Tough Mountain Course Description
The Tough Mountain Challenge is designed by a highly trained and
frighteningly creative team of event master minds who spend sleepless nights imagining ways to challenge and torture the mind, body and soul. We also solicit and incorporate competitor feedback each year to make the course the best it can be. And because we limit the number of competitors and spread out the field into heats, you'll find the course to be a continuous challenge from start to finish without the crowding and backups that plague the big national events.
The 2012 Tough Mountain Challenge course covered some of the same ground as 2011 but with some new turns and new terrain, including the now-infamous hill climb affectionately called "WTF". In 2013 you can expect a return of many of the most popular obstacles from 2012 plus some evil new ones.
Start with a sprint up South Ridge where you'll experience what our famous snowmaking guns are capable of. Feel free to bring goggles, and leave your contact lenses at home. This year we’re going to get you every which way because we’re doubling the number of Fan Guns you’ll have to navigate.
SNOW & STEADY
Calm your breathing and balance across snowmaking pipes over very cloudy, muddy, and mysterious water. The steadier you are, the faster you'll go. Keep in mind you're already soaked and your legs are burning from Hurricane Alley. This would be a challenge for Mary Lou Retton. For you? Torture.
We give you a slight break as you run back to the base of South Ridge, where you'll encounter the largest and toughest mud crawl of the course. Get down on your knees, get dirty, and crawl under the barbed wire. Don’t look up and leave your CamelBaks at home. Do you need to ask why? Four words: razor sharp barbed wire.
Run uphill over slippery ground while we blast you in the face with snow guns. Good luck. It’s like playing American Gladiator with Hellga, blindfolded, with your hands tied behind your back, and getting your ass handed to you, but you don’t understand why.
Legend has it, back in the mid 1700s, after an inn refused her, Native American Molly Ockett cursed the area with Flood, Fire, and Failure. Be prepared to hold your breath, get wet, and hopefully not swallow this cursed muddy water. The fire will come from your burning lungs as you consider failure.
After passing through a wall of water racers will run a quarter mile uphill over hurdles to the "Trench or Terror.” If the idea of a Trench of Terror doesn’t send shivers down your spine, sprinting this uphill portion is sure to send pain down your legs.
TRENCH OF TERROR
Dive into an incredibly steep ravine which you'll need to navigate with strategy as a slope leads down to a stream crossing and an even steeper climb out. It's a bit like virgin quicksand - hard to get in and hard to get out!
WOODEN WALL RISE
After hauling yourself out of the Trench of Terror a quick trail run will bring you to the Wall. This is no manufactured plywood-and-ropes obstable, but a steep wall of logs and trees you'll have to get over.
"A real a$$ burner" as one of our testers put it. Follow a short trail through the woods that leads into a twisting, rocky stream bed that will feed you right into the Black Hole - a 50-foot-long culvert that crosses under a ski trail. If you slow down, the racers behind you may run right over you.
A couple course testers earlier this year rounded the corner at the base of this section, looked up, and said “WTF?!” Scramble your way up the steep slope and rock ledges. We’ll even hang some rope in case you need assistance. But you won’t need any help, will you, tough guy?
Is it really a mystery, or do we just not want to tell you? Only the evil course designers know for sure, but don't be surprised if you encounter a couple obstables in this area that will take back strength you may have recovered.
Keep your eyes peeled for trail markers or you'll end up wandering around far away on the mountain. You feel like you're walking in circles. Haven’t we walked by this tree already? What is that sound anyway? Could it be the Blair Witch?
HOLE OF HORROR
If you thought the Black Hole was scary, you're in for a real treat. This time you're crossing under an even wider ski trail, but without the benefit of that warm, inviting light at the end of the tunnel. If you're not afraid of the dark, you might be after this.
BARKER POND CROSSING
Last year competitors simply crossed the pond on a long net. Too easy! This year get ready for an entirely new challenge that will have you crawling and jumping like a frog from lilly pad to lilly pad all the way across.
What goes up must come down. After you cross the pond you'll need to climb up and over a wall before climbing / jumping / falling down the backside into a pit of mud. Then repeat. You’ll be demoralized, muddy and exhausted.
SLIP SLIDE & DIE
With your family and friends watching from below and the finish in sight you'll take a "break" and ride down our twin, side-by-slide slip n' slides. If you think you'll just run down the middle and stay dry, hotshot, think again.