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Photo by Joey Cassidy

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About the Blog:  This blog serves as a repository of the author’s explorations to rugged and wild places, most often in the High Sierra, the Santa Lucia Mountains of Big Sur, and the Trinity Alps.  The blog has evolved such that most posts are now functionally like a route guide focusing on useful information that is relevant and useful for future adventurers, including lots of photography of the scenery and a route description.

About the Author:   Leor Pantilat has a passion for adventure running, mountain running, mountain climbing and trail running. For Leor, it’s all about exploring nature’s beauty and accessing remote and rugged spots.  He has been an ambassador of La Sportiva for nearly a decade and couldn’t be happier with the amazing footwear and apparel that has enabled his adventures.  Leor has also been an ambassador for Ultimate Direction for the past five years and their awesome hydration packs and systems keep him hydrated and moving.  Almost as much as the adventures themselves, Leor enjoys capturing the scenery and sharing upon his return. He is also a huge weather geek and spends hours tracking current and future weather conditions.

Growing up Washington State, Leor’s father introduced him to the outdoors and adventure at a very young age starting with hikes in the Cascades and skiing at the local ski resorts before he reached 5 years old.  These explorations evolved into backpacking and mountaineering trips as he grew older.  At the same time Leor participated in running for much of his life, beginning in Junior High and including NCAA Division I cross country and track and field in undergrad.  In college Leor discovered his passion when he combined his love of wild mountainous places with running resulting in adventure running.  Leor graduated from Stanford Law School with a JD in 2008 and undergraduate school from Rice University in Houston, TX in 2005.

child yosemite
Early days in the Sierra at Columbia Rock with Half Dome in the background

sportiva logo white


Email: pantilat(at)gmail(dot)com

Homepage featured image: Snow Cone – a rare heavy snow on Cone Peak looking down Devils Canyon to the Pacific Ocean; January 2017

Vintage La Sportiva ad below:

My Runner’s High, by Leor Pantilat

The technical definition of a “runner’s high” or the “endorphin rush” is the release of endorphins and other chemicals brought on by pain, exertion, danger, or other forms of stress. In most runners it occurs after strenuous exercise at an intense threshold for a prolonged period and usually entails varying degrees of pain and suffering to get there. When running on a track or on the roads the rush usually boils down to a physically induced high, often entailing competition with yourself or others. It’s a great feeling I have experienced many times, but for me the greatest high I can get – the most fulfilling high – is the feeling I get running trails and mountains.

My high is more than just crossing a threshold of physical exertion or beating a time; it’s a connection with my surroundings and neither pain nor physical stress is necessary. It’s a high that comes not from the act of running alone, but from running in inspiring places. It’s about experiencing the flow and rhythm of nature – the single track winding through the forest; the sweeping views after cresting a ridge; the clear, fresh air on my face; and the solitude and peacefulness of wilderness. It’s about the lush redwood forest, the towering peaks, the immense glaciers, the reflecting lakes, and the picturesque waterfalls. The result is a more personal, powerful, and meaningful experience. The high opens up a door to my heart that releases a flood of emotions – memories, dreams, and love for the people and events in my life. It allows me to take an introspective look at what I’ve become, who I am, and where I’m headed; a reflection of things I’ve done right and things I wish did differently, but overall a feeling of satisfaction and happiness.

I am incredibly fortunate to be able to visit these sanctuaries of natural beauty on a regular basis. They provide the only source of motivation I need and explain how running is not just something that I do but a part of who I am. It’s an addictive feeling that doesn’t lessen or grow old with time or repeat experience. Instead, the passion grows with every high, fueling my desire to explore and dream of adventures to come. Feel the flow!


17 Comments Add yours

  1. Nice information and picture!!! But you need to move the margin a little and than it will be PERFECT!!

  2. Steve Shaud says:

    Your trip report on your climb of the NF of Shuksan is great (good pics,too). I am coming out in a few weeks to do the NF of Shuksan but I am very confused about the approach. I thought parking was at the Mt. Baker Ski Area, but on the topo map, if you park there, it looks like it does not make any sense to descend to the White Salmon Creek. Where did you park and where did you start your approach? Where is the clear-cut in relation to where you park and from where do you ascend to Shuksan Arm? Hoping you can help clarify things for a couple of confused Eastearners. Thanks.

  3. Adam says:

    Great Website! I have seen your material on Summit Post before where I am known as gimpilator. But I just now discovered the amazingly fast running trips you have been doing. Very impressive material. I find it exciting to think about these trips. Keep living life to the fullest.


  4. jaime says:

    Beautiful Images! Can you please contact me if you are interested in giving photo permissions for your images? Thanks!

  5. cool pictures bro! hey… may i ask if you know of the best mountain spot to see the ocean from? coming from the south bay, coyote peak area

  6. mineralking says:

    This is the best website on the internet bar none.

  7. mineralking says:

    This is the best website on the internet bar none. Thank you!

  8. Pavel says:

    Thank you for the website – it is an inspiration for my future trips in the Sierra (maybe not running but backpacking). I just have to ask how you are able to balance training and weekend trips (all of which include long drives) with working a corporate/professional job? I struggle with balancing this and just was curious what your “secret sauce” is…

  9. liyanna yusoff says:

    Hey, Leor! I’m Liyana. Thanks for the inspirational website! Am having an event in March, here in Malaysia for a trail run challenge, in collaboration with Asian Trail Explorers. Am looking for great bloggers to spread the news. Do you mind helping? Maybe if you could leave an email address, I can just send the info and details on that particular trail run?

    My email – liyanna@volumeoneasia.com

    Looking forward for your reply! Keep living the life to the fullest, Leor!

  10. Terry says:

    Hey Leor, I’m super impressed with all of your achievements but particularly the Big Sur waterfalls project. I grew up hiking/adventuring off-trail there (my dad ran the UC reserve at Big Creek for many years) and I am blown away by the ground you’ve covered in some truly rugged terrain. I’ve been to at least one of those FKS falls before and would love to see a map with some of the other ones, but I understand why you wouldn’t want to publish that…

    And you need to do the Big Sur hot springs project too 😉

    Anyway major kudos man.

  11. dale Belvin says:

    I was looking at the first photo you took of the canyon creek upper lake and recognized it I have the same photo from 30 years ago what’s interesting about the photo in that mirror image is if you turn on his end and look at it you’ll see this incredible rock warrior mines a little different than yours but the reflections pretty close mine has a lot more detail of the actual image i’m now 65 and about to use that photo on the front cover of a book and finishing up have you ever wonder I’m possibly planning a return trip to the lake this next July thanks Dale

  12. Nick C says:

    Hi Leor, thanks so much for sharing your incredible photos and stories of travel within La Ventana and elsewhere. It’s a magical place that I’ve had the pleasure of visiting a number of times. It’s amazing and a testament to the ruggedness of the Ventana that there are rarely-seen waterfalls and rarely-climbed peaks in such a beautiful and famous part of the most populous state of the country!

  13. rwacziarg says:

    Maybe another glacial lake if it’s not yet in your collection – Burro Lake near Excelsior Mountain:

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