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3rd annual BPL Spring Run Adventure
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Eugene Smith
(Eugeneius) - MLife

Locale: Nuevo Mexico
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: 3rd annual BPL Spring Run Adventure- Zion Traverse 4/5/14 on 12/01/2013 21:00:28 MST Print View

I'm not entirely convinced the E->W traverse is necessarily a "faster" route than the opposite direction, but climbing up the E. Rim late in the day sounds rough. A full day of running and hiking through the canyons will be taxing either we shake it, so whatever direction provides the easiest shuttling logistics for the group at large, I'm all game for.

Zion Adventures offers shuttle services for groups that seem reasonable if we wanted to simplify things a bit. Prices range from $20-30 a head. I'm totally open to key swapping at some point along the route, but we won't really be able to firm up those details until we have a final count of runners and vehicles.

Eugene Smith
(Eugeneius) - MLife

Locale: Nuevo Mexico
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: 3rd annual BPL Spring Run Adventure- Zion Traverse 4/5/14 on 12/01/2013 21:12:38 MST Print View

You bring up some good points Art.

Consider some "worst case" scenarios with a key swap, if a runner/keyholder bails out along the route.

I'm leaning towards a paid shuttle service, or securing ourself a dedicated shuttle driver, someone who would be generous enough to hang out and camp for the weekend, but not run the ZT.

I'll do a little more homework this week as well.

Art ...
(asandh) - F
East bound - West bound ... and other logistics on 12/02/2013 08:47:11 MST Print View

before we start discussing the logistics of getting to/from the start/finish, and camping,
I think we should first nail down whether we want to go East bound or West bound as this decision impacts a lot of things.

based on a quick study of Skurka's mapset (emphasize quick) here are a few factors :

East bound (start Lee Pass)

1. first 10 miles, pass thru contaminated water sources when we least need water and can skip them
2. miles 12-18, pass thru sketchy navigation zone when we are fresh and it is daylight
3. mile 36, very easy drop out point for anyone who needs it (the daunting climb may increase the drop out rate here though)
4. yes a very difficult climb late in the day when we are most tired
5. potentially miss some of the most scenic country late in the day when we are tired and it may be dark.

West bound

1. get the big bad climb over early
2. enjoy the best scenery before we get tired
3. travel thru the sketchy navigation zone late in the route when we are tired and it could be dark
4. bailing out becomes more problematic, though not impossible

the sketchy navigation zone concerns me somewhat for those who are not great at backcountry travel, and for those who may be going too fast to pay close attention.
not sure what Skurka means here, i.e. how sketchy.

Edited by asandh on 12/02/2013 09:21:26 MST.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: East bound - West bound ... and other logistics on 12/02/2013 09:23:12 MST Print View

In my opinion the biggest issue to consider is finishing time disparities amongst everyone out there and how this factors into shuttles.

Some stuff to think about….

At the R2R2R and Joshua Tree we had the luxury of finishing where we started or where we were camped. Not so in Zion. If camped in the main park and finishing at the East Rim, it's still many, many miles back down the hill by road, through the tunnel, etc. to get back to camp. If finishing at Lee's Pass, it's about an hour drive back to the valley. Cars would have to be waiting at either end.

So my concern is how to deal with runners finishing in, say, 8 or 9 hours vs. the possibility of others finishing in as much as 15.

I'm not going to overestimate my abilities or what I can accomplish training between now and then. For safety's sake, I always estimate my finish time based on what it would take to hike the course. In this case, that would be in the ballpark of 15 hours for me.

It puts drivers and shuttles in a weird position to have to be essentially waiting indefinitely for the last runners to come in with no idea how they're doing out there, if they bailed, or if their making progress.

I suppose one option to deal with this is to have a dedicated sweeper, someone with cars keys that is willing to make sure nobody gets behind them. I'd be OK with this as I have no concern whatsoever about fast times or PRs. i just want to have a fun, long day.

Art ...
(asandh) - F
Re: Re: East bound - West bound ... and other logistics on 12/02/2013 09:40:43 MST Print View

based on Skurka's assessment, no one who has expressed an interest so far will be finishing under 11 hours. the most likely disparity window for our group is 13-17 hours.

an east bound direction allows an easy access checkpoint at mile 36, with an encouragement to drop for anyone who is dramatically slow.

it seems people are planning to come with family and friends, I can even invite my wife if dedicated volunteers are needed to monitor progress.

we could also impose a condition that no one do this traverse alone, thus reducing the logistic issue a bit. its not a race after all. its a fun adventure.

Edited by asandh on 12/02/2013 10:05:10 MST.

Art ...
(asandh) - F
Who's Coming on 12/02/2013 10:46:56 MST Print View

Mike -
could you maybe start a list of who's coming and the likelihood of their actually coming, on your first entry like at RRR.

knowing how many and who will help in the logistic discussion which has begun.

Jacob D
(JacobD) - F

Locale: North Bay
Re: East bound - West bound ... and other logistics on 12/02/2013 22:56:59 MST Print View

Initially West bound was my preference mainly for the reason of doing the big climb early on. In light of some of the points raised by Craig and Art, I think Eastbound may be the best bet.

Having good water when needed and a bailout point at a respectable 36 miles could both be key factors. Shuttling seems easier this way too but there is still a question of logistics for a bailout shuttle(s) with regard to finishing times. I'm not sure how practical the bailout idea is unless I'm missing something it would leave the driver waiting indefinetly for runners who may still elect to keep running thru to the finish.

As for me I've been caught up with some things and have been running less than I had hoped. I'm trying to rectify that and I'd say I'm a strong 'likely' but Sandra D will not be there unless the date happens to get pushed out. I will have to talk with my friend Scott to see how likely he is.

Im a little curious what you guys are thinking about *carrying* in terms of clothing to deal with the varying conditions throughout the day (and/or emergency bivy?... yikes!)

Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
route on 12/05/2013 07:20:55 MST Print View

I still think that having a dropout option at ~ 35 miles trumps everything else; that's a distance I think most of are comfortable in completing. Going west bound you are totally committed for the entire route- I like the option of pulling the pin if need be.

Logistics- I'm pretty sure we can get dropped off at our starting point (Lee's Pass)- I checked into it last year and one of the shuttle outfits were willing to do it- even leaving earlier than they normally would. The cost was pretty minimal when spread out over several participants. If we can leave a couple of vehicles at our ending point, maybe one for the faster runners, one for the slower- maybe even three vehicles????

If one bails at the 35 mile there is a park shuttle service to get back to camp.

My gear will be similar to the R2R2R, but probably a little more robust as it's more remote- weather will dictate some items as well.

Art- I'll start a tentative list in my first post.

btw a balmy -13 this morning, forecast high of 2- have been hitting the treadmill this week-sadly :(


Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: route on 12/05/2013 09:39:31 MST Print View

If we camp in the South Campground (main park), the Grotto is roughly 4 miles away by slightly downhill paved road. You could walk back to camp, possibly catch a park shuttle, or hitch a ride.

The finish at the East Rim is a decent place to leave cars. There's a picnic table and space to hang out for people waiting around. You could leave coolers, spare clothes and chairs in the cars and even set up a makeshift little camp there.

I have three different shuttle companies lined up, I can call and get details whenever if we need them.

I'm having deja vu writing this….We've already been through it last fall in that other thread… :)

Art ...
(asandh) - F
Re: Re: route on 12/05/2013 09:58:58 MST Print View

I am equally OK with either direction (East-West or West-East) as long as all of us at the starting line fully understand what the day could bring. The fast guys seem to go in both directions, with a slight preference for East-West, so I don't think either direction is much faster. A main concern for me is Skurka's description of route finding issues on that 5 mile section near the West end, but in reading trip reports no one else seems to mention it.
So Logistics and Shuttles should probably dictate direction.

For those not certain of their ability to run the whole course, a West to East run probably makes more sense.

on a side note : Eugene
your signing up for that Black Canyon 100K sparked my interest and I looked it up.
seems like a nice course. talked with John V. there is a chance John and I may enter and run, its a 6 hour drive for us. Odds are greater than zero but less than 50-50 at this point. I am typically still out of shape in February, John will race any time and he has that weekend free. He also knows the Coury brothers (Jamil and Nick) both are hard core ultra guys, and has run several of their races. One of our issues with the race is its a point to point and there is no transportation back to the start.
so anyway ... maybe.

Edited by asandh on 12/05/2013 11:26:24 MST.

Jacob D
(JacobD) - F

Locale: North Bay
Getting there... on 12/05/2013 14:50:30 MST Print View

So my friend Scott is out, and Sandra D is out.

Looks like I'll be making my way out there solo. Is it too early (or too late??) to try and catch a ride with any of you guys from somewhere around Vegas? I'll likely fly into the Vegas airport. I'm happy to share travel expenses from there.

Adan Lopez
(Lopez) - F

Locale: San Gabriel Valley
Vegas on 12/05/2013 15:54:28 MST Print View

Jacob, its way too early for me to say what my situation will be, but if I do end up driving my own vehicle out there, I'll be glad to scoop you up! My only caveat would be that I will be trying to be there an extra day when everybody is there. I cant wait!

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: Vegas on 12/05/2013 19:31:20 MST Print View

Jacob, its a little too early for me to tell as well.
My family was originally going to come with me but it turns out my kids have spring break two weeks before I do. We might pull them out of school and come as a family anyway.
If not, I assume I'd drive up with Adan, providing he's not taking family. I'm certainly willing to pick you up in Vegas if I can. We'll try and firm it up in plenty of time for you to make flight arrangements...

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
Agree on 12/05/2013 20:12:15 MST Print View

On too early. I will likely fly into Vegas. For the R2R2R my wife also came along. Once we are a little closer and no injuries pop up then we can lock in arrangements. Why does my knee hurt?

Eugene Smith
(Eugeneius) - MLife

Locale: Nuevo Mexico
Re: Re: Re: route on 12/05/2013 20:30:26 MST Print View

Reading through everyone's posts, going West -> East sounds like the best decision for all involved, whether that be runner, potential crew or support member of some kind (ie. family or friend), shuttle service, etc. It just makes sense. I haven't seen a speck of Zion, so the entire experience will be eye opening no matter which direction we decide to go.

Having the "bailout" option at mile ~35 if anyone of us can't safely make the full traverse is a nice Plan B and adds an additional safety net in the event the day turns for the worse. That said, running/hiking 47 miles is supposed to hurt and stretch us thin, so I'm really hoping I'll have the mental resolve to abstain from prematurely cutting the run short for the tempting warmth and comfort of a convenient shuttle up to camp!


Sweet! I would love to see both of you guys out there. My friend Dan Carter, you may remember him from the R2R2R, is planning on either running the race if he's healthy by then or being out there to hang out and possibly crew if needed. Another friend of mine from ABQ is also planning to run the race. The timing of the Black Canyon 100K is ideally situated for our run at Zion in April. If all goes well (*ahem....knock knock), I plan to recover for a solid two weeks after the 100K, then slowly resume maintaing base fitness through all of March for Zion. BIG assumptions on my part, come April I may be eating crow, but that's the extent of my training plan at this point.

David W.
(Davidpcvsamoa) - MLife

Locale: East Bay, CA
Re: route on 12/05/2013 21:28:28 MST Print View

I am keeping a close eye on this trip. A lot is up in the air for me right now but I hope to be more settled come spring. I would also be flying into Vegas and hoping to hitch a ride with someone passing through. I am happy to throw in for travel costs.

This past weekend I went on my second run since the last Joshua Tree outing. I ran interval sprints at the track one day and 5 miles cross-country the next and felt great. Most of my training has been in the weight room and on the trail but I plan to maintain the lifting and do some backcountry skiing, snowshoeing and running to improve my fitness.

I have only seen Zion from the car on a family road trip. This should be vastly superior way to see the park. You guys continue to inspire me to improve with your training and races.

Jacob D
(JacobD) - F

Locale: North Bay
Re: Re: Vegas on 12/09/2013 09:18:28 MST Print View

Thanks guys, sounds like we should be able to work something out as the date gets closer.

I forgot that you were thinking about doing this... that would be cool. You're fairly burly... you can probably hike it faster than I can run it :)

Training on flat ground doesn't leave me very inspired. I have some great hills right across the street from my new place; a perfect training grounds. Now if only I can get my butt moved in over there...

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
Zion logistics on 12/13/2013 14:07:17 MST Print View

My unsolicited opinion:

Go W to E. Get the less interesting stuff out of the way first. Hire a shuttle (I've used ZAC in the past with fine results). Camp at that private CG just outside the East Entrance so folks can walk it in. I'm pretty sure you get cell service there, so anyone who bails to Springdale can get rescued. You want to make bailing possible, but crappy. If you're camped by headquarters the attrition rate will be high.

The worst part by far will be the descent into the main canyon. Think of running down the South Kaibab trail if it were paved. Ouch. Hint, the steepest part of the climb up to the east rim is at the very end.

This is tempting. Would be nice to meet you all.

Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
Re: Zion logistics on 12/13/2013 17:39:28 MST Print View

Dave- thanks, didn't even know there was a campground outside the East entrance- must be this one:

that definitely is an option to consider, it was definitely nice making it back to camp on foot power at Joshua Tree

I'm more than likely driving from Helena and should have room if you get the urge :)


David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
Zion camping on 12/13/2013 18:05:45 MST Print View

The Ponderosa is a good 30 minutes (driving) from the east entrance. You want this:

Will keep that in mind Mike, a very generous offer.