Max King is no stranger to pushing himself to the limits. He has won many running competitions in his life including the 2011 World Mountain Running Championships and the 2014 IAU 100 km World Championships. Now, he can add a full summit and descent of Mount Shasta in what could be the fastest known time to his list of accomplishments.
King recently took off in the city of Mount Shasta and climbed all the way to the top of 14,179-foot summit of Mount Shasta and back down in 5 hours and 30 minutes. Although there is no official record for his accomplishment, it’s safe to assume that it’s close to the fastest of its kind.
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It’s funny how a simple outing can grow into something with a larger meaning over the course of it playing out. @elchristopherjones and I set out for Mt Shasta on Thursday with a simple goal of me running and him riding and running from the town of Mt Shasta to the summit of Mt Shasta and back as our friends @allimmmiles @thomasmorgan100 and @mattpalilla did a few weeks ago(they did it with skis on their back though). Maybe we would go fast, maybe we wouldn’t but that wasn’t the point. Here enters @jasonhardrath, the FKT king. He just happened to put up a new FKT of the exact route I was doing…last weekend (sorry Jason). All of a sudden this became more of a “thing”. His post on the fkt website explains that this route , the Sisson Trail, is in fact very historical as an old climbing route and how people and pack animals used to get from town to the mountain including John Muir back in 1874. It has a long and storied history and when a route has that it’s so much more interesting to me. I love imagining those old timers before me going up the same route before all the development, fancy gear, and rush to do it as quickly as we can. (🙋🏻♂️guilty🤷🏻♂️🤦🏻♂️) On my way down the mountain I ran into some hikers that asked what I was doing. After explaining they said, “Jack would love to talk to you!” So I chatted a bit more and gave them my number. A few hours later I was talking to Jack Moore, the man responsible for recreating the route after it had fallen into disrepair since about 1960. Jack had been a caretaker at the historic horse camp on Mt Shasta back in the 70’s. So much history in these mountains! And now I feel like I’m a little small piece of it. Oh, and I did make it up and down the Sisson Trail from town to the summit under the “old”(last week) FKT time in 5:29:55. What a day and what a classic route! . . . Gear list: Shoes: Salomon SpeedSpike Kit: SLab modular shorts, Sense Pro Tee Adv Skin 5 Pack Suunto 9 @lekiusa Micro Trail Race Poles @guenergylabs wafels and Gus XA Filter Flasks Salomon Short Trail Gaiters . . . #fkt #fastestknowntime @fastestknowntime #timetoplay @salomonrunning @guenergylabs @lekiusa @suunto
King began his route at 7:10 am in the city of Mount Shasta and took the Sisson Trail to the top, getting to the summit in just 3 hours and 30 minutes. Stopping only to take a brief photo at the summit, he then made it down in just two hours, home in time for lunch.
The time it took King to summit Mount Shasta is an impressive feat when compared to others who climb the active volcano. Most climbers take two days to summit the mountain, camping at Horse Camp or Lake Helen midway up the mountain. From there, it typically takes about 8-10 hours to the top and another 4-5 hours down. In essence, King accomplished the climb in just 1/3 of the usual time.
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A few weeks ago the convo went like this: @elchristopherjones: Max, you ever been to the summit of Shasta? Me: No CJ: Great, let’s do it twice in one day! Me: Ugh, ok. Tomorrow we go for summit number three of the year by running from the town of Mt Shasta to the summit at 14,179ft. That should get me tired. @elchristopherjones is riding to the snow, then climbing. Man, I’m still feeling my legs from the treadmill 50k! #mtshasta #timetoplay @salomonrunning @guenergylabs @suunto @spot_llc
The record for summiting the mountain sits just over an hour and a half, currently belonging to Tom Goth, but that’s from Horse Camp at 7,900 feet elevation. King’s run began in town at 3,600 feet.
For anyone who wants to be able to summit mountains like King, he is hosting two trail running camps in Mount Shasta this summer. For more information go to http://www.maxkingtrc.com/.
Northern California’s Outdoor Digital Newsmagazine