Sunday, May 25, 2008

Tiger Mt. 12 Summits Solo Run

Click to play 12 Summits April 2008

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With the Canadian Death Race looming in my future it's time to start a training routine that will prepare me for success. Fortunately we have the perfect training grounds about 40 miles from our home at Tiger Mt. in the Issaquah Alps.

I posted for a running partner on our Y-Run Club web site but couldn't get any takers for a 34 mile unsupported trail run with 10,500 feet of climbing. I got comments like " you just have a fun solo there".

On my way to the starting point I dropped a cooler at the half way point of the run at the trailhead off of Tiger Mt. Road with water, food, and a clean shirt. I got to the High Point Trailhead to start the run at 6:30 AM.

Section Line trail hasn't gotten any less steep. Somehow I was hoping that erosion may have somehow worn away the steep slope but it was not to be. I made a wrong turn as I went down "descended (in Canada)" Middle Tiger and ended up on the TMT heading back around to T1. It took me about half a mile to realize that things were not as they should be before I turned around and headed back. I'd blame the wrong turn on my running partner but I guess that only works when you have one.

12 Summits Profile

I ran into Brian Morrison and a running buddy of his as I was starting my climb up South Tiger. Brian warned me of a mama b-bear and cub that they had seen near the turn at the stump that takes you to the summit off the South Tiger Traverse. He said mama bear was real stubborn and was holding her ground instead of moving along. I thanked him for the warning and found myself shouting out "Hey Bear!" every now and then to keep the element of surprise down. Other than a few squirrels and a mouse all I saw of the bear was a couple of ill defined tracks on the trail.

I made it down to the half way point and pulled out my cooler for some food. I had expected rain but instead it was sunny and kind of muggy. I stocked up on water and ditched my gloves, hat, extra shirt in my cooler and headed back.

On my way back to South Tiger I ran into Laura Houston and a group of runners she was with. They were running to the half way point and car-pooling back. I continued my journey and struggled some on the huge climbs back up Middle Tiger and T1. My only fall came when I was tippy toeing through a muddy section and stepped on a stick to keep from sinking in too deep. Well my foot landed on the stick and then shot out the wrong direction. I felt an immediate pull in my right calf as I fell but caught myself before doing a face plant in the mud. I stood up and my calf was in a fist-like cramp. I was about 6 miles from the finish and was hoping it wasn't a serious injury. Fortunately it turned out to just be a bad cramp and within a few minutes I was running pain free. With the heat I was out of water after climbing Middle Tiger and filled my water bottles from a stream. Having learned the hard way not to drink stream water I used my Steripen on my two handhelds and enjoyed the cold water treat. This was a life saver for the climb up T1.

When I made it to the top of T3 it was like someone had driven a tour bus to the top and kicked everyone off. I have not seen so many people on the summit before. There must have been 45 people just taking in the view and sunbathing. Running down the "highway" I encountered many red faced hikers making the 3 mile climb to T3. It made the last few miles go fast as I made it to the parking lot and finished my run. It was a good "time on my feet" run that took 8 hours.

I headed up to North Bend and met up with Michelle who had run 19.5 miles in the NB2V run held by Shawn Lawson. Michelle had car-pooled up with Steve Stoyles, Bob Stoyles, and Sydnee Stoyles. Steve ran 32 miles, and Bob ran 11 miles. Sydnee ran 19.5 with Michelle.

Under the "Total Bummer" category. When we went to pick up my cooler we arrived just in time to help two other cars move a dead tree that had fallen right at the Tiger Mt. Road trailhead. The bad news is some unlucky hiker or runner had their fairly new Toyota Landcruiser parked right where it landed. It crushed the roof at the front window pillars and crushed it to the dash board. The impact blew out the windshield and both front door side windows. We left before the owner came out but it wouldn't take a rocket scientist to figure out what happened.

This morning 8 Y-Run Club members headed out to Kent WA and ran a 5 mile jaunt on the Soos Creek trail. We of course stopped at the nearest Starbucks for some java jive after the run.



Bob Gentile said...

He said mama bear was real stubborn and was holding her ground instead of moving along.
Yikes !! Hey Pretty Mama Bear :-)

Way to log those 8 hours on ur feet on a tough trek...good job & that ummm Canadian Death Race looks pretty nutzz, where do I sign!

Laura H said...

Wow Eric - good job! We actually went up to Paw Print (from the south end of Tiger Mountain Trail and headed back. It sure was a pretty day! Glad we didn't see a bear.

olga said...

Solo on Tiger sounds very impressive! Good on ya!
I feel for dude who owns Toyota, it would suck, we just talked about it on Sat because I always park under a rock overhead (I just like that spot).

And who's butt is it anyway?

Sarah said...

Sounds like you avoided a lot of potential obstacles! Nice job going it solo. And I'm sure glad you got your Starbucks run in. : )

Sunshine Girl said...

Yay! That sounds like a Leslie summer run, for sure! Just a little adventure out in the woods by your lonesome...aaah!!


shawn said...

Barnsy! You are one crazy m-f chipmunk! I would never do 12 summis alone. And in 8 hours - unbelievable. Glad you met up with friends along the way.

Thanks for "letting" Michelle come and play with me :)

See you soon hopefully - it's been a while.

Oh, and I'm glad you didn't run into any Bears. Of the tree mountains (Squak, Cougar, Tiger), Tiger is the one place I have not yet encountered a Teddy Bear picnic.

Jon said...

I've gotta get on that trail soon. If I do it solo though, I think it'll take me 16 hours to complete it.

Ryan said...

Lov'in the Canadian Death Race website, that's going to be a great run in a masochistic way ;-)

Nice job out there sounds like a fun excursion and perfect training for that Death Race.

Steve S said...

Best view of Rainier I have seen from Tiger. Great pictures and thankfully you didn't end up as bear breakfast.

robtherunner said...

This would have been much cooler if you had actually seen and confronted mama bear and tried some of my famous, talked about moves on the bear. One of these days...

Journey to a Centum said...

Bob - I'll look for mama bear again this coming weekend.

Laura - You guys were moving so fast that I had assumed you would catch up to me. I guess I should thank you for providing incentive to keep moving even though you had run a different course.

Olga - Thats George Koski's butt. I can get his number for you if you are interested ;-)

Sara - Steve and I are going to take on the challenge again this weekend. I'm too dumb to know better and Steve probably can't remember how tough the run actually is.

Leslie - I wish I had been able to spend 8 hours running in your neck of the woods. You have the ultimate scenery available in the world!

Shawn - Great work at NB2V as RD and going the distance! Sorry I was so "self absorbed" and went off on my own. I just felt like I needed to get the climbs in.

Jon - You better start early! Or like running in the dark. It's very spooky on the 12 summit run in the dark.

Ryan - I think I can win it! Well... I know I can finish with a respectable time.

Steve - At least with you there this coming weekend I'll only need to run faster than you to keep from becoming bear meat. I hope we get a chance to see the b-bears... from a distance.

Rob - Yep, if required we will bust some moves on the bear. I think I'll try the "play dead" move first followed by the "just let this be over move", and then the, I hope I don't bleed to death before help arrives move. Mental note: bring bear spray.

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