Finally, here at the end of summer we were able to vacation and do a race that was cancelled in 2020. Round 2 of The Rut Mtn Runs was on. Back in 2016 we came out to MT to do the Rut and due to weather, only 1, of the 10 people in our group, got to summit Lone Peak. Friday’s VK had too much wind and Sunday’s 50k had too much rain, snow, ice. So, we convinced another group of friends to return to Big Sky for another attempt at getting to the top of Lone Peak.
9/2/21 – We flew in to Bozeman and headed to Big Sky. The group did a walk around our rental neighborhood and I went on a short 2.5 mile run to test out the legs and lungs. Gina and I were now 3 weeks out from having covid and neither of us knew how running at altitude would go.
9/3/21 – The group went off to hike at Lava Lake while Tim Miller and I stayed back in preparation of our Vertical Kilometer. This race starts at the base of the mountain and then climbs 3600ft in 3 miles. This was a doozy. Things went pretty smooth for the first 2 miles. I had my HR monitor set at 160 and tried to keep things under control. Once onto Bonecrusher Ridge and the climb too Lone Peak things got much more intense. The pitches of 40+% had me stopping, from being lightheaded, a handful of times. I was able to get some good pictures over the 3 miles but those stops weren’t enough to catch my breath. The last .5 mile of the climb is as steep as it comes, with rock and talus switchbacks the rest of the way. I finished in 1:18 and Tim was close behind at 1:21. Next we had a steep 2.8 mile hike back down.
9/4/21 – 4 of us were signed up for the 28k. This race uses the same trails as the 50k with the climb up to Lone Peak occurring at mile 9. Of the 18 miles there were really only 3 runable miles, almost everything else was super steep up or down. The race ended up being 17.8 miles long and 7800ft of climbing. My legs were not fresh from the VK but it ended up being a good day. Somewhere on the descent off of Lone Peak I decided that the 50k, the next day, was off the table and that the smart thing to do would be to sit it out and have legs for adventuring the rest of the week.
9/5/21 – There were 4 Roanokers up for the 50k on Sunday. Our quads were toast so we decided to hike up the steep 2.8 miles to cheer them on before they hit Bonecrusher Ridge and the climb up to Lone Peak. This was fun to see half of the race field running their race.
9/6/21 – Our days in Big Sky were over and now we were headed back to Bozeman. On our way back we decided to hike Emerald and Heather Lakes. This was a nice 5.5 mile hike back to the lakes and then a 5.5 return trip the same way.
9/7/21 – We went to the west side of the Bridger Ridge and did a Sypes Canyon, Foothills Trail and Middle Cottonwood Canyon loop. From the map we should have been able to cut through on Sypes Canyon Road but there were “dead end” and no trespassing signs on the road so we had to take an extra 3+ miles to loop around. In hindsight we could have just ran straight through and done the loop we had planned on.
9/8/21 – We headed to Bear Canyon and did a Moonshine & New World Gulch lollipop. This was a nice hike with some steep up and down sections, but overall a mild hike.
9/9/21 – Back in 2016 we did a hike to Sacagawea Pass from Fairy Lake and I had wanted to get up to the peak and the highest point on the Bridge Ridge. So we did the long rocky drive in and hiked up to both Sacagawea and Naya Nuki Peaks. This was the smokiest day we’ve had and much of the day felt like sunset with the sun having a hard time shining through the smoke. Overall this was a fun tough hike with some great views.
9/10/21 – Thinking more about the Bridger Ridge Run we headed for the Bridger Bowl and hiked back up to the Bridger Ridge, taking a left and heading to the Saddle before Saddle Peak. The climb up to the ridge was a 2000ft in 2 mile hike, pretty much straight up. The ridge was fun and technical. We retraced our steps back the way we came.
9/11/21 – For our last morning in Bozeman we ended up just running around our VRBO hood for a flat easy run before sitting on the plane.
I’m hoping that we can make it back to do the Bridger Ridge Run sometime.