Sunday, September 28, 2014

Mosquito Peak Marathon

Route: From Rattlesnake Main Trailhead to trail 517 to Stuart Peak summit to Mosquito Peak summit to trailhead back to the 1.5 mile point on trail 517 back to trailhead
Elevation gain: ~5,500 feet
Total Distance: ~26.5 miles
Total Elapsed time: 6 hours 20 minutes (5 hours 45 minutes without the 3-mile extension)          

The end of October marks my annual birthday challenge. This year, the challenge is The Stuart Peak Ultra-Marathon (don’t look it up, it isn’t a real race). The Stuart Peak Ultra will simply be a double round-trip of Stuart Peak (~8200 vertical exchange and about 38 miles). My goal is to accomplish this in under 10 hours without running a step, power-hiking only.

In an effort to get in shape – physically, but mostly mentally – for the Stuart Peak Ultra, I have been adding increasingly taxing outings to my training line-up. This has included speedy double round-trips on small mountains around Missoula as well as link ups of mountains.

This week I had my eyes on Mosquito Peak and Stuart Peak. It had been a couple of months since I have been up Mosquito Peak and about a month since Stuart. I opted for a ~24 mile route that would take me up Stuart over to Mosquito and back down the standard trail. What a lovely route!

Illuminated by headlamp, I hit the trail at 6:21AM under a very light drizzle. I felt so-so. Truth-to-tell, I ate most of the contents of a large buttered-popcorn at the movies last night and more than once it threatened to come up throughout the hike. Ultimately, it didn’t prove to be a hindrance. 

I hit the summit of Stuart Peak at 8:47AM.

The summit of Mosquito Peak came at 9:32AM.

I was back at the trailhead at 12:06PM.

I returned to trail 517 for a 3-mile extension, bringing me back to the trailhead at 12:41PM

Onward and upward!

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