One foot at a time | One sole at a time | One hell of a good time


Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Mt. Whitney Summitted Barefoot #3

Photo by Patrick Fitz

Last month while climbing Gorgonio, highest peak in SoCal, I suggested to Larry that he should try climbing Mt. Whitney barefoot. He had read of my previous successes, and as a 10 year barefooting veteran, I knew he was up to it.

Well, that's exactly what we did.

Larry and his family got a camp space in Lone Pine Campground (camp 38, same one as on July 4, 2005), got some permits and gave me a call. I was still a little sore after Friday night's all-night run, but could not think of turning down a chance to climb Whitney again.

I drove up from LA on Monday evening, had a bite to eat, went to bed, got up at 4am, started hiking by around 5:20am, got down by 2pm and was back on the road to LA by around 4pm and home by around 7pm. That is a LONG day.

I went up barefoot and came down wearing my Vibram FiveFinger Sprints. Larry came down wearing his BFT Huaraches. I got up and down in about 9 hours. It was a fantastic day.

Looking forward to climbing again. I am even thinking about attempting a dual summit climb, i.e., climbing to the summit twice in one day. Dreaming.


First Summit Report here
Second Report here
Great map here
Great Video of the Trail here
Whitney Portal Forum Link here

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Blogger gabriel said...

Great footage. Question: why do you prefer the five fingers, while your friend wears your huaraches?!

I went on a barefoot hike myself today, in San Francisco. I started at Fort Mason and walked the beach to the Predsidio, then explored all the trails through the Presidio. It was great, over such a variety of surfaces; sandy beach, small pebble gravel, sandy trails, dirt trails, large pebble gravel, rough and smooth concrete, wooden stairs. Only thing is, my ankle is protesting a bit as I got a tad over zealous.

I feel great though. And while I still use my orthotics often when doing long distance walking in the city, I know that hiking and running barefoot will keep my feet healthy so I don't need more and more supportive orthotics, like glasses for eyes, as my feet weaken. Now I go out some days without my arch supports. Thanks for your website!

(Still waiting on my huaraches, though I got an email that said they shipped so when I get back to Seattle they will likely be waiting for me!)


Friday, August 31, 2007

Blogger Pieter said...

Ted, off topic, I know you think about a barefoot/ fixed gear triatlon.

You may find the follwing quote interesting. I found it on

Quote: "I particularly like the fixed gear in biathlon competitions (usually 5K runs, 30K bike rides, and a final 5K run), because the fixed gear allows me to get more quickly into a smooth, economical pedal stroke, something which can be difficult to achieve after a hard run." Unquote

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Blogger Barefoot Ted said...

Larry sent this email to the Running Barefoot Forum:

I could not resist attempting to climb Whitney after Barefoot Ted's
tales before. We started in the dark, head lamps and flashlights to
guide as thunder rumbled in the distance. Barefoot running in the
dark the first hour on a trail I've never been on- What a rush.
Sunrise revealed the most beautiful lake, the first of many. This
area is spectacular, like Yosemite. We climb and run where the trail
permits. Up the 97 switchbacks, to the crest and then the summit.
My feet were not even dirty! Probably the semi wet trail kept them
clean. We even ran where the trail was relatively flat at the 14,000
foot level and higher. The top was heavenly. The coolest thing was
how my feet felt. They felt less sensitive than any previous
mountain run with elevation gain more than 2500 feet. This one was
6,000! In fact, I contemplated going down barefoot as well. But, I
wanted speed and thought that it would be too slow barefoot, so I
used the huaraches. Going down was long! It was so fatiguing.
Toward the end it rained and hailed and I got soaked.
So if some of you thought Ted was too extreme for the average
barefoot runner, he's not. His bare footing is for real and doable.
But his physical shape is definitely above average. After all this I
am in awe, to see myself accomplish this with another barefooter.
And I am once again in awe of the mechanics of barefoot running vs.
shoes. Often the hikers in boots seemed more unstable than us by
far. That sensory feedback from the feet (telling you how to land,
where to shift your body weight, whether to slow down or speed up)
gives one a whole new gauge to help the body run with better form.
It also allows the muscles to absorb the shock rather than the
joints. Definitely, it is more engaging to the mind to process all
that input from the feet. And its more fun!
Never underestimate what your little tootsies can do.


Saturday, September 01, 2007

Blogger Barefoot Ted said...

Gabriel, you asked me about FiveFingers, specifically why I didn't wear my own huaraches.

Well, I am planning on wearing FiveFingers during an upcoming 100 mile trail race. I am going to wear the FiveFingers and then when necessary add the huaraches, so I am just getting used to them again.

I don't like the way they hold moisture which over time (5+ hours) ends up making the foot wet. That is a big problem that I need to solve, a problem the huarache wearer does not have.


Saturday, September 01, 2007

Anonymous Anonymous said...

How does one get back to barefoot running after a broken foot?

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Blogger Barefoot Ted said...

Pain free is your clue.

If it is causing pain, back off.


Sunday, September 02, 2007


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