AM- Pretty epic trail run today. I was gone for over 8 hrs. Goal for today was 20+ miles with as much vert as possible as Barkley training. I normally don't like Jones Gap as it's too steep and technical, so it fit the bill for today. Picked up Justin and he modified the plan by starting at Oil Camp Creek. Temps were about 38 and none of the rain/snow predicted to start at 6 am- looks like the weather would be great. We ran up .5 mile to Pinnacle Pass trail and ran up and over it (plus up and over and up and over- lots of ups), then very steep down to Jones Gap. Then we ran up the steep Hospital Rock trail, climbing 1700 ft in less than 3 miles, half in one mile. We then ran along Cleveland Connector. It started snowing a bit at this point and we were excited- the most snow we had seen in a two years. Little did we know that it would change from a touch of snow to huge flakes that quickly accumulated, just as we descended the most technical trail of the day (including several roped sections) to Rainbow Falls. This 2 mile section dropped over 1600 ft and was quite interesting with tons of snow-covered rocks. By the time we reached Jones Gap trailhead 40 minutes later, about 2 inches of snow had accumulated. We decided that running back up Pinnacle or Rim of the Gap trail would be crazy, as they have some exposed, off-camber portions that are bad enough when dry, much less when snowy/icy, so decided to run the 4 miles back to the car. It ends up the park was closed, too, due to the trecherous conditions. We ended up hitch hiking with a guy in a gator, so I had a fun (cold) ride back. The total run ended up at 16.5 miles (Ambit- 15.2, Garmin- 16.4, Sporttracks- 16.5) and about 4300 ft climbing (Garmin put it at 5600 ft) with 4.5 hrs running time and just under 5 hrs total time. Didn't get my 20 miles, though.
Stopped by the store on the way home to buy some wool gloves for Barkley, as I was reminded today that fleece gloves are cold when wet! Then played and went sledding in the snow with my kids! Here's a few pictures of the adventure:
Some of the off-camber exposed rock to cross. Weather looked very nice.
Nice vista from Pinnacle Pass
We would drop down to the left and ascend the ridge across the valley
Just starting to snow- can hardly see it
Descending the snow-covered-rocks with rope assist
Rainbow Falls visible in the background