Ouray 100 Mile Endurance Run - Ouray, Colorado

Elevation Gain: 41,862' .........13,365' high.........7640' low...........10,239' average

twilight 0505 - 2128 ............... weather .............. 1 2 3 4 reports

July 27, 2018 - 0800 Start, 52 hrs; PPU 1600-1900 on July 26 w/pre-race mtg at 1800; dropdn by 7/26











Target (Night)

START Fellin Park->
Fri 0800




-> Lower Camp Bird AS





Fri 0945




-> Silver Basin -> Lower Camp Bird AS




Fri 1130




-> Richmond AS




Fri 1215




-> Chicago Tunnel -> Fort Peabody -> Richmond AS




Fri 1515




-> Richmond Pass -> Ironton AS





Fri 1930

Fri 1715




-> Corkscrew Gulch -> Gray Copper -> Ironton AS LIGHT






Fri 2320

Fri 1915




-> Gray Copper -> Corkscrew Gulch -> Ironton AS






Sat 0310

Fri 2230




-> Richmond Pass -> Richmond AS (water only)





Sat 0045




-> Weehawken AS






Sat 0825

Sat 0200




-> Alpine Mine Overlook -> Weehawken AS






Sat 1115

Sat 0415




-> Hayden Pass -> Crystal Lake AS






Sat 1500

Sat 0715




-> Hayden Pass -> Fellin Park AS






Sat 1940

Sat 1045




-> Twin Peaks -> Silvershield AS






Sat 2320

Sat 1315




-> Fellin Park AS






Sun 0200

Sat 1515




-> Chief Ouray Mine -> Fellin Park AS LIGHT






Sun 0600

Sat 1915




-> Bridge of Heaven -> Finish Fellin Park





Sun 1200

Sat 2200

      FINISH in 44 hours ..................AS with DB        
Sun 0400

Section 1: Fellin Park -> Lower Camp Bird Aid Station (5.5 miles) 5.5

Overview: Runners leave Ouray via unpaved surface roads and a brief section of the Ouray Perimeter Trail before travelling up Camp Bird Road, a famous Jeeping route. This section of the race has some overlap with Hardrock 100 and Imogene Pass Run.

Technical Difficulty: Very low with the exception of some steps before the tunnel that feeds the Box Canyon Footbridge.

Description: Runners begin their journey on the dirt road behind the gazebo in Fellin Park near the Ouray Hot Springs. Almost immediately, runners turn left and cross the Uncompahgre River via a small footbridge. Surface roads (Oak St, Queen St, S Pinecrest Dr) lead runners to the Perimeter Trail. After a brief section of easy single track, a very steep section of manmade steps takes runners up the side of a rock formation and through a tunnel. Once through the tunnel, which is not quite tall enough to stand in, runners are treated to some stellar views as they cross Box Canyon footbridge suspended high above Canyon Creek. Another brief section of easy single track drops runners onto the unpaved Camp Bird Road where they climb for 4.3 miles to the first aid station. The Lower Camp Bird AS is located at a fork in the road. The inactive Camp Bird Mine (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Camp_Bird_Mine) is visible to your left.

Section 2: Lower Camp Bird AS -> Silver Basin -> Lower Camp Bird AS (6.0M) 11.5

Overview: Runners tag the upper alpine lake in Silver Basin and return to the Lower Camp Bird AS.

Technical Difficulty: Low to moderate

Description: Runners leave the Lower Camp Bird AS by taking a right at the fork and continuing along a popular Jeep route. The unpaved road climbs and passes under rock overhangs but remains relatively groomed until runners take a left (off the Hardrock route) onto the Jeep road that feeds Silver Basin. At this left, runners take the wooden bridge across Sneffels Creek and continue onto a more technical Jeep road that winds its way upward into Silver Basin. Depending on snowmelt, this road often includes a couple small water crossings, so participants should expect to get their feet wet. Runners pass the first of two alpine lakes while still under the tree line. The lakes have a surreal turquoise hue, the result of rock flour (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rock_flour) suspended in the water. Runners continue upward along rocky double track. The trees give way to panoramas of the mountains surrounding the basin as well as the more open valley they just travelled through. Finally, runners top out on some dirt double track through a field of wildflowers. The road dead ends at the second alpine lake where runners will find a hole punch. Runners hold punch their bib to prove they made the trip. Runners then retrace their steps back down to the Lower Camp Bird AS.

Section 3: Lower Camp Bird AS -> Richmond AS (2.1 miles) 13.5

Overview: Runners pass the Camp Bird Mine and climb alongside Imogene Creek. This section is on the Imogene Pass Run and follows the most popular Jeep route in Ouray County.

Technical Difficulty: Moderate - rocky uneven double track, but with mostly firm footing

Description: This time runners take the left at the fork by the Lower Camp Bird AS putting runners back onto the famous Imogene Pass Run route for a bit (that race ultimately continues to Telluride). Runners dip down briefly and skirt the edge of the Camp Bird Property, passing some old mining equipment and boarded up buildings. The road then begins climbing and turns into rocky double track (a true Jeep road, if you will). Runners can expect to get their feet wet when they cross Imogene Creek. On rare occasions there is a board a few feet to the right that allows a dry crossing, but don’t count on it. Dependent on snowmelt, this crossing is typically 10-12” deep, give or take (vehicles use it), and has a pretty low flow rate. But like anywhere in the steep, high country, this could change depending on weather. Always use caution and be especially alert if a bad storm comes up in the basin above you. Think of these basins as funnels with the drainage or creek being the bottom. Once through Imogene Creek, the Jeep road continues until it crosses Imogene Creek again, but this time via a wooden bridge. The Richmond AS is located at that bridge.

Section 4: Richmond AS > Chicago Tunnel > Fort Peabody > Richmond AS (7.8 M)

Overview: Runners continue upward along the popular Imogene Pass Jeeping route, detouring through old mining ruins to tag the Chicago Tunnel. Back on Imogene Pass road, runners continue to the high point of the course at Fort Peabody (13,365 feet / 4,074 meters) before returning to the Richmond AS via Imogene Pass Road.

Technical Difficulty: Moderate - rocky uneven double track, but with mostly firm footing, and a short climb along a field of talus to reach Fort Peabody

Description: Runners leave the Richmond AS continuing to climb along the Imogene Pass Road. Runners reach an area known as Upper Camp Bird, a continuation of the gold mining operations they passed earlier. The route detours off of Imogene Pass Road and through Upper Camp Bird. Runners pass through drainages that often have enough water to get their feet wet again. They pass old mining ruins as they climb on the increasingly neglected road that feeds the Chicago Tunnel. The road eventually deteriorates and narrows to the point it would be impassable in a vehicle. Of the road areas, this is one of the more technical. Yet, it is still in the range of moderate compared to the later sections. Runners top out at the Chicago Tunnel, a simple hole in the side of the mountain that was once the entrance to a mining tunnel. Tailings (the term for the broken waste rock from a mining operation) are visible immediately below the runner. Large piles of tailings are also visible strewn throughout Upper Camp Bird, now below the runner. Runners again hole punch their bib and retrace their steps until they arrive back on Imogene Pass Road. They continue upward where sparse patches of trees give way to open fields of wildflowers. Getting farther and farther above treeline, racers are likely to see countless marmots, a medium-size ground squirrel. At just over 13,000 feet, almost to Imogene Pass, runners leave the road and climb a short field of talus to arrive at the high point of the course, Fort Peabody, a small shack perched at 13,365 feet. (Hole punch!) On a clear day, runners have unrivalled views in every direction with mountains as far as the eye can see. Far below they can see the ground they just covered with green grass and grey rocks. In the direction of Imogene Pass, they get a peek at the terrain that the Imogene Pass Run follows into Telluride. They can also see the distinct Red Mountains in the distance and even view the zig-zagged Corkscrew Gulch they will cover during sections six and seven. Finally, runners retrace their steps along Imogene Pass Road (excluding Chicago Tunnel this time) and arrive back at the Richmond AS.

Section 5: Richmond AS -> Richmond Pass -> Ironton AS (6.0 miles) 27.3

Overview: Jeep roads, a short cross country section, and single track take runners over Richmond Pass and down to Hwy 550. A brief (and rare) flat section through Ironton Park connects runners to the Ironton AS.

Technical Difficulty: Moderate - uneven rocks on the old Jeep road, some of which are loose, cross country section has larger rocks and can have lingering snowpack, the descent to Hwy 550 is steep but footing is decent

Description: From the Richmond AS, runners follow a lower-traffic Jeep road that starts off mild, but gets increasingly technical as it climbs above treeline. Looser rocks make this one of the more challenging road sections. Near Richmond Pass, runners leave the road and follow markings through a field of grass and large rocks. Once over Richmond Pass, runners follow single track with magnificent views of the Red Mountains before quickly losing elevation and dropping back into the trees and down to Hwy 550 (a.k.a. the notorious Million Dollar Highway https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.S._Route_550). A few hundred yard of along the dirt shoulder of the highway connects runners to a dirt road through Ironton Park which leads to the Ironton AS. Runners will enjoy this small section as they get a moment of reprieve from the steep terrain.

Note: Flowers and weeds in the high country can easily grow waist deep in the summer. Keep an eye out for poison nettle and other plants that might cause discomfort.

Section 6: Ironton AS -> Corkscrew Gulch -> Gray Copper -> Ironton AS (8.1 M) 35.4

Overview: This counterclockwise loop around Red Mountain No. 1 includes a section of the popular Corkscrew Gulch Jeeping route as well as the Gray Copper hiking trail.

Technical Difficulty: Low to moderate

Description: Runners follow a Jeep road out of the Ironton AS. A brief flat section takes runners to a fork. Runners go right and follow Corkscrew Gulch. As the road winds its way up the side of Red Mountain No. 1, racers are treated to amazing views of Red No. 2 and Red No. 3, as well as the mountain range they crossed to reach Ironton. The views continue to change as runners loop around Red No. 1 with significant sections above treeline. A lower-traffic Jeep road cuts off of the main road and passes by small lakes right at the edge of the treeline. Shortly before the double track ends at the Vernon Mine, runners catch the upper trailhead of the Gray Copper Trail. The trail parallels Gray Copper Creek, crossing it at times, so expect to get your feet wet. From the lower trailhead, dirt roads bring runners back to the Ironton AS.

Section 7: Ironton AS -> Gray Copper -> Corkscrew Gulch -> Ironton AS (8.1M) 43.6

Overview/Description: A clockwise loop around Red Mountain No. 1. This is just section 6 reversed.

Section 8: Ironton AS -> Richmond Pass -> Richmond AS (water only) (6.0 miles) 49.5

Overview/Description: This is the reversal of section 5. The only difference is the Richmond AS will be water only on the return.

(The purpose of the Richmond AS being a full aid station earlier in the race is so that runners can “top off” after the Chicago Tunnel and Fort Peabody climbs before heading over Richmond Pass the 1st time.)

Section 9: Richmond AS (water only) -> Lower Camp Bird (no AS) -> Weehawken AS (4.2 miles) 53.7

Overview/Description: Runners are basically retracing their steps. From the water-only Richmond AS, runners descend Imogene Pass Road to Lower Camp Bird. Note that on this return trip, there will be no Lower Camp Bird AS because a new station is open a couple miles farther down Camp Bird Road at the Weehawken AS (along Camp Bird Road at the Weehawken Trailhead).

Side Note: It might be helpful to think of sections 8 and 9 as a single section since only water is available midway. While barely over ten miles when combined, and far from the toughest terrain on the course, section 8/9 is very tough psychologically, for several reasons. It’s probably nighttime. The miles (and many thousands of feet of vertical) are starting to add up. The runners who haven’t dropped are very spread out. It’s the last section before pacers can join. Etc. Runners whose races haven’t been cut short by altitude or fatigue will get their first big mental test here.

Section 10: Weehawken -> Alpine Mine Overlook [TAG] -> Weehawken AS (5.1M) 58.8

Overview: Runners complete a single track out-and-back that takes them to a scenic overlook at the top of a dramatic cliff where the Town of Ouray is visible thousands of feet below.

Technical Difficulty: Moderate - some shorts sections of exposure

Description: From the Weehawken AS on Camp Bird Road, the Weehawken trail begins in the trees and starts climbing immediately. Trees are peppered around the narrow single track. Runners reach a fork in the trail and turn right onto Alpine Mine Trail. The trail climbs and passes the first overlook with some amazing views of nearby mountains. The trail beyond the first overlook has some exposure and runners should use extra caution. However, the trails are in good shape (i.e. not many loose rocks) so runners should just be careful of footing. Runners top out at the Alpine Mine Overlook, a cliff standing over 3,000 feet above Ouray. Some of the 100 mile racers are in for a treat, because it is a site to see, especially on a clear, quiet night with the lights of Ouray twinkling below. Finally, runners retrace their steps back to the Weehawken AS.

Section 11: Weehawken AS -> Hayden Pass -> Crystal Lake AS (7.1 miles) 65.9

Overview: Runners descend Camp Bird Road a little more, but then detour on an old mine road that feeds the Hayden Trailhead. Some challenging single track takes runners over Hayden Pass before a steep descent to the Crystal Lake AS.

Technical Difficulty: High - extended sections with loose rocks, small sections of high exposure

Description: This is one of my favorite sections based on its uniqueness and difficulty. From the Weehawken AS, runners descend Camp Bird Road, briefly retracing a small part of section 1 before turning right onto a double track road that feeds the inactive Cutler Mine. Before reaching the Cutler Mine, runners reach the Hayden Trailhead and switch over to single track. Shortly after the trailhead, runners pass through a large area of fallen, windthrow trees with their roots intact and arranged vertically. A microburst (high wind event caused by thunderstorms) likely hit this stand (or group) of trees. Because the ground was wet, the trees blew over, but the roots stayed largely intact and were simply pulled out of the ground. Once past the windthrow, there is an extended section of trail with poor footing. Loose rocks of various sizes combined with a steep grade make this one of the more challenging sections, especially on the return trip when descending—so make note of its location. A buddy once laughed and called these ball bearing rocks, because sometimes when stepped on they just roll right out from under you. Past the ball bearings, the trail continues climbing and passes through beautiful stands of (upright!) trees. The trail meanders a bit at the top through sometimes thick vegetation. It’s not uncommon for the summer plants and flowers to grow waist high or more. Some are beautiful, and others have sharp points that will scratch and cut. The descent to Crystal Lake AS is generally treeless on the upper portion and provides spectacular views, includes the Red Mountains again. There is a talus slope with some exposure that deserves extra caution. Just beyond that, runners are treated to some very unique rock formations. Then a steep descent through the trees drops runners at the Crystal Lake AS at Hwy 550.

Section 12: Crystal Lake AS -> Hayden Pass -> Fellin Park AS (8.6 miles) 74.5

Overview/Description: This section retraces miles the runners have already seen. From the Crystal Lake AS, runners climb back over Hayden Pass and connect with Camp Bird Road. They catch the Ouray Perimeter Trail, go over the bridge/through the tunnel/down the steps, and then take the same surface roads back into Fellin Park.

Note: Runners should be very cautious when descending the ball bearing section. It’s not the most dangerous section as far as exposure—a slip isn’t going to send you off a cliff. It’s the fact that you don’t have enough traction to stop quickly or make any major adjustments. A rolled ankle/scraped knee/broken wrist/etc. is exactly what you are asking for if you come flying into this section. I took a good spill here last summer when the section snuck up on me. I tried to make a hard turn, lost traction, and slid a good five or ten feet off the trail/down the hill before I came to a rest. One of my handhelds bounced another good 20 feet and came to rest on the next switchback. If you run with a hydration vest, weight lifting gloves are a good idea on this section and might save your wrists.

Section 13: Fellin Park AS -> Twin Peaks -> Silvershield AS (6.3 miles) 80.8

Overview: From Fellin Park, runners take surface roads to the Old Twin Peaks Trailhead. An extremely steep climb takes runners to an intersection. Runners do an out-and-back, tagging the first peak. Back at the intersection, runners descend via the Silvershield Trail.

Technical Difficulty: High - extremely steep sections, exposure just below and on the peak, a short scramble to bag the peak

Description: Runners leave Fellin Park just as they did at the start of the race (footbridge, Oak St, Queen St). But this time they stay on Queen St (through the S Pinecrest Dr intersection) to get to the Old Twin Peaks trailhead. The trail gets increasingly steep as it proceeds. Per the Ouray Trail Group website, “Around 300 steps were placed using rock, logs and 4x4s, and 607 feet of cribbing was placed to help hold the trail in this very steep gorge.” The trail eventually hits a four-way intersection. Runners continue straight which puts them on the Twin Peaks trail. The climb continues at a lower grade for a spell before increasing somewhat. As runners are nearing the top, the trail leaves the trees and skirts an area of high exposure where runners need to use extreme caution. The trail isn’t right at the edge of a cliff, nor is it a bad trail. However, it is on a grade and can be more dangerous when wet when the risk of slipping and sliding increases. (Be especially careful when passing this same section on the descent.) The trail continues, although with less exposure, until it reaches a rock formation. A small scramble takes runners to the top of a peak for one hell of a view. (Hole punch!) Runners then descend the same trail until they reach the intersection. Runners then go left and descend via the Silvershield Trail (instead of going straight and continuing down Old Twin Peaks). Because it is less steep, the terrain between the intersection and the Silvershield AS is more runnable than other sections.

Note: Shortly after you start up the single track on Old Twin Peaks Trail after leaving town, you’ll come upon a beautiful, shiney, new footbridge. Don’t go that way! That’s Oak Creek and adds a couple miles. Your trail instead goes straight/slight right, up a steep rocky section.

Note: Choosing a shoe with a very aggressive tread pattern is a must for this race. Due to the elevation gain/loss, this race is one of the steepest ultramarathons in the world. You are almost always on a grade. On sections of exposure like the one mentioned above, having good grip becomes a safety issue, especially when wet or muddy like we saw in 2015. If your favorite kicks aren’t doing the trick, another alternative is to install a bunch of sheet metal screws or IceSpikes in the sole. I still run in the old Altra Olympus because I’m a frugal bastard (the newest model has an upgraded sole). After installing six IceSpikes in each of my old shoes (three in front, three in back), they grip amazingly well.

Note: Be wary of your GPS mileage on the Old Twin Peaks Trail. The gorge it follows is narrow and can obscure the sky creating some pretty funky GPS readings. A storm in 2015 added to the trouble, but some GPS watches doubled or even tripled the mileage of this section because they tracked so poorly.

Section 14: Silvershield AS -> Fellin Park AS (4.0 miles) 84.8

Overview/Description: Starting at the Silvershield AS, runner retrace their steps and climb the Silvershield Trail until the intersection with Twin Peaks Trail. Runners go left at the intersection and descend via the Old Twin Peaks Trail. Old Twin Peaks will bring runners back into Ouray. Queen St, Oak St, and the foot bridge will bring runners back to Fellin Park.

Note: Runners need to be very careful going back down this extremely steep section. Just plan to walk most of the descent. Take your time, because losing your footing here could send you bouncing down the rock and log steps, or falling into the gorge. Grippy shoes, trekking poles, and fresh headlamp batteries are all a must. If you have a pacer on this section, make sure they are prepared as well in terms of gear and goat-like abilities.

Note: If you arrive in Ouray several days early and want to check out some of the trails on the route, I highly recommend hiking this steep section of Old Twin Peaks Trail so that you become familiar with it.

Technical Difficulty: High - descending the steps/trail on Old Twin Peaks requires extreme caution

Section 15: Fellin Park AS -> Chief Ouray Mine -> Fellin Park AS (6.7 miles) 91.5

Overview: Runners follow the Ouray Perimeter Trail past Lower Cascade Falls and connect with the Chief Ouray Trail. A tough climb takes runners past Upper Cascade Falls to the Chief Ouray Mine. Runners return to Fellin Park via the same route.

Technical Difficulty: Moderate to High

Description: Runners leave Fellin Park by heading through the parking lot toward the (road) entrance of the hot springs pool. Runners cross the highway and jump on the Ouray Perimeter Trail. The trail climbs at a low-grade and then descends slightly as it approaches Lower Cascade Falls. The trail resumes a low-grade climb and gets moderately technical. The Chief Ouray Trail cuts off to the left. The grade increases as runners work their way up switchbacks. Although not as bad as the ball bearings on Hayden Trail, the Chief Ouray Trail definitely has some challenging footing in the form of loose rocks and dirt that tend to give way with much force. As with earlier sections, a shoe with good grip and trekking poles will serve you well, especially on the steep dirt. The grade begins to level off as the trail skirts the bottom of a small cliff. This section has exposure and deserves some caution, especially for sleepy runners. The trail then descends slightly to a water crossing at Upper Cascade Falls. After skirting another cliff, runners arrive at the first building of the Chief Ouray Mine, the turnaround point. (Hole punch!) Runners return to Fellin Park by retracing their steps.

Section 16: Fellin Park AS -> Bridge of Heaven -> Fellin Park AS (10.6 miles) 102.1

Overview: Briefly using the dirt shoulder of the highway, runners connect to the Old Horsethief Trail. Old Horsethief climbs steeply until it hits a ridge. Runners follow the ridge out of the treeline to the appropriately named Bridge of Heaven before returning the same way to Fellin Park.

Technical Difficulty: Moderate to High

Description: Runners leave Fellin Park via the parking lot for a second time. At the vehicle entrance to the hot springs, runners take a left and briefly run the dirt shoulder of Hwy 550 to the Old Horsethief Trailhead (the trailhead is on the side of the road opposite the hot springs). Runners climb switchbacks in the trees before crossing a section of talus near what is called The Blowout. The trail continues up more switchbacks and intersects private dirt roads in the trees before hitting a ridge. The grade eases somewhat as the trail begins following the ridge. Single track goes in and out of the trees as it keeps climbing. Eventually above treeline, the trail continues to the Bridge of Heaven (hole punch!), a high point along the ridge with more stunning panoramas. Runners then return via the same route to Fellin Park. Extra care should again be used when crossing the talus.


Section 1: Fellin Park -> Lower Camp Bird Aid Station (5.5 miles) 5.5

Section 2: Lower Camp Bird AS -> Silver Basin [TAG] -> Lower Camp Bird AS (6.0M) 11.5

Section 3: Lower Camp Bird AS -> Richmond AS (2.1 miles) 13.5

Section 4: Richmond AS > Chicago Tunnel > Fort Peabody > Richmond AS (7.8 miles) 21.3

Section 5: Richmond AS -> Richmond Pass -> Ironton AS (6.0 miles) 27.3

Section 6: Ironton AS -> Corkscrew Gulch -> Gray Copper -> Ironton AS (8.1 miles) 35.4

Section 7: Ironton AS -> Gray Copper -> Corkscrew Gulch -> Ironton AS (8.1 miles) 43.6

Section 8: Ironton AS -> Richmond Pass -> Richmond AS (water only) (6.0 miles) 49.5

Section 9: Richmond AS (water only) -> Lower Camp Bird (no AS) -> Weehawken AS (4.2M) 53.7

Section 10: Weehawken AS -> Alpine Mine Overlook [TAG] -> Weehawken AS (5.1M) 58.8

Section 11: Weehawken AS -> Hayden Pass -> Crystal Lake AS (7.1 miles) 65.9

Section 12: Crystal Lake AS -> Hayden Pass -> Fellin Park AS (8.6 miles) 74.5

Section 13: Fellin Park AS -> Twin Peaks -> Silvershield AS (6.3 miles) 80.8

Section 14: Silvershield AS -> Fellin Park AS (4.0 miles) 84.8

Section 15: Fellin Park AS -> Chief Ouray Mine -> Fellin Park AS (6.7 miles) 91.5

Section 16: Fellin Park AS -> Bridge of Heaven -> Fellin Park AS (10.6 miles) 102.1