Date: June 24, 2017.
Objective: Gardiner Peak elevation 6,500ft.
Stats: 25.2 miles and 4,990ft of gain round trip. Class 1. Strava track.
Links: See Super Daves report for a better description of hiking the peak.
Gear notes: Self supported runs at this distance are tricky because you leave the trail head carying everything you'll have. That's the long way of saying 2 liters of water was slightly not enough.
Gardiner Peak is another one of those peaks where the drive is longer and probably more difficult than the hike itself. I was looking to run about 18 miles but no more than 20, but when I mapped out this route, it looked to be about 22 round trip. I had already missed a key long run a couple of weeks before so I was definitely a little under trained for this distance at this current point in time. I had also wanted to check out the Mahalo Trail, which would add a few more miles than I needed. I decided to go with the primary objective of tagging Gardiner Peak and getting in those 20+ miles as I work up to marathon-plus distance during this training cycle. I figured I could feel it out after tagging the peak and add a few more miles if I felt up for it. I kept a conservative pace and just kept moving forward. Other than stopping to fiddle with the GoPro, that is.
The trail out to Gardiner was overgrown but not hard to find and stay on. There were a few open areas that provided a nice view all the way to the edge of the Sawtooths. At the saddle just west of the peak, I found a small break in the brush that lead to a faint trail to the top with minimal bushwhacking. There was a cairn and a register at the highpoint, but no rewarding view. Lots of flies cut my time at the top short and soon I was at the junction for the Mahalo Trail. Deep down inside I knew it was a lousy idea, but I went for it. The climb out was steep in places and mostly shaded but still reduced me to hiking. Its a beautiful trail with some fun terrain. Running back down the ridge road was hot and dusty. Descending into Shingle Creek was hot and I had a couple of stops to cool off and splash some water on my face. I'm a total wuss in the heat so I took the last few miles as slow as I needed to.
Shaky GoPro video below.