Hiking 214 peaks is no easy feat. And this hiker did it for speed.
On Monday, U.K. hiker and author James Forrest, 37, set a new solo, self-supported record for the Wainwrights, a collection of peaks and trails in Lake District National Park in Cumbria, England.
Forrest walked 525 km (328 miles) to complete the peak-bagging feat in 14 days and 11 hours (camping along the route at night). The inov-8 ambassador ascended 36,000 m — the equivalent height gain of four times Mount Everest. All of the peaks or fells (except one) are over 1,000 feet.
The Cumbria resident hiked an average of 13 hours a day. “The atrocious weather transformed the journey into a rather grueling and traumatic experience — I’ve never felt so utterly miserable and unhappy on a mountain before,” said Forrest. “I am so relieved to have finished.”
A self-supported FKT means no outside help along the way. Forrest hiked alone with a backpacking and camping equipment, and occasionally re-supplied with food and gas he had earlier stashed along the route. He wore the inov-8 ROCLITE G 345 GTX with Graphene-Grip for the trip.
“I did it!!! 214 Wainwrights in 14 days 11 hrs!” he wrote on Instagram upon finishing. “I am now going to eat pizza while soaking in the bath.”
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I did it!!! 214 Wainwrights in 14 days 11hrs! . . . 🏅 Fastest self-supported round ever 🏅 525km 🏅 36,000m ascent 🏅 14 consecutive wild camps . . . I am now going to eat pizza while soaking in the bath. Thank you so much for all of the love and support (and apologies for the very public emotional meltdowns 🤣🙈) – good night everyone! . . . And thanks to @inov_8 for sponsoring my expedition.
Setting an FKT in Lake District National Park
Forrest adhered to Leave No Trace principles during his trip: packing it out, never lighting fires, and pitching late and leaving early.
“It has been the challenge of a lifetime. I love the Lake District. If I can somehow forget the thrashings I took from the weather gods, I hope the enduring memories of my expedition will be the times [when] I relished the peace, beauty, and escapism of Lakeland,” Forrest wrote.
The fastest supported — and overall record — is held by ultrarunner Paul Tierney who set a phenomenal record of 6 days, 6 hours, and 5 minutes in 2019. Forrest followed the official route documented on FKT.com, the route Tierney also took. “I have a newfound respect for the ultrarunners who have run the Wainwrights in under a week,” Forrest commented.
Forrest previously completed a Triple Crown of peak-bagging expeditions covering 1,001 peaks across the U.K. and Ireland. That included climbing 446 mountains over 2,000 feet in England and Wales in just 6 months. He lives in Cumbria, U.K.