Sunday, December 8, 2013

Operation Elevation Simulation

**** Operation Elevation Simulation ****
Target: Simulate the elevation change of Haleakala, min. 10000 ft
Location: Grouse Grind, BCMC
Weather: -2 C; Clear, light breeze, falling snow at higher elevation
Trail Conditions: Frozen but clear at lower elevation; Sporadic ice and snow at higher elevation
Operatives: J.B.Running, UltraChris 

**** Mission Status: Successful ****
Lap 1: 1h02m, Grouse Grind
Lap 2: 1h05m,BCMC
Lap 3: 1h05, Grouse Grind
Lap 4: 1h10m, BCMC
Total Actual Elevation Change: 11200 ft

The Trail Effect: Snow on the Grouse Grind
Jenna hiking up the Grouse Grind in snow.
As we started out on our first lap, we weren't quite sure of the trail conditions we would encounter, especially near the top. We had hiked up this trail just over a week prior and hadn't encountered any ice or snow until the very top. Just to be safe we brought our crampons along for the first two laps. It was a beautiful sunny day at the bottom, however at about the half way mark it began to get chilly as the wind picked up and the snow began to fall. At first we couldn't tell whether it was actually snowing, or just blowing off the top of the trees. By the time we got to the top we were a wee bit chilly, and fully convinced it was snowing, and not just blowing. The ice on the top half of the route (despite being a bit scary in places) made for some incredible icicle displays. As we got higher and higher, the water in the tubes of our running packs began to freeze. This was actually rather convenient, as it forced us to drink often to prevent the freezing. At the top, we took the Gondola down to save ourselves some time, and to save Jenna from the inevitable IT band pain that was still haunting her.

The Trail Effect: Icicles along the Grouse Grind
Amazing icicles along the Grouse Grind!
Lap 2 was just as cold and icy as the first, however there were a lot more people out on the BCMC. We appeared to be the least prepared, with the rest of the hikers carrying large backpacks and poles. All we had were small packs of water with a bit of food, some space blankets, and our pocket knives.

We thought we appeared unprepared, but at the start of lap 3 we saw a guy in shorts and a t-shirt. ARE YOU CRAZY!? I mean some people run warm, but it was COLD at the top!!! We're going to bet he didn't make it too far. Brr! The start of #3 was painful. Jenna didn't drink quite enough water through the first two laps, and was fading slowly. Her legs were a bit shaky, and it left her wondering if she would survive a fourth and final lap (not to mention the rest of the 3rd). After a small bag of chips (Only 90 calories in a bag? Come on, we're trying to hike up a mountain here!), some shot blocks, and a gel, we were on our way! Surprisingly finishing only 3 minutes slow than the first lap on the GG.
The Trail Effect: Sunset from Grouse Mountain
Unbelievable sunset from Grouse Mountain
As we started lap four, the sun was beginning to set. We opted to change into thicker jackets, and we were very happy with that decision! As the sun set, parts of the trail started turning pink and fiery red colours, it looked incredible!
It seemed to take forever to get to the half way point, but once we were there we were both feeling great!
Though the light was fading, we made it to the top and didn't have to dig out a headlamp!
Plus, we got to the top in time to catch the end of the sunset! What a perfect sunday!

Today's accomplishment made Haleakala seem like a much more attainable goal. Maybe it will even be a little warmer :)

No comments:

Post a Comment