FKT: BLAKE BATCHELOR - Charons Garden 6 Peaks (OK) - 2021-01-04

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Total time
5h 46m 32s
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This was a newly established loop route & FKT in the Charons Garden section of the Wichita Mountains. For Oklahoma,  a looping 10+ miles and 4,000' of elevation gain over mountainous terrain is a rare thing. This vertical challenge was put together from various routes that I've run, hiked, and explored with friends over the years. The peaks in Charons Garden have all been climbed many a time, but this route combines the six (6) tallest named 2,000' peaks in one well flowing loop. The standard direction is to run clockwise beginning at the Elk Mountain trailhead at Sunset parking lot. There is plenty of class III scrambling up and down gullies. Some parts of trails are overgrown or not marked. Routefinding skills and a satellite messenger are recommended. 

I did this on January 4, 2020 solo on a mild winter day to avoid snakes, ticks, and overgrowth. I carried 1.5 liters of water and only refilled once. There were multiple creeks flowing from a recent rain, but sometimes they run dry. The creeks near Post Oak Falls and Mt. Mitchell are pretty reliable. I carried a minimal amount of trail food (GU, stroop waffles). I feel like it'd be easy to push this FKT to sub 4 hours. The key is taking the right gullies to the peaks. The biggest challenge of the day was West Horizon Pass. It is overgrown to say the least, and it is unlikely to receive any trail work in the immediate future. The gully up to Lincoln's summit was also bushwhacky. I tried to skip part of it when I went up Granite, but this was a mistake. It would've been much faster to just stick to the pass and summit Twin Rocks first before heading back to the saddle and heading up Granite. So, the logical flow is TH > Elk > Lincoln > Twin Rocks > Granite > Mitchell > Sunset > TH. The point of the challenge is to summit the 6 big peaks, so if you find a faster way, go for it. My gullies are pretty good though! If you want more elevation, throw on Crab Eyes or one of the unnamed peaks next to Indian Chief Pass. Cheers.