This is a graduate level run (yes, like Hardrock). It is almost unsupported and unmarked. This CANNOT be your first 50 miler. This course is much, much harder than you expect. There are many cairns and you primarily stay on the ridge but with no ribbon it is still possible to get well off course. The "graduate" part is due to the requirement to carry what you need for 5 - 9 hours of running and once out on the course there is no easy way out until the turnaround. You are almost always above 9500 feet on a rocky (but beautiful) trail. Course starts and finishes at the Hyalite Creek Trailhead and is out and back on 100% trails with one significant climb to 10,300 feet and multiple short steep climbs totaling 11,400 feet. Though the climb is not huge, it is deceptively hard due to elevation and sometimes rocky trails. Please, experienced ultrarunners only! The course will not be marked except by FS blazes and cairns. It is generally well-worn except in meadows. Hand drawn and Topo maps available at the website. There will be nice streams multiple times in the first (and last) 7 miles. There is a murky lake at 11 miles (and 39 miles), and a very small spring a quarter mile later and lots of snow to put in your water carrier. There is a nice creek at the 25 mile turnaround point. Water has certainly been frequented by wildlife, especially the lake, so a filter is strongly recommended. Cutoff is 9 hours at the turn-around cabin. Exposure is extreme in case of a thunderstorm. Possibility of elk, mountain lions and bears (all seen in 2005) and the most beautiful views imaginable of Paradise Valley and the Absaroka and Spanish Peaks mountain ranges.
I promptly wrote to Joe about the race, and asked him myriad questions about it, and what I should do. Joe replied:
go run it...I would!/joe
I registered. This is on the weekend of Jul 14th. Much expectation exists albeit tempered by a modicum of trepidation.