Triple Crown of Hiking

The Triple Crown of Hiking refers to the three major U.S. long-distance hiking trails:

Hikers on the Continental Divide Trail in the Bob Marshall Wilderness Area, Montana.

These three trails were the first designated National Scenic Trails in the National Trails System.[4] Their total length is about 7,875 miles (12,674 km); vertical gain is more than 1,000,000 feet (300,000 m). A total of 22 states are visited if the three trails are completed.[5] The American Long Distance Hiking Association – West (ALDHA–West) is the only organization that recognizes this hiking feat. At the ALDHA–West gathering, held each fall, the Triple Crown honorees are recognized and awarded plaques noting their achievement. As of the end of the application period in 2023, 665 hikers have been designated Triple Crowners by ALDHA-West since 1994.[6]

History edit

The first person to ever achieve The Triple Crown of Hiking was Eric Ryback. Ryback completed the Appalachian Trail in 1969 as a 16-year-old. He completed the Pacific Crest Trail in 1970 and chronicled it in his 1971 book The High Adventure of Eric Ryback: Canada to Mexico on Foot. Ryback completed a route approximating today's Continental Divide Trail in 1972 and chronicled it in his second book, The Ultimate Journey (now out of print).[7]

In 2013, Reed Gjonnes, age 13, became the youngest person at the time to thru-hike all three trails to complete the Triple Crown. A thru-hike is defined as completing a long trail in a single trip. She hiked all three trails as continuous northbound hikes in one hiking season each.[8] Along with her father Eric Gjonnes, she hiked The Pacific Crest Trail in 2011, the Appalachian Trail in 2012, and the entire 3,100 mile official route of the Continental Divide Trail in 2013.

As of 2023, Juniper Netteburg (aged 7 at the completion of her family's hike), is the youngest person to have hiked all three trails to complete the Triple Crown. Netteburg, known by her trail name The Beast,[9] completed all three trails with her mother (Danae), father (Olen) and her four other siblings, the youngest being two at the end.[10] Together they completed the Appalachian Trail in 2020 (Juniper aged 4),[11] the Continental Divide Trail using official and alternate routes, when she was 6 in 2022,[12] and began the Pacific Crest Trail in May of 2023 and completed it in November of 2023 just days before she turned 8.[13]

The title of "youngest to complete the Triple Crown" previously belonged to Christian "Buddy Backpacker" Geiger, who was aged 9, when he finished all three trails in 2018.[14] Along with his step-father Dion Pagonis, the two completed the Appalachian Trail in 2013 when Buddy was 5,[15][16] the Pacific Crest Trail when he was 6 in 2014,[17] and began the Continental Divide Trail in the spring of 2016 and completed it in September 2017 when he was 9.[18]

In 2018, Elsye Walker, known as Chardonnay on the trail, became the first African American to complete the Triple Crown.[19][20] She thru-hiked the Pacific Crest Trail in 2015, the Appalachian Trail in 2016/2018,[21][22] and in 2017 she thru-hiked the Continental Divide Trail.[23]

On September 15, 2019, combat veteran Will Robinson, age 38, became the first African American man to complete the Triple Crown. Will thru-hiked the Pacific Crest Trail in 2017, the Appalachian Trail in 2018, and completed the Continental Divide Trail in 2019.[24] Will's trail name is Akuna, from the Swahili phrase Hakuna Matata meaning "no worries", and made popular by a song in The Lion King.

By the end of 2018, only ten people had completed the Triple Crown within one calendar year. “Flyin’” Brian Robinson was the first, and Heather “Anish” Anderson was the only woman.[25] The three long distance hikes can technically be done continuously in one season -- however, because of snow, they are generally attempted in sections.

Calendar-year Triple Crown edit

A prestigious accomplishment in long-distance hiking is the completion of the Triple Crown of Hiking in a single calendar year (January 1 through December 31).[26] The first person to hike the Triple Crown in a calendar year was Brian Robinson, who completed the Triple Crown in 2001.[27][28] The first woman to complete the challenge was Heather Anderson (AKA Anish) in 2018.[29] Most CYTC (calendar-year triple crown) finishers "flip flop" across the three trails through the year, hiking sections that are the best suited for the time of year. In 2005, Matt "Squeaky" Hazely was the first person to complete a CYTC without flipping, where he hiked each trail in its entirety (either northbound or southbound) before progressing to the next one.[30]

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ Gailey, Chris (2006). "Appalachian Trail FAQs" (accessed September 14, 2006)
  2. ^ Pacific Crest Trail Association. "Pacific Crest Trail – Frequently Asked Questions". Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail: Online Map and Guide – Mexico to Canada. United States Forest Service. Retrieved December 30, 2010.
  3. ^ Karen Berger. "America's Triple Crown—Hiking on the Appalachian, Pacific Crest and Continental Divide Trails". Gorp. Archived from the original on May 13, 2010. Retrieved November 25, 2009.
  4. ^ "History of the National Trails System - American Trails". Retrieved January 3, 2022.
  5. ^ Glenn Adams, Associated Press Writer (October 27, 2001). "Hiker Achieves 'Triple Crown'". Washington Post. Archived from the original on June 1, 2010. Retrieved November 25, 2009.
  6. ^ "Triple Crown", American Long Distance Hiking Association – West
  7. ^ "Eric Ryback". Cold Splinters blog. November 5, 2009. Retrieved March 5, 2016.
  8. ^ "Ore. girl, 13, youngest to claim hiking 'Triple Crown'". USA TODAY.
  9. ^ "The Family That Hiked Together". issuu. Retrieved November 11, 2023.
  10. ^ "The Family, Author at The Trek". The Trek. Retrieved November 11, 2023.
  11. ^ "Volunteers physicians in Chad, Netteburg family of 6 hike the Appalachian Trail | Global Health Institute". Retrieved November 11, 2023.
  12. ^ Gleisner, David (August 1, 2023). "Meet the Family of 7 That's About to Finish the Triple Crown". Backpacker. Retrieved November 11, 2023.
  13. ^ Hardingham-Gill, Tamara (August 28, 2023). "The parents hiking America's longest trails with five kids". CNN. Retrieved November 11, 2023.
  14. ^ "Buddy Backpacker". BuddyBackpacker. Retrieved October 15, 2017.
  15. ^ "Being Buddy Backpacker". Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine. March 13, 2014. Retrieved October 15, 2017.
  16. ^ Kindergarten Can Wait: The Story of Buddy Backpacker, retrieved October 15, 2017
  17. ^ "Meet Andrea (Buddy Backpacker's Mom) – Hike Like A Woman". Retrieved October 15, 2017.
  18. ^ "Buddy Backpacker". Retrieved October 15, 2017.
  19. ^ "wandering chardonnay". wandering chardonnay. Retrieved September 5, 2018.
  20. ^ Egan, Erin (January 25, 2022). "ELSYE WALKER aka CHARDONNAY". Hiking Thru. Retrieved January 25, 2022.
  21. ^ "107 Chardonnay- Looking for a Triple Crown This Summer". Cascade Hiker Podcast. Retrieved September 5, 2018.
  22. ^ "Walking Off the Beaten Path: The Not-So-Happy Trails Quit". Quitting by Design. May 1, 2018. Retrieved September 5, 2018.
  23. ^ "Hiking With Chardonnay – Hike Like A Woman". Retrieved September 5, 2018.
  24. ^ Miles, Kathryn (October 1, 2019). "The Triple Crown Is Just the Beginning for Will 'Akuna' Robinson". Outside Online. Retrieved March 8, 2020.
  25. ^ Miller, Elizabeth (November 24, 2018). "How Heather "Anish" Anderson Finished the Triple Crown in a Single Year". Backpacker. Retrieved May 6, 2019.
  26. ^ "ALDHA-West - Past Recipients". American Long Distance Hiking Association (West). Retrieved July 22, 2019.
  27. ^ Steubner, Steve (October 8, 2006). "Hiking the Continental Divide Trail". AmericanProfile .com. Retrieved November 16, 2016.
  28. ^ Hazley, Matthew; Butler, Robert III (2005). "Matthew Hazley – TrailCast 12 (43:00; audio talk)". TrailCast. Retrieved November 23, 2016.
  29. ^ "Heather "Anish" Anderson". Fastest Known Time. Retrieved July 22, 2019.
  30. ^ Pathfinder (May 27, 2019). "Triple Crown in Under a Year History". pathfinder. Retrieved October 19, 2021.

Further reading edit

  • Berger, Karen (2001) Hiking the Triple Crown, Mountaineers Books, Seattle, Washington.
  • Berger, Karen and Daniel Smith (1993). Where the Waters Divide: A Walk along America's Continental Divide. New York: Random House.
  • Bruce, Dan (2000) The Thru-Hiker's Handbook Hot Springs, North Carolina: Center for Appalachian Trail Studies.
  • Norton, Russell (1997) Long Trail End-to-Ender's Guide. Waterbury Center, Vermont: Green Mountain Club.
  • Shaffer, Earl V. (1983) Walking With Spring. Harper's Ferry, West Virginia: the Appalachian Trail Conference.

External links edit