FKT of the Year Awards 2018, Why the Tour of the Highest Hundred is so Weird (and why that’s so awesome)

Blanca Peak, Tour of the Highest Hundred

Blanca Peak, after traversing directly from Little Bear Peak (in the background), Tour of the Highest Hundred , 2017

The 2018 FKTOFTY Awards have been announced. I’ve very thankful that the Tour of the Highest Hundred was selected in the lineup! Although, it didn’t “win”, I really had no reason to think I would! I’m actually a little confused how different FKT attempts can even be compared to each other, but if all we want to do is celebrate FKT projects in general, I think that’s a worthwhile reason to make such lists.

But if I hope that the Tour of the Highest Hundred would win something like a popularity contest… forget it. It’s too long, too hard, too weird, and too obscure to ever become the type of, “Destination FKT” something like the Grand Canyon Rim to Rim to Rim or the John Muir Trail are quickly becoming. And that’s totally fine with me. A litmus test is this: try to visualize exact what teh Highest Hundred challenge would entail. Kinda hard, right? What do you focus on? The distance, the peaks themselves, the elevation gain, the route? It’s a complex mother.

But, there’s a lot of reasons I think going for the Colorado Centennials by bike and by foot self-supported makes a totally life-changing challenge, even if you don’t make it your own FKT.

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Fastpacks From Hell: The Crestone Centennial Enchainment!

Crestone Peak from Crestone Needle

The Crestones! A highlight of my Highest Hundred trip – the mountains of this group are awesomely steep, the rock is solid, the scrambling: divine. This is truly a Fastpack from Hell-yeah!

Stats:

  • 36.1 Miles
  • 15,200’+ elevation

Total time:

  • 1 day, 17hr, 28min

Seven Centennials summited:

  • Adams
  • Challenger
  • Kit Carson
  • Columbia Point
  • Humboldt
  • Crestone Needle
  • Crestone Peak
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Fastpacks From Hell: The Colorado Sierra Blanca Centennial Enchainment!

Stats:

  • 33.1 Miles
  • 15,085’+ elevation

Total time:

  • 2 days 25min

Six Centennials summited:

  • Ellingwood Point
  • Little Bear Peak
  • Blanca Peak
  • “Huerfano Peak”
  • Mt. Lindsey
  • California Peak

To make the Tour of the Highest Hundred work, my general strategy was to keep the number of separate trailheads I needed to visit by bike as low as possible, while designing my route on foot to tag as many mountains in an area as possible. Transitioning to/from bike-mode/hike-mode and superfluous riding are big time sucks.

One of the largest puzzles is the Sierra Blancas. Even enthusiastic peak baggers will separate this group of mountains into >= two trips:

  • Approaching from the east for Mt. Lindsey and “Huerfano Peak” via the Huerfano/Lily Lake Trailhead
  • Approaching from the west to access Ellingwood Point, Little Bear, and Blanca via Lake Como Road
  • And well, also approaching from the west for California Peak (if the Centennials are part of your goal), which is accessed from an altogether trail head: Zapata Falls.

Three different trips to three different trailheads is a lot of bike riding for six mountains that sit close together. Visiting the eastern trailhead, then the western ones means either crossing a northern mountain pass (Mosca Pass), or going around the entire southern end of the Sierra Blancas (La Veta Pass) – I was willing and needed to do one, but not both.

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Tour of the Highest Hundred Completed!

Finish Line! of the Tour of the Highest Hundred

Miracles of Miracles,

I managed to complete my Big Project for the year: The Tour of the Highest Hundred! There’s many projects that I’ll be branching off from this summer’s trip, but below are some articles/interviews covering the Tour – I’ll update if/when others are published:

Climbing Magazine

Justin Simoni Summits Colorado’s 100 Highest Peaks in 60 Days

Adventure Journal

This Guy Just Rode and Climbed Colorado’s 100 Highest Peaks, Self Supported and Non-Stop

REI Co-op Journal

Justin Simoni Summits Colorado’s Highest Hundred Peaks.

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Tour of the Highest Hundred Week #7 Notes

Hagerman Pass

Centennials Summited (11):

  • Mount of the Holy Cross
  • Holy Cross Ridge
  • Mt. Oklahoma
  • Mt. Massive
  • Mt. Elbert
  • French Mountain
  • Casco Peak
  • Lackawanna Peak
  • Capitol Peak
  • Snowmass Peak
  • Hagerman Peak

Total Mileage:

  • By foot: 76.9 miles, 31,821′ elevation gained
  • By bike: 200.1 miles, 15,165′ elevation gained
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Tour of the Highest Hundred Week #6 Notes

Summit of Mt. Yale

This was most likely the largest week in the entire tour, in terms of number of peaks summited. Access in the Sawatch is generally easy, resupply is plenty, and most of the peaks don’t pose too much technical problems.

Centennials Summited (19):

  • Cronin Peak
  • Mt. Antero
  • Mt. Shavano
  • Tabeguache Peak
  • Mt. Princeton
  • Mt. Harvard
  • Mt. Columbia
  • Mt. Yale
  • Mt. Hope
  • Missouri Mountain
  • Mt. Oxford
  • Mt. Belford
  • La Plata Peak
  • Ice Mountain
  • North Apostle
  • Mt. Huron
  • Horseshoe Mountain
  • Mt. Sherman
  • Dyer Mountain

Plus bonus peaks: Iowa, Gemini, Peerless, etc

Total Mileage:

  • On foot: 103.8 miles, 48,889′ elevation gain
  • On bike: 136.5 miles, 10,029′  elevation gain
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Tour of the Highest Hundred Week #4 Notes

A Firey Jagged Mountain

Centennials Summited (13):

  • Pigeon Peak
  • Turret Peak
  • Jupiter Mountain
  • Windom Peak
  • Sunlight Peak
  • North Eolus
  • Eolus Peak
  • Jagged Mountain
  • Vestal Peak
  • Wilson Peak
  • Gladstone Peak
  • Mt. Wilson
  • El Diente

Total Mileage:

  • On foot: 98.1 miles, 42,073′ elevation gain
  • On bike: 42.7 miles, 5,342′ elevation gain
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