The third annual UltraPedestrian Wilderness Challenge is a multi-faceted multi-media adventure blogging contest open to Trailrunners, Fastpackers, and Backpackers. This year we are offering three unique routes. Entrants may attempt any or all of these. There are no aid stations, no course markings, no start/finish, no lemming lines, no cut offs, no set date, in fact, it's all up to you.
Route #1, chosen by Rainshadow Running Race Director James Varner, is the Graves Creek/Enchanted Valley Loop. This route is about 55 miles and has three big climbs and approximately 15,000ft of elevation gain.
Route #2, chosen by Kathy Vaughan, is the Chinook Pass/Ohanepecosh River Loop. This 32 mile long loop has approximately 10,000 feet of climbing, and is on the east side of Mt. Rainier National Park.
Route #3 for the 2015 UltraPedestrian Wilderness Challenge, chosen by Ras, is a fast, fun, competitive, and classic route in the North Cascades: Easy Pass. This 24 mile route runs between the Easy Pass Trailhead and the Colonial Creek Campground on the southeast end of Diablo Lake.
All participants must at all times comport themselves in accordance with Federal, State, and Local laws, as well as Leave No Trace backcountry ethics.
How to participate in the 2015 UPWC:
1. Sign up on Ultrasignup.com before Sunday, November 1st, 2015.
2. Between the dates of Thursday, June 4th, 2015 and Tuesday, December 1st, 2015 complete any or all of the routes: the Graves Creek/Enchanted Valley Loop, the Chinook Pass/Ohanepecosh River Loop, and/or Easy Pass. IMPORTANT NOTE: You must somplete your signup and pay your entry fee for each route PRIOR to attempting it to be eligible for awards and prizes
3. Email your proof and documentation to UltraPedestrian@gmail.com with the subject line, "2015 UPWC PROOF & DOCUMENTATION" no later than Saturday, December 5th, 2015.
4. Visit UltraPedestrian.com and Ultrasignup.com on Tuesday, December 15, 2015 for complete results & awards.
5. Watch your mailbox for your UPWC swag envelope.
Complete results will be posted on UltraPedestrian.com on Tuesday, December 15, 2014. Prizes and swag will be mailed out soon thereafter.
Please visit our website for complete rules and details.
Graves Creek/Enchanted Valley Loop
Route #1, chosen by Rainshadow Running Race Director James Varner, is the Graves Creek/Enchanted Valley Loop. This route is about 55 miles and has three big climbs and about 15,000ft of elevation gain. It is a great mix of everything that makes the Olympics so amazing, big trees, dense forest, steep trails, river valleys, high open ridges, fun single track, and good odds of seeing bear, elk and other animals. This is a remote route with no road crossings and very few people. There are creek and river fords that have possibility of being dangerous at high water, there are a few sections like Graves Creek, Sundown Lake and Six Ridge Trails that get little use and even less maintenance. Excellent navigation skills are essential especially on Six Ridge Trail where the trail itself often disappears in meadows. Expect this route to take a lot longer than a 50 miler would normally take.
James advises, "I would recommend doing the loop counter clockwise to get the most difficult navigating done first and before it gets dark."
Here's the route:
Start/Finish East Fork Quinault River Trailhead
Follow the East Fork Trail for about a 1/4 mile then turn Right onto Graves Creek Trail. Then turn left onto Sundown Lake Trail. Then Left onto Six Ridge Trail, Then Left onto North Fork Skokomish Trail. Left onto Duckabush River Trail towards O'Neil Pass. Trail Becomes O'Neil Pass Trail. Turn Left onto East Fork Quinault Trail and follow all the way back to trailhead.
Chinook Pass/Ohanepecosh River Loop
Route #2, chosen by Kathy Vaughan, is the Chinook Pass/Ohanepecosh River Loop. This 32 mile long loop begins at Chinook Pass on Highway 410. Choose between heading east towards Dewey Lake and then south to Anderson Lake, turning west on the Three Lakes Trail along Laughingwater Creek and then north near Silver Falls to follow the Ohanepecosh River along the Eastside Trail back to Chinook Pass OR doing the loop in the reverse direction, by following the Chinook Creek south, first. This is in the east side of the Mt. Rainier National Park and follows the Pacific Crest Trail for a stretch. East of the main Wonderland trail that encircles the mountain, this loop isn't as commonly explored. When you look at the Rainier map, though, the loop is obvious and just calls your name. This scenic loop offers a little bit of everything from rocky, high alpine country covered with wildflowers; to soft forested single track, cruisy and easily runnable; to virgin old growth forest along the delightful Ohanepecosh River, with wooden bridges, large boulders and both rapids and gently flowing bends.
Kathy says, "I did this loop as one of my first unsupported, ultra distance runs with Deby Kumasaka, Adam Gaston and Angel & Tim Mathis, while Ras was running his Double Wonderland in 2012. At the time, I had figured the elevation gain to be about 6,500 feet."
Route #3 for the 2015 UltraPedestrian Wilderness
Challenge, chosen by Ras, is a fast, fun, competitive, and
classic route in the North Cascades: Easy Pass. This 24
mile route runs between the Easy Pass Trailhead and the
Colonial Creek Campground on the southeast end of Diablo Lake.
Easy Pass is a point to point route which can be completed
either direction via the Easy Pass Trail and the Thunder Creek
Local time: 10:37 AM
In addition to being a favorite test piece for trail runners,
the Easy pass route is a part of our personal history. We first
hiked it as a double overnight when our daughter was 9 or so.
Then it was the first long, unsupported trail run I ever did.
Then to round things out, last year Kathy and her adventure
bestie Lisa did a badassed out and back on the route. Now it's
your turn, whether fast or slow, runner or backpacker, to make
your way through the Fischer Basin, where Grizzlies and
Wolverines have most recently been spotted in the North
Cascades, and along Thunder Creek, retracing the steps of
miners from yesteryear.