A year later my right leg is splinted and I’m non-weight bearing due to a stress fracture in my foot. Might as well type a few words about the WURL! I’ve had a fascination with the WURL for a decade now. I did it once with Noah in 2013 and again with Tom and Lars in 2014. Both times the focus was more on having a good time and just finishing. Both times were a fantastic day+ out in the Wasatch. At the time I think the idea of going fast for that long didn’t really compute. I had read Nick Berry’s TR as well and Jared Campbell’s and figured those times were out of my league.
Over the next 6 years, I watched Adam Loomis, Luke Nelson, and Joey Campanelli continue to improve on the FKT. Knowing Luke and Joey made me think a little more about giving it a go, but I don’t think I ever had any intention of really trying. I still thought it was a just little too long for me. At the start of 2020, Stacey kept talking about wanting to try to break her friend Alexis Crellin’s FKT. I went and did an early season recon day with Stacey from Twins to Pole line pass. From that day on, I was hooked. We went home and wrote out Luke, Joey, and Alexis’s splits. From there we talked WURL talk almost every day of the summer. We ran every section of the WURL at least once trying to match the previous FKT splits. I’m glad Joey and Luke have the GPS tracks online because it confirmed to me their adherence to the ridge. There were a couple spots I didn’t think staying true to the ridge made sense but since Joey and Luke did I figured I had as well. As it turns out, staying on the ridge makes travel a little easier anyway!
|Brennan doing WURL prep in the Tetons with me|
I had done the Cathedral Traverse with Alexis’s husband Brennan in the middle of August. My plan was to get another long day in towards the end of August and then shoot for the WURL at the end of September. Stacey had other plans. She checked the weather and it looked like there was a cold front moving in the beginning of September. Lows up high were in the 30’s with highs in the 60’s. Seemed like a window that was too good to pass up. We would also have about an hour of extra daylight (compared to late Sept) and a full moon!
I started Sept 1 at 4:28AM. Stacey started a few hours earlier. There was a little rain the night before and with temps being in the low 30’s to upper 20’s I was worried about icy patches. The plan was to pull the plug if we came upon any ice. Fergeson went smoothly and the prior recon off. Summitting E Twin in 2:15 had me feeling optimistic about the day. The next two hours went perfectly. I tried not to push too hard and felt like I was moving smoothly. Summiting Monte Cristo I could see Stacey off in the distance. We met up while descending off Superior and ran together to Pole Line Pass (4:32). There, Noah was waiting with a fully load pack and some bagels. We swapped packs, I ditched the cold weather and we were off within a minute or two.
|No time for good photos! Just after Pole Line Pass|
Shortly after, Stacey and I parted ways as we both were executing as planned. This is the one section I wish I would have brought poles. I should have had Noah bring them and then I could have dropped them with Andy and Hidden peak. Oh well, next time! I was tired over this next section but made a few phone calls just to keep my mind occupied and for a little motivation. Devils went smoothly but I was feeling tired. While I was heading up Baldy I ran into Andy! He was going to meet at Hidden Peak but met me a bit early. The company was a game-changer. For the rest of the day I felt pretty good. Maybe it was the company, may the new pack, maybe the soft flask of pickle juice!
Andy made me hit the (7:45) and then escorted me to the base of AF Twins. Hidden to the Pfeiff was uneventful. I felt stronger than I did before Devil’s and thought I just need to keep moving and I’d be in for a fast time. I continued to try and relax and not push too hard but not slow down. Tom was meeting me just before the and I wasn’t sure if he was going to take me Lone or not. After giving me he took me to the summit of the Pfeiff (10:23) where he told me he was done for the day. He had tweaked his knee trying to take the Lone Peak FKT from me the day before. Trying. Ha!
From there the name of the game stayed the same, move quickly but don’t push. I felt like the only thing that could ruin my day at this point was a sprained ankle or cramping legs. I had a big flask of pickle juice! Because of Joey and I hit the little bumps right before Bighorn. Thanks for the beta guys! I hit Lone at 12:50 and was happy the remainder of the day was downhill. Jared had mentioned he might meet me at the Notch and take me out Bells. When I got to the I didn’t see anyone but thought I had heard voices down in Bells. Once into Bells, I was greeted by 3 wild men (the brothers Jared, Sam, Aaron) loaded with food and drink! They brought so much laughter and energy to the table I knew the day would end well. Finding the trail was a breeze as I had done it twice in the last month. We jogged and laughed all the way out as they fed me every 15 mins or so. We were met at the Bells TH by a group of friends and my day was officially over! 14:40.40. I had celebratory Wendy’s and a shower at Chad’s and then went back to wait for Stacey who came in shortly after in a new FKT of 19:31!
|Nearing the end|