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High altitude running during the "winter" months

Hi all,
I've been doing some running lately at higher altitudes. Trails like ski hut and cucamonga peak for instance. These are a good mix of slow running and steep power hiking for me. With the snow coming (eventually, I hope) I was wondering where I would go to try and keep this up. I have microspikes and an ice axe (and I'm not afraid to use em!) but I'm not sure those peaks are safe in microspikes once they're blasted good with a couple snow storms. So i'm wondering A) if folks do alot of the local peaks in microspikes with alot of snow and B) if not, are there other high altitude trails around here that might have alot of snow but are safer in microspikes because they have less "exposure", etc. Maybe i should just get some real crampons, but running with crampons and an ice axe strapped to my back can be a pain. I'm trying to find other 10-20 mile trails around here that stay higher than 6000' which wouldnt require an ice axe and I'm not turning up anything. Maybe Big Bear I guess?

I can't speak for microspikes as I've not used them, but when I'd do some winter jogging, I had Black Diamond Contact strap crampons on some Salomon XA Pro 3D GTX (Goretex) trail runners and they were good. I think the Microspikes would be fine... but that obviously depends on conditions.

Trail crampons. Lightweight, cheap, wear w/trail-runner shoozes.   Wink

I've got a pair of Microspikes that seem to work well for icy conditions.  Never used them for running, just hiking.

I can think of a few winter trails in the Big bear area, all on the east & north side of the lake.  

The Pacific Crest Trail from Onyx summit to Cushenberry summit (where Hwy 18 starts down to the Lucerne Valley) then over to Holcomb Valley Road (just below the Big Bear Dump), across the road and up for 1.5 miles toward Gold Mountain.  Don't know the exact length of this portion of the PCT, but its relatively flat, near roads/civilization, and not a lot of tree cover.  

The PCT from Onyx Summit toward the Coon Creek area east of the San G Wilderness.

Holcomb Valley Road itself.  Plenty of dirt roads in Holcomb Valley (in fact anything on the north side of Big bear Lake), but this goes all the way through it and comes out near Fawnskin and would be a 30 miles loop if you came back to the dump area. A lot of it is on the north side of Holcomb Ridge, and shaded, so will keep snow longer than the unshaded south side of the ridge. You could start near the Big Bear Dump and follow it westward.  Not a lot of uphills, but you could take off up towards Gold Mountain after 2 miles, take the Van Dusen cutoff and go over the ridge back to Big Bear Lake after about 5 miles.  

The Fire Road up to Butler Peak.  Starts in Fawnskin.  Can't remember the exact fire road #s, but its about a 14 miles RT, about 1700 ft of gain.

FS Road 2N93.  This is the fire road up to the Sugarloaf Peak trailhead thats between Onyx and the Sugarloaf residential area.  Its closed off to traffic during the winter.  It goes around the east side of the Sugarloaf area and eventually comes out around Wildhorse Meadows.


Thanks Taco, i need to chk those out. need me some beefier traction for sure.

Hey Everyday, have you had good luck with those on light trail runners? What I'm seeing says not recommended for trail runners, especially very light trail runners. But maybe you've tried them?

Thanks atomic coyote for all those details on Big bear, I will definitely put those on the list for the next time I'm up there. Holcomb sound ideal for long snowy runs. I'm also thinking maybe some of the peaks around Baden Powell. Do any of those have 5-8mi of climbing without needing serious crampons?

On barefoot type trailrunners, like my Merrell trail gloves, or with those ones w/toes...i dunno wtf thoser, I cant where em on those! I cant even where yaktrax on my Merrells, But on a sturdier trailrunner ive had no issues, Especially on my adidas TR3's all winter stuff works great. I think they work well because of the edge thingy on the heel helps hold things on. adidas doesnt make TR3's anymore, but they have a TR4 now whith the same shape.  I dunno wat running shoes you wear though...all i can say is just try em, if they dont work, try something else, thats what I do. I dont normally listen to reviews cause ive found that things most people dont like, or say are bad, I never have a problem with. so....trial n error is the best way to go IMO  Very Happy

Re: Re

longcut wrote:
Thanks atomic coyote for all those details on Big bear, I will definitely put those on the list for the next time I'm up there. Holcomb sound ideal for long snowy runs. I'm also thinking maybe some of the peaks around Baden Powell. Do any of those have 5-8mi of climbing without needing serious crampons?

Most of Holcomb Valley Road is flat (relatively); the hilly parts come where you cross over the ridge that separates it from the Big Bear Lake Valley.  The east end of the road (where the Big bear Dump is located, north of Baldwin Lake) would be the easiest (and flattest) access point.  If you've got an AAA card, go into one of their offices and get their "Guide to the San Bernardino Mtns" map.  It shows almost all the dirt roads around Big Bear Lake, and those in Holcomb Valley.  It doesn't show any topograhic relief lines (just the peaks), but just remember there's a ridge separating the two valleys and you'll have a really good idea of what's there.  It also shows all the roads just northeast of the BB Lake (NE of Fawnskin), which also has a lot (sometimes confusing amount) of fire roads.  If you do go back there you'll probably have the whole place to yourself.  I used to xc ski the road; you could hammer through 10-20 miles, sometimes overnight back there in mid-winter, and never see anyone else . . . nice & quiet.  Smile


I probably need to look into a new shoe and some of them hillsounds for winter running, my usual runners may be too flimsy. this will allow me to go further up the mountain during winter without requiring boots. Thanks for tips everyone! Have fun out there, hopefully we'll get a little snow eventually!! Forum Index -> Gear & Fitness
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