The Grand Traverse


March 23 to 24 2018
11:45 pm to 4:00 pm
The Elk Mountains Grand Traverse was conceived by Crested “Buttian”, Jan Runge and a band of other backcountry devotees in 1998. The race’s genesis was partially based on the historical mail routes that connected the Colorado mining towns of Crested Butte and Aspen in the 1880s; but also drew inspiration from the Patrouille des Glaciers, a point-to-point ski race in Switzerland which Runge had become familiar with in the 80’s. Colorado’s own competitive ski mountaineering legacy was born!

Typically, the race starts at midnight so participants reach the high point of Star Pass (12,303 feet) before the warmth of the day increases avalanche risk on the exposed eastern slopes of the pass. Because of the remote route through the Elk Mountains, each team of two is required to carry enough food and supplies to sustain themselves for 24 hours. Before the start of the race the team packs will be checked to be sure all essential gear is present including shelters, stove, fuel, avalanche beacons and rescue gear, first aid and repair kits etc. The Grand Traverse is a true test of physical and mental endurance that keeps athletes returning year after year to experience perseverance in this Grand endeavor!

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