There are some pretty crazy races out there and the Alaska Mountain Wilderness Classic is another one to put on the lists of all you competitive endurance adventure buffs. Winter Wildlands Alliance (the one’s who keep our backcountry terrain peaceful and untracked by snowmobilers) Public Lands Director, Forrest McCarthy, recently spent his summer vacation competing in this event with teammate Roman Dial. They finished in second place, 15 hours behind the winning team…28 people entered the race, but only 8 finished.
Here’s a little video recap from their race. For those that don’t know him, Forest is the main character and you can watch his pants slowly turn into one-legged shorts throughout the race.
The Alaska Mountain Wilderness Classic started in 1982 and it’s course typically changes ever few years, but ranges anywhere from 150-250 miles and goes through some of Alaska’s most beautiful areas. The goal is to get from point A, to point B…by any route/means possible…excluding motored vehicles of course. Most racers go by foot and pack-raft, but bikes, skis and even paragliders have been used. Today, satellite phones are required to be carried by each competitor. There is also a winter version of this race, the Alaska Mountain Wilderness Ski Race that has taken racers through the Brooks, Wrangell St. Elias and Alaska mountain ranges since starting in 1987.
One of the cool things about this race is that it is not affiliated with any organized group…meaning, there are no sponsors or prizes. While the “no prizes” part bites, not being an “organized race”, I’m sure avoids many of the permit hoops one mush go through to organize an event in a wilderness setting. I’ve often thought this would be a good way to pull off a rando race on Teton Pass. The Teton Pass Challenge…how many laps can you do from 6am to 6pm! What do you think?