Athletes Go Live To Gain Attention

by Jayme Moye, 5280 magazine

Last May, alpinist and professional photographer Cory Richards, who was a resident of Boulder at the time, shared his ascent of Mt. Everest live via Snapchat. His stream, titled #EverestNoFilter, introduced hundreds of thousands of viewers to vertiginous peaks and stunning vistas—as well as some of the climb’s more unsavory aspects (e.g., packing out poop).

It marked the first time anyone has provided a live, unedited look at what it’s like to climb the world’s tallest mountain on what’s become one of the fastest-growing social media platforms.

Richards’ broadcast is just one example of how Colorado athletes are flocking to real-time feeds as a new outlet to reach their fans. Aspen resident and big-mountain skier Chris Davenport jump-started the trend in November 2015 when he became the first person to use Facebook Live from Antarctica. Snapchat, Facebook, and Instagram all have invested significant dollars in live-streaming capabilities since then, making it easier than ever for followers to watch your moves as they happen. (Snap Inc.’s version of Google Glass, called Spectacles, launched in November.) “It’s kind of like how reality television took off in the ’90s,” Davenport says. “Only this is reality internet.”

When it comes to extreme adventuring, though, nothing is easy. In contrast to static social media posts, live video streams require Wi-Fi or a 4G connection on your mobile phone. In remote areas of the world, that means tapping into the Broadband Global Area Network (BGAN), a satellite network that provides internet coverage nearly everywhere on Earth. Users connect to one of BGAN’s three geostationary satellites through a portable, laptop-size terminal, which creates a Wi-Fi hot spot.

123: The number of professional athletes who have signed with Like a Pro, a Denver website that alllows sports stars to share training tips directly with with fans

Of course, this type of access comes at a price. Davenport’s handful of posts in Antarctica cost thousands of dollars, and Richards’ sessions on Everest totaled $23,000—all paid by the athletes’ sponsors, who tend to see the feeds as a valuable tool to promote their brands. (See the Kästle logo in the photo above.) So while it may seem like athletes are reaching fans directly through live streams, sponsors are certainly involved, although the real-time nature of the feeds makes it impossible for sponsors to edit them.

Not all expeditions lend themselves to live streams. A BGAN terminal weighs eight pounds, making it impractical to add to certain climbs. (On Everest, porters help carry your load.) Other times, stopping to live-stream might actually be an impediment to your adventure, like when you’re, say, trying to clock the fastest known time (FKT) for the Longs Peak Triathlon—biking from Boulder to Longs Peak, running the approach, climbing the Diamond, running down, and biking back—like Boulder superstar Anton Krupicka. His sponsor, La Sportiva North America, also based in Boulder, was happy to pay the higher cost for a video crew instead.

For many adventure athletes, the ability to let passionate fans feel like they’re part of the action makes up for such downsides. That’s the belief of Ridgway mountaineer Chad Jukes, who became the second combat-wounded veteran to summit Everest in May and plans to document his attempt on the Moose’s Tooth peak in Alaska this month. In his words: “You can’t beat the excitement of a live stream from a truly remote and wild place.”

Source: Athletes Go Live To Gain Attention | 5280

The Top FKTs of 2016, from Ultimate Direction

Joe Grant nabbed the FKT for bagging all of Colorado’s 14ers without the help of a car in 2016. Photo courtesy Joe Grant

The FKTOY award will recognize the top FKT by a Female and by a Male. The purpose is to learn, appreciate, and be inspired by the accomplishments of others. No one actually wins anything – just the respect of their peers.

by Buzz Burrell, Ultimate Direction

The “FKT” has arrived!  Runners all over the world now understand and use the term, and may expend more effort going for a Fastest Known Time than in a regular race.

So the time has come for a “Fastest Known Time of The Year” Award!  Following the long-standing Ultra Runner of the Year (“UROY”) awards that have recognized and celebrated the sport’s best since 1981, the FKTOY award will recognize the top FKT by a Female and by a Male. The purpose is to learn, appreciate, and be inspired by the accomplishments of others. No one actually wins anything – just the respect of their peers.

So a list of top candidates was created by Peter Bakwin from his FKT site, then a group of 21 experienced runners were recruited to vote … and after much deliberation, their votes decided it!  It was an amazing process.  The winners will be announced next week in Ultrarunning Magazine and on this blog, along with brief comments from the Voters as to why each was valued (Hint: they ALL were incredible, but two more so than the others

So here is the list of candidates and what they did.  What do YOU think about these routes?  Which do YOU think should be the inaugural FKTOY?  Please post your Comments below.

FEMALE (all in chronological order)

Joelle Vaught – 5/20; Trans Zion; 48 mi; 8h, 26m, 9s – Sweet route crossing Zion NP on trails; previous FKT’s by Krissy Moehl and Bethany Lewis.

Amber Monforte – 7/22-26; John Muir Trail Unsupported; 222 mi; 4d, 1h, 13m – One of the mostly hotly-contested long trail routes. Only 5h 13m slower than Sue J’s 2007 Supported record.

Gina Lucrezi – 8/10; Mt Whitney (car-car); 22 mi; 5h, 29m, 22s – 6,000′ vert in 11mi to highest point in lower 48 states; first known attempt by a Woman.

Heather Anderson – 10/7-27; Arizona Trail Self-Supported; 800 mi; 19d, 17h, 9m – “Anish” now holds the Overall Self-Supported records for the AT, PCT, and the AZT.

Meghan Hicks – 9/9-11; Nolan’s 14; 100 mi; 59h, 36m – Open Course tagging 14 14ers; few trails, lots of navigation, tons of vert. Supported.

Sue Johnston – 1/1-12/26; 4000ers Calendar Grid; 3,159 mi; one year – All 48 New Hampshire 4,000′ summits every month for a year. Reported 3,159 mi, 993,970′ vert, and hiking 205 days.
Yikes!  Stout stuff!  What about the guys?


Ryan Ghelfi – 7/6; Mt Shasta Ascent; 1h, 37m, 5s – This used to be an actual race. Ryan beat FKT’s by Rickey Gates, and John Muir from 1874!

Uli Steidl – 7/26; Mt Rainier (car-car); 4h, 24m, 30s – Bettered Willie Benegas 2008 time. This is the Runners Record; there are separate records for Skiers (which is faster).

Leor Pantilat – 8/6-10; Sierra High Route Unsupported; 195 mi; 4d, 16h, 21m – Technically difficult for most runners so few attempts have been made; this took 3 days off the previous FKT. Roughly paralleing the JMT but above it, mostly off-trail, with 3rd Class sections and navigation.

Nick Elson – 8/13; Grand Traverse; 17 mi; 6h, 30m, 49s – Legendary alpinist Alex Lowe had this FKT, then Rolo Garibotti at 6h, 49m for 15 years. 10 Teton summits, 12,000′ vert, climbing up to 5.8 grade, free solo.

Joe Grant – 7/26-8/26; Colorado 14ers Self-Powered, Self Supported; 400 mi; 31d, 8h, 33m – 3+ days faster than Justin Simoni from previous year. Start/Finish at his house, hike/run 400mi, bike 1,100mi, climb 57 14ers, no Support.

Karl Meltzer – 8/3-9/18; Appalachian Trail Supported; 2,189 mi; 45d, 22h, 38m – Speedgoat’s 3rd try took about 9 hrs off Jurek’s time from previous year. This is the original long trail, featuring David Horton, Pete Palmer, Andrew Thompson, Jen Pharr-Davis, Scott Jurek, and countless before.

Jim Walmsley – 10/4; Grand Canyon R2R2R; 46 mi; 5h, 55m, 20s – Took 25m off Rob Krar’s 2013. Super classic route. Blazing 2h 46m S-N to begin, which is an R2R FKT going in the slowest direction.

Pete Kostelnick – 9/12-10/24; Trans America; 3,067 mi; 2d, 6h, 30m – Goes way back to the “Bunion Derby” days of the 1920’s Broke 36 year old FKT by 4 days. 72mi/day for 6 weeks.

Incredible!  How does one choose between these?  The Voters were allowed to vote for up to 5, ranking them accordingly, then the scores were added up.

Source: The Ultimate Direction Buzz | Athlete Commentary, Product Development and Race Updates