Old Gabe 30K/50K
Detailed Trail Information
With over 11,000 feet of climbing on rough mountain trails, the Old Gabe 30K/50K is a challenging test of endurance for all runners. The 30K gets advantage of all the great climbing and scenery in a lesser dose. The following information has been prepared to give you some knowledge of the course. Please make time to read this information before race day.
Location: I-90, exit 305 North or Frontage Road to Springhill Rd. Drive north 2 mi on Springhill Rd, right on Sypes Canyon Road across from Springhill Sod Farm sign, 1 mile watching for hard left on Summer Cutoff Road, up hill and over to take a right and go 2 mi on Saddle Mt Rd to end, left on Forest Service road to Middle Cottonwood trailhead (about 2 mi more). The start and finish area are located at the trailhead. Parking is very tight. Carpool from Wal-Mart in Bozeman or park on the edge of the road. Takes 20-30 minutes from Bozeman, depending on traffic and roads.
Weather: Morning low can be in the 20's but should be low 40's. Daytime high can be in the 80's or as low as the 40's but should be in the 70's. It can rain or snow but it is generally mostly clear and sunny by the end of June. I recommend you have a long-sleeve polypro shirt with you no matter how warm it is supposed to be.
Safety: Normally give the leaders or downhill runners the right of way. Absolutely no switchback cutting, both for fairness and concern for the trails. Strongly recommend you bring your own water bottles and energy food. Please drink early and often to avoid dehydration as it tends to get hot out there on the return trip. Plan on consuming at least 200 calories and 20 oz of water per hour. Gel and or energy bars are recommended. If for any reason you feel the need to exit the course during the race, you can do so at each of the three aid station. If you do leave the course for any reason, it is your responsibility to check out with the aid station crew before doing so. A sweep crew will follow the last runner starting at Sypes and will be equipped with communication to the finish area. Please be aware that spring snowpack may be encountered in both South and North Bostwick canyons (between Middle Cottonwood and Truman) as well as the top of Truman gulch.
If you need to leave the course for any reason please check out at one of the aid stations!
Drop bags: There are 3 drop bag stations. Leave your drop bag by the appropriate sign at the race start area. It will be returned to the same area. The first will be at the turn around at Truman (mile 8). The second drop bag station will be at the Middle Cottonwood Creek aid station where you started at mile 16. The third is at Sypes at mile 24. Please do not use paper bags. Please write your name on your drop bag. Do not use glass containers in your drop bag. Drop bags may be claimed at the post-race party if you leave before their return to Middle Cotonwood..
Aid Stations: There are three aid stations as mentioned below. The aid station at Middle Cottonwood will be best supplied and less likely to run out but you should be prepared for late volunteers and/or food running out (though we do promise to do our best to avoid either situation). Aid stations are planned to have mixed electrolyte drink, water, PB&J and meat and cheese tortilla rollups, M&M's, cookies, pretzels, individual gel servings, fruit, caffeinated pop, gel, and chips.
Cut off times: The two aid station cut off times will be strongly enforced for the safety of all runners and volunteers. If you are not LEAVING the aid station by these set times, you must stop. Race management's goal is to see that everyone crosses the finish line in 12 hours or less and to help the volunteers plan out the time they will be at the aid stations. These cutoff times have been established to help accomplish this.
Middle Cottonwood Trail Head. Cut off time is 6 hours !
Sypes Trail head. Cut off time is 9 hours ! A ride will be provided back to the finish-start area.
All runners must check in at the aid stations.
Directions to Truman Gulch trail head: Fom Middle Cottonwood backtrack down Saddle Mountain Rd past Summer Cutoff to Walker Rd, travel right (north) on Walker road (along the base of the west side of the Bridgers) about 3 miles until you reach Forswell Road. Go right. Travel about 3 miles until the road ends at the trail head.
Directions to Sypes trail head: Back down Saddle Mtn Road and then first left on Summer Cutoff Rd. Go about a mile and then left on Sypes Canyon Rd. Go up the road about 1.5 miles until it turns to gravel. It curves right to the trailhead parking lot.
Middle Cottonwood to Saddle Pass (miles 0 to 4).
All runners Start at 6:00am sharp! Be very careful in 1.5 miles where your trail goes straight. The right turn goes to Sypes, the second leg of the 50K. After departing the Middle Cottonwood aid station you will start the second longest, though initially gradual climb towards the pass below Saddle Peak (elevation 8,400). On your way up to the pass you will travel through open meadows with good trails and cross several small creeks. Further up the canyon the trail gets much steeper and starts to switchback several times as you approach the pass. No trail cutting! Stay on the switchbacks. It is at this pass before you descend into South Bostwick Canyon, that we will have either self-serve water or volunteers with some gel or electrolytes. 2,300 feet of climbing in this section.
Saddle Pass to Truman Gulch (miles 4 to 9).
After leaving Saddle Pass you will drop into the south and north forks of Bostwick Canyon. Snow and mud will likely be encountered in these canyons. Be prepared! The trail drops steeply off of these two passes . The trail is also less obvious through a lot of this area but will be well marked. Each of the two passes climb nearly 500 feet. Coming off of the second pass into Truman Gulch you will be on good trails for the most part. Truman Gulch is good for downhill running as it is a steady and gradual pitch most of the way. You go straight down to Truman. Several small stream crossings will come and go, and the dense forest and nice trail provide good scenic downhill running. At the trailhead of Truman, you will find the first aid station and first drop bag. Your friendly race director strongly recommends having your favorite race food or energy drink, and possibly major painkillers and perhaps some dry socks for the hoof back up the Gulch.
Saddle Pass to Middle Cottonwood Canyon (miles 14 to 18). Lots of steep downhill running on a rocky trail as you return whence you started. You must return to the Middle Cottonwood Aid Station with drop bag #2. Do NOT go directly to Sypes. 6,200 feet of climb
Middle Cottonwood to Sypes (miles 18 to 25).
Cut off time for leaving Middle Cottonwood aid station is 12:30! Just over a mile up the creek from the start, take a hard right to your biggest and most unavoidable creek crossing. This is followed by four miles of long, sometimes steep climbing up to about 7500 feet. The trail then traverses across a wooded area for a mile or so. After going down a steep rocky ridge you will be contouring around a big ravine before hitting the junction of the Sypes Canyon and the Baldy Mountain trails. Water will be hiked up here at great expense to volunteers! Hard right again and nearly all downhill, very runnable, for 3 miles to the Sypes Aid Station which is Drop bag station #3.