which is more difficult?
the heart pounding and lung busting steep ascent?
where you will stop. more than once. to catch your breath.
or the toe killing and quad trashing slippery descent?
where you will slide. more than once. and you have to make sure it’s butt first.
July 9, 2017. Whiteface Sky Race. 15.2 miles. 8000 feet vertical gain.
The course description from the event website accurately describes this race. And it’s worth repeating that most of the ascent comes from the 2.3 mile climb to the summit in the Alpine loop.
The climb itself was not technically challenging. But it was devilishly steep. Followed by, yes, a devilishly steep descent. This covers the 1st 5 miles of the course. AND we had to do it again after what is described as a ‘runnable’ recovery section in the Flume loop.
Two things I was so glad I brought and used in this race – my hiking poles and my gloves. The poles came in handy on the ascent, and on sections of the steep and slippery descent, in the Alpine loop. At times, I was just depending on the poles to support my weight. Big respect to those who did the race without poles. The gloves protected my hands when I was slipping and sliding on the muddy descent.
It was a difficult race. But also one with a very rewarding view at the summit in the Alpine loop. I still feel sorry I did not have my camera/smartphone during the race. I even thought of riding the Gondola back to the top after the race to take pictures, but (1) it was not free, and (2) it does not go all the way to the summit of the race. Now, I have a good reason to come back and hike Whiteface Mountain again.
If you want a short but challenging race, count this one in. Plus, Lake Placid is just nearby – a town worth visiting by itself.