Sunday, June 4, 2017

Issy Alps 100 miler

What is the Issy Alps 100 miler? It is a 100 mile run from Mailbox peak on the north side of I-90 going over peaks eastbound by trail and a few road section to the trails of Cougar mt. It then turns around and goes west to the parking lot of Tiger mountain trails. Web site and map here.

Thanks for George to creating this route for us to enjoy.

Why would I take on something like this? I have been running these trails for years as training runs for events I have planned. I have a event planned this fall called Moab 200. I figured this would be a good opportunity for a training run to start my training off for this event.

Here is my experance of running 51 hours and 45 min over the 100 miles of trails along the I-90 corridor. These trails will take me through 33,189 ft of elevation gain. I carried all my own gear/food needed for this adventure. I ran solo all of it except for the first ~13 mile with my friend Brian who helped shuttle me to the start while my car was left at the High point trailhead.

It is around 5am on Sat morning  and Brian and I are leaving his car for the trip up the old trail on Mailbox peak. It is nice to have someone to chat with as we work our way to the summit. The trails are in good shape and we make good time on the accent.

Here I am on the summit of Mailbox peak. 

Mt Rainier from the summit of Mailbox. It was a very clear day with amazing views.


 The photo shows Mt Si where I am headed. 

Heading down the new trail we make good time and complete this section in three hours. Now we head off to the Granite lake trail for a few miles. At the junction to the lake and going down to the road I head down and Brian heads to the lake. At the Sitka spruce trail the creek crossing are easy and dry feet for me. With the nice weather we have been having the trails are drying out and the mud is a minimum. I filtered water at one of the creek I pass by. At the CCC road it is a mostly down hill run to trailhead of Tenerife. I am gathering water at the creeks in my handheld water bottle as I need it. The old trail up Tenerife is in good shape.

Photos of Kamikaze falls. 

I encountered snow for the last 1/4 mile or so as I got to the summit.

The summit of these mountains are not solitary experiences. I will encounter this for remainder of this trip. I do not mind as I like to see people out exercising in all the beauty we live in here. That is rattlesnake lake and ridge leading right in the background.

Running down Tenerife I am in snow for a few miles. The snow is easy travel, but burning energy staying upright and getting my feet drenched. About halfway to the upper Si turn off the snow finally ends. Make ok time to the lower crossover to the Mt Si system. Once I am at the new trail to Si I make ok time up Si.

People gathering around the Mt Si area enjoying the views.

Down the old Si trail I go onward toward Little Si. Right turn and up to the summit of little Si. As I am on the Little Si trail I ask myself, why can't I be like those people that are good with this as their day's exercise of walking up this peak.

View into the valley from Little Si

There is a creek that is one half mile from the Little Si trailhead I use to filter water, have a snack and reload food for my next step over to Rattlesnake ridge. I am 14 hours in at this point for the 50k distance. The bike trail is slightly uphill to rattlesnake lake. I try to run, but common sense tells me to walk. Along the way I pass by a guy enjoying the scenery from the side of the trail.  

Nice light as the sun is working its way down the horizon. 

This is want I was waiting for. 

I work my way around the lake and onto the trail that goes up over the ridge. It is starting to get dark so I pull my headlamp out. I find it funny that people are hiking down from the ledge with their cellphones as lights to see the trail. I guess that is one good use for all the technology. 

When I get 2/3 of the way through this section I encounter a logging operation detour of the trail. It is marked ok so I get through with no problems. There are only a few trees I have to work through at the end of the detour before it is smooth sailing. I have run this section in the past a few years back and thought I had it all memorized. I thought I had my gps track on. Well things change. I turned at the first logging road to work my way over to the bike trails. With the new logging going on I needed to turn at the third logging road to get to the bike trails. I spent some time figuring this out as I searched around in the dark on different roads and trails to backtrack to my starting point. This was the only navigation error I made during the trip. 

I am at the bike trails now working my way down the hill to the power lines and road that will lead me to the Raging river. I have run this section three times and each time I seams to exit a different place and still end up at the transfer station where all the power lines meet. I get to the Raging river at 4am. It is still dark, I know I can cross here ok in the dark, but I need a little light to to find the correct path through the next creek. It is a small creek with steep sides to it. Finding the correct path will make this part a lot easier. I take a short break and wait till I have a little light to help me out. 

This light make all the difference and I have no problem working my way forward and up to the logging road that is part of the Tiger trail system. My shoes are drenched. I change socks at the road, eat and repack some food. Dry socks are so nice to put on. It makes life so much better. Off I go on my way up to East Tiger summit. 

Rattlesnake ridge where I came from.

At East Tiger summit there is a picnic table, I say to myself, five min break then leave. Well a min latter Gabe walks around the corner and I end up taking a 20 min break talking. Oh well, it is not a race and I enjoy the time chatting with him. At least I had a good snack. 

Me at East Tiger summit.

Down, down down I go through the trails of Tiger mt to the high point way parking lot. My time at the parking lot is 30 hours for the 100k distance. I see my car here and say goodbye to it for a little while longer. 

I now go up Tiger three. As you can imagine I am getting a little tired. It some point I thinking what is the best thing to do here? My answer is a nap. Well I have never seen anyone take a nap on the side of the Tiger trail, but I did for 15 min. It was great, I was refreshed and ready to go. 

Next comes Tiger two summit

Nothing exciting going on here, but me passing through. 

Onward to Tiger one summit. 

I am finally done with the Tiger summits. My next destination is the High school trailhead. This will allow me to get some running in and make a little time. As I pass by the trailhead there is a game going on. It is interesting to have this wilderness experance so close to civilization. Up and over Squawk  I go. The east side of Squawk has the most climbing on it to get up and over. On the climb up Squawk I am tired again. Ok time for another nap. I lay down and I sleep for 45 mins this time. When I was settling in on the trail to nap two hiker passed by me. They asked if I was ok, yea I answered, just tired. I make it to the Cougar trail head as it was getting dark. Time for the headlamp again. 

I traveled through the Cougar section in the dark taking one more final nap for two hours. My gps was great to have to make sure I was going the correct direction with all the twists and turns  in this trail network. I enjoy running these trails a lot more in the light. Navigating with gps and looking at the spot of light in front of me is not very exciting. I got done what I needed to do to complete this section. At the Squawk trailhead again my headlight gets stored away and I am working my way up the trail for the last time. I like running eastbound as there is more downhill  in the trail toward Tiger. I am not moving fast, but can enjoy a easy jog on the flats and downhill. 

Nice piece of trail on Squawk in the morning light. 

Now at the Tiger highschool trailhead I have a couple miles and I am done. I choose to walk the Brink trail due to all the roots and turns. It is not a smooth trail like many of the other trails around here. I get to the parking lot thinking I would love a breakfast burrito right now. My reality is other people getting ready for there hike for the day. They see me think I am finishing my hike on Tiger, I guess. This is the world of self supported trail running. You finish with the satisfaction of knowing you are done with this adventure. The only person it mattered to was you. I had a great time playing in the foothills of the cascades. We live in such an amazing place. 

Thanks for reading. 

Finish time was 51 hours and 45 min. 

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Issy Alps 50k attempt .

Issy Alps 50k attempt

John, Roger and I had plans this weekend to do the UPWC Coastal route. John had a family thing today so decided a attempt on the Issy Alps 50k would be a good substitute. We were at Mailbox trailhead by 6 working our way up Mailbox after having done the car scuttle. Things progress well hitting snow about 1 mile from the summit.

Summit photo of the three of us. 

Down Mailbox we went passing lots of other people going for their morning workout up the peak. Worked our way over to and on trail that takes us to the base of Tenerife, 

Roger getting ready to cross the first stream. There used to be a bridge here. 

Roger walking on water. 

We got to the turn off for Tenerife fall and John said he was not feeling it today and was going to head back to car. He took the low route back to Mt Si trailhead and walk back to car along road to the car at the Little Si trailhead. Roger and I continued up to Tenerife falls and on to summit. Note here that there is a lot of snow on the summit of Tenerife. Roger and I used microspikes for the last 1000 to 1500 ft of the climb. There was a good boot path to follow. Who put the boot path in did a good job as it followed my GPS track of the trail almost dead on. Once at the summit Roger was feeling a bit tired and said he did not want to continue with the 50k route. He encourage me to continue on, I would decide once we hit the turn for the Mt Si trail system. When we were chatting of options up there a young gal came up and asked about direction. She decided it was best to join us for her trip down to her car. Again there is a lot of snow up there. On the way down the boot path is dead on for the ridge traverse. Once you turn left a little going down in the tree switch back area the boot path is to the right of the GPS track of the trail. The boot path and GPS track of the trail meet at the road. There is snow a few miles down the road, maybe about half way down. The high route traverse to Mt Si is snow covered from what I can imagine from what I saw. We got back to the Mt Si trailhead around 7. I decided that I did not want to spend 3 more hours out there with half of that time in the dark. I know Roger and John would have waited for me. My goals of spending time with friends, showing them new trails to explore and spending time playing in my backyard were accomplished. It was a great day. 

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Bigfoot 200

In mid August I ran the event Bigfoot 200. It is 200 miles on trails, mostly starting south of Mt St Helens and ending up in Randle Wa. I am posting some photos I took on this trip. I only had my camera for the part around Mt St Helens. I left it with crew at the start of the first night.

Here is some photos from my friend John who crewed and paced me for this event.

John's photos are very good and convey so much more than I could ever put into words here.

Here are some of mine.

Thanks for reading.

Friday, October 7, 2016

La Bohn Traverse

For the route look here

Last fall I went to a Ultra Pedestrian Wilderness Challenge 2015 wrap up party. At this event I signed up for the 2016 challenges. The PNW had a good snowfall this spring leaving snow to linger long into the summer months. With life, weather and trail conditions I was waiting for the right conditions before attempting these events. 

Everything fell into the moment I was waiting for in the end of Sep. My calendar was free, I was in shape from an event I had run one month earlier, the weather forecast showed clear skies and most important for me was that the trails were clear of snow. The day before I ran the WIndy peak loop. 

This route starts out at Snoquamie pass. I had spent the night in my car to get an early start. One thing about early starts, it is dark out. Well it took me a few minutes to find the correct trail. The trail I was looking for was not marked. I have hike this area a lot and knew it in the light. Once I was on it things were going well. You end up at red pond below Red mountain. 

While taking a break at Red pond I saw a hungry fellow waiting for a handout. He blends into the photo quite well. He is centered in the photo if you can find him.

From this point I work my way up and over Red pass. Note to others that do this route, there is a trail up to red pass from Red pond. I scrambled part way up the talus field to discover the trail. This will be a theme for me this trip. This section well well once on the trail to Red pass. Red pass, there is a trail, but not much of one getting down to the real trail.

This is the back side of Red pass. Yes there is a trail through there. Things go well from here for awhile. Once you get close to the river you will encounter three major blowdown areas. They have been flagged, so getting through in the light should be no problem.

This is the log bridge I crossed. The trail from Red pass is on the side you are looking at. 

The bridge is at the entrance to Goldmyer hot springs. I did not take the time to check them out. I would like to come back at another time to soak in them. I did this trip as a fastpack. Pictured is my kit for this adventure.

On the trail up the middle fork I saw these to items. The water coming out was not warm. I can not imagine anyone using either one.

Here are two photos from the bridge that I cross over the middle fork river.

Two photos from further up valley. I really enjoyed hiking up the middle fork trail. It was a bit long, but beautiful sites along the way.

Here is my left turn to Williams lake. 

From here I got to a point where I could see the lake and a route that hugged a cliff band on the right. I choose the right traveling up medows through tree bands to reach the boulder field. It was not the easiest route. It was a direct route to the boulder field. From there I checked in with my gps unit to make sure I was on track. This boulder field goes on for a while longer than I liked. I was getting tired from the adventure around WIndy peak I did the day before. I was following carins through this route. I know many people have traveled through here. How is one to know which route is the more efficient? Going the way I did I miss the mine that is by the lake. I would have liked to see it. I will come back and camp here some fall. 

Up on the way to La Bohn gap. 

Looking up at La Bohn gap. There is a trail up it once I found it once I was part way up. 

This is looking down into the valley I climbed up. It is a beautiful place to wake through. I loved the glacier carved granite slabs and the little lakes. 

This is looking back up at La Bohn gap that I pass over into the Necklace valley. I came down left of that upper snow patch and worked my way down through the boulder field. I am getting tired now. The trail from here out to the easy section is not the smoothest thing I have ever tread on. At dark I was very tired and through with the hardest section. I broke out my stove and made a hot meal. ThenI decided that the best thing would be to sleep for a bit. I had my pad and insulated bivy sack. It was very comfortable. I sleep for four house. Once I had enough sleep I work my way to the trail head. 

Here I am done. I was out there 23 hours. Five of them were spent cooking, eating and sleep at my rest stop. The break was worth it. I wanted to test out some of my systems for cooler temps. 

Well what do I do now? Walk back? I  am tired. There is a tent with people sleeping in it, there are a bunch of cars in the parking lot. I am going to push luck and see what happens. I nap in my bivy sack and wait. Once the guys in the tent wake, we chat and they agree to take me to the bus stop. I take three busses back to my house. Get a ride back to my car at Snoquamie pass and the adventure is complete. 

If you decide to take this adventure on, do it south bound for a easier time. It is worth the effort to see the sites along the way. Doing this second in a back to back adventure is a bit of a workout. 

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Windy Peak and loop

Windy Peak

Here is the link for the route info.

Last fall I went to a Ultra Pederestion Wilderness Challange 2015 wrap up party. At this event I signed up for the 2016 challenges. The PNW had a good snowfall this spring leaving snow to linger long into the summer months. With life, weather and trail conditions I was waiting for the right conditions before attempting these events. 

Everything fell into the moment I was waiting for in the end of Sep. My calendar was free, I was in shape from an event I had run one month earlier, the weather forecast showed clear skies and most important for me was that the trails were clear of snow. It was a go to leave for the six hour drive to the trail head. The drive was easy. The only hazards were a couple potholes and some washboard on the last part of the drive into the trail head. This was easy enough in my low clearance car. 

Being the fall, the sun does not show itself until respectable hours here in the PNW. Being a longer run I need to be up long before that. 

Leaving from Windy Peak trail head I am off into the dark. Moving along under the beam of my headlamp the trail miles slowly roll by. In time I start to notice this white stuff coming down. Snow? my car windows were frosted this morning. Here comes the sun, yea.Yea there is fresh snow here. 

This is snow patch we at UPWC group are calling Jon's snow. It might hold out till the new snow falls this winter.

This is a photo of Windy peak. I walked up this side. If you want the easier way you walk around on the trail to the sign. 

The way I went was easy enough. There were carns leading the way. Once on the summit you will see a container with a log for you to sign. This is one of the 100 highest peaks in Washington state. 

  Down the easier way and on to complete this look. I am looking for a warmer place to be. It is a little cool up here.

Take a right turn here. 

I meet two guys camping out there at my next turn. I got caught up in the conversation, the beauty of the area and the joy of running on the nice trail that I neglected to take the left turn. I went down Clutch trail for about 25 min. I knew something was wrong  but I went a little further to make sure. It was easy running and I really enjoyed the area. I did not mind putting in extra miles. Back I went to the trail to trail 375 at Sunny pass. This really is beautiful country to room around in. Long this next part I encountered these two. 

We had a nice chat and then we were both on our way. At the next junction I turn right on 341. There is a bit of blow in here. The fall colors are amazing. 

This is windy peak. At the end of 341 turn right (north) for 100 ft to find the next trail. It will lead you into terrain like this. Yea, there is a bit of climbing. You have to give back for all that down hill you did on 375. 

From here you hook back up with 342 to get back to the car. There is a bit of blow down here also, but this time it is light out unlike this morning. It is also warm out. 

Sweet site, food and drink are very close. 

Windy peak climbed and loop completed.