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Found 3 results

  1. Trip: Ptarmigan Traverse FKT - Date: 8/16/2012 Trip Report: Uli Steidl and I completed the Ptarmigan Traverse in 12:17, a new FKT (fastest known time). It has been three years since I last enjoyed the Ptarmigan Traverse so it was time to come back to see some of the most beautiful scenery in the Cascades and refresh the prior FKT, which was set by Colin Abercrombie and me on July 28, 2009 (14:36) . This time I was joined by distance running legend Uli Steidl who has innumerable running victories and accolades to his name from road marathons to mountain running to ultras. Conditions were very similar to 2009 with nearly identical weather (hottest days of the summer). Prior to this run I figured somewhere in the 12 hour range was possible and we were able to hit that target finishing the traverse in 12:17. We started at the Cascade Pass trailhead at 4:49 am and finished at Downey Creek Bridge at 5:06 pm. Overall, the 2 hr, 19 min improvement from the 2009 time was due to a consistently faster effort throughout the traverse (see comparison below). I attribute this to more route experience and dialing in on nutrition and hydration, which helped keep energy levels high especially in the second half of the traverse. Bachlor Creek was as lovely (brushy) as ever although we avoided making any time consuming errors in the brush and the Downey Creek Trail felt as long as I had remembered. The 8.5 mile jog along the Suiattle River Road seemed especially needless because there were five forest service vehicles parked at the Downey Creek Bridge. In fact, the closed portion of the road is in better shape than the open part! It seemed like they were prepping the road, perhaps for opening? [video:youtube] Comparison: 2012 vs. 2009 vs. 2008 (difference 2012 to 2009) Cascade Pass TH (3,600 ft) : 0 / 0 / 0 Cascade Pass (5,392 ft) : 43 / 48 / 55 (- 5) Cache Col (6,920 ft) : 1:39 / 1:50 / 2:13 (- 11) Spider-Formidable Col (7,320 ft+) : 3:26 / 3:40 / 5:00 (- 14) Yang Yang Lakes (5,830 ft) : 4:10 / 4:26 / 6:20 (- 16) White Rock Lakes (6,194 ft) : 6:25 / 7:11 / 9:51 (- 46) Spire Col (7,760 ft+) : 7:52 / 8:54 / 11:55 (- 1:02) Cub Pass (6,000 ft+) : 8:55 / 10:16 / 13:42 (- 1:21) Bottom of Bachelor Creek (2,440 ft) : 10:51 / 12:48 / 16:30 (- 1:57) Downey Creek TH (1,415 ft) : 12:17 / 14:36 / 18:10 (- 2:19) Location (Elevation): Time Elapsed / Split / Real Time Cascade Pass TH (3,600 ft) : 0 / 0 / 04:49 Cascade Pass (5,392 ft) : 43:10 / 43:10 / 05:32 Cache Col (6,920 ft) : 1:38:34 / 55:24 / 06:27 Spider-Formidable Col (7,320 ft+) : 3:25:37 / 1:47:02 / 08:14 Yang Yang Lakes (5,830 ft) : 4:10:17 / 44:40 / 08:59 White Rock Lakes (6,194 ft) : 6:24:54 / 2:14:36 / 11:14 Spire Col (7,760 ft+) : 7:52:01 / 1:27:07 / 12:41 Cub Pass (6,000 ft+) : 8:54:49 / 1:02:47 / 13:44 Bottom of Bachelor Creek (2,440 ft) : 10:51:23 / 1:56:34 / 15:40 Downey Creek TH (1,415 ft) : 12:17:15 / 1:25:51 / 17:06 Gear Notes: Axe and crampons Footwear: La Sportiva Nutrition: First Endurance EFS and Ultragen, energy bars Approach Notes: Typical Bachelor Creek brush
  2. Trip: Ptarmigan Traverse FKT - Fastest Known Time Date: 7/28/2009 Trip Report: Colin Abercrombie and I completed the Ptarmigan Traverse in 14:36 from the Cascade Pass parking lot to the Downey Creek trailhead, a new FKT (fastest known time). In 2008, Colin and I did the traverse in 18:10 so we were extremely happy to do it 3 hours and 34 minutes faster this time.The prior FKT was by Joe Stock and Andrew Wexler, who completed the traverse in 15:40 on September 4, 2004 (or 2001? Or 2002?). Since the upper part of Cascade River Road was closed for repairs due to a washout from severe thunderstorms we got an extra warm-up period and set out from Eldorado TH at 3 am reaching Cascade Pass TH in 55 minutes (the road should be repaired by now). We started the watches at 3:55 am at Cascade Pass TH and reached the Suiattle River Road at 6:31 pm. A big concern was the potential for extreme heat along the traverse and descent through Bachelor Creek. Fortunately, there was a cool breeze on all of the glaciers and cumulus clouds provided some shade as we descended Bachelor and Downey Creeks. [video:youtube] Alternatively, you can watch the movie on Vimeo (faster stream). Location (Elevation): Time Elapsed / Split / Real Time Cascade Pass TH (3,600 ft) : 0 / 0 / 03:55 Cascade Pass (5,392 ft) : 47:47 / 47:47 / 04:43 Cache Col (6,920 ft) : 1:50:18 / 1:02:31 / 05:45 Spider-Formidable Col (7,320 ft+) : 3:39:54 / 1:49:35 / 07:35 Yang Yang Lakes (5,830 ft) : 4:26:06 / 46:12 / 08:21 LeConte-Sentinel Saddle (7,200 ft+) : 6:10:46 / 1:44:40 / 10:06 White Rock Lakes (6,194 ft) : 7:11:00 / 1:00:14 / 11:06 Spire Col (7,760 ft+) : 8:54:06 / 1:43:05 / 12:49 Cub Pass (6,000 ft+) : 10:15:47 / 1:21:40 / 14:11 Bottom of Bachelor Creek (2,440 ft) : 12:48:15 / 2:32:28 / 16:43 Downey Creek TH (1,415 ft) : 14:36:10 / 1:48:00 / 18:31 Comparison: 2009 vs. 2008 (difference) Cascade Pass TH (3,600 ft) : 0 / 0 Cascade Pass (5,392 ft) : 48 / 55 (- 7) Cache Col (6,920 ft) : 1:50 / 2:13 (- 23) Spider-Formidable Col (7,320 ft+) : 3:40 / 5:00 (- 1:20) Yang Yang Lakes (5,830 ft) : 4:26 / 6:20 (- 1:54) White Rock Lakes (6,194 ft) : 7:11 / 9:51 (- 2:40) Spire Col (7,760 ft+) : 8:54 / 11:55 (- 3:01) Cub Pass (6,000 ft+) : 10:16 / 13:42 (- 3:26) Bottom of Bachelor Creek (2,440 ft) : 12:48 / 16:30 (- 3:42) Downey Creek TH (1,415 ft) : 14:36 / 18:10 (- 3:34) Several factors contributed to the faster time this year. First, we had even more experience on the traverse allowing us to take the most efficient route and avoiding time and energy consuming errors we made last year on the way to Kool Aide Lake and the Middle Cascade Glacier (stay climbers left of the center of the glacier to avoid large crevasses). Second, we were more consistent with our pacing and took shorter breaks. Third, we significantly improved our “transitions,” which is the time it takes to put crampons on and off – there were at least a half dozen transitions along the traverse. The glaciers are still in good shape with few crevasses. However, despite being 2.5 weeks earlier than our trip last summer, they have noticeably less snow and more ice revealed. This hot and dry summer is taking its toll and glacier travel will become more circuitous soon. Bachelor Creek seems to deteriorate a bit more every time we pass through. The heavy rains from the thunderstorms along with the high humidity appear to have generated explosive growth of the brush in the last week. We battled a bit with the brush, but fortunately it’s a relatively short section. Unfortunately, the Downey Creek trail has also deteriorated with many new blowdowns and obstructions over the trail making that section a bit slower than last year. It seems like the Downey Creek trail goes on forever and we were happy to finally reach the Downey Creek bridge and immediately put our legs in the cool waters of the stream. We didn’t relish the 8.5 mile walk along the road, but it went by pretty fast and we reached the car before dark at 9:15 pm. Many more great photos of the traverse can be found on last year's TR. As usual, Colin was a great partner for this undertaking. We both had the route dialed in and shared the same goals and objectives. Colin would also like to note that in addition to covering the Ptarmigan in a new FKT, he also set the record for least calories consumed on the Traverse and the greatest caloric deficit at the end of the Ptarmigan Gear Notes: Axe, Crampons, Trail Runners, SaltStick, ShotBloks Approach Notes: Road was gated at Eldorado TH due to a washout from the severe thunderstroms. It was slated to be opened on Wednesday morning, but we went ahead with our plans to do the traverse on Tuesday and walked the road to the start. Bachelor Creek is very brushy and Downey Creek has additional blowdowns and impediments this year.
  3. Trip: Mount Olympus FKT - Blue Glacier Date: 7/16/2009 Trip Report: I climbed Mount Olympus in 11 hours, 6 minutes round trip. This is the new fastest known time (FKT) on the mountain, breaking my own FKT from July 31, 2007 by 24 minutes. I went solo and the climb was unsupported. I started at 3:10 am and finished at 2:17 pm (miraculously, the same real time that I finished in 2007). Aside from a few minor differences (ladder downclimb on avalanche chute before Glacier Meadows, softer and slower snow conditions), everything from the weather to route conditions were essentially the same as in 2007. Sweet shot for perspective. Location (Elevation): Time Elapsed / Split / Real Time Trailhead (578 ft) : 0 / 0 / 03:10 5 Miles (800 ft) : 46:10 / 46:10 / 03:56 (5 Mile Island) 9.1 Miles (950 ft) : 1:26:20 / 40:09 / 04:36 (Olympus Guard Station) 13.1 Miles (1,370 ft) : 2:09:01 / 42:40 / 05:19 (Hoh River Bridge) 15.1 Miles (2,558 ft) : 2:37:26 / 28:25 / 05:47 (Elk Lake) 17.5 Miles (4,400 ft) : 3:19:49 / 42:23 / 06:30 (Glacier Meadows) Glacier Moraine (5,000 ft) : 3:53:36 / 33:47 / 07:04 Arrive Summit (7,969 ft) : 5:49:53 / 1:56:16 / 09:00 Leave Summit (7,969 ft) : 6:06:44 / 16:51 / 09:17 Glacier Moraine (5,000 ft) : 7:29:26 / 1:22:42 / 10:39 17.5 miles (4,400 ft) : 7:55:48 / 26:21 / 11:06 (Glacier Meadows) 15.1 Miles (2,558 ft) : 8:25:01 / 29:13 / 11:36 (Elk Lake) 13.1 Miles (1,370 ft) : 8:47:52 / 22:51 / 11:58 (Hoh River Bridge) 9.1 Miles (950 ft) : 9:26:59 / 39:07 / 12:37 (Olympus Guard Station) 5 Miles (800 ft) : 10:12:02 / 45:03 / 13:21 (5 Mile Island) Trailhead (578 ft) : 11:06:53 / 54:51 / 14:17 Comparison: 2009 vs. 2007 (difference) 5 miles: 46:10 / 42:16 (+3:54) 9.1 miles: 1:26:20 / 1:22:46 (+3:34) 13.1 miles: 2:09:01 / 2:08:43 (+0:18) 15.1 miles: 2:37:26 / 2:44:23 (-6:57) Glacier Moraine: 3:53:36 / 4:10:12 (-16:36) Arrive Summit: 5:49:53 / 5:55:20 (-5:27) Leave Summit: 6:06:44 / 6:17:14 (-10:30) 15.1 miles: 8:25:01 / 8:48:51 (-23:50) 13.1 miles: 8:47:52 / 9:08:50 (-20:58) 9.1 miles: 9:26:59 / 9:58:24 (-21:25) 5 miles: 10:12:02 / 10:38:58 (-26:56) Trailhead: 11:06:53 / 11:30:54 (-24:01) The glacier is generally in good shape with the route through Crystal Pass impediment-free. However, a large snowbridge just before Crystal Pass might be vulnerable if this hot weather continues. Also, the summit block is easily accessible - no moat has formed like last year. The primary goal was to go under my time from 2007, which I accomplished, but I thought it would be nice to go sub 11 hours. With 13 miles to go, there was still a chance - I would have to go 10 min/mile pace, a tough task after 9 hours of moving hard. With 5 miles to go, I acknowledged to myself that sub 11 was out of reach and my tank was running low so I was just concerned with finishing it out. Despite the fatigue at the end, I felt a lot better than in 2007. Sub 11 hours is within my capabilities for next time, but less than 10 hours seems highly unlikely for me. Mount Olympus has spectacular scenery and I did not sacrifice photography, which is one of my favorite parts of adventure running - here is a collection of some photos and video clips (many are similar to 2007): West Peak and Crystal Pass from Snow Dome [video:youtube] The Valhallas Mount Tom Strait of Juan de Fuca framed by Mount Carrie and the High Divide Valhallas framed by West Peak and False Summit Summit block Direct route up the summit block is falling out of shape, but it still looks doable Terminus of the Blue Glacier from Snow Dome. Blue Glacier Panorama The party of seven climbers were great subjects. Wide panorama from the Moraine [video:youtube] [video:youtube] Gear Notes: Crampons, Ice Axe, SaltStick electrolyte caps Approach Notes: Trail in great shape - not even any mud in the rainforest and no fording of streams. Park crews also did a great job brushing out the section between Elk Lake and Glacier Meadows. A ladder + rope is installed to get past steep slide area just before Glacier Meadows.
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