View Full Version : PCT Speed Attempt - Tuna Helper

04-18-2012, 16:14
This email came across the PCT-L -- Thought I'd post a copy here. I met Tuna Helper in '09 around Kennedy Meadows - Nice guy and physically fit enough to give the record a go. Scott's record is no joke, though, so best of luck.

Hello Everyone!
Im posting today because I would like to state my intentions of
attempting to best the overall unsupported PCT speed record, currently held
by Scott Williamson (64 days 11 hours 19 minutes) on his 2011 sobo hike. My
reason for posting on PCT-L is to let it be know to the wider community, so
that if I manage to break the record, my story will have a bit more
credibility. I've posted these intentions on the Fastest Know Time (FTK)
forum (link here<http://fastestknowntime.proboards.com/index.cgi?board=pacific&action=display&thread=29>)
under the PCT and spoken with Adam Bradley (aka Krudmeister) who hopefully
can find time to post my intentions on his blog. I know not everyone
appreciates going fast and I'm not looking for comments, praise, or
opinions etc, Im just stating my intentions plain and simple to they are
known. I have been warned about posting this on here, but feel it necessary
since I am relatively unknown in the PCT realm.

My name is Ryan Weidert, aka Tuna Helper (PCT '09). I’d like to let my
intentions be known that I will be attempting to break the overall speed
record (by Scott Williamson 2011) for hiking the entire length of the
entire Pacific Crest Trail going northbound. I will adhere to the same
“self-supported” and “unassisted” style as the current records. This style
means a great many things, most of which I’ve copied directly or
paraphrased from the posts and correspondence of current record holders
(Scott Williamsons (Bink) and Adam Bradley (Krusmeister)). In adhering to
the guidelines of the current records, ‘I will NOT have anyone following,
or otherwise meeting me in prearranged manner to give me support. I plan to
do this hike as a backpacker, carrying all of my food, equipment, and water
between resupply towns. I will walk into supply towns to pick up mailed,
prepackaged food boxes or to purchase food, then walk back to the trail via
the same route I came in on. I will not be getting into a vehicle for any
reason during this attempt, or skipping any section of trail. If I receive
a lift from any vehicle or skip a portion of trail (no matter the distance)
the attempt is off. I will be following the official PCT route, taking no
detours, road walks or alternates of any kind.’

I will be attempting to break this record as a solo hiker and will be
starting sometime between May 20-25th. I will post my official start date
once I have firmly pinned it down. My main reasons for this attempt is to
test myself and what I am capable of, the record being the bar in which to
compare myself with other awesome endurance athletes. My ultimate goal is
to hike the trail in under 60 days, however, completing it very fast is
good enough, as I love the PCT. I am also planning my food and schedule to
attempt a Yo-Yo. This, however is highly dependent on how I feel once (and
if) I complete the trail. I’ll periodically be in contact with family
members and relay my progress, which I hope to have posted on FTK forum and
broadcast to the PCT-L. I’m willing to contact/update someone else I don’t
know as an outside contact to help verify my progress (blog, website or
whatever). I am highly considering taking a GPS to record my attempt to
have extra verification of my hike since I am hiking solo and independent
verification is more difficult. I want to be as open as I can with this so
there is as little possibility of ‘drama’ or questions if I manage to
succeed. Any suggestions or comments as to how I can possibly improve my
openness and or verify my hike more clearly will be considered. My
admiration for the trail and those who hike it runs deep and I can’t wait
to test myself and get dirty!

-Tuna Helper

04-21-2012, 08:58
It is interesting that he is choosing both the record and a yo-yo as a goal. I would think that would be almost mutually exclusive. Why? For a record attempt you would select a start date that would maximize the trail conditions for the full length of the hike. For a yo-yo you would want the earliest start that gets you to Canada the earliest, not nessesarily the fastest, so you turn around and fly back to and through the Sierra before the snow starts in he fall.

His start date of May 20-25 is the exact same time that I started last year which I believe is perfect for a high speed yo-yo but too early for a record attempt, especially one that is targetting under 60 days. So at that pace he would hit the following points/dates:
Kennedy Meadows - June 7th
Sierra City - June 27th
Ca/Or Border - June 30th
Cascade Locks - July 10th
Canada - July 21st

I don't think that the trail will be impassible by any stretch but there will still be significant snow to slow him down especially in Or/WA. When Scott and Adam set the NoBo record in 2009 they started June 8th which gave them an additional two weeks of meltout. They hit KM on June 26th allowing them to fly through the Sierra and beyond. I suspect that a small "mistake" like this could be the difference between success and failure assuming of course he is capable of doing the distance/speed under ideal conditions in the first place.

04-21-2012, 09:22
Good Luck Tuna Helper. I never thought about the fact that one would need to worry about recognition in attempting to break a record without someone else following/watching your every move. Hummm..... I don't blame you for wanting the recognition if YOU know you achieved your goal in record time and did so in all honesty. I hope you can do it, I hope you can prove it but most of all I hope your motivation comes from a good place. :) (Not a Narc.)

04-21-2012, 09:59
Personally, I think Scott's record will stand a long time.
But, this year might be one of the best to make a serious attempt.
Hopefully someone will keep us updated on his progress. I for one am looking forward to following it.

I have a good friend who held the record for a year or two at 83 days, which he did back in 2003. (unsupported)
Ray (my friend) is an amazing athlete and endurance racer. To beat his time by 20 days is mind boggling to me.
Ray (Wall) did his using the "no cook" method and often times resupplied from vending machines. (again, not possible to me)

To do it without even hitching into or out of towns will be even tougher. I'm thinking about places like Etna, Big Bear, Mojave (or Tehatchapi), Sisters (or Bend) etc.
Of course, if he's doing 300 miles between resupplies, some of these might not be necessary.
It'll take a lot of planning and luck.

I wish him luck.

Mikey Appleseed
04-21-2012, 13:03
This record is more of a yearly record. Conditions and factors are always changing. Public info can be dangerous, and im not sure its worth the extra credibility, something FNT fails to understand or promote. Scott is the benchmark right now, but if you told me hes the highest standard in the world, it would be like saying, P Manning is the best QB ever, but how many wanna-be P Mannings out there never even attempted or even wanted to to join the NFL? What if Malto hiked this year? Im sure he would have a good shot. Im not discounting Scotts abilitys and knowledge, but so many factors are at play here. The real question, How will this record help you, change you, or sooth you?

04-21-2012, 13:12
I wish Tuna Helper good luck on his hike. Since he's done one thru hike of the PCT, he knows what it's like out there. Having a few years to prepare may be enough to be ready. Now he needs friendly snow levels, no fire closures and nice weather. It's a big gamble, but I'm sure he already knows that.

04-21-2012, 13:26
What if Malto hiked this year? Im sure he would have a good shot.

Actually he would have hiked it in the same 98 days as he did last year. I was hiking to my slightly constrained time schedule.

There are certainly a fair number of equally qualified athletes who could match Scott's ability. But few can match his knowledge of speed hiking, especially his efficiency. And there is likely nobody that has the trail specific knowledge that allows him to have an edge.

A great example of this was Sam Fox last year. No doubt he is a great athlete. But I suspect he learned some hiking specific lessons such as not hiking/running 66 miles your first day. He likely also learned PCT specific lessons such as the window for traversing the Sierra. Each of these lessons likely resulted in Sam not beating Scott's record. What could he do now with this and other lessons under his belt?

I actually think Scott's record will be broken this year. It wouldn't surprise me if he actually does the breaking along with the usual cast of characters.


Mikey Appleseed
04-21-2012, 13:46
Well said Malto, I guess I just was curious. Scotts says the record is built off the stepping stones of previous record holders(blueprint), so thats also a plus factor for Tuna. But why does he not feel the need to gps himself or advertise?Yet lay down a set of rules that everyone should adhere to? Sorry FKT, I said FNT, ah it bothers me. I have a GIANT amount of respect for Scott and the other supernaturals, so lets be clear about that. Theres no pot of gold at the end, but a hollow feeling for most people to fail, alot of risk for I guess a huge reward. I wish I knew what that reward was.

Mikey Appleseed
04-21-2012, 15:47
The whole supported and unsupported thing really means nothing to anyone who has enjoyed the 2009 journal(just a sidebar), in 2009 there were some "unexpected" visits made, so does that count as support? Am I wrong? Lets just call the record as it is, the overall record. In a ultra marathon where records are timed, judged, and reconized, there is alot of support, yet no disrepect to anyone who takes the help. The reason theres no real rules is because its on a national trail, and events are banned unless grandfathered in. Get all the unexpected visits you can, that includes everyone. Why limit yourself further? Lets get this record sub-60!

Mikey Appleseed
04-21-2012, 21:36
Whats the point im making? If you wish to be the puppet master, dont be a puppet. The idea of a record is point A to point B no matter what, at any cost, by any means. Ethics are for nice people, and how do they finish? If you have a helicopter resupply use it, dont worry about what others do. Go get it.

04-22-2012, 02:47
I hiked for about a month with Tuna Helper on the PCT in 2009, and that fella is a STRONG hiker.

Mikey Appleseed
05-16-2012, 12:40
Go Tuna, hope you make it this far north, would love to help in anyway(witness). Kick up some Tuna!

06-24-2012, 18:40
Is there any recent news of mr tuna's progress? The last info I found was from KM where he was about on record pace. He started very strong but seemed to fade a bit after about mile 400. There are also a couple of other very strong hikers this year. Swami was really moving until the poodle dog bush putting him off trail for a few and Mouse is also on track for a sub 100 day finish.

Mikey Appleseed
06-24-2012, 23:12
I just know what ive been told, hes on record pace still and charging past the halfway! Rumors of other record hike attempts are rampant...I like the quiet style, its a good sign. Not the way it was advertised, but we all can change our minds, its good to be a little unpredictable...Go Tuna!

07-10-2012, 22:33
Tuna Helper reportedly hit mile ~1600 on day 36.5. Good pace. I'm seeing a lot of reports of very late melt above 5000' in Oregon & Washington. Miles of traversing sun cups would really suck.

07-11-2012, 10:46
This came across the PCT-L list today:
Hey All,
This is Tuna Helper and I'm disappointed to report I've gotten off
trail and my speed record attempt is over. The snow in Oregon around and
north of Crater Lake really slowed me down and I didn't foresee it getting
much better, as anywhere above about 6000 ft, especially under trees or
north slopes, the snow was deep, hard and usually steep. When hiking by Mt.
Thielsen, it took me 8 hours to go 10 miles, where the 'trail' was buried
under snow 95% of the distance. Theilsen Creek was even still covered and
no flowing water to be seen. Sure, conditions could have improved and I may
have still been able to best the record but I figured the last 800 miles
were going to have tough snow conditions which would make my efforts nearly
fruitless come the border and end of the hike. I'm happy with what I was
able to accomplish, having gone 1864 miles in 42.5 days, made record time
to the midpoint and across California and have no regrets. It would have
been great to have finished the hike but one must accept the unexpected and
how things turn out. In the next few weeks Ill have a few more emails with
links to my GPS data, logs and daily journal entries. Until then enjoy the
summer and hope you can get out on trail.
Tuna Helper

07-11-2012, 20:09
This is a shame. He definitely has the physical horsepower to make a record run. He just started too early which was my fear, see my post above. I really hope he makes another go at this, he definitely earned my respect.


07-12-2012, 23:53
I think July would have been too early this year - My dad lives in the North Cascades, and he said he hasn't seen a snow pack this thick this late in a really long time. It's just not melting. I see a handful of SOBO's have already bailed. It's unfortunate, because a few months ago, everything was normal. North Cascade Highway (Rainey Pass) opened at a normal time, snow levels were typical.

10-21-2012, 03:33
I met him in Socal and he was cruising; I really wish he started later!