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Skyrunning Dream Routes
Skyrunning is mountain running up to or exceeding 2,000 metres (6,600 ft) of elevation gain.
What are Skyrunning Dream Routes?
While trail running is gaining traction more everyday throughout the USA, few events take runners to the most technical and remote terrain. GPS tracking apps somewhat fill the void for the ambitious skyrunner seeking more wild spaces, but it can be difficult to discern more challenging routes as those are often overshadowed by more popular, shorter ones.
Hence Skyrunning Dream Routes. This is our effort to provide a guide and resource that Skyrunners can reference for authentic, technical and challenging routes throughout the USA, with not only big vert, but also technical terrain and some small elements of mountaineering as scrambling, via ferrate, etc. This is a rolling project we hope to build on for years to come.
Joseph B. DeMoor's Dream Route:
Loveland to Guanella Pass Traverse Route
The Loveland Pass to Guanella Pass Traverse is one of my favorite routes in Colorado. As a point to point route it is approximately 14 miles with 6,500’ of vertical gain. Perhaps the most impressive number for this route, the average elevation is 13,280’! Outside of the numbers this is one of the most beautiful high altitude routes in the area. Much of the route is off trail or on faint trails and requires some route finding, that said it is still quite runnable and has a few sections of moderate scrambling as well, making for a fun variety of terrain. This traverse also summits six peaks, two 14ers: Grays Peak (14,270’) and Torreys (14,267’), one Centennial: Edwards (13,850’), two Bicentennials: Square Top Mountain A (13,794’) and Argentine Peak (13,738’), plus Grizzly Peak D (13,427’). This is a quintessential skyrunning route- high alpine, technical running, some scrambling, mountain summits, and an incredible ascetic that touches the clouds. A few things to keep in mind for this route, it is 100% above treeline making it prone to electric storms, as usual in Colorado start early to avoid afternoon lightning. Don’t underestimate the elevation gains for this route, the undulation is unrelenting and will test your strength. Enjoy the solitude that this route often brings and take in the inspiring views!
Hillary Gerardi's Dream Route: Mahoosuc Traverse
The Mahoosucs have long been revered and feared as the slowest and gnarliest section of the Appalachian Trail...so obviously I was drawn to them. Known for its technical terrain (in the form of slippery slabs, boulders and roots) and its slippery bog bridges, the route travels about 28 miles with 11,500 ft of vertical gain from Grafton Notch, ME to Gorham, NH and is steeped in local lore. The trail starts with a steep climb up to the top of Old Speck with its fire tower with 360° views of the northern forests and White Mountains, and then down slabs to Speck Pond, before heading into the famed Mahoosuc Notch. In the Notch, you'll find the most challenging and fun terrain of the route. Coming in at about a mile long, the section can easily take upwards of an hour, as you navigate over, under, through and around granite blocks and boulders. After that you'll spend the rest of the run with countless ups and downs over summits with beautiful views, through treacherous bogs and past secluded lakes with home to wildlife. The route splits off from the AT atop Mount Hayes, and heads down a fun winding single track before hitting the flat recreational trail that will take you back to Gorham. Don't be fooled by the distance on this route: it's slow going but worth every step!
Ryan Kerrigan's Dream Route: Camel’s Hump
This is my favorite loop on this iconic mountain. One thing that makes Camel’s Hump special is that it is really only accessible by foot. No ski lifts, no toll roads. If you want to experience it you have to climb it yourself. Starting and ending at the Winooski River, Camel’s Hump also provides some of the greatest continuous vertical rise east of the Mississippi River. While the total distance and vertical of this route is significant, the greatest challenge of this route lies in the ‘trail’ itself, which is a non stop helter-skelter of roots, rocks and moss. Pick your head up to catch some views but don’t daydream too long!