Sorry for not getting updates out sooner this week but I’ve wanted to wait until I saw the course with my own two eyes(and feet). I’ve now been on nearly the entire course(everything but Anvil) since I got to town a few days ago. We have on our hands a drastically different set of conditions than we’ve ever had for this race.
I’m considering alterations to the route for safety reasons. More details to come soon, maybe tomorrow night after a few more things get checked out including trying to find a much safer way up the upper part of Kendall(the snowfield is too firm and too steep to be safe enough for this race, sure myself and others have and can go up it I’m just not sure I want everyone taking that risk on race day) I also want to find a safer way down Sultan(the steep and firm snow in the forest was quite sketchy in the afternoon on somewhat fresh legs. For folks coming down it at night after doing the rest of course already it would be a nightmare.) And there are multiple other spots that have me nervous and I want to make sure we have the safest route we can but I also want to make sure to, as best I can, explain what we’re gonna be dealing with out there. Some people might not be suited for the conditions we have this year.
Basically I feel like we have a mountaineering race this year not a running race.
- Ice ax and experience using it to self arrest will be mandatory—I’m going to try figure out ways to re-route the most dangerous snow field travel but some snow travel on steep slopes will be unavoidable and you must be able to stop yourself, not being able to do so could be deadly in some places.
- Helmet is highly recommended—we made it highly recommend last year and those who had one with them were very glad they did. Again I’m gonna try to alter the route to avoid the worst of this but this is a damn steep and damn rocky course and even if everyone is super careful rocks will tumble.
- Mineral creek is NOT SAFE TO CROSS. We will either use a re-route that will include fording Bear Creek instead or we might just eliminate Bear and Sultan Mountains from the route this year.
More details to come ASAP
James Varner and the Rainshadow Team