Wasatch Range SR600 — Ride with GPS Link — Openrunner Link — RUSA Permanent # 2801
This route was first approved as a “Randonneur” type Super Randonnee 600 (i.e. SR600) on August 9, 2015 by Audax Club Parisien in France (the other type of SR600 is “Tourist,” which is more relaxed pace 600).
Listing of Super 600s Worldwide
Certification: Despite being approved and administered by ACP, this ride does not qualify one for the Super Randonneur award, nor does it serve as an ACP qualifier for longer brevets.
Introduction A Super 600 is a special 600 km permanent with with a minimum of 10,000 m of climbing and a maximum distance of 619 km (according to Openrunner.com). Extra time is allowed, due to the extra climbing. You get a minimum of 50 hours, instead of 40 as allowed on regular 600 km brevets. It is approved by ACP in France but is administrated by individuals in each country.
During the spring of 2015 I was laboring on many route variations for a possible Super 600 Permanent here in Utah, when my fellow randonneur, Kenneth Moss, from Utah, submitted one simple but nice loop, which included going through Sanpete County (where I live). I took this route and refined it, making the overnight at my home in Mount Pleasant, some 214 miles in. Much of the route includes roads that the Tour of Utah pro tour goes and where the 2002 Winter Olympics took place. This route travels near five Utah ski resorts and then into rural east-central Utah, before returning to Salt Lake City.
Route Description This clockwise loop route starts downhill from the mouth of Big Cottonwood Canyon (home of Brighton and Solitude ski resorts). Not coincidentally, my daughter lives just a short distance from the start (where I plan to overnight for the start and finish).
DAY ONE (344 km [214 miles], four major mountain passes & 18,660′ of climbing): The route starts at 4,514 feet and immediately makes it’s first climb, which is 5,000 feet of vertical, over legendary Guardsman Pass (we are going up the “less steep” side, which has a few short 12–14% sections, but overall it is a manageable 5-8%, esp. the bottom parts of this climb). It tops out at 9,791 feet, the high point of the ride. It then drops down near the fringes of Park City ski resort and into beautiful Heber Valley. From there it heads up and over Wolf Creek Pass (9,400 ft) and down into the rural community of Duschene. The route then climbs up and over another 9,200 foot pass (Indian Creek). The routes works it’s way around the east side of Scofield Reservoir and finally up to the top of the Skyline Drive at about 9,400 feet before making a quick descent into Sanpete Valley, where we make our overnight stop in Mount Pleasant at 6,400 feet. From Duschene to Mount Pleasant is 100 miles, with only one service, which closes at 6:00 p.m. at night and is closed one day a week (Wednesday?). Additionally, from Duschene to Scofield is about 70 miles with no water sources, except a small creek, shortly after the Indian Creek climb. Because of this, consider of the following for this section: a) load up with extra bottles of bottle in Duschene, b) carry a hydration pack or, c) plan to purify water along the way.
DAY TWO (269 km [166 miles], three major, and one minor mountain pass & 16,000′ of climbing): After leaving Mount Pleasant, the route gets a respite from the climbing (mile 214 to 241) as it heads over to the base of Mount Nebo, where it climbs some 3,500 feet (including some 10-14% grades), plus some additional up and downs along top of this scenic road. It then drops down to 4,500 feet and has a some flat miles as it travels around the southern and eastern edges of Utah Lake, before it goes through metropolitan Provo and heads up Provo Canyon. It makes a short hill climb up part of the Squaw Peak overlook (more short 14% grades), before returning to Provo Canyon and finally tackling the Alpine Loop (topping out at 8,000 feet), passing Sundance ski resort and then down American Fork Canyon. It then makes a “short” climb over Traverse Ridge which puts it into the busy Salt Lake Valley again (~ 4,500 feet). The final climb goes up Little Cottonwood Canyon past Snowbird ski resort (very sustained 9-10 grades, esp. the bottom 2/3s of the canyon, with a few sections at ~ 12%), ending at Alta ski resort (8,600 feet), before making a U-turn back down the canyon and back to the start.
Mountain Passes on this Route (in order of appearance)
Passes, in order of appearance. With the maximum elevation and elevation gain for each pass.
- Guardsman Pass (top of Big Cottonwood Canyon) 9,791′ (2984 m). Gain of 5,277′ (1609 m) from our c-store which was several miles below the mouth of the canyon.
- Wolf Creek Pass 9,485′ (2891 m). Gain of 3,259′ (993 m).
- Indian Creek Pass 9,068′ (2763 m). Gain of 3,553′ (1083 m).
- Eccles Canyon (a.k.a Skyline Drive), 9,413′ (2869 m). Gain of 1,780′ (542 m) for tallest summit, but several other shorter climbs.
- Nebo Loop 9,345′ (2848 m). Gain of 3,530′ (1076 m) for tallest summit, but several other shorter summits.
- Alpine Loop 8,060′ (2457 m). Gain of 3,557′ (1084 m) with a shorter intermediate climb thrown in to bring the total climbing up to the mandatory 10,000 m.
- Traverse Mountain 6,135′ (1869 m). Gain of 1,336′ (407 m).
- Little Cottonwood Canyon (i.e. Alta ski resort at the top of this dead-end canyon) 8,724′ (2659 m). Gain of 4,200′ (1280 m) from Draper. From the mouth of the actual canyon it is “only” 3,333′ (1016 m).
The “gain” spec is the amount of continuous climbing from the base of each climb.
It is possible, that this is one of most difficult SR600s worldwide, due to the fact that it has five passes over 9,000 feet and two over 8,000 feet. This may have the highest “average” mean elevation of any SR600 (I plan to research this). If you take an average of the seven passes over 2000 m, it is 2781 m (9,124 feet). Because of this, randonneurs traveling from regions at lower elevation would be well advised to acclimate a week or so prior to attempted this route.
Ride with GPS Stats 612.6 km (380.6 miles), with 10,538 m (34,575 feet) of cumulative elevation gain. The lowest point of the ride is at 4,400 feet and climbs to a high point of about 9,661 feet.
Open Runner Stats 605.4 km, with 10,007 m of cumulative elevation gain.
Availability Typical season for this ride is late June through late September, or possibly early October.
Support No outside support is allowed at any checkpoints, except for drop bags and services at the overnight checkpoint.
Start & Finish Point Maverik c-store (or other nearby business), 6855 S 1300 E , Cottonwood Heights, Utah 84121 (open 24/7). Elevation 4,437 feet. There are numerous services in this area, including a Walmart, 24/7 Denny’s, just two blocks south of the start.
Time Limit 50 hours
Fee $20.00 (which includes the ACP homologation fee, but not a medal)
Motels Nearby the Start
- Super 8, 7048 S 900 E, Midvale, UT 84047. Phone: 801-255-5559. This motel is about 8/10s of a mile from the start.
- Hawthorn Suites by Wyndham Salt Lake City-Fort Union, 6990 Park Centre Drive, Salt Lake City, UT 84121. 2 blocks from the start.
- Staybridge Suites, 747 Blue Vista Ln, Midvale, UT 84707. Phone: 385-722-4730. Approx. 1/2 mile from start.
- Studio 6, 975 E 6600 S, Murray, UT 84121. Phone: 801-685-2102. Approx. 3/4 mile from the start.
- Castle Creek Inn, 7391 South Creek Rd, Cottonwood Heights, UT 84093. Phone: 801-567-9437. Approx. 3/4 mile from the start, right along the finish route.
Services at the Overnight
- Horseshoe Mountain Lodge, 850 S Highway 89 (8 blocks off route to the south). Phone 435-462-9330.
- 24/7 services at the overnight: Maverik, 381 S State Street (2 blocks off route to the south). C-store.
- There are several restaurants and fast food places including Subway.
11 Sep 2015: Richard Stum & Kenneth Samuel made the inaugural run of this route with a time of 45:36, while getting some 4.5 hours of sleep.
See Kenneth’s report here.
My blog report is here.