The Dirt on Kilian Jornet's Tahoe Rim Trail Run [Updated: 9/26 1 pm]

Final details are coming in for Kilian Jornet’s Tahoe Rim Trail. Salomon has now revealed that Kilian will begin his […]

By on September 25, 2009 | Comments

Kilians Quest SalomonFinal details are coming in for Kilian Jornet’s Tahoe Rim Trail. Salomon has now revealed that Kilian will begin his attempt at 5 a.m. on Monday, September 28 from Tahoe City, California. As such, everyone in the Americas will have something to follow throughout their workdays Monday and Tuesday. We’ll be updating you on Kilian’s progress as often as we can on Twitter. [Follow @iRunFar on Twitter] We’re not greedy – we’ll certainly point out others who’ll be providing updates from the trail. [We suspect @Salomon_Running will.] Keep reading to find out more details about next week’s Tahoe Rim Trail run, including a weather update, Kilian’s projected splits, his pacers and support, and some commentary. [They’re for well under record pace.] Up until the run starts, we’ll provide any changes to paces, coverage, and other details regarding the run in updates to this post.

First off, the weather forecast appears to be sticking in Kilian’s favor. Unlike the sweltering heat of his record breaking run of Corsica’s GR20 trail this summer, temperatures will range from warm to cold. The forecast for the start/finish in Tahoe City is for a high of 63F (17C) on Monday, a low of 37F (3C) Monday night, and a high of 49F (9C) on Tuesday. If Kilian’s run extends into Tuesday night, he’ll face a chilly low of 28F (-2C). Kilian will generally face temperatures that are cooler than those forecast. The forecast is for one of the lowest points on the route, Tahoe City, which sits at approximately 6,500′ (~2,000m). The trail spends much time around 8,000′ (2,500m), which should be a few degrees (5F/3C) cooler, while the high point at 10,319′ (3,145m) could be 10-15F (5-8C) cooler.

There should be partly to mostly cloudy skies throughout the run. There’s little chance of rain or snow with only light precipitation possible if it comes. The biggest weather news could be the wind. The National Weather Service forecast for the area notes the passage of a strong weather front on Monday:


We hope Kilian brought one of Salomon’s Windstopper jackets for the ridges!

Kilian’s Projected Splits
Ok, now on to the juicy stuff… the splits for the full 165 miles (265k). Keep in mind that Tim Twietmeyer holds the record in 45 hours and 58 minutes. First, Kilian’s most predictable segment, the first 60 miles, which he’ll run during daylight (once the sun comes up) on Monday.

  • Brockway Summit (19 miles/32kms) – 2:45 elapsed (7:45 a.m. PDT Monday)
  • Tahoe Meadows (38 miles/61kms) – 6:00 elapsed (11 a.m. PDT Monday)
  • Spooner Summit (60 miles/96kms) 10:00 elapsed (3 p.m. PDT Monday)
Kilian Jornet Tahoe Rim Trail first part mapTahoe Rim Trail map with Kilian’s splits (miles 0-60 and 148-165)

On to the night! Here’s what Kilian is looking to do after watching the sun set over Lake Tahoe. (He’ll be on the east side of the lake, so he’ll have the perfect view of the sunset.)

  • Kingsbury South (76 miles/122kms) – 15:00 elapsed (8 p.m. PDT Monday)
  • Big Meadow (99 miles/160kms) – 21:00 elapsed (2 a.m. PDT Tuesday)
  • Echo Lake (118 miles/190kms) – 25:00 elapsed (6 a.m. PDT Tuesday)
  • Dicks Pass (129 miles/208kms) – 30:oo elapsed (11 a.m. PDT Tuesday)
  • Barker Pass (148 miles/238kms) – 36:00 elapsed (5 p.m. PDT Tuesday)
Kilian Jornet Tahoe Rim Trail second part mapTahoe Rim Trail map with Kilian’s splits (miles 60 to 148)

That leaves only Kilian’s final and most important split – 40 hours to return to Tahoe City after having covered 165 miles (265 kms). If he hits that, he’ll come in at 9 p.m. PDT on Tuesday. For those interested, you can download a full map of the Tahoe Rim Trail with Kilian Jornet’s projected splits.

Here’s what we think. We think Kilian has the tools, trail conditions, and support to finish in the last rays of daylight on Tuesday. He can take 8 hours of this record and finish in under 38 hours. So where’s he going to make that up over his projections? At the end. This Catalan gives himself 15 hours to cover the final 47 miles (76 kms). It’d be hard for Jornet to say he’s going to run much faster than 40 hours, but his plan for the opening 100 miles (99 miles in 21 hours) is conservative enough for this trail that we think he can keep rolling for awhile after that, especially once the sun comes up on Day 2. We think Kilian can make up the most time in the section from Echo Lake (mile 118/190 kms) to Dicks Pass (mile 129/208 kms). Unless KJ plans on taking a nap, we can’t imagine any 11 miles (17.7 kms) of trail taking him 5 hours.

For some more commentary on the splits and some of Kilian’s thoughts on the run take a look at Adam Chase’s article Poised on the Rim: Kilian is Resting Before He Pounces on

So far the pacers we know of are Salomon runners Adam Chase and Ross McMahan; Kevin Johnson from Salomon’s North American headquarters; and me, iRunFar’s very own Bryon Powell. We know of two other probable pacers, but will wait to announce them until we have confirmation. [Update 9/26 1 pm PDT] Josh Korn, a “friend of Salomon” will also be pacing Catalan KJ on the TRT.

Kilian will be well supported by Salom
on folk from the US and Europe. They’ll provide him with food and drink at 17 spots along the course and provide you with great images and commentary afterward.

Bryon Powell

Bryon Powell is the Founding Editor of iRunFar. He’s been writing about trail running, ultrarunning, and running gear for more than 15 years. Aside from iRunFar, he’s authored the books Relentless Forward Progress: A Guide to Running Ultramarathons and Where the Road Ends: A Guide to Trail Running, been a contributing editor at Trail Runner magazine, written for publications including Outside, Sierra, and Running Times, and coached ultrarunners of all abilities. Based in Silverton, Colorado, Bryon is an avid trail runner and ultrarunner who competes in events from the Hardrock 100 Mile just out his front door to races long and short around the world, that is, when he’s not fly fishing or tending to his garden.