One Last Hurrah in the Mountains

by Max on October 25, 2011

I thought that I’d been shut out of a final run up the South Sister this year, but as luck (or the weather in Central Oregon) would have it, the storms cleared up long enough to melt off the 8-12” of fresh snow that the mountains received the past couple of weeks. A friend and I had been talking the last couple weeks about various windows that might be available to do it then all of a sudden a storm comes in and knocks out any hope of getting up there. He had been working on the unofficial record up to the 10,358ft peak and had gotten his time down to 1:38 up, and 2:30 something total.

The trail leading up to the summit

The trail leading up to the summit


So Ryan Bak and I drove up in the window of good weather to attempt the 5,598ft climb to the summit in possibly record time. I say possibly because we were going to stick together and I was feeling pretty worked and I can’t say I was all geared up to put out a huge effort to do it today. Never the less, we would try.
We started out with a short 20min warm up on a flatter trail to get warm (it was 8:30am and still colder than a witches %#$ in a brass bra by my standards). Then, starting my watch from the white line of the road we were off. Pushing comfortably up the first significant climb felt like forever but we made it to the shelf in about 19min. Not a bad start. We ran as much as we could and hiked hard when we couldn’t. The scree on the upper sections really slow forward progress and make it hard to keep any kind of momentum when you’re going two steps up and one back. We made the summit in 1:26:18, good enough for the fastest time I know of. We hung around for a minute but after almost being blown off and feeling like I was going to be missing some fingers we headed for home. The run down was a bit more cautious so we didn’t hit the overall mark of 2:30 something but just taking our time with a couple stops we still hit 2:41.
Ryan trudging to the summit

Ryan trudging to the summit


That was most likely the last dry ground run up window of the year so another record attempt will have to wait until next summer along with the rest of my mountain high goals like running the Timberline Trail around Mt. Hood, traversing the Three Sisters, and a few others I have in mind. Dakota Jones and I set up tentative plans for knocking a few of these goals out when get makes his way out next summer. Until then, I’ll be hunkering down, training my brains out and preparing for the Olympic Marathon Trials in Jan.

Here’s my gear list from today’s adventure.
Had on my Effusion Power Tights today to keep the warmth in, Rogue Racers to get me some traction to the summit, my Geist Vest over a Wicked Lite L/S and S/S, and my Butter Beanie keeping my head warm. I was also lucky to have the brand new spring 2012 2oz Ghost Whisperer Jacket in my pack for keeping the wind at bay on the summit. Just enough protection. Brought along the new Spring 2012 Race Vest for carrying some food, water and jacket. Have I mentioned how sweet that thing is. Probably could have used a balaclava too but didn’t have that. My face was freezing.

The summit

The summit


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