Monday, September 8, 2014

Part 4: Miles 3000-4000

Part 4 Miles 3000-4000

Monday August 11, 2014

Up early with the group.  On the road early and descend into Bellingham/Fairhaven.  Stop at the local running shop and chat.  Border fiasco and a difficult drive through Vancouver took most of the afternoon.  Arrival in Squamish late.  Camp beneath The Chief.

Way to camp.

Tuesday August 12, 2014

Bouldering in the morning with my neighbor Gareesh a Nepali/Indi/Canadian.  Afternoon run from camp to The Chief summit trail head.  Cool climb up an intriguing trail.  The man hours must have been extensive.  Reach all three summits and back down to camp on the river.  Bathe in the creek.  God damn the mosquitoes.  Fun day.

Wednesday August 13, 2014

Heavy rain.  Easy jog around Squamish and The Squaw/Chief.  Most of the day spent sitting out the rain.  Guitar.  God damn the mosquitoes.  Feeling off as I go to sleep.

Thursday August 14, 2014

Headache.  More rain.  No climbing.  Lots of rain.  Lay around most of the morning.  Decide to move camp after the area was overrun by slack liners.  GREAT site on the creek.  Feeling much better here.  Intense storm!!  Outside yoga and music in the rain.

View from camp beneath The Chief.

Friday August 15, 2014

Pre-race day.  Load up camp and go to Whistler to kill some time.  Big downhill mountain bike festival going on.  Fun to watch.  Back down to Squamish and race check in then into lodgings.  Good to meet a lot of the other runners.  Feeling good about tomorrow.  Lots and lots of French toast.  Evening jog around town.

Saturday August 16, 2014

A few good hours of sleep.  More than usual.  Up and more French toast!  Calm start, big pack up front.  Approaching the first aid I made a move to the front as the course switched to single track and a big climb and I didn’t want to get stuck  in a train up the climb.  Turned out to be a wise move as their was a race premium that nobody knew about for the first runner into the first aid station.  Ill take it!   

Coming into the 1st aid.

Stuck with the leaders until about mile ten and then backed off.  I felt the pace was a bit too quick for me.  Around mile 20 I was surprised to hear that I was a full twenty minutes back!  I’ve learned to not really trust the info I get on the trail, but this really got me moving.  As far as I can gather, I closed the gap to within a few minutes  before missing a turn on quite possibly the best marked course I have ever run.  Not sure how much time I lost.  Talked to Gary at mile 33 aid, 16 minutes back.   

Running the planks in the 50 mile.  Photo IRunFar.

Didn’t have it in me to close that gap again.  I was pretty spent by mile 38.  Tomorrows 50k crept into my head, a major mental break.  Ended up running probably one of the slowest 12 mile legs of any of the top ten runners. Its amazing what the wrong thought can do to your run.   

On the hunt.

I wish I had closed better but overall a decent day.  Ended up 8th in the 50mi and currently 2nd in the 50/50 a few? minutes back.  I’m feeling good though for tomorrow.  Fun post race activities.  Already, this is one of the better races I’ve attended.  Ali from Tucson/Seattle showed up!  Looking forward to having a friend for the next week.  Up way too late!

50 mile finish.

Sunday August 17. 2014

Feeling OK.  Calves a bit sore.  Organ micro-tears? Hung liver?  I certainly have felt better the morning before a race, but all considering I feel decent.  Quick start.  

Start of the 50k, day two.

 I mention to Wardian the Ellie might win this day out right.  That was the last I saw of him.   

Trying to catch up.

Body eventually shook off yesterday about half way through.  Ended up 9th male in the 50k and 3rd overall in the 50/50.  I think I may have felt best the last 25k of day two.  Overall pleased with the weekend’s performance.  Ran most of today with Paul Terranova a runner out of Austin I had been looking forward to meeting.  I think we both helped each other quite a bit today.

The Squamish 50 weekend has been one of the coolest events I have had the pleasure of partaking in.  The race directors and crew, put on an event beyond the race, and I really enjoyed every part.  IRunFar the Ellie Greenwood edition did yet another amazing job as well.

Ali and I decide to live large whilst in Canada and splurge on a fancy place for the night.  It has a water slide!!

Monday August 18, 2014

I haven’t slept this hard in a long time.  We mill about Squamish for the day and I decide to head south to Seattle instead of northeast to the Banff area.  I fear I may regret this, but it sounds nice to relax in Seattle for a bit with a familiar face and unwind from the travels.  The journey South takes forever, and we arrive late.

Tuesday August 19 – Monday August 25, 2014

Seattle ramblings with Ali.  Thrift stores.  Runs around Green Lake.  Gaurdians of the Galaxy?  Jeff, Anne Frank.  Snuck into the zoo.  Snuck into a Sir-Mix-A lot concert then left before he went on.  Ferries.  City scapes.  Dive bars.  Country music.  Free food.  Seattle is expensive.

Ran into this guy on a trail run near Puget Sound.  I had no idea these were endemic to the area.

Tuesday August 26, 2014

Drive to Mt. Rainier.   There are few mountains in the US, if any, that impose themselves on a landscape as does Rainier.  The approach gets one filled with possibilities.  Chat at the gear shop with a lady about the mountain and climbing.  She informs me of the red permits, paperwork that must be completed for a solo bid.  This was my first hint at what would eventually be my unfulfillment here, and my unavoidable collapse beneath a mountain of red tape.  This must be the most heavily guarded mountain in the US.  I ride into the park and visit with a climbing ranger who confirms my suspicions.  It will take approximately two weeks to email the park superintendent and see if he deems my climbing resume sufficient for a solo permit.  It would appear my time here is going to be altered.  I camp in the park with some Canadians.  We’ll see about getting up that mountain tomorrow.

Wednesday August 27, 2014

I reserve a spot at the Muir Camp for the night.  A backcountry camp above the snow fields and below the ‘major’ glaciers that is used by the Guide companies and the Park Service.  Often times these permit issues, aren’t enforced, so we will see once there if any summit is possible.  I’m also not going to fore this issue.

The hike up was great.  Its not often these days that I ‘backpack’ into a place, with all the running.  A cloud storm moved onto the mountain which prevented any good mountain shots, but made for some epic and stormy views.   

Terrible views on the way up.

A closer view.

Snow field approach to the camp.

Arrived at the camp quicker than I thought I would.  5000’ up in 4 miles mostly on snow and ice.  The cabin is neat, reminds me of a South American refugio in the Andes.   

View from the cabin.  Guide company camps and 'refugios.'

The rangers are pretty with it up here, asking everyone there plans and checking everyone in.  I could have climbed with an older German climber but decided I didn’t really want to head out with him.  Too big of a difference in climbing styles.

Glacier view from a high point.

View from the hut.

Warning: National park rant.
Anytime you go out onto a glacier by yourself, you are putting yourself at a real risk.  Crevasses open, snow bridges collapse, and if you aren’t tied into a partner who can arrest and stop your plunge, then the result is well, predictable.  This is also the reason I had picked the DC route on the mountain.  It is the easiest route, not a single bit of technical climbing on it.  It is also the most heavily used route.  All the guide companies use and maintain  the route throughout the season in order to get their masses of good paying, god fearing tourists to the top.  The chances of a new crevasse opening or a bridge collapsing on a solo runner are relatively low, yet still there. 

I understand the red tape, I just don’t particularly agree with it.  It is every climbers responsibility, no matter the style, to be able to deem their own abilities and limits.  There is always risk in climbing, and the climber that exceeds their own ability does so at their own risk.  Its partly the reason that anybody, without permit, without experience, can tie into the biggest and some of the most difficult climbs in the country at Yosemite.  Climbers are responsible for themselves and their own safety, and it is not the parks right or authority to deem climbers fit and able.  I feel strongly that no public land bureaucracy should legally be able to charge fees for activity on public land.  They are ‘public’ meaning that they belong to the public.  Charging fees for outdoor activities encourages in children and first time outdoor enthusiasts the mentality that the outdoors are theme parks, attractions in the same vain as Disney or Sea World, and one should have to pay a fee in order to experience it.  I think this mentality undermines the conservationists goal, and in the end hurts our wild lands significantly more than the few jobs the national parks can offer.  But with recent policy changes on issues such as the Badwater race cancelation, or requiring runners to pay a $175 running fee to run Rim-Rim-Rim in the Grand Canyon, it would appear our national parks are headed in quite the opposite direction.

With all that said, I still get it.  There would be an awful lot of caffeine wired Puget sounders in skinny jeans dying on the mountain given its proximity and ease of access to the area.  So be it.

There are a lot of mountains.  I can not be obsessive about a summit for once and enjoy the mountain in a more honest light.  It really is an impressive place.

Thursday August 28, 2014

Poor sleep as expected for a climbers lodge.  People up at all hours dragging themselves out on their alpine starts.  Run/ski back to Frank, and we begin out drive back east.  I reckon I am officially on my return trip as of now.  First drive day in a long time.  Since I last crossed Eastern Washington in the opposite direction.   


Camp in Sagebrush country, somewhere off the Columbia River.  Reminds me of Arizona.

Refueling while Frank gets a new rear tire in Yakima, Wa.


  1. It was great meeting you and we were stoked to have you up in Squamish for the race. All the best in your future races Mike!


    1. Thanks Gary I hope I can make it back next year!

  2. Woweeee Nephew!! You are a true adventurer in every sense of the word!! Carry on… XOXO Auntie Skye

  3. First of all, Congratulations on both Squamish results!

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    1. Hey Abel! I would love to do an interview. Email me at or get at me on my facebook link above and we can work something out!