Page Type Page Type: Trip Report
Location Lat/Lon: 34.28890°N / 117.6458°W
Date Date Climbed/Hiked: Jul 26, 2003
Seasons Season: Summer
THIS WAS AN ULTRAMARATHON, BUT SINCE YOU DO 3 SUMMITS ON THE COURSE, I THINK A TRIP REPORT IS APPROPRIATE HERE. This race is just under 33 miles with 10,775 feet of elevation gain. The route involves summitting Mt. Baldy twice by different trails and Thunder Mountain once.

The race got off at 6 am sharp on a hot July day.

First Ascent
: The race starts at the Ice House Canyon parking lot. You cannot appreciate the sufferfest you're in for during the first mile because it's all downhill to Baldy Village. You pick up the Baldy Trail at 4,200 feet elevation and begin the first climb to the summit, a little over 8 miles away. At the first aid station a couple of miles beyond Bear Flat, I topped off my Camelbak with Gatorade. I arrived at the summit on the first ascent 2 hours and 40 minutes after starting the race. The first descent was down Devil's Backbone and the fire road all the way to Manker Flat. I was unpleasantly surprised to find the turnaround spot not at the white gate at the start of the fire road but over a quarter of a mile further down on the paved road. It had taken me 1 hr. 20 minutes to get down from the summit.

Second Ascent: Now it's back up for the second time. From the Manker Flat turnaround, you go up the fire road and hop onto the Ski Hut Trail. Doing the second ascent on this trail definitely put me into suffer mode. You really appreciate how steep this trail is when you're making your second consecutive ascent of Baldy on it. Paused at an aid station at the Hut and carried on. It took me 2 hrs. 36 minutes to reach the summit this second time up. It was now 6 hrs. and 36 minutes from the start of the race. Time for more downhill fun! I suffered the most of any time during the race on this second descent. Again, the descent was via the Backbone to the Notch. My quads were on the threshhold of rigor mortis and my toes were so tender I could visualize them all turning black. I slowed down considerably during this segment. But I made it to the Notch a good 3 hours under the established cut-off time (you had to arrive at the Notch during the second descent by 4:30 pm or your time would not count).

Third Summit: Now, you turn around and go back up the fire road to Thunder Mountain (about 9'800 elevation). When I arrive there, I have been motoring for 8 hrs and 13 minutes. But it's all downhill from this point!

Down to the Finish: From Thunder you descend back to the Notch. There, you have to stop and give a course monitor the correct answer to a message written on a sign on theThunder summit to prove you have been there. I passed the test (they also asked me what color the sign was just to make sure)! No more stops now. All the way to the Ice House Canyon parking lot. From the top of Thunder to Manker Flat took me 1 hr. 3 minutes including patching a hot spot on my right foot before leaving Thunder. After that, it's about two miles on the street from Manker to the finish. But at this point, that last 2 miles took me 27 minutes. A comment about the temperatures. During most the race, the temperatures over-all seemed moderate. Above 8'000 feet, the temps were blessedly cool with a nice breeze. But from Manker Flat down to the finish--traveling along an asphalt road-- the temperature was extremely high; a typical Southern California late July temperature. Plus, the wide curves on this road seemed endless. But at last, I got to the point in the road where you make a left turn into the Ice House Canyon parking lot. Unfortunately, the parking lot entrance is uphill for the approximate 100 meters to the finish line. Still, I managed a sprint of sorts to the finish. Finish Time: 9 hrs. 43 minutes. Based on the physical condition I thought I was in for a race like this, I had predicted my finish time anywhere between 8 and 10 hours. So I was in the ball park at the end. This is important not only for self-assement purposes. Your ride needs to know when to be there to pick up your carcass to drive you home.

Comments about nutrition during the race: I consummed between 400-450 oz. of fluid during the run. I stopped to pee only once during the nearly 10 hours that I was out so, for me, the fluid intake was just about right. Gobbled bits of baked potatoes, fudge brownies, and banana and orange slices at the aid stations for carb restoration. Also inhaled a few gel packs between stations. Salted pretzels and Gatorade were key for sodium replacement.

Recovery: my quads were extremely sore Sunday, the next day. Monday, I took a brisk one hour walk. Tuesday, I was ready for a 40 minute run. By Wednesday, the soreness was all gone and I did a track workout with my running club (11x 400 meters).


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