Mt. Adams: Mashing up an only known time.
|Adams Mash up. Elev profile is circumnavigation|
And to the east, I could see climbers on the glacier making their way slowly ever upwards.
Camera safe in hand, running back down was indescribable. I have some great video that I will share some day. It needs a lot of editing first!
And we were able to glissade (slide) on our butts for a huge portion of the upper mountain. We controlled our speed by digging in with our trekking poles as a sort of brake.
When the snow ran out, we simply ran. And ran. And ran.
After a little trouble locating our cache (we had hid it in the dark!) and changing into smaller packs, we started running east (counter clockwise) around the mountain. We chose this direction partly so we would not run the risk of negotiating the off-trail section in the dark.
We ran through meadow after meadow, each one filled with more wild flowers than the one before.
But eventually we had to pull up short. Why? Simply because the trail had stopped. Matt had his GPS out and was consulting the route provided by Rich, Michael, and Justin. “They went down here”, Matt said with a vague motion toward a huge drop off into a rugged valley. No f’ing way. The GPS has to be wrong.
But it was right. Let me just say those six miles were like nothing I have ever done. Take a look at these tracks rendered in Google Earth. It was insane. And yes, epic.
And then we got to the second huge valley. It was bigger than the first. Our pace had slowed to about one mile per hour.
Crawl up the opposite ridge and pause for a moment, taking in the view.
I wish I could say it ended well. But the truth is that my legs were pretty beat up after running up and down the mountain, the ~6 miles that were off trail took a further toll, not to mention an impossibly slow ~6 hours. When we finally regained the trail, I was done running and we still had something like 22 miles left to run. It turned into a run/walk/hobble. Huge thanks to Matt for his patience.
|Mt Rainier says hello|
The number of river crossings the last 10 miles or so was mind boggling. I could hear the white noise of each one several bends in the trail before the river came into view, in each case the noise triggered anxiety in me like a Pavlovian bell. Luckily they were nothing like the crossings we had encountered on the eastern side. We had also become quite expert and barely changed our stride, frequently walking directly through the water.
After many twists and turns, we finally arrived back at the junction, 16:06 hours since our last visit to the sign post. To tired to deal with setting up a camera, we just took pics of each other.
We hope others will consider this epic run, or maybe even include a climb. Finishing in under 24 hours seems like a good goal. We were unable to find any other reports of people climbing and running it in a single push. If we could do it again, I think we agreed we would have crossed the first valley closer to the mountain. The earlier in the morning you cross, the lower the rivers will be. Bringing an ice ax to the summit would have been smart, self-arresting with trekking poles did not work that well in practice, and there was at least one sketchy spot we crossed.
- Left Campsite: ~3:25am
- Arrived junction with loop: 3:45am
- Summit: 7:40am
- Arrive Junction with loop, start circumnavigation 10:00 am.
- Arrive Junction with Loop, finish circumnavigation) 2:06am
- Arrive Campsite ~2:42am
Garmin: Campsite to junction and back again: 2.6,
Garmin: Summit roundtrip from junction: 8.9
Garmin and Delorme: Circumnavigation: 27.1 (likely closer to 30.6 miles*)
Total mileage covered by GPS’s: 38.6 miles
Total mileage covered using Rich, Michael, and Justin’s circumnav tracks which we followed: 42.1m
Elevation gain: 14,261ft. Elevation loss: 14,261ft. Starting elevation: 5,561ft. Max: 12,289ft.
*GPS Notes: There are some caveats with distance. The Garmin was missing tracks for a good part of the second half of the loop due to a battery issue I neglected. But I was also recording our GPS location with a Delorme SE satellite tracker; in the tracks above I have merged these two GPS files into one complete track. I included way points for where the Delorme portion starts and ends. By and large, the Delorme portion grossly underestimates distance as it assumes travel is in a straight line for 10 minutes before another way point is taken. Our overall mileage was 27.1 for the circumnavigation. Mileage measured by Rich, Micheal, and Justin using their GPS tracks (which we closely followed) was 30.6 miles. This additional 3.5 miles makes sense given the loss in accuracy with the 10 minute Delorme data points. I am more than happy to provide our tracks as GPX or KML files on request.
Big thanks to PROBAR for fueling 100% of this adventure!