PCT 2013 speed record hike averaging nearly 44 MPD or this yr's 2014 Joe McConaughy's supported PCT speed record hike averaging 50 MPD?

Seems like there's a need for extreme speed on an increasingly larger segment of long distance hiker's minds. Anyone care to comment on where that felt "need" might have originated or what's feeding into it?

Its a way to get noticed and put your "mark" on a route. There's all sorts of fastest known times (FKT) out there, and having one is definitely an accomplishment. I'm not going to discredit someone because they are out there for the speed record, its just their way of enjoying being at the top of their game.

Most people consider me fast when i do 20-25 miles in a day in mountainous terrain. However there are plenty of people faster than me out there, some going nearly twice as fast (like those above). I consider 25 miles the fastest i can go while still enjoying the scenery. I have never done a supported route, so i can imagine i could push myself a little faster on something like that, but 30 miles might be pushing it per day.

Even going that fast, i still take time to photography and talk to others when i see them (sometimes the second part doesn't happen when I'm somewhere remote). I also still go with people that are slower than me. when that happens, it just gives me more time to enjoy my surroundings when they're catching up :-)

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Seems like there's a need for extreme speed on an increasingly larger segment of long distance hiker's minds. Anyone care to comment on where that felt "need" might have originated or what's feeding into it?

Hi Dogwood - interesting question. My thoughts are that the more-or-less recent, long distance hiker's "need for speed" had evolved out of the century old, mountaineering one-upmanship (be the "first" at something and get your name assigned to the route). Normal routes became long passe, alternate routes were next picked clean, and soon thereafter it became an extended race to ego-summit already trammeled highest mountains as the "fastest, lightest, youngest, oldest, without oxygen, most disabled" etc... (perhaps helping climbers with sponsorship money as well).

Alpinism uber one-upmanship seemed to happen concurrently with the "Great Outdoor Explosion", beginning approximately two decades ago - where everybody and everybody's friend rediscovered old outdoor activities and created newer ones. Along with the Explosion came the emergence of "extreme sporting". High altitude one-upmanship found it's way down to sea-level and extreme athletes started pushing the limits of achievement in hiking. People were now finding they needed to be the fastest at completing a trail, peak-bagging, State high points, etc.

Perhaps it's all a chicken vs. egg phenomenon as far as what fed into what, but the question as to Mallory's three most famous words in mountaineering (Because it's there) has certainly been turned onto it's head. Today, people don't ask "Why do you want to climb Mt. Everest"? Instead we want to know, "Why wouldn't you want to climb that mountain"! I'm with folks like Gary M and prefer not to "need" to attain some outdoor superlative. Does anyone remember "Ferdinand the Bull"? Mother, I just want to sit down and smell the roses!!!

Edited by Bobo Uzala
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