About the event
Old Gabe and Blanket Chief are both nicknames for Jim Bridger who lived in the wild west from 1822 (age 17) until 1867. He discovered Salt Lake, South Pass and the current pass for I-80 going into Salt Lake City. He explored the Gallatin Valley area and trapped in the area in the 1840's. He has lots of things named for him including the Old Gabe 25K/50K and the Jim Bridger Trail Run (10 miles, generally the week after the 25K/50K).
Middle Cottonwood to Saddle Pass (miles 0 to 4).- All runners Start at 6:00am sharp! Be very careful in 1.5 miles where your trail goes straight. The right turn goes to Sypes, the second leg of the 50K. After departing the Middle Cottonwood aid station you will start the second longest, though initially gradual climb towards the pass below Saddle Peak (elevation 8,400). On your way up to the pass you will travel through open meadows with good trails and cross several small creeks. Further up the canyon the trail gets much steeper and starts to switchback several times as you approach the pass. No trail cutting! Stay on the switchbacks. It is at this pass before you descend into South Bostwick Canyon, that we will have either self-serve water or volunteers with some gel or electrolytes. 2,300 feet of climbing in this section.
Local time: 5:34 AM
Saddle Pass to Truman Gulch (miles 4 to 8). - After leaving Saddle Pass you will drop into the south and north forks of Bostwick Canyon. Snow and mud will likely be encountered in these canyons. Be prepared! The trail drops steeply off of these two passes . The trail is also less obvious through a lot of this area but will be well marked. Each of the two passes climb nearly 500 feet. Coming off of the second pass into Truman Gulch you will be on good trails for the most part. Truman Gulch is good for downhill running as it is a steady and gradual pitch most of the way. Be careful going through a wooded area where the Foothills Trail turns to the right. You go straight down to Truman. Several small stream crossings will come and go, and the dense forest and nice trail provide good scenic downhill running. At the trailhead of Truman, you will find the first aid station and first drop bag. Your friendly race director strongly recommends having your favorite race food or energy drink, and possibly major painkillers and perhaps some dry socks for the hoof back up the Gulch.
Truman Gulch back to Saddle Pass (miles 8 to 12). - Definitely the worst, though initially gradual, climbing back up Truman to the pass. This will be the longest time between aid so have plenty of water with you. That snow is going to pose quite a different obstacle on the way back as you climb your way through the Bostwicks. The final Bostwick is a killer but you have a bunch of downhill ahead of you.
Saddle Pass to Middle Cottonwood Canyon (miles 12 to 16).- Lots of steep downhill running on a rocky trail as you return whence you started. You must return to the Middle Cottonwood Aid Station with drop bag #2. Do NOT go directly to Sypes.
Middle Cottonwood to Sypes (miles 16 to 24). - Cut off time for leaving Middle Cottonwood aid station is 12:30! Just over a mile up the creek from the start, take a hard right to your biggest and most unavoidable creek crossing. This is followed by four miles of long, sometimes steep climbing up to about 7500 feet. The trail then traverses across a wooded area for a mile or so. After going down a steep rocky ridge you will be contouring around a big ravine before hitting the junction of the Sypes Canyon and the Baldy Mountain trails. Water will be hiked up here at great expense to volunteers! Hard right again and nearly all downhill, very runnable, for 3 miles to the Sypes Aid Station which is Drop bag station #3.
Sypes back to Middle Cottonwood (miles 16 to 32). - Cutoff for leaving Sypes is 3:00 PM. Climbs 1,500 feet back up in this first 3 miles. Remember to turn left (north) at the Foothills Trail junction and follow that nice trail that drops gently for a mile then turns rocky and steeper. Next is the wooded section before dropping down the switchbacks into Middle Cottonwood Canyon. After crossing Middle Cottonwood Creek again you will turn left and head back down the final mile to the Finish. Pat yourself on the back and make sure you are grinning when you cross the finish line. You just finished the toughest 50K in the world!!