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Ultra-Runner Climbs Peak in 9 hours (usually takes 3 days)

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Anton Krupicka is a decorated ultra-runner best known for his über-efficient stride and Grizzly Adams beard. Last month, on September 18, he switched gears and set out to break a speed record in Wyoming’s Wind River Range.

The objective was Gannett Peak, a 13,809-foot mountain that’s the tallest in the state and one of the more remote big summits in the lower 48s. At over 35 miles with thousands of feet of elevation, the trip typically takes three days to complete.

Krupicka took a different approach, banking on his ultrarunning background and super-human endurance to blaze a one-day roundtrip.

File photo of Anton Krupicka; Gannett Peak on right

Krupicka is not the first speed freak to take on Gannett or peaks like it. Runners with mountain skills have long pushed for fast car-to-car roundtrips that turn normal itineraries on their heads.

For Gannett, the time to beat, established by Peter Bakwin in 2009, was 12 hours and 39 minutes.

With that record in his sites, last month Krupicka took off early on a cold morning. Over four hours he ran, scrambled, crossed a glacier, climbed a couloir, and tagged Gannett’s top. He then sprinted downhill for hours, finally emerging from the woods smiling at just under the 9 hour mark.

He timed the climb to the second. Here are some words from a post on the Ultimate Direction blog he wrote talking about his time to the summit:

“It had taken me 4:45:39 to get to the top of the mountain from the GRL trailhead, and I spent the next 4min+ enjoying the view, signing the summit register, and taking some pictures. I left at exactly 4:50:00, descending the same way that I’d came, except on the way down I took the loose terrain directly in the couloir, instead of the steeper, more exposed slabs.”

Wind River view

Krupicka’s entire report is here. It’s a fun read and a motivator for anyone who digs fast and light style feats.

Perhaps the only thing more impressive than his pace was what Krupicka brought along, or rather, didn’t bring along for the run. Normally done with a full compliment of mountaineering equipment, Krupicka opted for extreme minimalism on Gannett with nothing more than a water bottle and a dozen gel packets, his camera, a Buff, a light jacket, and a couple other essentials he could carry on his body.

Off the mountain, Krupicka has lent his minimalist sensibilities and trail experience to the design of the Signature Series AK Race Vest from Ultimate Direction. We’d advise taking at least that — if not a full pack of gear — if you’re motivated to try Gannett or a similar challenge.

—Patrick Murphy is an assistant editor.

Krupicka taking a quick breather atop Gannett Peak

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