Brett, you got the record still man. My time between Rescue 1 and Rescue station 2 was what I remember looking at my watch...of course I wasn't really in a 'good' or 'stable' mindset when trying to remember those times exactly haha. I was more focused on trying to stay on the dang trail! And I agree with you entirely...the San Jacinto Mountain is covered in a plethora of random shortcuts and diverting trails (some that lead absolutely nowhere as I have discovered on other ascents...)
I think the 'right' thing to do is to invite Kilian Jornet, Dakota Jones, Jessie Haynes, Myself and You and we just throw down...I guarantee one of us will land near 1:59'ish and then at least for a couple years we won't need to debate anything.
I really like the idea of running both paths as well, but I think your right, its just a matter of someone running the 'current' dominant path and beating 2:32, which is ~possible~ on paper at least haha...
Post by Peter Bakwin on Dec 12, 2012 11:20:51 GMT -5
I don't know this route at all & have never been there. But, based on the discussion so far I'll add a couple of thoughts. Each trail / case is different. The FKT route has to take into consideration the actual state of things on the ground. In this case, it appears that the "official" route of the trail is unclear and may even be changing over time, and that short-cut and social trails are commonly used. In a case like this it does not seem to me that one can enforce people staying on the "dominant" trail, since there are likely to be disagreements about which track is dominant. The most logical thing, for FKT purposes, is to say that people can take whatever route they choose - the FKT is simply the fastest time from point A to point B, by whatever route. I wouldn't necessarily say the same for a situation where there is a clear and obvious main trail. An example of the latter situation is Longs Peak (Colorado) where the National Park Service maintains a good trail that is used by 99% of hikers, while the overall fastest times are set by using what Chris Reveley called "every trick in the book" - all manner of old tracks, off-trail routes, and rock climbing. For Longs, we keep track of the FKT for both approaches.
What we *definitely* do not want is that the FKT is "adjusted" to some "standard" route by using an algorithm! While I have every confidence in Brett's calculations, this adds an unacceptible source of uncertainty, while minutes and seconds are very easily measured at very high accuracy.
The most important thing is always to be 100% clear and detailed about what you did. Carrying a GPS & providing the track helps with that.
So I decided last minute to squeeze in another Skyline ascent right before the route got the first major snow of the season. One reason was to study the time impact of the route variations, which surfaced with Nick’s recent run. The other reason was to give myself a chance at redemption. About a month prior I was disappointed when I unexpectedly failed to break my previous time and this was weighing on me. For the results of the run yesterday, in summary I took about 11 minutes off my previous time and I now think the variation in the routes is relatively inconsequential. Details follow.
Equipment: t-shirt, shorts, legs credit card, $20 (I needed both!) cell phone, car keys 5 gels (consumed 3) 1 handheld (drank ~2/3)
I got a late start and began roughly at dawn at 6:44AM and the starting temperature was nearly ideal and in the upper 40s. The beginning up to the picnic tables went well and I saved ~30 s by not getting lost like I did in the previous two attempts. I arrived at the picnic tables a minute or so ahead of my previous pace, which was a good omen for the day. All went well in the beginning as I just resolved to consistently push hard.
At ~50 minutes (2/3 of the way from first rescue station to the 4300 ft marker) I somehow got off the trail and found myself going cross country for a short stretch. I boulder hopped over a false summit and then saw the trail in front of me crossing a saddle. I didn’t know which way to go since the trail descended off the saddle in both directions. I chose left. After a bit I could see the trail kept going down and so I turned around back towards the saddle. As I neared the saddle I was running at a good clip and looking around to try and spot where the trail was ahead. I completely failed to see a spiny bush on the side of the trail and my upper right leg smacked right into it. It’s probably not hard to envision the outcome of such an encounter. There’s a lot of pain. There’s a lot of blood. There’s a lot of spines. The pain was irrelevant and didn’t slow me down, but I didn’t know what to do with all the spines embedded in my leg. There were ~50 or so sticking out, which somewhat amusingly made my leg resemble a porcupine. It was clear that stopping to remove the spines would take way too long and probably end the FKT attempt. So, for lack of a compelling reason to do otherwise I just kept running.
All was fine for about a minute or so until my quad started to cramp. I later learned that some of the spines had penetrated deeply and I guess impaled the quad muscle. I think that the fact the muscle cramped due to the impalement by many needles is an interesting response. Anyway, the cramping steadily worsened to the point that it limited how fast I could run (which I think can be seen in the decreased average bpm below). Besides impacting my speed I was concerned about the damage I was doing to the quad. I didn’t know if I should stop or not but began to think the run was doomed. After ~15 minutes the cramping luckily abated and I don’t think the incident impacted my speed beyond that. Though, I would occasionally look down at the leg and laugh at the absurdity of the situation.
I trudged up the steep terrain after Flat Rock and somehow got off route again just below the rock outcropping. I made the same mistake about a month ago and so this time knew where to go after the little boulder hopping. I continued pushing hard up the “switchbacks of doom” as Nick called them and topped out at Grubbs Notch in 2:16:39 and the first tram door in 2:21:18—finally achieving my sub 2:30 goal.
Lastly, I had a pleasant surprise when I discovered the tram building was open despite the fact I arrived about an hour before the first tram. Instead of running back down I decided to stay and wait for the tram. I was drenched in sweat though and quickly froze. The employees at the tram station were very kind and even made me hot tea despite the fact everything was still closed. That was much appreciated!
Here are the splits as well as the average heart bpm (I took a heart rate monitor for the routing issue) 11:15 169 Picnic tables 19:35 176 houses seen to north 29:54 175 First rescue station 59:50 171 4300 ft elevation—cactus incident/cramping 1:25:32 168 Second rescue station—cramping still present 1:36:49 169 Flat Rock 1:57:19 168 Rock outcropping 2:01:03 167 Beginning of traverse 2:07:49 167 Coffman's Crag 2:16:39 167 Grubbs Notch 2:21:18 163 First door total bpm avg 169
------------------------------- Route info for those interested: So one of the reasons for the run was to estimate the time difference between the route I took and the route taken if someone follows the “dominant trail”. While running I tried to estimate the impact of each route variation and was surprised at how inconsequential they appeared versus my expectations based on my memory. This time around I probably took 3 or 4 less of the small shortcuts as compared with my previous runs. I think this was because I was trying to push hard and wasn’t looking up as much and so I didn’t see the alternate routes until I passed the junctions.
The specifics: I think I took 5 or 6 of the smaller shortcuts and 1 big one. For the smaller variations, 1 was between the “houses seen to north” point and the first rescue station. 3 or 4 between first rescue station and 4300 ft mark. 1 between 4300 ft and the second rescue station. For time impact I thought 2 of the variations saved no time. The others were maybe a handful of seconds. The largest one was perhaps 15 seconds and this is the one I stated in the previous post as being where “the trail goes right but I went left and is at a saddle”. I previously thought that was a big one but upon seeing it again yesterday it didn’t seem to be that big. So I would say that the time savings for all the short variations are less than a minute, which was more than offset by getting lost and going cross country at the “cactus incident”. For the remaining big shortcut where I go straight up the gully instead of taking the switchbacks, it took me 2:10-2:20 to do this shortcut. If the trail has a reasonable gradient of say at least 10% (which I guess it would though I don’t know for sure) then I would think the time savings of the shortcut could be at most a third of this which is ~45 seconds. So 45 seconds is my estimate for the maximum deviation between the route I did yesterday and the one taken if someone followed the dominant trail the entire way. Given this small discrepancy I don’t plan on redoing the run a second time as I mentioned in the previous post.
I am one of those avid and impatient solo hikers who always meant to write about a memorable trip but never got around to it. Well, here’s my first try at a trip report. This is for an unsupported C2C2C attempt. Fastest time, not bloody likely, but until I hear otherwise I can dream. I had heard and read about the Cactus to Clouds hike for years and really wanted to try it. Having recently completed a couple of difficult desert runs with a lot of elevation gain I was looking for a new challenge when I came across a message board for C2C. My first thought was that this is some sort of bucket list thing I don’t have time for. Then I map quested the Palm Springs Art Museum and got an estimated travel time of two hours and six minutes. My beloved Borrego is almost two hours plus more hours of off-roading to get to some trailheads. I was sold, I was gonna do this! That night I read descriptions of the route by Jeff List, Brett Maune, and Nickademus Hollon. Brett and Nick were pushing to hit around 2:30 for C2C FKT so I felt that a sub 4 hour C2C was attainable given my current fitness level. I have hiked San Jacinto from Idyllwild and from Apache Spring but had no experience from the Palm Springs side. All research suggested a strong possibility of losing the Skyline trail but I studied the topos and am comfortable route finding in rough desert terrain. My plan was to push the Skyline trail but leave enough left over to summit San Jacinto and make the return trip to my car in well under ten hours. So two days later (10/20/13) I awoke at 3am in San Diego, put some Perpetuem in a couple of ½ liter recyclable water bottles, filled my kids 1 ½ liter camelback, gathered some gels, bars, ibuprofen, safety pinned an emergency blanket to the pack, and left town at 4:10. Arrived at museum at about 6:20 with the temp in the mid 60’s. I put on sunscreen while waiting for enough light to wear my prescription sunglasses and looked, without success, for a restroom. I stopped to talk to a couple of guys in the parking lot about the trail and was strongly discouraged by them when they found out I was a first-timer. At 6:40 I was off, thinking that I would do my business along the way (I didn’t but saw multiple instances where people who were shovel-challenged had). I hit the picnic tables at 16:00 and felt comfortable with my pace. As I neared the first rescue station, I passed a group that was off trail and was able to redirect them. At this time I noticed one of the hikers eating something and realized that my breakfast bowl of cereal and milk was still sitting untouched in my car. This lack of key fuel and the fact that I had eaten a lot of food at a “Taste of Africa” event (read “SPICY”) the night before without the use of facilities in the morning suddenly shocked me into a re-evaluation of the day ahead. I had more than enough water and calories as I passed the 1st rescue station at 40:44. My pace felt right and everybody I passed (about 45 total) was so friendly that it really made me smile and push on. Being unfamiliar with the trail, I only marked a couple of splits and hit the 2nd rescue station at 1:56:20. The trail so far had been pretty obvious (except for a lot of poorly placed orange paint that seemed to purposely take cut-offs) and when I did find myself off trail, it didn’t take long to regain it. I take pride in not cutting established trails but my GPS tracks show that I did indeed cut several times. Seeing the great grey massif’s and trees for the first time was both an inspiration and a blow as the remaining difficulty became obvious. I began to increase my effort as I felt my pace slow due to altitude near the traverse but being in the trees, granite, and sporadic snow patches made it enjoyable. Tip-toed across some ice on the trail and really pushed hard past Coffman’s Crag as I neared the 3 hour mark. I had read Hiker Jim write that when you see sky through Grubbs Notch, you’re almost there. When I did, I surged and cranked it past all the bodies strewn about at the notch (many of whom were still in the same spot as I made my descent). True to it’s reputation, the simple walkway to the tram was tough as I ran through molasses to touch the tram door at 3:07:02 and hurriedly made my way to the restroom (TMI?) The jog to the ranger station was surreal due to all the people getting ready for their own hiking adventures after the blaring remoteness of the Skyline trail. At this point, I had used my two liters of perpetuem and still had over a liter of water left so I did not refill at this time. Filling out the permit was a nice break and the rangers were quite cheerful. I headed out at 3:26 for the ‘easy’ part of the day and struggled through to Wellman’s Divide where it was a little icy. The altitude was beating me up, I really picked a bad day to stop sniffing glue! I started thinking as I neared San Jacinto peak, that if my problem was low pressure in my lungs (and therefore low density of O2), than I could maybe counteract that by pursing my lips on the exhale and increase my lung pressure. It actually worked to some extent and from then on I was running again. Summited at 4:57:15 with a fellow who had started from the museum around 3:30 or 4:00am. The guy looked great but said he had pulled a hamstring early on and kept saying “This is the worst idea I’ve ever had!” I had to laugh considering the view he had earned and the tram ride he would get to take back. My first order of business was to put my feet and my knees in the snow and not to run. Two gels, one salt tablet, two ibuprofins, and a mouthful of snow later I was off. What a difference a break (37 minutes) makes! I floated down to the ranger station stopping briefly to talk to hikers several times. Turned in my permit at one hour, 35 seconds from the top, refilled both my ½ liter bottles and dove down the dreaded 8k drop. The beginning of the descent was tough as snow melt had obscured the steeper chutes towards the traverse. Stopped to chat with a dude who had some unbelievable stories on Skyline (until I checked him out, bluerail). I continued at a fun but measured pace knowing that I was dropping so fast, I had to be making progress. I watched the buildings on the desert floor grow slightly larger and the surrounding ridgelines rise above me, reassuring me that I would be at my car soon. I finally treated myself to a look back at the far away peaks only to be slapped with a view of mountains still in my face. With newfound resolve, I turned and ran evermore downward as the temperature climbed to the mid to high 80’s. At this point I was concerned with routing as I didn’t pay too much attention on the early climb and I knew the Ramon trail linked up nearby so taking a wrong turn would entail some uphill! I stuck to the predominant trail on the main ridge and soon caught sight of my car. Hit the parking lot at 9:10:03 and jogged the couple of blocks to my cooler, I mean car, and made it home by 6:35. I really appreciate the great info by Brett Maune, Jeff List, Nickademus Hollon, and Hiker Jim. I also appreciate all the people that let me sidestep them along the way. I think that with the same great conditions, I could knock off a half hour up and at least an hour to 1.5 hours round trip…Next time. Carried: Visor, short sleeve shirt, shorts, Injinji mid-weight toe socks, Xodus 2.0 shoes, sunglasses 1.5 liter camelback(used 4liters total), emergency blanket, tp, ID, cell phone, $40, car key, 1oz Vaseline, 2xhalf liter bottles w/200 mg Na & 200 cal each, 7 salt pills 200mg Na (used 2), 3 bars (didn’t use), 6 Ibuprofin (used 4), 10 powergels 200mg Na & 110 cals (used 5), 3 Tums (used 1) Splits: picnic tables--16:00 1st rescue box-------40:44 2nd rescue box------1:56 Tram door-----------3:07:02 Leave ranger station-3:26 Summit--------------4:57:15 Leave ranger station-6:44 2nd rescue box------7:27 Picnic tables---------9:00:00 Museum lot—--------9:10:03 Total Distance—28.3 Miles Total Elevation-11,062 Feet
Post by Robert Hunt on Oct 24, 2013 14:17:55 GMT -5
I mistakenly referred to the fkt's by Brett & Nickademus as C2C when I meant Skyline trail. I also meant to write that I had used two half liters of Perpetuem on arrival at ranger station, not 2 liters.
Great run Robert! I haven't heard of a faster full C2C2C, as far as I know the stoutest all-trail climb/decent in the country. Kind of a shame that most people stop at the tram, and/or take the tram back down.
Glad to finally see some activity here for the C2C2C! When I moved to Carlsbad in 2012 and first read about the route here on FKT, I couldn't understand why there hadn't been much posted other than ascents to the top of the tram. For what is likely the single largest trail ascent in the country, I thought for sure it would have generated more attention. So it's great to finally have a few new updates!
I ran the C2C2C yesterday, Saturday, December 14th.
Trail up to Grubbs Notch had very patchy snow above 7,000ft. Trail above the ranger station was almost 100% on well-traveled, packed snow with occasional ice which made for slow going. Clear and sunny conditions with a breezy east wind. Temps were around 60 degrees in Palm Springs, 40 degrees on the summit with a strong east wind.
I'll be coming back to do this route again next spring in under 8 hours after the snow is gone. I think it could definitely go under 7. It's only a matter of time...
Trevor thanks for posting an actual C2C2C report. Great effort. there are so many "short run" reports in this section people may start getting the idea Skyline Trail IS C2C2C ... which of course its not.