City Park, 10th and Taos Street in Georgetown, Colorado 80444
Low point: 8,505 feet (at the start/finish)
High point: 13,199 feet
Average elevation: 11,300 feet
Elevation Gain: 16,077 feet
A full course map, including .gpx download, can be found at CalTopo.
Please note: as a first year a event, the specifics of the course may change prior to race day depending on conditions on the ground to ensure both runner safety and to minimize impact, per permitting with the United States Forest Service, Clear Creek County, and the town of Georgetown.
The race begins in the historic mining town of Georgetown, just off I-70 about 40 minutes west of Denver, Colorado. Leave town at its southwest corner on the Rutherford trail for approximately 1.5 miles until you reach Guanella Pass Road. Now the fun begins. Stay on Guanella Pass Road all the way uphill to Guanella Pass Trailhead, a major aid station. Don’t be fooled though, you still have about 500’ of ascent to go on this climb.
From the aid station, wind your way southwest along the South Park Trail, and enjoy the trees and lowest consistent elevation of the course. The first descent ends at just above 10,000 feet and you will not drop this low again until on your final descent back to Georgetown! From this low point, climb on single track until just above treeline at 11,400 feet where you will turn right and merge onto a high alpine 4WD track to tag Red Cone Peak. Be sure to look ahead and right toward Santa Fe Peak, which you will tag in a few short hours. Enjoy the steep loose downhill from its summit until you reach your next aid station at treeline below Webster Pass.
At this point, you may be discovering a theme—what goes down, must go up. Regain the ridgeline tracing the northern aspect of Whale Peak before going up and over Glacier Mountain. The hillsides below you are littered with old mines dating back to the Pike’s Peak Gold Rush, and as you trace your way over Glacier Mountain, you are only a couple miles as the crow flies from Keystone Mountain, a local ski area. Believe it or not, once you leave the crest of Glacier Mountain, you only have two more climbs! Descent along Saint John’s Creek to the aid station.
From this aid station, continue to descent into another historic mining town, Montezuma, Colorado. Don’t stay too long though, no crews are allowed in town and the locals might chase you out. Cross town and begin to climb Santa Fe Peak. The final two climbs are the highest and longest of the day, both cresting 13,000 feet! Climb past the waiting aid station just below treeline that marks only the halfway point of this climb (but really, the second half will take you longer). Continue along this old mining road, veering right at the marked junction at about 12,200’. Take note of this junction, it marks your next eventual downhill. This “road” remarkably will take you all the way to just below the true summit of Santa Fe Peak, where a WHATEVER KIND OF BIB MARKER is waiting for you on WHEREVER IT IS PLACED. Turn around and descend back to the junction of flagging and turn right again down a short talus and scree filled section to cross near an old mine in a narrow alpine basin. Continue downhill to a well-defined road junction right after a shallow river crossing. Turn right on this road and begin your long final climb! The aid station is waiting at the end of drivable section of this road.
After leaving the aid station, you have over 3 miles and 2,200’ to climb up to Argentine Pass with sweeping views to the left of Gray’s and Torrey’s Peaks. If you can breathe, breathe a sigh of relief! From Argentine Pass you only have about 600’ more of climbing, just enough to interrupt the screaming 11.5 mile, 5,800’ descent back to Georgetown.
The longest stretch between aid stations is a little over 9 miles. This section also happens to be high altitude and fairly exposed. Consult your map and elevation profile. Frankly, there is no easy part of this race once you are away from a five mile radius of Georgetown. Be prepared for each section.
• Aid stations will have your usual ultra fare including: saltines, ramen, potatoes, fruit, sandwiches, various candies, sodas, hot foods, broth and instant coffee overnight.
• There will be gluten free options available as well.
• Every aid station may not have what you want. Anticipate basics at every aid station, but Webster Pass is rather remote and will be a lighter aid station and may not have some or any hot food items. Plan for less and then be happily surprised when you are wrong!
• Every aid station will have hand sanitizer!
• There might be gels at the aid stations or there might not, but you will know either way before race week.
• Aid stations will not provide cups or bowls. Remember you are required to carry these yourself. There will be some reusable utensils available at each aid station if you need one.
Drop bags will be allowed as noted on the above chart. Please do not go overboard with them. Use a drawstring back, backpack, small duffle, etc. No hard bins allowed. If your drop bag is too big, it may be refused a drop off or left off the truck for the drive to the aid station. Use your judgment on this and be kind to the volunteers who have to haul your bags around. As far as contents, you have to carry almost everything on your back anyway so you might as well pack it light!