The longest hike I’ve done for a single SOTA peak was September 21, 2015. The peak is Fairchild Mountain, W0C/FR-010. I have activated it twice by this long but efficient hike, and AD0KE has done it once, presumably by a similar route. This mountain is in the Mummy Range of Rocky Mountain National Park. My hike was a day hike. I drove up there in the morning, hiked most of the day, and drove home before dinnertime.
The total time for the hike and the activation was 11 hours and 10 minutes. I spent about 2 hours and 10 minutes on the summit, so the hiking time was about 9 hours total.
The GPS track is good, and it shows 18.0 miles total distance, in and out, ascent and descent. This means 9.0 miles each way. The entire route was the same both ways, and it was mostly on a rocky trail, except for the more challenging segment up high in the rocks, above 12,000 feet.
This is 28.97 kM, total.
The trailhead is at about 8631 feet, or 2631 M ASL.
The summit of Fairchild is at 13,502 feet, or 4115 M ASL.
The net gain is 4871 feet, or 1484 M. However, there’s a bit of up and down on the route, so the actual ascent was very close to 5000 vertical feet.
I’m sure many others have records way beyond these numbers. I have several other single-peak hikes that are over 16 miles total, with vertical feet gains near or above 5000 feet. Many of these were in 2015, when I did many longer day-hikes for SOTA peaks, including several first activations.
I think that Brad WA6MM has done the most high alpine SOTA activations in Colorado - his record is really incredible, since for a very long time he did only uniques, and mostly alpine peaks. Several others have done awesome SOTA activations, or have done them often. WG0AT can tell some tales! K0MOS! Many others!
Colorado is a great place if you aspire to do long, fine hikes and activations. Wyoming and Montana are almost untouched!! There are many un-activated peaks within a couple hundred miles of here, and all they need is a good day and a long hike!
I offer this as bait to get some of you to come forth with some more extreme numbers.
Last a warning - most people in good physical condition can’t expect to fly out here, do a long hike to well over 4000M, and actually enjoy it. It takes time to adjust to the altitude. The more you go high, the better it gets. I always do better later in the summer than early on. I live at about 5600 feet, but that’s nothing - I have to go up high, over 10,000 feet, several times a week to get into it.
There are some people out here who can run 100 miles in about one day, with much of the race at over 12,000 feet, and tens of thousands of vertical feet in the event.