Don't miss the videos at the end of this posting!
What initially started as a Tiger Mt. 12 Summits run today turned into one of the hardest 15 mile runs I've done for a while.
Our day started with a meeting at Steve Stoyles house at 5:45 AM. Jenny Appel, Steve and I headed down to Sumner and picked Rob "Rattler" Hester up and we were off to the Mountain.
We ran into some other runners that were about to head out from the Highpoint Way Trailhead on a different route than we had planned. We hit snow on the .4 mile climb from T3 as we started to climb T2. We ended up meeting up with the four runners we had met at the parking lot up on Tiger 1. A chilling wind pummeled us as we came closed in on T1 Summit so all eight of us took brief shelter in the hikers hut before continuing on. We snapped some pictures and then the other group took off ahead of us. Jenny was a bit tentative on the snow covered bootleg trail due to her wonky ankle that was in a brace and has been sore since she rolled it at the Fat Ass 50K earlier this year on Capitol Peak.
We rambled our way all the way up East Tiger Trail where we hit some very deep snow after crossing Preston RR Grade Trail. The snow was 2-3 feet deep in places and with the rain it had a crust of ice on top that would support you about every three steps before breaking through. Jenny and I seemed to bear the worst with several little hacks and gashes in our legs from the ice.
We worked our way up to the top of East Tiger Mt. and decided to bail on the idea of making all 12 summits since we had already burned up over two and a half hours. Steve thought that the sunshine we had earlier in the week would have burned off the snow in the road further down West Tiger so we trekked of in that direction as you normally would for a 12 Summit run. Our plan at this point was to run to Paw Print and go to TMT to West Tiger RR Grade then back to Section Line and back to the car. The snow on the road was bad until we made it down to the second gate. From that point there was a dirt path in the middle of the road down to the three big green transformers. The road up to Paw Print had been plowed so from that point on the run became somewhat normal again. We were slowed quite a bit by downed branches and tree tops that appear to have littered the forest after some sort of heavy freezing ice build up. Several of the tree tops were stuck in the ground like spears and laying all about. We put in a good bit of time clearing trail.
I think this is the third time I've gone up to Tiger to run 12 Summits with Rattler only to end up changing the plan due to illness, injury, or conditions. Next time I head up there I guess I'll need to keep my plans from him so I'll have a chance to make all 12 summits. We didn't have any problems doing 24 summits together but that may have been a once in a lifetime event.
We stopped at Starbucks on our way home for some nice hot coffee and headed to our respective homes for a nice hot shower and well deserved rest. We didn't complete our original goal but we had fair weather and great company. What more could one ask for?