Sentinel Every Week

Inversion: a Sentinel treat.
Running is all about consistency, so dedicated runners are often creatures of habit. We establish a routine and make it ritual. Given this behavior, it should come as little wonder that New Year's resolutions suit us well. So consider giving yourself something for the new year, rather than taking something away.

For 2013, I resolved to run Mount Sentinel at least once a week for the entire year. I can't say that it was a life changing experience, but I can say that it was my all-time favorite New Year's resolution and became an important part of my running routine. It got me out into the mountains, which is a highlight of any day.

The first few weeks of January were ridiculous. Cold, ice, snow, and plenty of falls highlighted the winter runs up the mountain. The snow melted and mud brought traction. There was rain. But improved conditioning came too and the mountain got a whole lot easier. Flowers bloomed. The heat of summer coincided with high miles and summer racing. I had Sentinel summits to spare. Fires brought smoke and a new challenge, but fire season quickly gave way to crisp fall air and glowing foliage. In November, snow returned and so did ice. The home stretch brought back cold air and more icy falls.

Just another day.
Most weeks were actually pretty easy, even routine. I often ran the mountain three or four times in a given week. Others weeks were tough and I barely made it. Sometimes being out of town during the week and having only an afternoon to get the summit made it a burden. All told, I missed two weeks where I was out of town the entire time. In those cases I found the closest simulator I could. In Minnesota, this meant repeats up "Wild Mountain" ski area until I got kicked off for trespassing. I ran Sentinel in the dark. I ran it fast and I ran it slow. There were days before and after marathons and ultra marathons. But every time I reached the summit, I did so with the realization that the day's run was part of this larger adventure. It also reminded me just how fortunate I am to live in a place where I can stand on top of a mountain barely more than a half hour after stepping out my office door.

University district aglow
A few Sentinel excerpts from my running log:

January 2: Sentinel. All snow, cold. Great views. Up Smokejumper, down the face. 9mi

January 9: Sentinel. Snow. Sloppy mess. Fell many times. 9mi

January 16: Sentinel. Valley inversion, warm on the mountain. Via fire road. 10mi

February 9: Sentinel. From home, up Crazy, down Smokejumper. Very icy and snowing hard. 19mi

March 19: Sentinel via Deer Creek loop. Muddy, snowpack trail, after work. 20mi.

March 21: Sentinel. Uphill cruising, downhill icy, windy, gropple. 9mi

May 21: Sentinel. Summited on way home from work. Thunderstorms. 12mi. 

June 8: Pengelly Double Dip. With warm up and long cool down. 19mi.

August 22: Sentinel. Very smoky. 9mi.

September 18: Sentinel with Montana Trail Crew. 9mi.

October 12: AM Sentinel hike with Dad. PM Jumbo with Jeremy. 12mi.
A favorite summit. My Dad--a lifelong runner who had to give up the sport after a pair of knee replacements--hiked it with me in October.   
November 4: Sentinel. First snow run of the winter. 9mi

December 30: Sentinel N & S summits with Jed via NW ridge. Lots of ice. 82nd Sentinel Summit of 2013. 7mi.
Final ascent of 2013. 
Beginning in September, a number of summit runs came as a part of Montana Trail Crew group runs up the mountain. We meet every Thursday at noon at the trout statues along the Clark Fork River next to the Higgins Street Bridge. All are welcome to join us for some, or all, of this amazing run. Generally we take an hour and a half to cover the approximately 9 miles and 2000 vertical feet. If the group gets too big we'll probably split it into faster and slower paced groups. But typically there is just a handful of us and we settle into whatever conversational pace the day brings. This is an informal thing and we all know the way up and down so whatever pace people run seems to work fine. If you don't have the time to make the summit feel free to run a couple miles with us along the river trail before turning back. It's nice to see the community out there. Check our Facebook page for updates. We intend to keep this going into the foreseeable future.

John Hart and Dean McGovern enjoying their lunch break
So if you're looking for a new adventure for 2014, consider a resolution that adds something to your life. If it's Sentinel, join us on Thursday to get started.

MTC Thursday group runs bring welcome company to an otherwise routine ascent.
Jed Rogers trying to stay upright
Brink Kuchenbrod ascending Smokejumper on a MTC Thursday group run.



Twitter Feed


Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required