This winter’s heavy snowpack continues to leave a chill on the excitement for summer activities throughout Colorado after several delayed openings of mountain passes left travelers in anticipation, and now the Southwest region’s premier summer event, the Hardrock Hundred Mile Endurance Run, has been canceled.
The safety of the 100-mile course has been deemed too uncertain to allow runners to complete it this year due to historic avalanche activity and snowpack on the San Juan mountains. The course links Lake City, Ouray and Telluride over four legs, beginning and ending in Silverton.
Measurements of the Snow Water Equivalent at the Red Mountain Pass Snotel Site help make the decision of whether the snow pack conditions will allow runners a safe passage. Currently, the 24.2 inches of snow has led the race’s management to investigate conditions of the course. The current amount of snow is too great for aid stations to be set up and also leave 40% of course conditions uncertain for the July 19 run.
“While snow and snow water equivalent levels looked to be dropping to manageable levels, other issues such as unprecedented avalanche debris, unstable snow bridges and high-water levels all contributed to us reaching the tough final decision that we did,” Dale Garland, run director, said in a statement on the event’s website.
The course has a cumulative vertical gain of 33,050 feet and a total elevation change of 66,100 feet. The run is a salute to the toughness and perseverance of the hardrock miners who lived and worked in the area and is a test of runners against the mountains, the website said. However, this year’s runners would be tested too harshly.
About 2,200 people from 43 countries and 48 U.S. states applied for the 145 spots to run in what would’ve been the 26th annual Hardrock 100. Some of the people selected in the lottery have waited years for the chance to compete in the race, Garland told the Durango Herald.
Garland said the Hardrock 100 has been canceled only two other times in its 25-year history: Once in 1995 for too much snow, and again in 2002 during the Missionary Ridge Fire, the Durango Herald reported.
Every year, race managers evaluate the conditions if the Snow Water Equivalent is more than 23 inches before June 1.
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