This weekend called for 18 miles on Saturday and then 12 on Sunday. Much searching for good weather led me to choose marginal conditions in Mount Rainier. For a while I’d been eying Banshee peak, so it came to the front of my mind.
- Distance: 18mi (Gaia said 19.7 miles; I’d rather believe that!)
- Elevation gain: 4568′
- Time: 5:38 c2c
- Food: 1.5 shot block packages, 1 cliff bar, 0.7L water
The route starts on the Wonderland trail at the Fryingpan Creek trailhead. It travels just over four miles on incredibly easy terrain to Summerland, where the trail becomes rougher and you gain Panhandle gap. Take an obvious side trail to the tundra going toward Banshee peak.
The trail was in good shape, and there was only a 50 foot segment of snow below Panhandle gap. The only complicating factor was weather. I lucked out and left before any substantial rain came in. The clouds were threatening to roll in over panhandle gap and onto Banshee peak. I managed to escape with only a brief stint in a sun showers.
Nothing here was technical. The views were stunning, and I saw goats. 17 goats!
On the run front – this felt better than previous 18 mile runs. 18 miles still sucks for me. A lot. My legs were sore from about mile 5 onward, and practically throbbed after mile 14. The big breakthrough is that this is the first run where I could actually run after 12 miles, and where I felt like I could even maintain running form toward the end. And, to top it off, I could walk the next day.