24 August, 2010

Alpine Trail Run

Needing a long run for today's training, Tom Rourke and myself, headed out and up Singing Pass from Whistler village this at 7:45am this morning.  Our plan was to make our way up Singing Pass, which winds all the way from Whistler village to the top of Oboe summit, and then proceed to follow the Musical Bumps trail through the rest of the Fitzsimmons Range back to the Roundhouse on Whistler mountain.  Our estimated time was around 3 hours 30 mins, and wasting no time we kept the pace fairly quick, watching the Suunto T6d's pacing clock to make sure we didn't fall behind.  (Photo Above:  Tom Rourke running over Oboe's Summit, with Cowboy Ridge and Fissile behind.)

The route is 19km, with 1658m (5,440 ft) of elevation gain, and has some incredible views.  It felt good getting back into the terrain we ski so much in the winter, and interesting to see specific features, which usually remain hidden underneath the snow.  The alpine running was the best part, as the trail dips and flows really well, but does have some hard grunt ascents in it to mix it up.  (Photo Left:  The route marked in yellow from the village through the Fitzsimmons Range.)

Getting closer to the end, and the biggest hills yet, the running became much more technical.  The Flute descent was fairly steep, but gave us a great view of Cheakamus Lake far below us.  Hammering up the last climb into the Harmony area, we could see the end.  Stoked on such a great run and feeling great we finished up sitting in the snow cool our legs at the end, re-hydrating at the Roundhouse before heading down on the Gondola.  (Photo Below Right:  Alex Wigley, passing Flute Summit, Cheakamus Lake behind.)
Alpine running, the perfect ski mountaineering training, and the same feel especially while covering larger amount of mountainous terrain fairly quickly.
Distance:  18.98 km
Elevation Gain:  1658m
Elevation Loss:  536m
Time:  3:05:34


  1. Nice time. I've been semi-running -- albeit in hiking boots -- Highnote + Harmony trails (11.2km) in just under 2 hours. My knees can't handle the rocks in trail runners, unfortunately, so I have to sacrifice speed for stability. Perhaps I need to find some better trail runners...

  2. Most trail runners these days are pretty stable, especially the Salomon XT Wings, which have a really wide heel. The Merrell trail shoes are pretty damn good too, I've been running in them all year, and they haven't let me down yet.

    Alpine trail running rocks! Especially on all those well designed trails on Whistler with all the elevation gain and loss!