Announcement: Joshua Tree Double Traverse

On Nov 7, 2014, I set an unsupported Joshua Tree Traverse FKT in 7:12:50. I carried all my water, food, and gear. To beat the heat, I ran at night. Jessica Kelley has since then grabbed the unsupported women’s FKT.

Recently I felt an itch to go back, so I started scratching and here’s the result: on Sat, Mar 12, 2016, I will set out for a unsupported and solo Joshua Tree Double Traverse (a.k.a out-and-back or yo-yo) attempt. That’s 74.6 miles of pure desert bliss. Or so I like to think.


The Joshua Tree traverse follows the California Riding and Hiking Trail.

In 2014, I survived the 37.3mi with 2.25l/76oz of water and on about 1,800 calories. Unless I change my mind at the last minute, the double attempt will be completely unsupported once again, i.e., without external support of any kind. That means I will carry all my water, food, and gear (plus bring back all my trash) for 74.6 miles in the desert. I’m not sure how this will go.

It is impossible to get this adventure done in one night, so I will have to deal with the heat during the day. The positive aspect is that I will see more than glowing coyote eyes at night.

I expect to be a lot slower than on the point-to-point traverse because of the heavy pack and the heat. And I’m also two years older.

What could possibly go wrong on this traverse?

The plan is to start at 2am on Saturday morning, Mar 12, from the Black Rock Campground. I’ll then traverse the park and turn around at the North Trailhead (mile 37.3). If all goes well, I’ll finish at the Black Rock Campground, where my lonely rental car will be waiting (well, unless it’s been stolen).

You can follow my satellite tracker at the following address:

UPDATE: it turns out that Michael Connor and Justin Yanuck are doing an FKT attempt as well tomorrow Saturday. According to the post on the FKT forum (scroll to the bottom), their start time is 6am and you can follow their SPOT at


Matt Riley’s fatal mistake was to walk across the desert without enough water. To hike all day in the midsummer desert sun, a person needs to drink at least two gallons (7.6 liters) of water.” Source: NPS.


Joshua Tree Double Traverse route map. No shuttle required.


Joshua Tree Double Traverse elevation profile


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