- May Queen (13.5m)
- Outward Bound (23.5m)
- Halfmoon II (30.5m)
- Twin Lakes (39.5m)
- Winfield (50m)
- Twin Lakes (60.5m)
- Halfmoon II (69.5m)
- Outward Bound (76.5m)
- May Queen (86.5m).
Many novices see getting up and over (and back over) Hope Pass as the end to their troubles. However, completing Hope Pass is usually just the beginning of those troubles. You should leave Twin Lakes feeling great about making it those first 40 miles and being well ahead of the cut-off, but also relaxed about the challenge ahead. Now is the time to break out those poles if you are so inclined. As your hands will be occupied, you will need a way to transport your sports drink, etc. A hydration pack can do the job. Now, the danger of a hydration pack is that it is difficult to know how much you are actually drinking. You either need to practice to see what a pull on the hose equates too or bring an empty bottle along to siphon into every 15 minutes or so to get the 'right' amount of liquid. A dual holster fanny pack can also solve the problem. The important thing is that Hope Pass is the wrong place to get dehydrated or bonk. So, wither way, if you are using poles, plan carefully.
You also need to resupply at the Hopeless Aid station, so bring the baggies with sports drink powder, your salt and your gels to self supply at the water only station just this side of the first summit of Hope.
Back to the course ... leaving Twin there is a lot of commotion, distractions and traffic. Keep focused and get out of there. There is but one porta-potty so my advise is to do your business elsewhere (being a good citizen of course). There is also an outhouse on the far side of the parking lot just before you enter the meadows ... but that too will necessitate a long wait ... time you cannot afford to waste. Once you get into the meadows leading to the stream crossing(s), be prepared for muck and mosquitoes. It is quite runnable so make the most of it. People seem to get all uptight about the stream crossing. Don't be. It is cooling and refreshing and something to look forward too. Take a moment to cool off. Don't worry about the shoes ... they will quickly dry or get soaked once again in the ever possible rainstorm atop Hope. Don't run through the stream ... walk. This is not the place to make time. Relax. Once you get to the climb, walk. Only the the most elite of the elite attempt to run any portion of Hope. Walk purposefully and use those poles to your advantage. Do stick with the hydration, fueling and electrolyte pattern. Cool off at any stream. Once at Hopeless, resupply and move up the remaining switchbacks.
Coming down Hope on the Winfield side is a hassle as you will be hitting uphill traffic and a ball bearing type surface. If you move off trail for every single uphill runner, you will lose many minutes and perhaps DNF yourself right out of the race. Be considerate but keep moving. Get down that thing as smoothly as possible.
Once down onto the Winfield road (or trail as they might have it this year), it is a gradual uphill that demands a run/walk to move strongly enough ... not too fast to go anaerobic; not to slow to lose valuable time. Understand you will arrive into the chaos of Winfield tired and possibly intimidated. The temptation to quit and/or hang out on a lawn chair is very tempting. Resupply and get out of there. If you have a pacer, let them mule for you as Leadville rules allow it (unless something changed/changes) ... just get out of there. You will again need double supplies as you will resupply at Hopeless. The road (or trail) down to the actual Hope Pass climb is downhill and should be a place where you are doing some real running. Use those downhill miles to your advantage.
Crewing at Winfield is a nightmare most years. It takes almost 2 hours to drive the 15 or so miles on the dirt road leading to Winfield ... think bumper to bumper stop and go. Once at Winfield they have you park in a meadow that can easily trash a low slung car with spoilers below (sorry for my lack of car terminology). Runners are tired and the wait can be long. Feet can be showing the first signs of trouble. Quitting starts to come into the conversation. Get your runner out of there! The runner will be weighed ... again, 2% down is ideal. Resist the chairs, loungers, massage, hot dog vendors and get out of there ...
It OFTEN rains, and hails on the return over Hope Pass ... be prepared. Many a runner has DNF'ed due to poor planning on the return trip. If nothing else, bring a garbage bag as a makeshift rain coat for the return.
Know that most runners come back over Hope faster than the first trip over. Keep the faith.