The Wasatch “Fun Run”


I’ve always been attracted to events that involve lots of vertical.  Naturally some of the more mountainous 100 miles races (Hardrock, Wasatch, and this year UTMB) have caught my attention.  Hardrock is 33,000 ft of vertical gain.  I also like nice round numbers, so naturally tripling it to 100,000 seemed like a good platform to start an adventure/goal.  I discovered over the years that doing 100,000 ft. of gain in a month while holding a full-time job was certainly possible and something that I’ve worked into my repertoire quite consistently now.  So, last year I figured I’d see if I could condense it down to a shorter amount of time.  5 days seemed like a good target as it equated to ~20,000ft per day, a manageable amount.  

In May of 2007 I had a great “course” mapped out.  I would never do the same peak twice over the course of 5 days tagging 5-8 independent summits each day.  What a great tour of the Wasatch Front, starting just east of SLC and ending in Spanish Fork, Utah.  A large amount of snow slowed this effort and 5 days later I had logged 72,000 ft of vert.  I had a great time, was completely worked, and was ready to try again next year.

This past weekend was attemptnumber 2.  Given the insane amount of snow that we received in the Rockies I pushed the date out more than a month from when I tried it in 2007.  Also, I would do many repeats this year with less driving between trails.  Virtually every morning would start out with doing a “Grandeur Double”.  Grandeur Peak sits directly above the house that I grew up in and consequently I bet I’ve done it 1000 times.  So, each morning would start out with going up the Church Fork side, down the west side, back up the west side and down to my car at Church Fork.  This is ~11 miles and about 6,000 ft of vert.  After this I’d do a nice jaunt up Thayne’s Canyon to stretch the legs out and then do another Grandeur Double.  With this plan, by 2 PM (I’d start at ~6:00AM) I’d have 14,000 ft under my belt and could spend the remainder of the day doing beautiful trails in Big Cottonwood Canyon to make up the 6,000 remaining feet. 

Day 1 went exactly as planned, it was still tough, but I made it through, feeling pretty good at the end.  Day 1 ended with beautiful runs up to Lake Blanche and Circle-All-Peak with my great friend Becky. 

  1. Grandeur Double (6,000 ft gain)
  2. Thayne’s Canyon Loop (2,200 ft)
  3. Grandeur Double (6,000 ft)
  4. Wire Mountain (2,100 ft)
  5. Lake Blanche (2,700 ft)
  6. Circle-All-Peak (1,500 ft)

Total : 20,500 ft.

Day 2 was very difficult to get going, but once I did I was okay.  It ended with a quick solo up the West Slabs of Mount Olympus with my buddy Ryan just as the sun was setting.  Mt. Olympus is always a treat.  At the end of Day 2 I felt amazingly good!

  1. Grandeur Double (6,000 ft gain)
  2. Thayne’s Canyon Loop (2,200 ft)
  3. Grandeur Single (2,600 ft)
  4. Butler Fork Saddle (1,700 ft)
  5. Circle-All-Peak (1,150 ft)
  6. Lake Blanche (2,700 ft)
  7. Olympus West Slabs (3,000 ft)

Total : 19,350 ft.

Day 3 started off as the best day yet.  Grandeur was a breeze, my legs felt good on the very steep descent (3,400 ft. in 1.75 miles!)  and also on the way back up.  Ryan joined me for the Thaynes Canyon loop, which was new to him so that made it fun.  I then stopped at my parents house for a Father’s Day Lunch, couldn’t miss that right?  Then onto Big Cottonwood where I busted out a lap up Mill B North in Big Cottonwood Canyon up to the saddle just West of Raymond Peak.  Then my wonderful girlfriend Mindy joined me for a run up to Butler Fork Pass and Circle-All-Peak.  Next I tagged the summit of Reynold’s Peak followed by another journey up to Lake Blanche with Mindy, Vanessa (my sister) and her husband Brendan.  It was an nice relaxed pace.

  1. Grandeur Double (6,000 ft)
  2. Thaynes Canyon Loop (2,200 ft)
  3. Mill B North to Saddle (3,400 ft)
  4. Butler Fork (1,700 ft)
  5. Fork for Butler up to Circle-All-Peak (1,150 ft)
  6. Reynold’s Peak (2,100 ft)
  7. Lake Blanche (2,700)

Total : 19,250 ft.

During the later 1/2 of day 3, in addition to the “normal” aches and pains, my patellar tendon started to flare up.  2 other great friends of mine called me and were totally psyched to help pull me through the next 2 days.  I got home at 10:00PM, ate a bunch and then tried to go to bed.  The pain in my knee was bad enough that it kept me up until about 3:00 AM.  I had to make a decision because I was meeting my friend Ken at Church fork at 6:15 AM.  I made the decision to stop and I think it was the right one.   Could I have dragged myself through to the end?  Perhaps, but all my nagging injuries (achilles, ankle that I have 8 screws in, and my patellar tendon) would not have been happy. 

All together, I accumlated 59,100 ft. of gain, very close to my targeted 20kft per day.  The best aspect of this adventure run was that I got to spend 3 full days in the beautiful Wasatch Mountains, a portion of it with the people I treasure most.  I’ll call this version the Wasatch “Fun Run” (60/100).  The full monte will have to wait until another year.

Jared 6-16-2008

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4 Responses to “The Wasatch “Fun Run””

  1. Buzz Says:

    So what are you drinking in that photo? I want some of that!

    Great project, excellent report, and good call on the bailout. There’s more to do; no reason to risk ending the season now … indeed, we have a big project coming up in 9 days! (I’m beginning to realize my strategy for that will be to hook a bungee cord onto you 🙂

  2. Jared Says:

    Mandarin Oranges! the secret power food/juice. 🙂 Can’t wait for the Zion Double-Double in 9 days with you, it’ll be great fun.

  3. speedgoat karl Says:

    Jared, you are the man, those big days make me wince! Hardrock is gonna feel easy for ya, go kick some arse!

  4. Jared Says:

    Thanks Karl! Wish you were here to show us all how the Hardrock is really done. Tomorrow morning, I’m psyched! As long as I can keep my achilles injuries from really flaring up I’ll have a blast. There’s tons of snow on the north facing slopes, which I’m very happy about.

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