Report: 158mi Mt. Adams-to-Mt. Hood Challenge

Executive Summary for the Lazy and Busy

On May 22, 2015, I summited Mt. Adams, ran to Mt. Hood, and summited Mt. Hood. All in one push. The adventure took me 64h48min to finish. The total distance was 158miles (254 km) with 39,764ft (12,120m) of elevation gain. To the best of my knowledge, this has never been done before, and therefore counts as an Only-Known-Time (OKT). This was a solo and supported adventure. The whole thing made me quite tired.

a2h_activity_splitsFigure 1. Activity splits: summiting Mt. Adams (left); running from the Cold Springs TH to Timberline Lodge (middle); summiting Mt. Hood (right). Adams and Hood distances and times are for the round-trips. The GPS interval was on 1min, so it logs typically at least 10% short on trails. The pace is calculated with the breaks included. I put the Ambit2 on pause at Cascade Locks, not knowing this would not count toward the total time. The total time is 64h48min.
a2h_other_dataFigure 2. Additional adventure data from Movescount.

Overview Map

a2h_route_annotatedFigure 3. Annotated map of the route with the resupply locations.

Movie Clip for Non-Readers

More Data for the Data-hungry

At the Beginning was the Beginning

After a week of compulsive weather-forecast-checking, the final “go” decision was made on Friday, May 22, 2015. The weather was going to be rather unstable, but given the short time window for this adventure and the many other constraints, I felt it was good enough for a first attempt.

After posting an “official” announcement, the unique mix of paralyzing fear and pure excitement started to fully kick in. The adventure had been in the works for almost a year. And I had started the short-term packing and preparation about a week before. In anticipation of a possible “go” decision, I had run from Cascade Locks to Timberline a week earlier to scout out the conditions. I did not have time to scout the Round the Mountain trail #9 on Adams, but from the reports I had seen, it was clear that it was not going to be snow-free. So I prepared for a bypass route (see Figure 4) that would connect me to the PCT in a different way. The route was going to be about 5mi longer than the original route. In reality, it turned out to be 8mi longer.

We left Portland at about 11am and had lunch at pFriem’s in Hood River. I decided to go for a beer, even though that is not generally recommended when you have to perform at high elevation in the next few days. But I simply couldn’t resist pFriem’s Wit, which is one of my favorite beers.

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After increasing the general nervousness with a shot of espresso at Stoked, we continued to Trout Lake, registered at the climber’s registry, and drove up to the Cold Springs Trailhead. I expected chaos as usual, but there were maybe only 5 cars. The weather was quite cloudy and soaked in, but it had stopped raining. First, we made a fire because fires are awesome. It should later warm me up in the middle of the night.

At the trailhead I met Matt and Adam, who just finished their climb and enjoyed a beer and snacks. I asked about conditions and they started to scratch their heads a little. It turned out they got caught in a thunderstorm and had a rather frightening experience that involved leaving their ice axes behind, their hair standing up straight, and flashes coming out of a helmet. It was not the kind of story I wanted to hear! They asked if I could bring down their ice axes, should I find them, and I said sure, not a problem. Coincidentally, they were planning to climb Mt. Hood on Sunday as well.

Mt. Adams (12mi)

At 4:00pm sharp I started the Ambit2, the SPOT tracker, and fired up my legs. The adventure was finally on! I decided to take snowshoes because of the several inches of fresh snow. That turned out to be an excellent decision. There was no snow until I hit the Around the Mountain Trail #9. Yet, soon thereafter, I put on snowshoes because I started to sink in quite a bit. I took the direct route to the Lunch Counter instead of veering more to the left first. On the the climb up to the Lunch Counter I passed a couple. I never saw them again. There was nobody at the Lunch Counter, which is usually a buzzing tent city, especially on a weekend. It felt rather strange, but I greatly enjoyed the silence and solitude and cruised on to the more difficult part. I made good time and was on the false summit before 8pm. Shortly after the false summit I discovered Matt and Adam’s ice axes and their camera stabilizer. It looked a bit like a disaster zone. I readied the gear for pickup on the way down.

I thought I might reach the summit before sunset, but ended up being 5min or so late. I didn’t want to push myself just for yet another overrated sunset. The evening light was still gorgeous, however. The weather had cleared up and Mt. Hood could be seen nicely. It looked very far away. As usual, it was cold and windy on the summit. Thanks to the snowshoes, the fresh snow was not a problem. I never put on crampons and only used my poles, although I had packed an ice axe just in case.

I only spent a few minutes on the summit before heading down. On the way I picked up the ice axes and descended to the Lunch Counter. By then it was pitch black dark. I finally reached the Cold Springs Trailhead at around 11:30pm, much earlier than anticipated. Ursina had a massive fire going and was reading.

I knew this was going to be a difficult transition, but I had trained for it several times after the Adams-to-Helens Challenge. I took my time, had some broth and solid food, warmed up, and changed into running gear. Since the Around the Mountain Trail #9 was still mostly snow-covered, it was clear that I had to take the bypass route that I had prepared for that case. After about 45min I was ready to head out into the long night. The upcoming stretch was going to be almost 40mi.

Mt. Adams to Surprise Lakes Indian Camp (28 miles)

Instead of heading back up on the climber trail I headed down the road for a few miles, then took the Crofton Ridge Trail #73 that would eventually connect me to Road 23 via various forest roads. Figure 4 shows an overview of the bypass route. On the first 3 miles of the trail I managed to roll my ankle 3 times. The third time it was so painful that I screamed out loud. In the middle of the night, in the middle of burned trees, I felt a little like a small hopeless man trying to run away from something in a post-apocalyptic world. And if this was predictive of the journey that did still lay ahead, it was going to be a terrible journey. I decided to take a few minutes to sit down and tape the ankle for stability.

a2h_bypassFigure 4. The bypass route (yellow) that connected me to the PCT. This added about 8mi to the entire route. The Round the Mountain Trail #9 was not snow-free enough to run on.

After passing Road 23 came the fog. And with it the drizzle. The climb on the various forest roads seemed endless. Many roads were either unmarked or the road numbers were not on my map. I got lost once and had to use the GPS track I had stored on the Ambit2 to find the right direction. To reach the PCT, I had to bushwhack because there was no connection between the road I was on and the actual trail. Guided only by the Ambit2, I eventually reached the PCT and celebrated with a tired smile.

Ursina was supposed to wait at the Crest Horse Camp, which was still many miles away. We had talked about an additional support location at Surprise Lakes Indian Camp, but decided it would not be necessary. I was wrong about that. At some point, after running for endless hours, I saw a sign that said it was still 21mi to Crest Horse Camp. I had no clue how I would possibly make it.

Surprise Lakes Indian Camp to Crest Horse Camp (16 miles)

However when I got to the Surprise Lakes Indian Camp, I suddenly saw the familiar Subaru waiting, with Ursina ready to prepare hot chocolate, broth and a backpacker meal for breakfast. I have rarely be so relieved in my life. After running through the entire night, I felt physically and mentally very exhausted. I was low on food and had started to ration it because I realized I was way slowed than anticipated. What I didn’t know was that I was actually faster pace-wise, but that the distance was almost 10mi longer than planned.

I refueled on broth, a backpacker meal, hot chocolate and coffee, changed shoes and socks, and soon felt ready to leave again. In fact, with only 27min, this was the shortest stop on the entire adventure. Now the 16mi ahead of me looked feasible. Yet, it still took me a long time. Because of snow, I was unable to run the trails through large parts of the Indian Heaven Wilderness beforehand. It was incredibly beautiful, but challenging. After more than 4h, I finally reached Crest Horse Camp, where Ursina was waiting again. I refueled and got ready for the next section, which I knew well.

Crest Horse Camp to Stabler/Hemlock Lake Recreation Area (20 miles)

The skies were cloudy and the temperature was neither hot nor cold, just pleasant for running. This was going to be a part that was mostly downhill toward the end. I was cruising quite pleasantly, paid attention to fuel properly, and to not make any missteps. With more than 50mi on my legs now, I picked a pace that I thought I could sustain for a long time. While I could still have run many of the uphills, I generally forced myself to hike the steeper ones to conserve energy.

The descent from Big Huckleberry Mt. to Panther Creek was, as expected, endless. From there, I thought it was going to be a short hop to the Hemlock Lake Recreation Area. Yet, the trail climbed again almost up over Bunker Hill. I wish I had run that short section as well. After a 0.5mi detour from the PCT I reached the Hemlock Lake Recreation Area where the aid station was all set up. For the first time I checked the current distance and was shocked to see that it was more than 10mi more than planned.

In preparation for the 2nd night, I decided to take a 30min nap. I had some broth and a backpacker meal first, then crashed hard in the car for precisely 30min. Then I got up, had some double-strength coffee, got ready for the night, and headed out. I was very nervous for the upcoming section, which would be more than 30mi and would take pretty much the entire night because there were two big climbs involved.

Stabler/Hemlock Lake Recreation Area to Cascade Locks (31 mi)

First I had to reconnect to the PCT on a paved road. That allowed me to warm up and get ready for the first climb. After the power nap, I felt surprisingly strong and ready. The first climb felt easy. I cruised down on the other side toward the Snag Creek Trail. The last time I had explored this part I had to turn around in torrential rain after I couldn’t ford a raging river. Now that river was tame and I started the 2nd climb up toward Three Corner Rock. The energy I felt on the first climb was suddenly gone. I was so tired that I could barely walk straight. I knew if I would sit down, I’d just pass out and probably wake up hypothermic. So I continued while the fog and drizzle started to set in again. After endless miles, I reached the Three Corner Rock turnoff. From there, the fog was so thick that I had trouble running because I couldn’t see far enough. The vegetation was loaded with moisture and I very quickly was soaked to the bones. Thankfully I had packed my emergency rain pants, which I put on to stay somewhat warm. As I made my way toward Table Mountain, I had to use the GPS track to navigate because of the low vision.

At some point, I almost panicked because I suddenly felt like I was accidentally descending the way I came up. It took me a few minutes to relax and orient myself with the aid of the GPS. Maps were rather useless in these conditions. Many of the trails over Table Mountain to Three Corner Rock are also very rocky, which made the going even tougher.

All I wanted was to change into something dry and sleep for a while. Yet, I was still far away from the Bridge of Gods. On the way down from Table Mountain I got lost another time after missing the PCT turnoff. I thought I’d take the 2nd one, but I had already passed it. So I ended up too far down and had to climb back up, which sucked badly.

Shortly after 5am I finally reached the Bridge of Gods. It had taken me more than 10h to cross these mountains. The Bridge of Gods never felt so long. The early morning was calm and lonely. I cheered for myself and was a little proud that I had made it that far. The Ambit showed 103.7mi. I knew that from here, it would still be almost 55mi. And I also knew that I needed a bit more rest if I wanted to be able to ever finish this insane adventure.

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Figure 5. Mile 103.7 at Cascade Locks.

I wasn’t sure where Ursina would wait. She was hoping to get a room in the Best Western. If not, she’d just sleep in the car by the Bridge of Gods. Luckily, I found the car on the hotel parking lot, where she had also left me a key. I crashed without even properly undressing and decided to sleep for an hour first, then see how I feel. After an hour, I felt terrible, so decided to add another one. That helped! I got up and we had a quick breakfast at the Char Burger without even taking a shower. Bacon, hash browns, and scrambled eggs never felt so good! However, I was careful not to eat too much so that I would be still able to run. And of course I had strong coffee. By 8am I was ready and energized again to head out, which I did without hesitating.

Cascade Locks to Wahtum Lake (15 miles)

While the bacon and hash browns were sitting a bit too heavy on my stomach, I still managed to run many parts on the PCT until the more brutal climbing started toward the Benson Plateau. From there I power-hiked and tried to have a consistent speed. I felt surprisingly strong after almost 110mi. At the Teakettle Spring I refilled one of my bottles so that I would have enough water until Wahtum Lake. Before leaving Cascade Locks, we agreed that Ursina would be waiting there as well so that I had to carry less food. It was a great relief to me to know that I would not have to go the 30mi to Lolo Pass without support.

The last stretch until the Chinidere turnoff always feels endless. Once there, I took the PCT shortcut down to the lake and then the stairs on the “Wahtum Express Trail” up to the parking lot. Ursina was ready with hot food and water. I refueled and rested a bit in the car, but didn’t sleep.

Wahtum Lake to Lolo Pass (16 miles)

The weather was foggy and rather chilly. I had to put on all layers for the first few miles to warm up again. Shortly after the Eagle Creek Trail turnoff I encountered a first group of runners who were cruising fast and strong. It turned out to be a group with many runners I knew. They were doing “The Big, Long, Hard 50k:” ascent Mt. Defiance via the Starvation Ridge, bag Green Point, Chinidere, Indian, and Tomlike mountains, then head back via Green Point and Mt. Defiance to the trailhead. We chatted for a while and they all wished me well, encouraged me, and told me I looked strong (which was probably a lie, ha). It was a great motivational booster to see fellow runners and friends! I motored on and knew this stretch would feel endless. I had done it the week before and remembered things all too well.

The fog had cleared up a bit and I could see Mt. Hood from time to time. It was both an impressive and intimidating view. I tried not to think too hard about the fact that I might possibly soon be on the way to the summit.

By the time I reached Lolo Pass it was about 5:30pm. I was tired and decided to take a 30min nap before heading out into the third night. But first I ate and drank, then passed out fast. Ursina woke me up on time and cracked the whip. I had coffee and changed into new shoes that Ursina had dried by the fire she kept going. As always before heading out, we went carefully through the checklist to make sure I did not forget an essential item, especially for the night.

Lolo Pass to Timberline (16 miles)

The first climb from Lolo Pass allowed me to warm up quickly. It looked like it was going to be a beautiful night. I quickly reached the steep descent toward the Sandy River. I moved carefully but very smoothly. At least that’s how it felt. It’s possible that I looked like an old man. But since no one was around, it did not matter. When I reached the Sandy River delta, I started to worry because of the sound of rushing water. At that point, I couldn’t quite see the river yet. I decided to power-hike the section up to the Timberline Trail turnoff even though it was totally runnable. But I wanted to make sure I was somewhat fresh and rested for the climb up to Timberline. It was tough to hold back because I felt really good by then.

I couple of times I got a glimpse of the Sandy River. It became clear quickly that it had way more water than last week. I started to seriously worry if this might be the end of my journey. But when I finally reached the crossing, it did not look impossible. It was obvious that I would have to get wet (last week I didn’t have to), but it looked safe enough for a crossing attempt. I was able to cross, but the water came up to my thighs. Now I was wet and that was a bit of a concern for my feet and my body temperature. I decided to pick up the pace and to grind up that upcoming steep climb as fast as possible.

Instead of fading, I felt more and more energy. I had no explanation for this. If I were religions, I would probably have been tempted to attribute my remaining power to some sort of god. But I like to think of myself as machinery of biochemical reactions, that, if properly fueled and trained, can achieve amazing things on its own. I could see the stars and the summit of Mt. Hood was still in the sunlight. It was gorgeous and I became euphoric to the extent that it worried me. Simply heading up to Timberline Lodge was no joke and many things could go wrong. Then I’d have to still climb Mt. Hood.

The good news was that the snow had almost melted out since last week. That allowed me to move much faster and easier than anticipated. The Rushing Water Creek was still rather dangerous last week because of the snow, but now it was all gone. I was of course dreading the steep Zigzag Canyon, but it was not as bad as I expected.

I reached the Timberline Lodge Parking lot at around 20min past midnight. The parking lot was busy with climbers and it was very windy. It became clear that I was not going to give up here, even though I was extremely tired. I decided not to sleep. Instead, I devoured an entire berry crumble backpacker pouch and drank ample amounts of broth and coffee. Then I changed into climbing gear. Ursina had already completed the permit paperwork. I guess that was a sign she believed in my abilities to finish this adventure.

Mt. Hood (6 miles)

At 1:19am I was ready to head out. Or I should say up instead. I was torn regarding the snowshoes. No one else seemed to carry skis or snowshoes, so I followed the crowds. That was not a good decision. First I followed the road for a while until I reached snow. It turned out it was hard and frozen. I really regretted not having taken the snowshoes. They pretty much replace the need for crampons and allow you to move more efficiently. Now it was too late to turn back. Very soon I had to put on crampons because I would slid back with my shoes only.

I realized that I could only finish this climb if I got my mind into some sort of special place. So I started counting my steps and got into a machine-like rhythm by going exactly 40 steps to the right and 40 steps to the left, zig-zagging up along the edge of a ski slope. The challenge I set myself was to execute this zig-zag movement as precisely as possible, and to always end at the same distance from the end of the prepared snow. I focused on just that, nothing else. I must have looked like one of these sad tigers in the zoo, endlessly pacing from one end to the other in his cage. I’d normally go up a straight line, yet, the zig-zagging allowed me to keep a pace that was sustainable as opposed to a stop-and-go movement on a straight line.

I got up to the end of Palmer, where I had to change headlamp batteries. That can be a surprisingly challenging task when it’s cold, windy, your hands seem to ignore key motor commands, and your mind is completely fried.

I passed several large groups and folks on skies on the way to the Hogsback. That motivated me to keep moving steadily. The sulfur stench got worse the closer I got to the fumeroles. I was afraid I would feel sick suddenly. Several groups had stopped just before the last steep climb to the Hogsback. It was about 5am by then. I put on my helmet, stashed the poles, and got the ice axes ready. After a sip of extra strong coffee from my thermos, I moved on. In my current state, it was clear I was going to head up the Old Chute. There was a line of climbers, moving slowly. I took an ascend line that no one had taken and passed many people on the way to the summit.

At about 6am I finally reached the summit. It was a surreal moment. Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Rainier, and Mt. Adams were nicely visible in the morning light. I was very hard to believe that I had started my journey at the bottom of Mt. Adams.

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Figure 6. On the summit of Mt. Hood. Adams can be seen in the background. Yes, I look old. That’s mostly because I am old.

I did the entire climb on two 100cal gels and a small thermos of extra strong coffee. By the time I reached the summit, the hydration bladder was frozen and I was too tired to get the insulated water bottle out. I ate some cookie crumbles mixed with Pringles, shot a few pics, and then started to head down before more people would force me to wait. I had to down-climb almost the entire Old Chute because the snow was hard and frozen.

My hope for softer snow for the descent to the Timberline Lodge was not fulfilled. The surface stayed hard and icy, which forced me to wear crampons almost until the very bottom. I think I was the 2nd climber to descend off the mountain. Somewhere between Palmer and the Hogsback I saw two familiar faces: it was Matt and Adam! They had picked up the ice axes from Ursina on Lolo Pass and were making their own ascent now, with skis and snowboards on their packs.

The descent was painful and took forever.  Toward the bottom I had to remove layers because it started to heat up. Shortly before 9am I finally reached the parking lot. Ursina was reading in the back of the car while tanning her legs. It felt good to be back and to finally be done after 64h48min.

I changed into more comfortable clothes quickly. When I was ready to pass out in the car, someone knocked on the window. It was Zack, and old friend and former co-worker from Los Alamos! He had tracked me with the SPOT and happened to be at Timberline Lodge to prepare for his own climb the next night.

a2h_timberlineFigure 7. Back at Timberline Lodge, ready to be driven home. No, not in an ambulance. Photo by Zack Baker, who had followed the SPOT and tracked me down in the parking lot. Moving for 64h48min through 3 nights does take a toll on you, as you can see.

I slept most of what was left of Monday and also devoured 3 plates of pasta and a beer. Then I slept some more. On Tue morning I got up at 5am as usual and biked to work. Yet, instead of my morning run, I did a geriatric swim. On Wed, I was back to running.

Final Words

It’s only with endurance ultra running that I fully realized the potential of pushing myself out of my comfort zone. The scale and type of experience is ultimately secondary because everything is relative. Whether you run your first 10k or overcome public speaking anxiety, what matters is that you get yourself to the next level. I am deeply inspired by people who push their limits to open up new worlds that they didn’t know about. It’s precisely what leads to progress, personal growth, and incredibly powerful experiences.

It’s safe to say that this was one of the most intense, rich, and rewarding experiences I ever had. And I believe that this was only possible by going well beyond my own comfort zone, well beyond what I believed my limits were. And no, it was not the most painful experience.

I think I got a good glimpse of what it will mean to maybe some day complete the infamous Tor des Geants (TdG) endurance race. The elevation gain would be twice as much as what I did and I was still 47mi short of the Tor des Geants distance. Oh my!

Had I known that this adventure was going to be close to 160mi instead of the predicted meager 133mi, I’d probably never have started. Ignorance can be a bliss!

There’s no doubt this adventure could be done much faster. I did not go for speed, instead, the main goal was to finish. Having had no previous experience at that distance, it was hard to predict what pace I could sustain and what issues I could get into. So I went out conservatively. I did definitely spend a significant amount of time refueling and making sure I was in good shape. I think that paid off and was one of the factors that lead to a successful completion. And of course you need a lot of luck as well. The weather needs to cooperate, the conditions need to be decent, and there’s little room for mistakes.

Last but not least, you need a rock-solid crew that you can rely on. Huge thanks to Ursina for the amazing and never-ending support! She drove more than 150mi to follow me and also passed three rather sleepless nights. There’s no doubt that she was a major factor in the success of this insane adventure. While my “suffering” was entirely voluntary, it’s nevertheless very hard for a partner to witness.


Predicted and Actual Times and Distances

Table 1 shows the predicted and actual times and distances. The bypass route at the beginning was longer than expected. The distance further deviated from the Google Earth distance before the Bridge of Gods. I had not run parts of the trail up to Three Corner Rock, and that explains the inaccurate prediction. Nevertheless, the actual finish time was only 18min longer than the predicted finish time. So I think this qualifies as my most accurate planning so far. It seems I’m learning something from my previous errors!

I slept a total of 180min. Two power naps of 30min and a longer 2h block in Cascade Locks. The total non-moving time (sleep, eat, rest, change gear, personal care) added up to 8h54min

a2a_times_distancesTable 1. Predicted and actual times and distances. The actual finish time was 18min longer than the predicted finish time.

Gear

Over the last year, I had replaced much of my older climbing gear with super-light state-of-the-art gear. That paid off now. If you want to go fast and far, you have to go light. Every ounce counts.

Mt. Adams climb:

  • Grivel Mont Blanc ice axe
  • Charlet Moser campons
  • LaSportiva Nepal Cube GTX mountaineering boots
  • Poles
  • MSR Lightning Ascent snowshoes
  • Arc’tryx GoreTex jacket
  • Arc’tryx GoreTex overtrousers
  • Mountain Hardware puffy jacket
  • Mammut soft shell
  • Hand warmers

Running:

  • Salomon S-Lab 12-Set ultra vest
  • Salomon S-Lab Exo compression shorts
  • Salomon S-Lab Exo compression shirt
  • Salomon Gore-text rain jacket
  • Skins compression sleeves
  • Shoes: La Sportiva Mutant, Pearl Izumi M2, Merrell All Out Peak
  • Dryfit socks (changed whenever they were wet)
  • Black Diamond Z-Poles
  • Hand warmers on night sections
  • Raidlight rain pants on night sections
  • Extra gloves on night sections
  • Mountain Hardware waterproof gloves
  • Buff
  • Extra hat on night sections
  • Water purification tablets
  • Lip balm
  • iPod + headphones

Mt. Hood climb:

  • Charlet Moser campons
  • 2 Grivel Evolution AirTech ice axes
  • LaSportiva Nepal Cube GTX mountaineering boots
  • Poles
  • Arc’tryx GoreTex jacket
  • Arc’tryx GoreTex overtrousers
  • Mountain Hardware puffy jacket
  • Mammut soft shell
  • Hand warmers

Always:

  • SPOT satellite transponder
  • Julbo Venturi Zebra sunglasses
  • First aid kit with emergency headlamp and fire starters
  • Emergency blanket
  • GoPro camera
  • Suunto Ambit2
  • Petzl Myo-RXP headlamp
  • 1 set of spare headlamp batteries
  • At least one extra layer for emergencies

Nutrition

I often get asked how one fuels on such adventures. That’s a bit of an art in itself that requires a lot of training and experience. It’s also very personal. What works for someone may not work for others. Compared to some recent races, I had no stomach issues whatsoever during these 158mi. I try to listen to my cravings. Hot broth and chocolate are almost universally helpful for me. If I don’t feel like eating, I get some hot broth and/or chocolate anyway.

Tailwind should cover the entire electrolyte profile. I never use salt tablets. They can be dangerous and there is no evidence that they actually do anything useful. In fact, all the evidence suggests that they do not help against cramping. Yet, that urban myth seems to live on. Besides high energy gels, I try to eat as much real and solid food as possible on long distances. I do not count calories and do not eat in regular intervals. I simply listen to what my body craves. The same applies to drinking. I drink when I’m thirsty.

  • Caffeinated Tailwind
  • PowerBar and GU gels
  • Cookie crumbles mixed with Pringles, M&Ms, and yoghurt pretzels. My new favorite!
  • Fig bars
  • PowerBar Performance Wafer Bars
  • Honey Stinger Waffles
  • Several backpacker meals
  • Lots of hot broth
  • Lots of hot chocolate
  • Lots of coffee
  • Apple sauce
  • Fruit cups
  • Bananas

The longer I ran, the more I used solid and real food. At Cascade Locks, I even had breakfast at the Char Burger. Bacon, scrambled eggs, and hash browns never tasted so good! Only then I realized how hungry I actually was.

And since I get asked often: no, I did not use any performance-altering or -enhancing drugs, legal or illegal — not even Ibuprofen or similar over-the-counter medications. Masking your body’s natural alarm signs with pain killers is calling for trouble. It’s a short-sighted strategy that may lead to long-term damage. Plus, there is evidence that Advil and similar drugs delay recovery.

Route and Navigation

  • The Suunto Ambit2 served me great. I used the multisport mode and recharged the Ambit2 whenever I slept.
  • I also carried photocopied maps of all the trails that I was planning to run on, including bypass routes. And yes, I did use these maps frequently.
  • GPS track: adams2hood_actual.kml

Movie 2. Suunto GPS visualization of the entire adventure. Note that the time is different from the total adventure time of 64h48min because I had paused the Ambit2 in Cascade Locks without knowing this would not be added to the total time.

a2h_routeFigure 8. Route overview. Source: Strava, https://www.strava.com/activities/311785580.

a2h_profileFigure 9. Elevation profile. Source: Strava, https://www.strava.com/activities/311785580.