Saturday, February 02, 2008

Mt. Wilson Snow Run

We went out on a long training run this morning.  We were supposed to run from the Chantry Flats parking lot, up to the Trinkle Bench, then up to the Toll Road.  Continuing to Mt. Wilson Skyline Park, then down the Rim Trail to Newcomb's Saddle, then back down to Chantry. The climb from Chantry up to the Toll Road is part of the AC100 course, and then from Newcomb's Saddle back to Chantry is also a part of the AC100 course.

For one reason or another, part of the group, well, actually all of the group except for me turned around at the Trinkle Bench. As I continued on my planned course past the benches, the trail quickly turned into frozen snow. Before I hit the Toll Road, the snow was about ankle deep.  It was getting more difficult to find good footing, as the frozen snow was sometimes hard and sometimes crumbly. We had seen some patches of snow going up to the benches, but they were pretty scattered and spotty. It was nothing like this.  By the way, we saw some spectacular cloud formations hugging around the mountain sides.  It looked like something out of the high mountains of the Himalayas. It was really gorgeous.

Once I hit the Toll Road, the snow was plowed to the sides.  That was good. I can tell that they had a lot of snow in this area very recently. Then, after about a few hundred yards, the plowing stopped; and I was left with the option of trudging through shin deep frozen snow or turning back. The frozen snow was unpredictable, it would sometimes support my weight; but it would also break through in some softer spots. Following previous tracks was not any better; as there has not been a lot of people through that area.  Well, at least not enough people to leave a nice flat single track. At best, I would be reduced to walking the remaining miles up to Skyline Park. 

And once I got to Skyline Park, the trails going down the North side of Mt. Wilson would probably have more snow. Also, the water source at Skyline Park would probably be frozen. I was planning on a water resupply at Skyline Park; so, if it was frozen, then, I really didn't have enough drinking water to make it back to Chantry. And, even If I did have enough water for the run down, the first few miles would probably be walking through the snow, not running. Thus taking more time to get back down.

Plus, it was getting much colder due to the elevation gain and wind chill.  It was about 40 degrees at Chantry where we started.  By this elevation, I would guess the temperature had gotten down to the 30's.  If you add the wind chill factor, it was even colder.  Even with gloves, my fingers were beginning to get cold; and I could only barely keep my body warm while running. I was not wearing enough clothing.  I would freeze if reduced to a walk.

Considering all these factors, I turned around. Looking back, I'm glad I did.  Next week, I plan to attack Mt. Wilson again; but this time more prepared. 

It was not a bad run, I did most of the climbing I wanted to do; and it only got shortened by about 4 miles. The trail and snow would still be there; but I get to live another day for another adventure. Cheers to trail running.


Kylie said...

Well I'm glad you made a smart call and finished your run safely.

I've posted the pics from today on the ATB group:

Ted said...

Me too!

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