Saturday, January 19, 2008

The Elk Mountain Grand Traverse

Here we are getting wax on in 2003...
The Elk Mountain Grand Traverse is a ski race from Crested Butte, CO to Aspen, CO. It is about 40 mi and starts at midnight to get past areas of avalanche danger before it warms and becomes dangerous. You must travel with your partner at all times through several checkpoints. Teams must also travel with all required gear. This includes avalanche beacon and probe poles, equipment to spend the night in the mountains and boil water, equipment to fix broken skis and bindings, and many other things. For a complete list and race description see

It can have some extreme aspects. The trail goes over two passes that are above 12,000 ft. It is also 40 mi long . The final bit of the race is a descent on narrow Nordic skis straight down Aspen ski area. Weather is iffy. I did it once in 2003 and the temperature dropped to -15F and many teams had to drop due to frostbite. In 2007 there was strong winds and white out conditions on Taylor pass causing difficult navigation.

What times are expected. The fastest racers may do the 40 mi in 7.5 to 8 hrs. My first year we finished in 15 hrs. Part of this was due to the cold weather. Our goal this year is to finish in under 11 hrs.
Here we are at the finish in 2003!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

We're in LA enjoying the sun. Stay warm and good luck.
From: John, Casey, and Lauren