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yosemite national park
The Triple Crown of trail running encompasses approximately 100 miles and 25,000 feet of elevation gain. 3 Rivers, 6 Rims, 3 National Parks, 2 Months, 2 Chicks, 4 Sticks. The Rim to Rim to Rim of Yosemite, Zion, and the Grand Canyon. As climbers going fast and light in the mountains is really important. Being able to cover large amounts of distance in a short amount of time with only your legs and large amounts of gels is the name of the game. We coined it the Triple Crown of trail running because of the famous triple crown in our home park linking El cap, Watkins, and Half dome.
So what exactly is this made up adventure the Triple Crown of trail running you might ask. Here are the separate trip reports:
Yosemite Trip Report - Topo and Elevation Profile
Grand Canyon Trip Report - Topo and Elevation Profile
Zion Trip Report - Topo and Elevation Profile
Though you don’t have to do them in any particular order we seemed to do them in increasing in difficulty. Not as a strategy more as an accident. Yosemite is the shortest of the three at about 17 miles and 7,000 feet of elevation gain. A start at Glacier Point sends you down to the valley via the 4 mile trail. The valley is only about half a mile wide so it’s fast progress getting to the Yosemite falls trail were you ascend quickly and then return the way you came. We completed this in the end of October when the days where longest and we were on familiar terrain. Our Grand Canyon adventure happened a month later right before Thanksgiving. The days were shorter and the distance was more than doubled with even more elevation gain. We had perfect weather though for late November. Covering 44 miles and about 12,000 feet of elevation gain via the South Kaibab and North Kaibab trails. The final and star of the entire adventure was Zion. We completed Zion on the shortest day of the year right before Christmas. Night running, snow, and cold for hours on end as we charged for about 40 miles and 6,000 feet of elevation gain. Navigating the East and West Rim Trails of the valley.
I could talk your ear off for hours about these amazing adventures. There is no way to really see a park then by experiencing it by foot. I hope you get inspired and hike or run these lines as well!
The greatest thing you'll ever learn, Is just to love and be loved in return.
Rim River Rim River Rim of Yosemite Valley. Not many people do this run or anyone that I know of but Libby and I are training for the Grand Canyon and it sounded like the perfect way to train. We rolled into the valley late Friday night and had a good night sleep in Foresta. A simple breakfast and we were headed on our way to Glacier Point the next morning. The drive isn’t short but we got to the point around 10 am. Excited for the adventure ahead we both pounded a gel and geared up. The plan was to run down the 4 mile trail, across the valley, up the Yosemite Falls trail, down the Yosemite Falls trail, across the valley, up the 4 mile trail.
So we blasted off from the van. We made quick progress running down the 4 mile trail. When we made it down we had a quick bathroom break and jetted across to camp 4. In camp 4 we pounded another gel and prepared for the awfulness that was ahead of us. The dreaded Yosemite Falls trail. The best part was that we were hitting the Yosemite Falls trail in the heat of the day. Sweating are faces off we charged non stop up the Falls trail. The heat , the steepness, and the never ending terribleness of the Falls trail dragged on but we made it up in about 50 minutes. The initial down hill pounding we had experienced on the 4 mile trail was clearly taking a toll. We took a little break at the top of the falls to eat a burrito and hydrate back up. We then had to go back down knowing we would soon be charging back up the 4 mile.
Down we went stopping once to say hi to some friends climbing on backer cracker and then again in camp 4 to refill water and eat a little more food. We made it across the valley and to the 4 mile trail and were feeling good. This lasted for a while but we both started to feel the bonk about 2 miles from the top. We stopped for a few seconds to enjoy the view of half dome and finish our burritos but then it was push for the end. After stopping for a few seconds it’s always hard to start moving again. Things begin to tighten and it takes several steps to get back into the rhythm. I think we did pretty well about keeping moving but towards the end it was obvious we were hurting. Finally at the van we could relax.
A moving time of 4:51 covering 17 miles and almost 7,000 feet of elevation gain which also means 7,000 feet of elevation loss. We stretched and pounded some food and water hoping we could evade any soreness. This proved to be hard to avoid. The next day we woke stiff and sore but mainly in our calfs. Being sore is an awesome feeling but rather funny when you try to step out of the van or stand up in the meadow. Excited for the Grand Canyon adventure that is in store. More training reports to come!
It was only fitting that the gunsite was smokey. Scrambling up the gunsite between middle and lower cathedral had been on my list of things to do for months. After choking on smoke for hours the day before we decided to scramble the gully on a whim. We did no research and had no map. We just looked at the gunsite from El Cap meadow and hoped we would have minimal bushwhacking.
We hit the beta for the gunsite on the first try. We parked the van in one of the first pull outs after bridal veil falls and hiked up the horse path. When the edge of lower cathedral was visible we ascended a boulder field until we hit the cliff. Skirting around left we picked up a trail that hugged close to the right side of the gunsite. The climbing on the sides of the cliff looked epic and hardly climbed. We will definitely be back.
Soon the gully steepened out and we took the easier line up and left. Some 4th class moves spit us out into a chimney where we looked right and found some fixed lines. Hand over handing coupled with a few 5th class moves and we were on the top. Honestly I wasn’t very excited about the sketchy down climb we had to do. Straight back from the gunsite though is the top of bridal veil falls. Bridal veil falls creek is said to be some of the best fly fishing in the valley. Beautiful deep granite pools of water. Corbin promptly stripped down and jumped in. I settled for icing my swollen still fractured foot. Barefoot we walked to the edge of the fall. Late season so the water isn’t flowing very much. We sat on the slick slick ledge looking straight down on all the tourists enjoying the falls.
Next was time to down climb the gunsite. Good hands and bomber feet made the down climbing go quickly. Back to the van in no time. Glad I got to check off another adventure hike on my list. Highly recommended. But I have to say El Cap gully is still my favorite!