Well that was a blast! Decided to put my San Joaquin Valley flat land heat and speed training to the test in the mountains today. Chose a gorgeous loop through some dazzling Sierra splendors. As a bonus, I was curious if I could push myself to do it in around 10 hours. Josh Grant has the current unsupported FKT of the loop in 9h 36m 33s going the counterclockwise direction so I decided to go the same direction and see what my legs could muster. Sawtooth Pass was like a vertical sandbox of gravel after dodging deer on the trail up to Lower Monarch Lake. I had difficulty staying on trail during the decent to and around Columbine Lake but managed well enough. The Lost Canyon section is the best California Carpet one could ask for as the trail softly descends next to a creek. Somewhere between Big and Little 5 Lakes I sunk into a low and felt totally spent. I set a goal to get over Black Rock Pass in one piece and assess how I felt on the way down. I felt okay, riding a buzz from majestic views of the Kaweah Peaks Ridge. Cliff Creek canyon handed it to me with all its technical rocky descending and getting to the creek crossing hit the spot. Cold Sierra water works magic. I looked at the time and realized if I gave everything I could for the climb up to Timber Gap, I may have a chance not only for sub 10 but possibly squeak under Josh's FKT time. I grinded away up the climb with a madness in my eyes, as backpackers cruised down the trail. I managed to crest the top and let gravity pull me down to the trailhead. Sure enough, I did it! What a day in the mountains.
- Sawtooth Pass 2:08
- Black Rock Pass 5:54
- Cliff Creek Crossing 7:27
- Timber Gap 8:49
Grabbed water from Columbine Lake, outlet creek of lowest Big Five Lake, Little Five Lake next to trail, and Cliff Creek crossing.