2.6: 1.5h, 200’ MTCC +ppp
2.7: 1.2h, 2000’ Woods (:49 up) +ppp
2.8: 1h, 800’ 2x Ida +pp
2.9: 1.2h, 2000’ Woods (:46 up) +ppp
2.10: 1h, 1000’ Jamison & Roan
2.11: 8.2h, 7500’ reverse RAM
2.12: 1h, 700’ Woodlawn +ppp
A couple weeks back I received an email from Mohammed announcing his intentions of running the Roan Adventure Marathon course on February 11th. Charlie, Beth, Kathleen and I jumped on board. We kept in touch and even as a winter storm threatened, the plans took shape. With a couple of PR ascents up Woods, I was looking forward to ramping up the week further.
Forecasts were spotty, but something was on its way. Mohammed graciously picked me up after work on Friday. We drove to Carvers Gap and night-hiked in along the AT to sleep at the 6,285’ Roan High Knob shelter. The storm had yet to arrive, so we wondered what kind of world we would awake to at 5AM. Come morning, the wind and snow had started and promised to continue throughout the day.
The original plan was to run from Carvers Gap, but we decided to drive down the mountain to meet the rest of gang at US-19E before the car got snowed in up top. We had time to eat breakfast in Roan Mountain, TN and visit a local hardware store to jury-rig some wands from red electrical tape and wooden dowel. These lightweight markers would help us to find our way in the event of a whiteout over the balds.
All three participants of the ’09 Art Loeb traverse were in attendance, which seemed fitting given such hostile conditions. Everybody was ready to get moving and warm up by 8:30AM. We promptly began climbing over 3000 feet towards the summit of Big Hump. Within the forested lower elevations of these leeward slopes, my pack felt ridiculously overstuffed.
I questioned a last minute decision to carry my down parka, but not for long. As I crested the exposed ridge ahead of the others, I nearly got knocked off my feet several times by gusting winds. Although I longed for the company, I thought it unwise to stop and wait for longer than a few minutes at a time. Survival became the primary motivation for forward progress in these frigid conditions.
At Yellow Mountain Gap, I was ahead of the others and questioning whether or not to turn back or continue for Carvers. I felt healthy enough, it was not yet noon, the weather was bad, but not getting noticeably worse. The decision was made to keep going and to turn around no later than 1PM. I reached Carvers by 12:53PM and began the return voyage. This is where video documentation takes over:
Many thanks to Mo for furnishing such a wild adventure!
New Balance Leadville 1210
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