BHS 100K

Here is some video and pictures from the 2013 Bishop Ultramarathon. I completed the 100K in 14 hours 22 minutes.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

John Muir Trail Preparations

I am just putting on the finishing touches in preparations for our John Muir Trail Hike.  I got enough food for 7 days in the wilderness packed in a 550 cubic inch Garcia Bear resistant canister. Yosemite National Park requires all over night backpackers to keep all their food in an approved bear resistant canister.  The one I got is opaque black, 8 inches in diameter and 12 inches deep.  By using high density dry foods I hear it is possible to get 10 days worth of food in one.  I guess it depends on how much you eat.  Here is a picture of all what I put in.

All this fits in that black can with the decals on at the back of the table.

1 Week Food Supply in a Garcia Bear Canister

Item Cups Oz Calories Calories/ Cups Calories/ Oz
Cous Cous 4 27 2862 716 106
Red cracked wheat (3cup), dry milk (1 1/2), ground flax seed mix (6oz) 5 26 2400 480 92
Nutrician Yeast 0.75 3 360 480 120
Sun Maid mixed fruit 0.5 7 550 1100 79
Almond Slivers 0.75 3.5 595 793 170
Quinoa 3.4 22 2340 688 106
Hard Cheese 0.9 8.8 965 1072 110
Muscle Milk 2.67 8 1200 449 150
Olive Oil 0.5 9 1080 2160 120
Split Peas 1.1 10 400 364 40
Clarified Butter 2 18 3840 1920 213
Honey 1 16 1320 1320 83
Taboli 2 12 900 450 75
Homus 2.4 17 1750 729 103
Raisons 0.75 5.5 470 627 85
Millet 1.25 10 875 700 88
Dryed Bannanas 1 9 1044 1044 116
Dried tomatoes 0.5 3 300 600 100
Trail Bars (6 Good'n Natural) 2 12 1030 515 86
Totals 32.47 226.8 24281 748 107

460 14.175 3468.714

cu. In. lbs Cal/ day
With that done it was time to pack the rest of the gear.  Here is what it looked like.

Backpacking Gear list.

Woolen cap, sun hat, wicking t-shirt, long sleeve wicking  t-shirt, , long sleeve thermal shirt, cotton hoody sweat shirt, , wind breaker nylon ski jacket w/hood,  wind breaker sweat pants, pocketed shorts, running shorts, running cap, 2 pairs of woolen socks, 2 pairs cotton socks, NB 110 running shoes (light weight 10oz shoes for trail running, walking around camp and wading), Salomon XA 3D Ultra Gore Tex trail runners, light gloves, Hiking gloves (cyling gloves),   
Camping supplies
                2 sleeping pads (1 foam and 1 Thermarest), sleeping bag, ground sheet, poncho/tarp shelter,  pocket knife, bug repellent with Deet, toothpaste and brush, soap, matches,  aluminum foil, 2 qtr. Al pot with lid, 2 qtr. double nest pots with fry pan lids, MSR Superfly stove, 2 X 8oz MSR fuel canister, Spot Transmitter, toilet paper, zip-top plastic bags for used toilet paper, Microfiber 12” X 24” towel, 8 MSR groundhog stakes, Insulated covered coffee mug, 2 cup plastic food cup with screw on lid, New Trent 5000 eternal back up battery, Nylon cord for tarping, Hand Sanitizer, extra camera batteries and charger, Double wall USB charger, A16 bug bivy, portable tripod, mini-tripod with rubber band for attaching to hiking pole,
Hiking Supplies
Hiking poles,  backpack, headlamp, compass, Tylenol, Advil, Band-Aids, sunscreen, sunglasses, reading glasses, magnifying glass, maps , water filter, water purifying tablets (iodine system), water bottle, waterproof poach for cellphone and camera,   whistle,  Binoculars, Sierra Nevada Field Guide by John Muir Law, Pacific coast Tree Finding guide., Extra AAA batteries, Head net, John Morrison John Muir Trail Map-Pac
Fishing supplies
1 spinning rod with lures and gear, 1 fly rod with lures and gear, 1 plastic tube for carrying rods
We will be starting from Happy Isle in Yosemite Valley on Saturday, June 30th.  We will exit after we reach Mt. Whitney on July 19th.  Here is the link to my Spot transmit that will track our day to day location.



Item      Weight in lbs and oz
Empty backbpack               5lbs
Clothes (less running shoes and tarp/poncho)               6 lbs
Running Shoes (NB 110 trail runners)                1 lb 
Poncho/ tarp                13 oz
Sleeping bag                3 lb 8 oz
Aluminum 2 qt. pt                9 oz
Double stainless steel pot/ fry pan lid               1 lb 12 oz
Binoculars               1 lb 12 oz
Full backpack without water or binoculars and field guide               52 lbs
Full backpack with 48 oz water with out binoculars and  field guide                56 lbs
Full backpack with 48 oz water with out binoculars and  field guide               60 lbs

          The above are my own best measurements of the weights of some of the items I will be packing using a balance scale and a bathroom scale so they are not 100% precise.  I tried my best to keep the total weight down, but this is definitely not an ultralight rig. Thankfully there is a lot of water flowing everywhere, so most of the time I will only need to carry 1 bottle, 1/2 a bottle or no water at all.  Each day we hike we will also be loosing 2 lbs of food so that will be nice.  That is until we hit our big resupply on day 8 of our trip at Muir Trail Ranch.   That will be our last resupply point until we complete the hike 11 days later.  I will be taking on 26lbs of food that day and my backpack weight will probably be in the neighborhood of 75lbs.  Hiking out of of that resupply point we will need to climb 4,000 ft as we immediately hit Muir Pass which tops out at 11, 955 ft.  I anticipate that to be one of the most challenging parts of the hike.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Up and over Mt. Charleston, one really old tree but still shy of 100K

I am not sure what I was thinking when I planned out this 100K route last Friday afternoon.  It sure looked good on paper.  The plan was to start from the foot of Mt. Charleston at about 5,800 feet, run to the peak, come the down other side, traverse to the ski resort via Deer Springs road and continue to run though the Spring Mountains till I came out the other side at Coal Creek.  This would have given me my goal of 100 kilometers for the day.  It sounds a doable run, but not for me just yet - at least not in the 12 or so hours that I would like to complete it in.

I started at 5:00am at the junction of Kyle Canyon Road and Harris Springs road.  I took off with about 6 liters of water, 6 energy bars and 6 Gu packs anticipating at most 6 hours of running up and over Mt. Charleston, Nevada highest mountain at 11,918 feet. The sun was just coming up as I got started, the temperatures were in the low 70's, and I felt ready for this one. 

Harris Springs Road (I have spotted wild Burros in this area on previous days)

Three miles up the road I come to the turn of for Griffith Peak trail.  I will be passing by Griffith peak on the way to Mt. Charleston.  The sun is up now, and I got K.D. Lang Belting out Halleluiah on my headphones.
The start of Griffith peak trail.  This is 8 miles into the run which up until this point has been about a fifty -  fifty split between running and fast hiking because the road is so steep in places.  The start of Griffith peak trail is a nice, gentle climb that is very runnable.  The elevation here is about 8,000ft and the air is not too thin for me yet.
Ahhh...,but that runnable section ends about three miles further up he trail as I hit some heavy climbing.  I am always amazed at all the work that goes into making these trails.  God bless these hard working people.
Time for a quick look back at what has already been accomplished.  I am up around 11,000ft. now and all running and even hiking has become difficult because the air is so thin.  I have been slowed down to 30 minutes/mile in places.
After passing Griffith Peak the trail levels out again as it aims for mMt. Charleston.  I am still feeling strong and I am able to run again.  I am already 14 miles and 3 1/2 hours into this run.
Up above the tree line now and everything is hard but the sight of the goal gives strength.  This picture is taken at about 11,200 ft and looking directly at Mt. Charleston.
Five hours, 18 miles, 6000 feet of elevation (about 800 feet more than the Grand Canyon) and here I am standing in the howling wind with Old Glory
his is the view from the top looking down the north side.  That's the town of Mt. Charleston and Kyle Canyon in the distance.  You can see a piece of the steep trail leading down in the foreground.
Looking back at Mt. Charleston from the North Loop trail.  Much of the upper part of the North Loop trail is very steep and difficult to run even if you are heading down.  My progress to this point is over an hour behind where I hoped to be and I am already considering changing plans.
Hi my name is Rain Tree and I am the oldest thing living here in the Spring Mountains.  I am over 3,000 years old.  I am a bristlecone pine and some of our kind have been known to live to 4,900 years old.  I am located at the junction of the Mummy Springs Trail and North Loop Trail .
After Rain Tree, it is about 4 more miles down to Deer Springs Road where Amy is waiting for me with water and food.  When I get there I will have completed 29 miles.  At the road the plan was to turn left and continue westward.  However I will have to leave that to another day.  This coming August sounds good.  Instead, for today I will turn right, head down the road towards Mt. Charleston and back to my car.  When I get there I will have completed about 52 miles, or 83 kilometers just 17 short kilometers of my goal.  On a positive note, I felt really strong during the entire run. I did use the salt tabs for this run (about one 340 mg of sodium every 2 hours) and that seemed to alleviate some leg pain and I didn't experience any cramping.   I was sweating more freely the entireand when I got home I had lost only 2 pounds of water weight.  I felt I took better care of my hydration this time. Even in the final miles I was able to average about 10 to 12 minutes per mile.  I feel I am getting stronger at these longer distances and I am at a point now where I can comfortably keep running the entire day.  It's a good feeling.  Today I continue to replay and visualize yesterdays run.  There is something empowering about knowing that you have the ability to self propel yourself up and over these magnificent mountains.

Above This the data was gathered from My Garmin during the run. It stops at 45 miles because that is where the Garmin lost power.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Spring Mountain 100K

Tomorrow morning starting at 5:00am I will be starting a 100k (62 mile) run through the Spring Mountains west of Las Vegas.

I will be carrying my Spot Transmitter and you can follow my progress on line at:

I am running this 100K as a personal make-up for failing to complete the last 100K  I attempted in Bishop, CA.  I will have more pictures and stories after I run this one.  It should be exciting.  My fiancee, Amy, will be out there on the course crewing  for me (waiting at a couple of key points with water and food.) 

Spring Mountain 100K
Mile point Station: Time Hours (approximate time for each segment)
0 Kyle Canyon Road and Harris Springs Rd. (12.5 up Hwy 157 (Kyle Canyon Rd) from hwy 95)
(elevation 5,300ft)
Start 5:00am
8 Griffith Peak Trailhead
(elevation 8,000ft)
6;45 to 7:00am 2
13 Griffith Peak
(elevation 10,500ft)
7:45 to 8:15am 1.25
17.5 Mt. Charleston Peak
(elevation 11,918ft)
8:30 to 9:30am 1.25
29 North Loop Trail Head (4.5 mile up Dear Creek Hwy 158 from Kyle Canyon Rd junction)
(elevation 8,000ft)
10:30 to 11:45am 2.25
37 Bristlecone Loop Trailhead
(elevation 8,700ft)
11:45 to 1:15pm 1.5
41 Bonanza Trail head
(elevation 9,700ft)
12:30 to 2:15pm 1
56 Coal Creek (Bonanza Trailhead)
(elevation 7,500ft)
3:00 to 5:15pm 3
62 Complete run down Coal Creek Rd. until I reach 100k
(elevation 6,000ft)
3:45 to 6:15pm 1

Total time:  11 to 14 hours (hopefully)

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Bootleg Canyon, Trails and Running Upright Running

Bootleg Canyon (expect lots of rocks and tight, winding single track trails with lots of climbing)

      The surrounding mountains and deserts of Las Vegas are ripe with trails for runners and mountain bike riders.  Bootleg Canyon located in Henderson (south-east  of Las Vegas valley) has some popular and challenging single track trails.  The Saturday Morning Ultra Team (SMUT)  meets out there for a group run most Wednesday evenings and Saturday mornings.  See there web site for more info.

Here is a look at some of the trails.
The trails are well maintained but not well marked so don't feel bad if you get a little lost out there.  However, it is not too hard to find your way back as it is easy to keep landmarks like the city, the highway or the lake in view.  I would rate the trails as Las Vegas' most challenging trail as they are rocky, tight, twisting with lots of uphill and downhill.  Here is a look at a 10 miler I ran last Saturday morning where 10 miles produced 1400 feet of climbing.

 I was very happy during this run to make a personal running discovery.  I have been running primarily trails since last January when I increased my total mileage and  numbers of hours training as I am progressed to running ultras.  Running trails is easy on the body and mind as the trails are softer surfaces than roads and being out in natural surroundings for long periods of time is more enjoyable than running on roads.  The trade-off is trail running is more challenging in the sense that you have to pay more attention to your footing and depending on the difficulty of the trail your running pace will be on average 50% slower.   I had developed a fairly decent running posture while running on the roads and a fairly efficient and quick stride rate.  Good running posture entails running upright with your pelvis directly over your knees and your torso and shoulders above your pelvis.  Meb Keflezighi says he envisions a cable extending from the sky that is attached to his head and pulling him upright.  All elite runners also maintain a stride rate of 180 steps per minute or faster.  It's just more efficient to run this way.  However, the increased difficulty of running trails make running with good posture more difficult.  I find myself constantly leaning forward looking down at the trail trying to avoid the next obstacle.

My running discovery was that running with good posture on trails instantly and radically decreases leg fatigue.  I have been struggling with quads that are slow to recover over the last few months.  I had been attributing this to all the hills and mountains I had been including in my training, but I know that much of it has to do with poor running posture.  The bending forward puts increase strain on my quads. Every time I would become conscious of my running posture and get back into an upright stance the fatigue in my quads would go away.  Before I knew it, my legs were happily spinning under my body and I was bouncing down the trail again.  Whenever, I would lose focus and start leaning forward my quads would start to get sore again - pretty cool.

Anton Krupicka has one of the best examples of excellent running posture and stride.  Here is some video to watch for yourself

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Next Up - JMT - John Muir Trail

Yosemite Valley - Northern stating point for a south bound JMT thru hike

My next on-foot adventure will be to hike the 211 mile John Muir Trail (JMT) from Happy Isle in Yosemite National Park through the Ansel Adams Wilderness, Sequoia National Park, King's Canyon National Park, and ending at the highest peak in continental United States, Mount Whitney at 14,496 ft.

JMT Elevation Profile

My friend An and I will be hiking 10 - 15 miles a day though the High Sierras this July. The entire trip will take us about 20 days and we will resupply in Red's Meadows and Muir Trail Ranch.  The trip requires fairly extensive planning.  Our packs when fully loaded with food and supplies will average 50 or so pounds and as you can see from the elevation profile there are many passes will have to climb with this weight.  We want to minimize our weight yet have all the necessary gear and enough food.  Further complicating the matter is the fact that all the food must also fit in a bear resistant canister according to National Park regulations.  The canisters measures about 9 inches in diameter, 12 inches deep and are made of a tough plastic that bears cannot crush and a locking mechanism they cannot open.  At most they hold about a 6 to 7 day food supply for 1 person and it is very difficult to fit more than 1 in a pack at a time. 
Bear that wandered into our fishing spot in Mammoth Lakes back in 2007

John Muir (early 20th century naturalist/ environmentalist)
John Muir spent as much time as he could in the Sierra High Country.  He was instrumental in convincing Congress to pass theNnational Park Bill 0f 1890,  to  establish Yosemite National Park and preserve many other of our wilderness areas.  He wrote eloquent accounts of the wilderness in books and essays including one of my favorites, "My First Summer in the Sierra"  where he describes his experiences and discoveries while  working as a sheep herder as a young man.  John Muir describes hiking and climbing these mountains with nothing more than a sack of bread, some black tea and a jacket.  Makes me feel kind of wimpy when I consider all the modern gear I will be bringing.

Amy enjoying a moment with Yosemite Falls in the background

A permit is required to overnight backpack though these wilderness areas and only a limited number of permits are issued  for each day in order to minimize impact on the wilderness.  Our permit actually has us starting 20 miles up the trail in Toulumne Meadows.  In order to hike the entire trail we will day hike the section from the Valley to the Meadows the day before our permit starts.  Permits are not required for day hikes and we should be able to make good time as will only need to carry some food and water and not our entire packs. 

Last August I spent 7 days in the same Ansel Adams Wilderness and Yosemite National Park hiking from Mammoth Lakes to Toulumne Meadows via the John Muir Trail and returning via the Pacific Crest Trail.  Below is a video I assembled using pictures that I took during the trip.  I don't exaggerate when I say every day was the best day.  Each moment, each vista, each experience is so unbelievably uplifting and awesome and at the same time it is always exceeded by the next one around the corner.
August 2011 High Sierra Backpacking Trip