Wednesday, September 30, 2009

7 Summits: "Uphill Both Ways"

Uphill both joke!

Every once in a while I feel the urge to head out on a bit of a road trip. Although I do spend a lot of time on the road, this is different, because I get to choose where to go!

A few phone calls later and my plan was taking place...I would head SW to Rossland, BC and run the 7 Summits trail with Chris - After that, who knew...but most likely West and look for trouble...

Within a matter of hours, I was packed and ready to go. First stop: Rossland, BC.

The 7 Summits Trail has been on my 'must run' list for quite some time...Lile most thing, I just haven't gotten around to it yet. After an easy morning catching up with work, Chris and I planned out our strategy (not!) and headed up the road toward Nancy Green Pass where the 7 Summits Trail starts. Chris had obviously run (and biked) this trail quite a few times (since he lives there...) so I figured he'd let me know if I was ill prepared. I figured we'd be out there about 3+ hrs so I loaded up my 900ml water belt a few Honeystinger chews, some Sharkies and off we went. Despite knowing that it was going to be a hot one, this was the only hydration system I had anyways...besides, Chris had a 2L vestpack on - so I could poach off him if necessary (ha!).

Ill prepared or not, we set off at a good pace...

From Nancy Green Pass, you run up for a good 7km or so...a long steady grind that teases you with quick glimpses of amazing vistas. Eventually, you pop out on top of the ridge and that's where the fun begins - Wow!

Going up! Chris coming up the trail from Nancy Green Pass

Awesome single-track - great views of the 7 summits (and more) that you skirt around, including Old Glory (right)

A few stretch stops along the way to soak in the 'hippy moments' and gets the kinks out - of course!

The open ridge was super fun to run on - providing spectacular views of the surrounding mountain ranges

At about the 3/4 mark, both Chris and I were completely out of water - Go figure! With no creeks running at this time of the year, the only water available was in Rossland - which teased us by showing itself in between the peaks - far below down in the valley. But out of nowhere appeared this 'bucket' of fresh water, which was being filled by a natural stream through a long white PVC pipe coming straight out of the mountain - perfect timing - we couldn't have asked for anything better!

This water source appeared out of nowhere - There we were on top of a ridge and water was coming out of the mountain - 'They' must have known that we were suffering and getting a bit dry!

Moments later, Rob, our shuttle driver appeared from over the ridge - he had run up the trail backwards to join us for the latter part of the run back to his car. With refreshed bodies, full tanks of water, and a long fun downhill ahead of us, we cruised on...

Cruisin' down the final single-track descent to our shuttle pickup...Done and done!

The final downhill was wicked fun and came none too soon. Had the water not been there, I have no doubt that we would have made it down safely and without incident, but we certainly wouldn't have enjoyed ourselves in this final bit as much as we did. Chris and I raced down the hill, testing our legs and agility on the very technical descent all the way down near the border town of Paterson, well below Rossland - so much fun.

And that was it - An amazing 31km ridge run in around 3h15min - fantastic. Aside from the final descent, there was no shortage of climbing on this trail - giving the feeling of having climbed for a good 3/4 portion of this trail, yet we actually finished lower in altitude than our start up at Nancy Green Pass. The drive back however, was all uphill so if you were ever to complete the circuit (which I'm told a few mountain bikers have done), you could expect the loop to be mostly uphill...both ways.


Tom Craik said...

Wicked awesome, Phil! Travel to run. I love it. 7 summits is one I've always wanted to do. Cool journey.

Derrick said...

Sounds like a great run Phil. Can wait to get out there later this month to see some of those trails first hand.

Bryon Howard said...

... awesome you are able to just get up and go.
That is a designed life.

Congrats on a great run - and thanks for sharing!

Phil said...

Tom: Yeah, totally worth the drive from Van-city...go for a long weekend, there's tons and tons of running out there!

Derrick: When are you two coming again? I'm heading out East for some tours at the end so hopefully I catch you...

Bryon: Thanks for all the RE advice - a big part of why I can do these kinds of trips! (but 'officially', I was in my office in Canmore...shhhh).

Derrick said...

Sara's conference is from Oct 26-28, but we're extending it and going to be there from the 22-29.

Sunshine Girl said...

Hey! Just checking in. I've been a little busy myself with a big adventure.:) I'm wishing you good weather so you can give the BUTT a try this year, if not, it will be the perfect July project!