Registration for the 2019 Devil's Backbone will open November 1, 2018.
This is a graduate level run (yes, like Hardrock), as it is unmarked and almost unsupported (only one aid-station at the turn-around). This CANNOT be your first 50 miler. There are many cairns and you primarily stay on a ridgeline, but with no course marking (apart from the Forest Service blazes and cairns) it is still possible to get well off course. The "graduate" part is due to the requirement to carry what you need for 5 - 9 hours of running, and the fact that once you are out on the course there is no easy way out until the turnaround. Additionally, due to the ridge-line nature of the terrain, exposure is extreme in case of a thunderstorm.
The race, a 45 mile out-and-back, starts and finishes at the Hyalite Creek Trailhead. It is on 100% singletrack trail, with one significant climb to Hyalite Peak (10,300 feet) and multiple short steep climbs totaling close to 11,000 feet total vertical gain. Though the elevation gain is not huge for the distance, it is deceptively difficult due to the high elevation and often rocky trails. The course is almost exclusively at or above 9500 feet, with spectacular views of the Paradise Valley, Absaroka Mountains, and Spanish Peaks. There is the possibility of seeing elk, mountain goats, mountain lions and bears (both black and grizzly)! Hand-drawn and topographic maps are available at the website.
There will multiple small stream crossings in the first (and last) 7 miles. There is a murky lake at 11 miles (and 39 miles), a very small spring a quarter mile later, and typically a number of snow patches along the course. Water has certainly been frequented by wildlife, so a filter or other water purification is recommended. Cutoff time is 7.5 hours at the turn-around cabin.
While registration is free (because of the nature of our USFS contract), a donation of $40 (for the solo race) or $55 (for the relay) is highly encouraged. You may donate when you register by selecting "Solo Donation" or "Relay Donation" under Add Ons (preferred), or you can bring money to the pre-race meeting.
A two-person "relay" is an option for those not wanting to do this course solo. The second relay person is responsible for driving to the Windy Pass trailhead (see map). Relay members starting at Windy Pass will be asked to help carry drop bags up the trail to the turn-around (about two miles each way). The first relay person starts with the solo runners at Hyalite Creek trailhead at 5:30 AM, and the second will start at the Windy Pass Cabin at 7:30 AM. Though we prefer a true relay for traffic reasons, any teams wishing to run together can check with us. A time penalty of 30 minutes is added if you both start at Windy Pass and subtracted if you both start at Hyalite.
Local time: 9:47 AM