snowshoes, anyone?

Saturday I will be at the 13th running of the Mt Mitchell Challenge. Lucky 13…. yes, it will be a special year. Check out the weather report for today:

A WINTER STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT…NORTHWEST WINDS WILL GUST AS HIGH AS 60 MPH AT TIMES THURSDAY AFTERNOON INTO THURSDAY NIGHT AND FRIDAY. THIS WILL RESULT IN CONSIDERABLE BLOWING AND DRIFTING OF SNOW…AND PERIODS OF NEAR-BLIZZARD CONDITIONS. W…IND CHILL VALUES IN THE HIGHER ELEVATIONS COULD REACH FROM 5 TO 10 BELOW TONIGHT….SIGNIFICANT AMOUNTS OF SNOW ARE FORECAST THAT WILL MAKE TRAVEL DANGEROUS.

Saturday’s forecast keeps changing… currently 38/22, with snow showers in the afternoon. Cross your fingers that it’s cold enough for it to just be snow – last year’s weather went from bad to worse, and runners were being rescued off the mountain. Of course the two previous years I’ve been out there (running the marathon distance), we had picture perfect sunny days. Maybe I’ll bring some sunshine again :)

I have no idea how ready I am. Sure, physically I feel great (thanks, Matt!) Mentally I am there, pulling from that adventure racing fortitude that I haven’t tapped into for a few years. I guess it comes down to gear and specific conditions. The course has been greatly modified due to the snow. (55″ and 10′+ drifts?!!) Some of the trails are closed, so we’ll be using the road to reach the summit. It was plowed this week, but after the snow today and tomorrow, who knows what sort of shape it will be in. Some folks are using snowshoes. I have yaktrax ready, but am not prepared with gtx shoes or gaiters. fingers (or rather toes) crossed that the fleece toe covers I’ve been using inside my Vasque Blurs all winter will be enough for the conditions ahead.

I’m taking my camera and will be sure to capture some epic conditions. Meanwhile, here are some my friend Chris took out there recently:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/wncphotos/sets/72157623440072752/

And check out this article in the Asheville newspaper today.

And finally, a webcam from the summit. It’s dark out now, so I’m not quite sure what it looks right now. white, i’m sure!

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