Episode #12 – Kaiha Bertollini (Wild Card Ninja)



In 2016, Kaiha Bertollini, the Wild Card Ninja, laid claim to the unsupported hike record on the Appalachian Trail. This, despite no previous experience as an elite athlete or even any indication that she might be able to take such an endurance test on. The response in the hiking world was almost uniformly negative and very hostile. Kaiha agreed to tell me her story and, whether you believe her or not, it is gripping and worthy of an audience. The interview is not explicit, but her story on her website, hikeforourlives.org is certainly not for children. That said, I urge people to read what she has to say. She can be reached through the website under the contact page and will respond personally to every message. I’d also love to hear what you have to say about Kaiha and the interview.

If you click here, you’ll be linked to the visceral video I referred to in the interview. It left a lasting impression upon me. The language is very strong, so beware once more.

Don’t forget to rate us on iTunes or leave me a message at my website, www.mightyblueontheat.com. There, you can listen to all my podcasts, look at a gallery of photographs from my 2014 thru-hike and see some of the videos I made of the trip.

9 Comments on “Episode #12 – Kaiha Bertollini (Wild Card Ninja)

  1. Very interesting podcast Steve. Kaiha was brutalized by social media last summer. I’m glad that you gave her the opportunity to tell her story. Believing or not believing is left up to the individual but treating others with respect is something we all need to do. Thanks for all of your efforts in creating these very informational programs.

  2. First time hearing your podcast- stopped by for this interview. Thought you gave Kaiha a chance to share a portion of her story. It’s clear she has had quite an adventure and a story to tell. She has an important message to share regarding sexual assault.
    None of those things have anything to do with a FKT. If you haven’t taken the opportunity to read the thread above at Whiteblaze I think you’ll find an answer(s) to your question(s) regarding the reasons her claim was not accepted.
    It’s not personal, it’s a record. Just the facts. Kaiha has an engaging story outside the context of the record, but the two are not intertwined nor related when choosing to review the claim.
    Please keep in mind that in attempting to claim a FKT, one must displace the current and past holders of that achievement; all great people with equally inspirational stories to share.
    In all sincerity- Best of luck to Kaiha on her future efforts.
    Best of luck to you as well-
    Just Bill

    1. Bill, I’m not sure why your comment was strung out like it seems to be, so apologies for that. I was only trying to give Kaiha her say after the vitriol against her that even I’ve seen this year. She told her story, she believes that she completed the hike in the time that she claims. That’s her position. Yes, I did read the thread all the way through, and you’ve certainly posted a fair comment here, so the thread, like Kaiha, can speak for itself. I still don’t know, because I wasn’t there. That said, her story was compelling and worthy of sharing, in my view.

  3. Just listened in to Kaiha’ s interview – I really enjoyed it – I’ll buy into her claim – good on her!
    Chapter 12?! When I first got the book, it was a tough read – I can draw parallels and as we have previously discussed and for obvious reasons – it struck a chord!
    Listening to you, and hearing your voice as I know it – it was a much tougher, far more emotional, listen!!
    That’s why I love Audio books!
    I am pleased that I now have a decent level of communication with my two – Jamie now working at JLT Aviation !!! – but I will forever think back to the ‘lost’ years!
    Loving the podcast – very listenable and getting better and better.
    Keep it going old mate!

  4. Very interesting interview. Based on the candor, direct answers to probing questions, and general trail knowledge shown by Kaiha, it’s hard to question the veracity of her speed record claims. I think the mysogonistic and clique like nature of whiteblaze.net and the speed record community has a hard time coming to grips with the fact a woman, an outsider to boot, now holds the speed record title.

    Congratulations Steve on landing the interview of your lifetime and congratulations Kaiha on your amazing accomplishment.

    1. Thanks David. I just wanted to give Kaiha the opportunity to tell her story without being drowned out by some of the trolls I’ve seen online. To be frank, only Kaiha knows if she did what she claimed, yet I was certainly inclined to believe her at the end.

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