Tackling the Trail

BYU Magazine

Two area graduates proudly wear the 'hiker trash' label

Local high school graduates and former Boy Scouts trek the entire Pacific Crest Trail to the Canadian border.

For some, summer is a time to relax and burn some vacation time. But for Andrew Bentz and Spencer Chase, this summer presented a prime opportunity for them to stretch themselves to their mental and physical limits.

In May, the two La Cañada High School grads headed for the U.S.-Mexico border town of Campo with their sights set on hiking the 2,650-mile Pacific Crest Trail all the way north to Canada.

The arduous trail takes some as long as six months to complete. Bentz and Chase, however, completed the journey in half the time, logging nearly 30 miles a day for three months and becoming "hiker trash," an affectionate term for people who make hiking a lifestyle, in the process.

2014 Long Trails FKT Summary

The JMT is one of the premier backpacking trails in the world, running 223 miles through California’s Sierra Nevada from Mt Whitney to Yosemite Valley. It is a fabulous route: remote, rugged, committing, but yet with generally good weather, excellent (though rocky) trails and easy navigation. The JMT has become one of the key targets for FKT activity in the western US, and 2014 was definitely a banner year, with several new FKTs being set, both supported and unsupported, along with some spectacular “failures”.  Here’s the full recap, in chronological order – – –

Leor Pantilat set the supported record at 3d7h36m from Whitney Portal (3d4h30m from Whitney summit), set August 15-18, 2014.
Andrew Bentz holds the unsupported record at 3d10h59m40s from Whitney Portal , set Aug. 26-29, 2014.

College student Andrew Bentz set the unsupported FKT for the JMT at 3d10h59m40s (from Whitney Portal to Happy Isles) on August 26-29, 2014, as reported below. Bentz had completed the JMT multiple times, including a 5d2h effort the previous year, and had recently come off a PCT thru-hike of 93 days. He beat Brett Maune's unsupported FKT by 3h13m.