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  1. #1
    Registered User Just Bill's Avatar
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    Default Follow up on Knots Claim

    For those looking for the headline- Result of review- ' Inconclusive with documentation supplied' This hike cannot be verified as a valid FKT.

    For those looking for a bit more information about Dan's claim specifically. I completed the review and notified Dan of the results late last week. I promised him I'd give it a few days before posting here. I believe Peter plans to post it at his site as well if needed. There were several people in the community at large who helped out, and while I don't plan to look into it any further at this time the 'private' portion of the review is complete so anyone who would like to look into it further or discuss it publicly is welcome to.

    I have attached the full report for those who prefer to avoid links- or for those who prefer them here is the link to the PDF- https://1drv.ms/b/s!Apygyt54yYPwg5cj9lQl8BTEOKjBeg

    For those curious... I helped out some last year. This year Peter asked my opinion and I gave it- there were a lot of open issues and it needed a review. I got a simple policy personally- If you're going to call somebody out- do it to their face or not at all. So I reached out to Dan, told him what I thought and that I'd look at the hike to see if it could be verified with what he did have and that he'd hear it from me or Peter when it was done. So that's how I ended up reviewing it.

    As a result I also had the honor of working with Peter Bakwin a bit more directly this year and wanted to pass something along I think some here may appreciate.

    Peter may be quite a badass, but even he hasn't had the chance to set foot on every trail on the planet. Having pioneered FKT's on the John Muir trail personally... that was one he felt comfortable reviewing for example. Having not hiked the AT... he reaches out to others who have hiked it like Doyle, Horton, and others who can assist when he's not intimately familiar with them. He involves the current FKT holders whenever possible for true peer review. Sometimes he works with a loud mouth jackalope... but otherwise his judgement seems to be fairly sound.

    Peter sees himself as the recorder of FKT's. Not the judge, jury, or referee. It's his goal to never review one, but for each participant to turn in documentation so solid that there is no need for review at all. He feels that it is the communities job as a whole to review that documentation and dispute or verify a claim as needed. That's not to say it's an open vote or popularity contest. But it is up for discussion. If someone clearly violates a rule, it's an easy call for Peter or others to make. If not, then the goal is to document and record what happened as best we are able. From there... the community can then make up their own minds. Report, not Judge.

    The initial review of the hike was done privately not for any real secrecy; but after last year it became obvious that when we review these openly right off the bat... stories can change. Mags got some flak here and in other places for shutting down the discussion thread last year. But his choice was wise. As each 'hole' in the story last year was discovered on WB... it was being plugged by Ninja and Meatballs... and the story changed. So if there is going to be any dishonesty, best to look into things quietly first. If a hostel owner trying to help her out hadn't inadvertently screwed up her revised timeline and a kindly fella named Billie Beartooth hadn't chimed in then that mess may have continued even further and got uglier than it did. Nobody wanted another ugly public debate.

    To Dan's credit- he did release a trip narrative early on.
    He put it in writing and we did not have to deal with a fully shifting story along the way. Getting all of Dan's photos in a timely manner did prove to be an issue.
    There was no smoking gun... nor was there enough documentation to plug the holes in his hike.

    And to everyone here and generally- thanks for patiently waiting while his hike was reviewed.
    Thanks to those of you who did help out when asked.

    Best of luck to Dan on his ongoing calendar year triple...

    For further reading- Looks like Outside's piece came out over the weekend. https://www.outsideonline.com/223460...alachian-trail
    Featuring the usual suspects(Doyle and Peter Bakwin) as well as some words from Matthew D. Kirk. It was a good general article on the overall issues with verification for those interested in the topic.

    I hope more folks discuss this... and hopefully this off season some more information can be put together to avoid anyone else going through this in the future- Matt's final line sums it up really well.
    Attached Files Attached Files

  2. #2
    MuddyWaters's Avatar
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    thanks for the effort.

    Id say two things are sure....
    1. The pandora box is open
    2. Any and all electronic data, etc can be faked by a crafty enough person or persons, or group of people..... Photos as well.

    Ill stop short of saying anyone so far has cheated
    But undoubtedbly, someone in the future will, and thats unfortunate
    with every spurious attempt, the bar and level of cheating will be raised
    And level of scrutiny will need to innovate and change to keep up.

    Publicity draws attention-seekers
    These fkt's were always best left to obscure message boards , and never brought into public eye, IMO
    Last edited by MuddyWaters; 08-21-2017 at 20:50.
    "Inevitably, a long distance hiker must choose between travelling light, and not travelling at all." - Earl V. Shaffer

  3. #3

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    Thanks for the work and attention to detail.

  4. #4

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    A nice article to read. Mainstream media should scoop it back up.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Just Bill View Post
    For those looking for the headline- Result of review- ' Inconclusive with documentation supplied' This hike cannot be verified as a valid FKT.

    For those looking for a bit more information about Dan's claim specifically. I completed the review and notified Dan of the results late last week. I promised him I'd give it a few days before posting here. I believe Peter plans to post it at his site as well if needed. There were several people in the community at large who helped out, and while I don't plan to look into it any further at this time the 'private' portion of the review is complete so anyone who would like to look into it further or discuss it publicly is welcome to.

    I have attached the full report for those who prefer to avoid links- or for those who prefer them here is the link to the PDF- https://1drv.ms/b/s!Apygyt54yYPwg5cj9lQl8BTEOKjBeg

    For those curious... I helped out some last year. This year Peter asked my opinion and I gave it- there were a lot of open issues and it needed a review. I got a simple policy personally- If you're going to call somebody out- do it to their face or not at all. So I reached out to Dan, told him what I thought and that I'd look at the hike to see if it could be verified with what he did have and that he'd hear it from me or Peter when it was done. So that's how I ended up reviewing it.

    As a result I also had the honor of working with Peter Bakwin a bit more directly this year and wanted to pass something along I think some here may appreciate.

    Peter may be quite a badass, but even he hasn't had the chance to set foot on every trail on the planet. Having pioneered FKT's on the John Muir trail personally... that was one he felt comfortable reviewing for example. Having not hiked the AT... he reaches out to others who have hiked it like Doyle, Horton, and others who can assist when he's not intimately familiar with them. He involves the current FKT holders whenever possible for true peer review. Sometimes he works with a loud mouth jackalope... but otherwise his judgement seems to be fairly sound.

    Peter sees himself as the recorder of FKT's. Not the judge, jury, or referee. It's his goal to never review one, but for each participant to turn in documentation so solid that there is no need for review at all. He feels that it is the communities job as a whole to review that documentation and dispute or verify a claim as needed. That's not to say it's an open vote or popularity contest. But it is up for discussion. If someone clearly violates a rule, it's an easy call for Peter or others to make. If not, then the goal is to document and record what happened as best we are able. From there... the community can then make up their own minds. Report, not Judge.

    The initial review of the hike was done privately not for any real secrecy; but after last year it became obvious that when we review these openly right off the bat... stories can change. Mags got some flak here and in other places for shutting down the discussion thread last year. But his choice was wise. As each 'hole' in the story last year was discovered on WB... it was being plugged by Ninja and Meatballs... and the story changed. So if there is going to be any dishonesty, best to look into things quietly first. If a hostel owner trying to help her out hadn't inadvertently screwed up her revised timeline and a kindly fella named Billie Beartooth hadn't chimed in then that mess may have continued even further and got uglier than it did. Nobody wanted another ugly public debate.

    To Dan's credit- he did release a trip narrative early on.
    He put it in writing and we did not have to deal with a fully shifting story along the way. Getting all of Dan's photos in a timely manner did prove to be an issue.
    There was no smoking gun... nor was there enough documentation to plug the holes in his hike.

    And to everyone here and generally- thanks for patiently waiting while his hike was reviewed.
    Thanks to those of you who did help out when asked.

    Best of luck to Dan on his ongoing calendar year triple...

    For further reading- Looks like Outside's piece came out over the weekend. https://www.outsideonline.com/223460...alachian-trail
    Featuring the usual suspects(Doyle and Peter Bakwin) as well as some words from Matthew D. Kirk. It was a good general article on the overall issues with verification for those interested in the topic.

    I hope more folks discuss this... and hopefully this off season some more information can be put together to avoid anyone else going through this in the future- Matt's final line sums it up really well.
    Well, at least it seems Dan is taking it well, compared to Ninja. I'm not a fan of revised narratives. If you were so spent and sleep deprived that you couldn't get it right at the time, no amount of rest and recuperation is going to enhance your memory of the event. The memory is what it was when it happened. Revisionist history and "recovered memory" is a no-no. And, I agree with the videos and pics. If you know you have a tracking issue, why don't you try your best to document it alternatively? Dan didn't do much in that arena. I'm not saying that maybe there was a good reason Dan didn't do much to document his effort when his Spot had "issues", but as I commented earlier it doesn't pass the reality smell test. Ninja's flat-out stunk from early on. Dan's just smelled a bit off the entire way. After reading your analysis, it still doesn't smell very good. Not the outright stench of intentional deception of a certain claim disproved by you, but still not a very good smell. This is the question that causes much of the odor "Who in their right mind would undertake an intentional attempt(he wasn't just 'out for a hike') at such an arduous record over the course of a month and half with outdated tracking equipment, no battery resupply strategy(and no knowledge of which type of battery lasts longest or even how long a set would last in your Spot?????), and no documentation back-up strategy to verify such a hellish effort when you know your tracking is iffy?" I'm still trying to come up with the answer. So far, all I get is "somebody who knows they aren't going to, or did not actually, break the record"....

    I am open to alternative answers...

  6. #6
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    And, JB, thanks for all of your efforts. If you have a day job, super kudos for the effort!!!!!

    I've actually got a fantastic ideal that could be a silent sentry of AT FKT's. I will send a PM with it.

  7. #7
    Registered User Just Bill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ScareBear View Post
    And, JB, thanks for all of your efforts. If you have a day job, super kudos for the effort!!!!!

    I've actually got a fantastic ideal that could be a silent sentry of AT FKT's. I will send a PM with it.
    A day job, a night job, a father job, and a husband job...

    Despite all the good 'CSI whiteblaze' jokes with Kaiha- the simple truth is that the trail busted her.

    It took quite a bit more paperwork to look into Dan and it's hard to say if there is a simple truth one way or another.
    If he didn't do it, he busted himself.
    If he did do it, he cheated himself.
    Whatever happens- he has to face it himself.

    I'm not much for free fizzy drinks and hot dogs from strangers- but I do believe very strongly in trail magic.

    In a private conversation along the way I pointed out something some folks fail to get- St. Peter does not stand at the pearly gates to judge your worthiness, he doesn't record your deeds to keep you out.
    The rules or guidelines or whatever you want to call them are not there to exclude people, or bust them out on some obscure technicality, to make it harder or any of the other more sinister rumors that float around on the trail grapevine. They preserve the integrity of the FKT itself so that it has value and meaning to those who are lucky enough to hold one for a brief bit. They provide a clean path to follow for those who want to try to walk it.

    Most important of all though: The rules protect the person on the attempt.

    I wrote a book entitled "Lying on the Trail"
    I like ironic things, hidden meanings, double entendre, sarcasm and general quasi spiritual bs.

    Spoiler alert for those who haven't read that book-
    I'm verbose and burned up 200 some odd pages typing up a pretty basic, fundamental truth.
    Despite all the words and silliness we try to muck them up with; a good truth can always be succinctly said.

    You cannot lie on the trail.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Just Bill View Post
    You cannot lie on the trail.
    That's why I love being on it so much. You got to walk the miles.

  9. #9
    Getting out as much as I can..which is never enough. :) Mags's Avatar
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    I'm gone for three days and look what happens.

    Thanks Bill for for the work and effort (along with Peter, Warren, Matt, and others)
    Paul "Mags" Magnanti
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  10. #10

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    Just Bill did a terrific job on this, and I know he spent a lot of time. Only someone who is real familiar with the AT can do this work, and that's not me. To be clear, no one makes an "official" pronouncement on this stuff - there is no World Governing Body for FKT! We just wanted to collect & examine the evidence, and then present it in a comprehensive and understandable way to the community. Each person can decide for themselves what they believe about any claim, but you should take an objective look at the evidence first. Personally, I think Dan did what he said (except for the 35 min discrepancy in his overall time), but I can't say with enough certainty to acknowledge it as the FKT. That wouldn't be fair to Matt or Heather. The guidelines for verification are evolving somewhat based on situations like this and like last year. You really should do 3 things at least:
    -Carry a satellite tracker and know how to use it. Unfortunately, Dan had problems in this regard apparently both because the device actually malfunctioned and because he didn't have a good grasp on it's use. Come on people, you wouldn't go into the wilderness with a stove you don't know how to use, why would you carry a satellite tracker & not understand its use?
    -Take lots of photos. If you use a phone for this be sure that the camera can access location services. This puts a time AND location stamp on the photos. Dan provided only 50 photos, and most of those were provided in the 11th hour. None of his photos have geo-location info in the metadata (though some can be located due to the content of the photo).
    -Take detailed notes as you go & write a detailed trip report soon after your hike. This is the "old" way and still central to any FKT. Unfortunately, Dan completely botched this and wrote down a very cursory, demonstrably inaccurate report from memory after he finished the hike.
    Inconclusive, yes. Fortunately, there are 2 men & 1 woman out there right now doing a bang up job on verification, and likely we'll see a new FKT fairly soon. I strongly believe these people will set a much higher bar on verification than what has been acceptable in the past.

  11. #11

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    Totally awesome

  12. #12
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    Peter, while we're on the subject of verification: what might make your job easier is to move away from closed-circuit tracking. Serving as single third-party observer of many real-time FKT satellite tracks seems unsustainable and kind of silly. To his credit, Knott's employed trackleaders.com to archive and publish a real-time track. Unfortunately, and as you mention, he botched the maintenance and operation of his tracking device.

    It's understandable why self-supported FKTers may opt for some opacity while out on the trail- hence our current work on a DIY delayed tracking system with Joey's hike. But it's not understandable (at least to me) why tracking data would slowly or never surface post-hike. I'd recommend that you encourage those to come (as well as those currently on the trail) to publish their tracking data concurrently with any FKT claim.

  13. #13
    Registered User John B's Avatar
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    Kathryn Miles' short article about the claim. Apologies if the link has already been posted.

    https://www.outsideonline.com/223460...alachian-trail

  14. #14

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    Excellent article. It really identifies the need of different verification mediums to support claims in FKT attempts of the AT (or any trail for that matter). Unfortunately, we are past the time when simple "I did it" can be taken at face value given the technology that is now available to track progress and date/time stamp photos with a high level of accuracy. The marathon world had their Rosie Ruiz moment (prompting many to wonder how many other low timers found busses easier to ride to reach the finish line than running to it), in the long distance trail FKT pursuit world a similar moment may have arrived.

    On a positive side, I see this conversation in its various points coalescing into a fairly straight forward standard of things necessary to demonstrate FKT claims are factual. Having several means of back checking a feat like this would benefit those who are legitimately engaged from those who are less so. Its a shame ones "word" is no longer satisfactory, however to protect the many who honestly try from the few who have found some means to game the current system is important if FKTs are going to be credible.

  15. #15
    Registered User methodman's Avatar
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    Default Follow up on Knots Claim

    I will never do a fkt but I have to say thank you for those who do there best to preserve the integrity of life and attempt to scare of the dishonest.

  16. #16
    Registered User evyck da fleet's Avatar
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    Well done.

  17. #17
    Ounces are the little-death
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    Nice update.
    Bill, your passion for this is awesome. I really appreciate your contributions to this tiny, niche world that means so much to some of us.

  18. #18

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    I've been thinking of doing a triple crown attempt at crossing each of the trails. Much faster than through hiking them. Easier to verify too. Just a short three second video clip of me walking across each trail.

  19. #19

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    He knows if he did it or not. It matters not what some physicist who runs a website thinks. And you are after all, Just Bill. :-)

  20. #20
    Registered User evyck da fleet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bronk View Post
    He knows if he did it or not. It matters not what some physicist who runs a website thinks. And you are after all, Just Bill. :-)
    True. He also knew if he wanted to take public credit for it, which he obviously did by announcing it, that he needed to provide support that he did what he claims. Not having spare batteries or knowing how to use his SPOT and not trying to otherwise support those days by other than relying on his memory or his rep is pretty weak.

    I like that that the report doesn't conclude whether he did or didn't. He knows if he did and if so can take pride in his accomplishment.

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