Issy Alps 100 mile attempt
1/3/2017: Update – I tried this again in November and I was able to finish it.
3/28/2016: Update – After 18 hours and with cold rain coming down, I realized I was at my end. While weighing my options, I considered trying to sleep in the bathroom at the Little Si trail head and waiting out the rain but it was frankly pretty rank and the dirty concrete floor, dropping temperature, wet clothes and thin emergency bivy bag were not an appealing combination.
It was about 1am when I made the decision to quit and I started the ~35 minute walk to North Bend, figuring I might try my luck as one of those disheveled old guys asking for a favor at the gas station in the middle of the night. Or maybe I would ask the police for a ride back to my truck. I wasn’t sure, but it was better than hypothermia in a trail head bathroom. I had already ruled out hotels and taxis.
I posted something about bailing on fb and then started my shuffle along the road toward North Bend. A few cars passed me, kicking up spray, and I could not blame them for not stopping. So it was was pretty amazing to a big truck pull up shortly into my shuffle and to see James Varner at the wheel with a Rainshadow Running decal on the side door. He had seen my late night post on facebook and came and found me. Words cannot express my gratitude.
I made it home by 3am, stood under a hot shower for way too long and fell asleep before my head hit the pillow. This morning I refueled with a huge Easter brunch (thanks Uta Egan!) in good company and watched the rain come down through the window. Thank you also to Michael Fagin from www.everestweather.com for texting me a custom weather forecast which helped me guide my decision, and thanks to Stephanie Gundel and Daniel Letzler for the ride to the trail head. And Kay Downes Allen for lending me the snowshoes. Most of all, thanks everyone for your words of encouragement during this adventure and also words of reassurance that stopping was the right thing to do. Looking forward to revisiting this when I come back in the fall, hopefully under better conditions. #Team7Hills #TeamWOV
3/25/2016: Hi all,
I’m nervously planning a long slog this weekend – an attempt at doing the Issy Alps 100 mile wilderness challenge in alpine style, or otherwise unsupported/solo. I will start at Mailbox Peak Trailhead around 7am. I don’t know when I will finish.
This course was designed by George Orozco and first run by Van Phan ‘Pigtails’ in 2013 in 37:58hrs, Van’s GPS recorded over 40,000ft of gain and 102 miles. Other reports indicate upwards of 30,000. The course starts at Mailbox and ends at Highpoint Trailhead. The 100 mile course has seen six finishes total, two by Van (one backwards). Only one finish was unsupported – by Ultrapedestrian Ras who did it in just over 67 hours in mid-March of 2014. He dealt with a lot of bad snow to say the least. There have also been some great finishes on the 100k version, including my friends Tim and Angel Mathis.
There is still a lot of snow up on the higher peaks and some bad blow downs from the wind storm a couple weeks ago. I’m also not in the best shape and will be carrying a heavy pack (including snow shoes). The weather on Saturday looks good but there is a 95% chance of rain (snow?) early Sunday morning when I expect to be on Rattlesnake Ridge. So we will see how it goes. I’m not putting any time estimates on this but have taken Monday off from work to be safe. Live tracking is available on my ‘location‘ page, or you can open the map up in a bigger view/new window with this link….The GPS files downloaded from the main course website and slightly edited by me live in this google drive folder should you be interested.
Wish me luck and have a good weekend,