The fifth annual UltraPedestrian Wilderness Challenge is a multi-faceted multi-media adventure blogging contest open to Trailrunners, Fastpackers, Backpackers, and bipeds of all stripes. 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.
How to participate in the UltraPedestrian Wilderness Challenge:
1. Sign up on Ultrasignup.com for any or all of the UPWC routes before you make your attempt and before November 30th.
2. Between the day you sign up and midnight on December 31st, complete any or all of the routes as well as your trip report, whatever form it may take. Completing a route must include producing content in the form of a trip report, photo album, video, audio recording, artistic rendering, or any other form which reflects your experience of the route and can be posted online via your personal blog and/or the UPWC Facebook Group.
3. Enter your proof and documentation, including trip report link and any GPS data at https://goo.gl/forms/pnpuBcJu4gBOfRyg2 no later than midnight December 31.
4. Early next year a party will be held at Seven Hills Running Shop to wrap up the event and kick off the next year's event. Finisher's patches and other awards and swag will be handed out for both the UPWC and UPMBC and the routes for the next year will be presented.
5. If you are unable to attend the UPWC Wrap Party/Kickoff Party, visit UltraPedestrianWildernessChallenge.com for complete results and visit Seven Hills Running Shop in person to pick up your UPWC commemorative finisher's patch. If you live outside the greater Seattle area, arrangements can be made to send you your finisher's patch via U.S. mail.
We strongly encourage all entrants to join the UPWC Facebook Group to ask questions about the routes, gather and share trail beta, connect with other UltraPedestrian Wilderness Challenge participants, scope out the competition, and keep up to date on the most recent news, information, and general goings on.
La Bohn Traverse
There are three features that make this route so special. The first is it is a point to point between Highway 2 and I-90. Most trail runners in Western Washington long to do that traverse but are intimidated by the size and scope of PCT Section J. This is a much less committing option that can easily be accomplished without headlamps and doesn’t require as much shuttle time between to the two points. Second, this route features 3 miles of off-trail. While this can be intimidating, these three miles are all on boulder fields, talus, and game trail through meadows. You can always see 360 degrees to navigate and more importantly, you won’t disturb the environment so long as you avoid the neon lichen on the boulders. Finally, the best part about this traverse is the the La Bohn area itself. This includes the La Bohn Lakes and the La Bohn Gap, the features that make up the highpoint of the traverse. Bleached granite, crystal blue alpine tarns, and views that would bring tears to Ansel Adams eyes await the few who make the trek to this sacred place. A day spent completing the La Bohn traverse will leave one physically exhausted but spiritually uplifted.
Part 1: Necklace Valley Trailhead to East Fork Foss River via Necklace Valley Trail #1062.
Local time: 5:59 AM
The first five miles are a pleasant, rolling warm up through old and second growth forest, heavily draped in moss and likely dew if one is making the ideal early morning start. Though it gains more than a thousand feet in these first five miles, it never feels a struggle as the biggest climb is no more than 100’. Enjoy the cool morning air of this vibrant, lush environment as it is one of the more comfortable microclimates you will pass through before ascending to alpine.
Part 2: East Fork Foss River to Opal Lake via Necklace Valley Trail #1062.
Now that the warm up is out of the way, let the fun begin! Once you get to the East Fork of the Foss River you will pass through a small campground, cross the river via log bridge, and begin a burly technical ascent. The grade is ruthless and composition unforgiving. One could compare it to the final approach to Mailbox or West Bandera. Continue up, up, up until you finally break free from the how confines of the Necklace Valley Drainage and into the valley proper. Enjoy the amazing views and the gentile grade of the Necklace Valley as you pass by beautiful alpine lakes and a historic shelter on your way to the La Bohn Gap directly ahead of you.
Part 3: Opal Lake to Williams Lake via “off-trail”.
Welcome to the jungle! Just kidding. This is the defining section and crux of the traverse. In the next three miles you will ascend 1200’ on talus slopes, see alpine lakes of untold beauty, take in views of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness more rugged peaks, pass through the La Bohn Gap, descend 1500’ of piled boulders (some that wobble), pass through an old mine site, and finally arrive at picturesque Williams Lake. This section will leave you body and your senses on overload so make sure to pause regularly and take in the three hundred and sixty degrees of awesomeness surrounding you.
Part 4: Lake Williams to Goldmyer Hotsprings via Williams Lake Trail, Dutch Miller Gap Trail and Middle Fork Trail.
While the most beautiful portion of the traverse is now behind you, the most runnable now lies ahead for the next 10 miles! It’s not all down though. The trail rolls hard and you will feel it but in the end it’s a large net descent. And by no means is it not pretty. Most of the time will be spent on killer single that travels along the well canopied forrest. When the canopy does give way look up in all directions and reward yourself with the towering peaks that are flanking your left and right. Just make sure not to overly hammer this portion as the final ascent, as well as the crux of the traverse is just ahead.
Part 5: Goldmyer Hotsprings to Red Pond via Burnboot Creek “Trail” and Red Pass.
At this point you will pass through Goldmyer Hotsprings. Make sure to keep your voices down if it is late as there are most likely people there sleeping. At this point, instead of continuing down the Middle Fork Trail, you will deviate to Burnboot and ascend up to Red Pass. Once you proceed through Red Pass you will find yourself at Red Pond, at the base of the Red Mountain scramble.
Part 6: Red Pond to PCT Section J (South End) Trailhead.
Congrats! It’s all downhill from here! Take a moment to stop at Red Pond for a rest, a snack, and more delightful views if you still have light. From Red Pond you will begin your final descent, heading down into the Commonwealth Basin via the the Commonwealth Trail. Make sure to keep right at the junction for the PCT. You’ve come this far without stepping foot on the PCT so don’t do it now during the home stretch. Down, down, down you continue and before you know it you will pop out by a picnic table just within the treeline surrounding the parking lot.