Thursday, July 1, 2010

A Look At The Badwater Ultramarathon Course

For 135 miles you journey from the very basin of [Patrick] Hodge's final resting place to the portal of the highest summit in the lower 48.

The first 17 miles undulate along the dried up shore of an ancient sea, crossing vast salt pans visible from outer space.

The next 25 miles stretch over a shade-less expanse of geologic wonders and the barren remains of futile pursuits, until you reach the foot of the Panamints, only to step out of the first 42 miles into a 17-mile ascent of rising fatigue and temperatures dropping to a lukewarm 100 degrees.

From the 5,000 foot summit of Townes Pass, the pavement drops for another 11 miles to the Panamint lake bed.  The grueling switchbacks from Panamint Springs serve as a painful penance for the next 8 miles and 2,000 feet of climbing to the 80 mile mark, and the 4,000 foot pulpit of Father Crowley.

The grind continues slowly upward for another 1,000 feet, past the lonely town of Darwin.  12 more miles of pounding delivers the punishing monotony of endless pavement past Keeler, arguably the most mind-numbing experience of the event, on route to the 122-mile destination of Lone Pine.

Another 13 miles and 5,000 feet of lengthy and dangerous switchbacks will take you home, if not, to your grave.

- taken from "The Distance of Truth"

Course Profile:
Flat Miles:  69
Uphill Miles:  46 and 13,000+ feet of elevation gain
Downhill Miles:  20 and 4,700 feet of elevation loss

Entire Course Profile

Start at Badwater to Stove Pipe Wells (Mile 42)

Stove Pipe Wells to Summit (Mile 59) of Townes Pass

Miles 60 to Mile 90

Highway Junction Before Panamint Springs (Mile 71) to Darwin Turn-Off (Mile 92)

Lone Pine (Mile 122) to Finish (Mile 135)