Loc: San Carlos, CA
Trip: Rae Lakes Loop - Adventure Run
For best viewing use Internet Explorer or Google Chrome (Firefox does not load completely from my experience)
According to the national park service, the Rae Lakes Loop is one of the most popular hikes in Sequoia and Kings Canyon, if not the entire Sierra. I completed the famous loop in 12 hours, 31 minutes, starting at 5:30 am and finishing just after 6 pm. The loop is 46 miles long and climbs from 5,035 ft at the trailhead to 11,978 ft at Glen Pass. The portion between Vidette Meadows (Mile 14) and Woods Creek Crossing (Mile 29) is along the John Muir Trail. The highlight of the loop is the Rae Lakes area, a chain of large alpine lakes over 10,500 feet with views of rugged Sierra peaks. The trailhead is at Roads End in magnificent Kings Canyon and travels along Bubbs Creek and Woods Creek, including Vidette Meadows, Castle Domes, and Paradise Valley. Most backpackers do the loop clockwise, which makes sense as you gradually gain elevation through the Rae Lakes basin. However, for running it makes more sense to go counterclockwise reaching the highpoint at Glen Pass in 18.5 miles, followed by 27.5 miles of downhill, in theory.
A strong storm on October 13th dropped several feet of snow above 9,000 feet, and a substantial amount of snow remains which made for slow going between Charlotte Lake junction and Dollar Lake (~8 miles). The snow was particularly deep on the north side of Glen Pass with an icy crust layer on top of powdery snow. The result was a lot of postholing and I often could not find where the trail was buried until near the Rae Lakes, but the views of the Sierra with a fresh coat of snow more than compensated. The trails along the loop are generally rocky and rugged precluding a consistent fast pace. I found the section before and after Mist Falls (miles 41 to 43) to be particularly rocky and rough on tired legs at the end of the day.
Loc: United States
Thanks for the report. Any chance you can post a quick gear list of what you take on a run like this (clothing, pack, hydration, food, etc.)? I'm new to adventure running and I'm trying to figure what I need for trips in the shoulder seasons where preparation for weather is key, but I don't want to end up running with a 25 pound pack as well.
Loc: San Carlos, CA
Here is what I took on this trip:
Clothing: I wore running shorts and a long sleeve wool shirt. I brought extra clothing that I didn't use (wind jacket, pants) but I would bring them again considering time of year and duration of the trip.
Backpack: I used the Deuter Futura 25 to carry all the extra clothing I brought. Otherwise, I typically use the Ultimate Direction Wasp on adventure runs.
Food: Powerbars, Gels, ShotBloks, SaltStick electrolyte capsules (The only electrolyte capsule that was formulated to closely resemble the electrolyte profile lost during activity: sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium.)
Hydration: I had a camelback and an Ultimate Direction Fastdraw Handheld water bottle to fill up water quickly at streams.
Footwear: La Sportiva Fireblade Trail Runners
Headlamp: First time using the Petzl Myo RXP on a trip. While heavier, they provide ample light to run comfortably on rough trails at night.
I brought Kahtoola Microspikes and they turned out to be extremely helpful on the sometimes icy descent from Glen Pass. It would have helped if I brought high gaiters as well, not for keeping snow out of my shoe, but for preventing the crusty snow from cutting my leg as I postholed.