|The Pemi Loop|
The Pemi loop is somewhere around 31.5 miles with over 9000' of climbing. It starts in the Lincoln Woods right off the Kancamagus highway in NH. In 2005, Backpacker magazine named it the second hardest day hike in America. The loop summits 10 peaks of which 8 are over 4000': Flume, Liberty, Little Haystack, Lincoln, Lafayette, Garfield, South Twin, Guyot, Bond, and Bondcliff. For more details checkout http://www.davidalbeck.com/hiking/pemiloop.html
I ran the loop with a couple of other ultra runners, Patrick, a 20 year fenom, who probably could have done two or three loops if inclined, and Chris, a very experienced hiker who is somewhat new to ultra running.
We had a perfect weather (70's with a breeze) and once we got up about the tree line you could probably see for a 100 miles. After a couple of pics and quick break we kept on moving.
Over the next 4 miles you drop in and out of the tree line a few times before reaching the summit of Mt Lafayette, the highest point on the loop at 5249'. After a painful technical descent for 2.2 miles and over 1500' of drop, you go straight back up 800' / .9 miles as you ascend Garfield.
At this point you are not even half way through the loop but have already done over 75% of the
At mile 16ish, we reached the Galehead hut and took our first prolonged break of the day. We were also able to refill out packs / bottles. I don't think cold water and PB & J sandwich ever tasted so good.
From here, you have the nastiest climb of the whole loop as you ascend South Twin. You climb about 1000' / 0.8 miles on some of the steepest rockiest terrain I have ever seen.
After a few more summits you reach Bond Cliff and then begin your descent back down to civilization (with about 8 miles remaining). As we bombed by hikers they laughed at us wondering how on earth we were able to move that fast. We laughed even more to ourselves as we were moving around 16 minute / mile, a far cry from our normal running pace.
With just under 5 miles to go, we hit the eastern end of the railroad trail and our pace immediately went back down under 9s. With about 2 miles to go I decided to drop the hammer and sprint it in. As the bridge to cross the Pemigewasset river came into view I pushed it into one final gear and flew by one last set of hikers to the finish.
|End of the Loop|
East Side of the Pemigewasset River
Talking with a few other runners and hikers afterwards, we all agreed that is one hell of a run / hike. In my years of ultra running, I have only ever covered that much climbing in a day once before (Virgil Crest) and that was spread out over 20 more miles.
All and all had a great day and looking forward to tackling other events like this in the future.
For more details checkout my Strava activity at: https://www.strava.com/activities/1107722177