Running race courses and continued gendarmigans.

After my brush laden, deadfall jumping, gendarme frustrated voyage of 30 miles through the backcountry of Idaho and Montana on Saturday, I took a day off on Sunday to collect firewood, and had a 6 mile, 1400′ run up and over Sentinel on Monday.

07.16.13 Double Dip, 13 miles, 3000′, 1h50m: 
On Tuesday I opted to keep it close to home and ran the Pengelly Double Dip course, a “Tall Half-Marathon,” as they say.  I didn’t even know this race existed until I accidentally ran a similar course a few minutes ahead of the race itself, and all of a sudden all these people jumped out with cowbells and started banging them at me.  WTF, super-stoked old guy?  The course consists of running up the M trail, around the Crooked trail, up Chopsticks, to the top of University, then back down to the saddle, then up Sentinel, down Smokejumper, and back to the start.  Due to my geographic condition, I started (and ended) the route on Crooked.  I ate too much hazelnut butter for breakfast, drank not enough water, and started at 10AM when it was already 80 degrees.  This was a recipe for cramps, and they started almost immediately upon beginning my descent from University.  By the bottom of Smokejumper’s they were bad and slowed me down quite a bit.  I stopped my watch for a few minutes while sitting by the spring on Kim Williams trying to convince my gut to settle down, but my ailment returned even after this break.  I felt fine ascending the M trail, and even made this climb rather quickly, but then cramps again on the flats.  I’m certain I could run this quite a bit faster if I were feeling well, and look forward to trying again.

07.17.13 Fartlek to Crazy Canyon, 6 miles, maybe 1000′, 48m:
Continuing to try this periodic sprinting thing.  I think my shoes wore out last week, because I really felt this one.  Maximum velocity running on a rocky road with packed-out minimal-type footwear is incompatible with my physiology.

07.18.13 Pyramid Buttes to Sweeney peak, ~18 miles, ~7000′, 5h40m:
This was one of my favorite runs ever.  It went like this: First, I summited Middle Pyramid Butte, then descended to Mills and Holloway Lakes before contouring around a rocky ridge into the next basin to the North across some really fun 3rd class slab stuff to hit the Sweeney-S. Fork Lolo drainage divide above Duffy Lake.  Next was an unnamed high point with dubious passage on its non-visible north side (it went), followed by a descent to a really neat unnamed tarn just south of the Sweeney ridge.  From here I made a steep climb up big talus to the Sweeney ridge, and proceeded to engage in some Krumholz-whacken (no English translation is possible) and gendarme avoidance, interspersed with the occasional running gait to the Sweeney summit, before a quick descent back to the trailhead.  The rock along the Sweeney headwall is an extra flashy brand of red schist, with big sticky crystals, and it’s fun to climb on.  The route goes surprisingly cleanly (even the downclimbing around gendarmes!), and something about the more technical and challenging descent and ascent lines is … aesthetic?  Looking forward to discovering more routes like this in the Root.  They’re there, but you gotta find ’em.

East Pyramid Butte Ridgeline and Big Joe.

Descent ridge to unnamed tarn below Sweeney Ridge.

Unnamed tarn.


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