2008 Adventure Run Ideas – CA

Here is the list of potential adventure runs in California’s High Sierra! Bar exam studies will likely preclude getting to most of these this summer, but I’ll be living in California so there will be plenty of time in the coming years to run through these peaks (and more) in the high Sierra. See Washington adventure run ideas here.

  • Mount Sill: Known as the best viewpoint in the Sierra, this peak is located in the middle of the Palisades subrange and is the sixth highest ranked peak in California (with 300 feet of prominence) at 14,153 ft. The southwest slope is class 2/3 and the north couloir is class 4. I will likely do the north couloir because it has closer access and is more interesting with a steep 500 foot snowclimb followed by rock scrambling.
  • Middle Palisade: Middle Pal is the 11th highest ranked peak in CA at 14,012 feet and is also located within the Palisades subrange. The fastest route is the northeast face and entails a couple thousand feet of scambling and walk around scenic Finger Lake.
  • Russell, Whitney, Muir: The highest point in the continental United States, the Mount Whitney hike is very popular and requires a permit, even for day use. A loop including Mount Russell would only utilize the Whitney Trail on the descent, however. The barren nature of this area, long drive, and red tape doesn’t make it the most attractive.
  • Mount Stanford (South): The most direct route is out of the Onion Valley trailhead and over University Pass. Mount Stanford, known as “one of the shyest major peaks in the Sierra,” stands 13,973 ft and involves some really fun scrambling. Plus, it shares the name of my graduate school so I have to climb it!
  • Arrow Peak & Bench Lake: This mountain is fairly remote with lots of cross-country and trail mileage to access , a cool scramble, and an awesome reflection in Bench Lake. The classic reflection in Bench Lake and of the super aesthetic looking Arrow Peak is what attracts me to this mountain. There are lots of other great peaks in this vicinity that are worth tagging as well. Access is via Taboose Pass.
  • Clyde Minaret: The highest of the famous Minarets, this is one I have had my eye on since I started climbing in the Sierra last summer. This will be super fun run with a solid amount of running on trail and then a great rock scramble.
  • Seven Gables: I have climbed lots of mountains in this region and Seven Gables has always caught my eye. Similar to Mount Goddard, its position West of the main affords spectaculr views. There is lots of trail to access which would be great for running and the climb is accessed from the West side which makes for a shorter drive – big plus!
  • Mount Humphreys: A towering peak that is easily recognizable from a distance. This climb has a really fun scrambling portion.
  • Half Dome: My friend Hari Mix has the record in 2:38 for this 14 mile roundtrip, 4,800 ft elevation gain hike up one of the most famous features in the world.
  • Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne: A point-to-point 33 mile trail run through a super famous canyon.

2008 Adventure Run Ideas – WA

As I sit here with a strained groin and a healing process that is proving painstakingly slow, I can’t help but think about potential mountains for adventure running. What is adventure running? Find out here. In traditional mountaineering, it would take a long time to get through the list below (2-5 days for each), but with adventure running, each trip takes a day or less! The climbing will virtually all be in the months of August and early September due to the bar exam at the end of July. Fortunately, August is the best time of the year for good weather and conditions – this means fast times! I may be able to squeeze in a trip to the high Sierra in June. I’ll start off by detailing the potential adventure runs in Washington. See California adventure run ideas here.

  • Mount Rainier: There is a real advantage to knowing the exact route, especially on Rainier, where the route changes often. On the first shot it would be nice to go under 8 hours. If my schedule allows, I could go faster on a second try. On the other hand, some of the other possibilities below have superior scenic value so I probably won’t spend too much time on Rainier.
  • Ptarmigan Traverse: Around 35 miles (43 miles if washout 8 miles from trailhead isn’t fixed) with the middle 20 miles on expansive glaciers and rugged terrain. This point-to-point mountaineering classic is usually done in four to five days (I did it in 4 days back in 2004). The extra 8 miles would tag on 1.5 hours, but would mean less driving!
  • Mount Fury East Peak: The epitome of adventure running with a long stretch of trail running, off-trail travel through a brush-choked valley, rugged traversing, rock scrambling, and a steep glacier. Total distance is 4o+ miles with nearly half off trail (vey physically demanding)!
  • Mount Olympus: I did this adventure run last year and it was so awesome I want to do it again… faster, of course!
  • Enchantment Lakes Run: This point-to-point run goes through the legendary Enchantment Lakes basin. The Enchantment Lakes were my second overnight trip ever in 1997. I have fond memories of sharing this gorgeous area with my father. We did the trip again the following year but I have not returned since. I remember when we were camping a guy passed by who was doing the traverse in a day and I thought he was amazing. We called him Hercules! Now, I would shoot to polish this route in under 4 hours – I have grown up! Total distance is 17-18 miles. If starting at Colchuck Lake TH the gain is 4,600 ft and loss is 6,800 ft (the inverse if beginning at the Snow Creek TH).
  • Chiwawa and Fortress: The combination of these two mountains has always seemed appealing for a speed climb. My first trip in the Entiat region east of Glacier Peak last summer (Maude-Fernow-7FJ) was awesome!
  • Lyman Lakes – Spider Gap – Buck Creek Pass Loop: Another adventure run in the Entiat region. This loop looks sweet and I have heard awesome things about the scenery here. It can be extended to include High Pass, the Napeequa Valley, and Little Giant Pass.
  • Image Lake: 36 miles round trip to this iconic lake with spectacular views of Glacier Peak and the DaKobed Range. I haven’t been to Image Lake since a 1999 two-night trip with my father. This run is off the Suiattle River road and I don’t think I’ll do it unless the road is fixed because 9 miles each way on a dirt road to the start of the trail does not sound like fun.
  • Mount Buckner North Face: A loop from Cascade Pass over Sahale Peak to the North Face of Mount Buckner (climbed in 2003), down the Southwest Slope and back up to Sahale Arm. This trip is more mountaineering in nature as most of it is not conducive to running.

15 Favorite Trail Runs Near Stanford

It’s amazing how much great running there is so close to Stanford! I honestly cannot think of anywhere else where there is so many miles and so much variety in the trail running opportunities. In addition, the moderate marine climate here is almost perfect for running. Here is my list of favorite spots I have checked out so far. All of these places are within 25 minutes driving from my studio on the Stanford Campus, and most are under 15 minutes.

  1. Huddart Park: Gorgeous single-track trails in cool redwoods that are graded perfectly for pleasurable running
  2. Windy Hill OSP: The Razorback Ridge-Hamms Gulch Loop is one of the best and views from the top of Windy Hill are amazing!
  3. Los Altos Hills: Miles of cinder pathways in a nice setting of mini-ranches
  4. El Corte de Madera Creek OSP: Tons of trails in deep forest providing a wilderness feeling
  5. Wunderlich Park: Great trails with a super nice stretch along the Skyline Ridge to Huddart Park.
  6. Portola Valley Ranch: Great paths in oak and madrone forest
  7. Monte Bello OSP & Upper Stevens Creek Park: Great mix of fire roads and single track through meadows and forest.
  8. Skyline Ridge – Russian Ridge – Long Ridge: Great running through meadows and forest with spectacular vistas.
  9. Rancho San Antonio – Black Mountain: Fantastic trail running, especially beyond the popular trails in Rancho.
  10. Hidden Villa: Tucked away off Moody Road with some great trails connecting to Rancho San Anontio and Black Mountain.
  11. Arastradero Park: Open grasslands and spectacular views
  12. Phleger Estate: Access via Huddart Park with some nice, but steep trails
  13. Foothills Park: The Los Trancos trail is a fun loop
  14. Baylands Park: Totally flat along the salt marshes of the SF Bay
  15. Edgewood Park & Pulgas Ridge OSP: Grasslands and oak forest with some great trails

Whistler, Baby!

Yesterday I returned from a four-day ski vacation in beautiful Whistler, Canada. We had three superb days of skiing, two at Whistler and one at Blackcomb. We hardly encountered any lines the entire time, weather conditions were gorgeous, and snow conditions were fantastic. From six foot cornice jumps to moguls to steep and deep, we had it all! It was one of my best three days of skiing ever with some great friends! I return to Whistler every year and this trip gives me reason to go twice a year 😉

Here is a list of some of my ten favorite runs we hit:

  • Couloir Extreme
  • Blow Hole
  • Spanky’s Ladder – Diamond Bowl
  • Pakalolo
  • Harmony Horseshoe Cornice Jumps
  • The Couloir
  • Big Bang
  • The Cirque
  • Whistler Bowl
  • Cockalorum

We covered most of the famous expert runs on the mountain at least once – what a sweet trip!

High Sierra

While I visited the “valley” at Yosemite and the big trees in Sequoia Park, I have never climbed the high Sierra. By working in Palo Alto this summer, I hope to change this. I plan on heading into the mountains on the weekends to explore the range. I’ve been reading up on the opportunities and here are some peaks and scenic areas that have caught my eye (from North to South):

1. Matterhorn Peak and Sawtooth Ridge

2. Mount Lyell and Mount Maclure

3. Mount Ritter, Banner Peak, and the Minarets

4. Sabrina Basin: Mount Haeckel, Mount Wallace, and Picture Peak

5. The Palisades

6. Arrow Peak and Bench Lake

7. Dragon Peak, Rae Lakes

8. University Peak and Kearsarge Pinnacles

9. Mount Whitney Area

10. Kaweah Peaks

This list will keep me busy for awhile and I’m sure more mountains/regions will be added.

Tomorrow is the dinner and movie event I am organizing for the law and business society. I am excited!

Exercise: I ran the usual Oak Creek 48 minute loop yesterday and today and felt pretty good both days. Such great running weather recently!

Ten Suggestions for Efficient Workouts

Here are some ways to get more out of your workout the next time you go the gym:

1. Shorten recovery time: In the vast majority of instances, you do not need full recovery between exercises. People have a tendency to “dream” or socialize between sets/exercise. We are all busy people, so if you make the gym a social hour, there will inevitably be less time for exercise. Just keep telling yourself why you came to the gym in the first place…

Weightlifter2. Active rest: Do some abs or work a different muscle group while you are resting. Looking at the ceiling between sets or exercises should be minimized.

3. Mix-it-up: Avoid getting stuck in the same routine – throw some variety into your workouts. If you feel like you aren’t quite making your expectations, it may be an indication that your workout regimen has become stale and the muscles aren’t getting as stimulated as before. Try to work in some new exercises or change up your routine to work the muscles from a different angle.

4. Total Body: Don’t just focus the same muscle area every time you go to the gym (for guys, this tends to be bis or chest). If you don’t work all the major muscle groups (at some point during the week), including back, chest, bis, tris, and legs, you are going to end up with some awkward looking results. As Arnold Schwarzenegger says, you have to be a sculptor – when you add muscle to one place, you have add muscle everywhere else to maintain proportionality.

5. Drink Water: During and after your workout. Carry a large water bottle with you and make sure to drink often during you workout. Water is preferable, but if you need a pick-me-up, energy drinks like Zipfizz, Cytomax, Accelerade, etc. are acceptable (try to not make a habit out of taking these energy powders every time).

Water Bottle6. Day of Rest: Take a day off once a week to allow for physical and mental rejuvenation. Every muscle group can get overworked and the worse thing you can do is make going to the gym a chore.

7. Find a partner: If working out solo is getting old, try to find a partner of similar capabilities. Sometimes partnering up can motivate both participants to lift harder, longer, and more efficiently. Of course, avoid the trap of over-socializing.

8. Set a time: If you’ve got a gym workout scheduled for a similar time every day, you are less likely to skip out. For some people this means doing it in the morning, and for others, it means the afternoon/evening. I recommend working out at the time you feel the best or enjoy the most (qualified below).

9: Go when it’s not busy: If possible, try to go the gym at off-peak hours (at Arrillaga gym the packed hours are usually in the afternoon from 4 pm to 6 pm). When too many people are walking around, you waste time waiting for weights/machines and you simply can’t get around to as many exercises.

10: Warm-up: This entails different things for different people and goals, but a warm-up of some kind is important. Essentially don’t start the workout with a one rep max. Instead, begin with some relatively light weight exercises (10+ reps) and then build up to the heavy stuff. Shocking your muscles right off the bat is not productive and can cause injury.

Check out the other top lists on my blog!

Related: Building a Great Exercise Program

Top 10 Photogenic North Cascade Peaks

Yesterday’s post was a list of the best summits FROM which to take photos (see post here), today’s list features the mountains that look best IN the photos. Check it out!

ALL photographs Copyright Leor Pantilat. Please ask for permission prior to any use, thanks.

1. Mount Shuksan: How could I not include the most photographed peak in the United States. Any side is nice except the south, my favorite is from the east looking into Nooksack cirque


2. Mount Goode: view of fabled north face and northeast buttress

3. Mount Challenger: view of northside – immense Challenger Glacier


4. Eldorado Peak: Knife edge ridge, good from any direction


5. Dome Peak: from the north encompassing Chickamin cirque (Sinister Peak and Gunsight Peak) – White Rock Lakes

Dome Peak

6. Glacier Peak: From the north or northeast – Image Lake


7. Forbidden Peak: from any direction, but northside is my favorite


8. Snowfield Peak: From Colonial-Snowfield col


9. Southern Picket Fence: Northside or southside, view from Luna (northeast) is my favorite

10. Liberty Bell & Early Winters Spires: From east and southeast

Liberty Bell

ALL photographs Copyright Leor Pantilat. Please ask for permission prior to any use, thanks.