Route: Marin High 5 (CA)

California, US
50.8 mi

Andrew Ewing posted the challenge:

Andrew Ewing and Jim Atkinson will be pursuing a fully self supported attempt at the Marin High 5 FKT, running the five highest peaks in Marin County. The following peaks are the highest in Marin County according to The Peaks are: Mt. Tamalpais (All 3 Peaks just cuz), Bolinas Ridge, Pine Mountain, Loma Alta, and Big Rock Ridge. The route we created is approximately 48 miles long and approximately 10,420 feet elevation gain. We will be an open book and invite anyone who would like to come and watch. We will be attempting the Marin High 5 FKT on the morning of Sunday October 29, 2017 starting in Mill Valley at the Depot on the corner of Throckmorton Ave. and Bernard St. at approximately 0600 hours. We will be finishing this route in Novato at the intersection of Alameda del Prado and Nave Dr. We will be recording the event using our Garmin GPS devices and posting to Strava. The photos we take along the way will have our location and time stamp of picture.

Below is a link to our planned route:


GPS Track


Interesting route - I'm planning to attempt it this Sunday.  Hoping for the best re: trail conditions with all the recent rain.  We shall see!  Tracker map to follow along:


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Fantastic! I've ridden most of this on a mountain bike and can attest to how challenging the climbs are!

One question - what is considered the "peak" of Bolinas Ridge? I'm wondering if hitting that as an out-and-back and then attacking Pine Mountain from the south might be a slightly easier way to bag the 5 peaks?

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Sooo there are a few kinda funky things I've noticed about this route. Numbers 4 & 5 are my biggest concerns.

1. Typically with a peak-bagging route, well, it's open-route, meaning you have start & end points and peaks/high points to tag along the way. Am I wrong? The only description here is simply an explanation of what these guys planned to do before doing it. That really doesn't give us much to work with in terms of info on this route and the requirements. Given that this route could be Much shorter and accomplish the aforementioned criteria, we can assume that this is a set route (clearly the listed fkt-holders have done the same).

2. The 5 "peaks" are in fact not all peaks. They are high points. Though I suppose if we count all 3 of the Mt Tam peaks, there are 5 peaks and 2 high points. But that makes 7, which negates the route name. Ok, maybe I'm knit-picking. Further, however, Peakbagger's list of Marin County high points differs slightly in that it lists Trojan Point before Pine Mtn (…). It could be argued however that this is just a "sub-peak" or "sub-high-point" if you will, of Bolinas Ridge. That seems fair.

3. Assuming that this is a predetermined route, is it acceptable to deviate slightly in order to make better time summiting some of these high points? (Mt Tam's west peak and east peak could be reached more efficiently than shown.) Is it safe to assume that these slight deviations in the route are acceptable; that a little "wiggle room" will be given here? Hoping so. I'm thinking so.

4. From the route name and description provided it seems safe to assume that we should be hitting the listed 7 high points. The route shown does not actually accomplish this. It misses the high point of Bolinas Ridge as well as the summit of Pine Mtn. It seems to me a disclaimer in regards to the route shown here should be included, especially seeing that some of the fkt-holders adhered strictly to the route and didn't actually hit all of the high points. This is a problem. This effectively negates those fkt's. So the question is, are we hitting all 7 high points or are we not?

5. Obviously the descent to Kent Lake was for water. Is this required? If collecting from other water sources is feasible, are we allowed to skip this part?

Sorry to the route creators for picking your route apart. I do really like this route. I just have some questions and concerns.

I agree, and I should have asked similar questions before going out to run this route.  It's not great when you're looking over at your target, wondering what exactly you're doing in this particular spot trying to get over there.  My bad for jumping in without asking first.  I also think it's a peak-bagging route.

One thing I would add is that the west peak of Mt Tam had a sign (back when I ran it) that stated something like "no access to the peak" but I only saw that after I came down to exit on the west side.  I would suggest maybe removing this one from the list, if we aren't supposed to be up there.

I also really like that area for running and peak-bagging; hope this route can get some clarification.

Marcy, I hope so too.

And yeah, I noticed that sign on my way down as well. Oops. Odd that there's nothing on the east side though. It appears they're not actively trying to keep people out.