Eyes Wide Open: A Runner’s View of the 2018 Hardrock 100 Course

While I’ve got a couple article ideas swirling around my mind at the moment, if I close my eyes and relax, I still see Hardrock. Given my failure to publish some of the 700-plus photos I took from the 2016 Hardrock, I decided I’d share some of the images I have on my hard drive as well as in my head. Below are a few of the 762 photos I shot while running this year’s Hardrock 100. Enjoy!

Now, there’s a bonus photo album on Facebook.

[This is no race report, nor do I intend to publish one, but you can watch Meghan’s post-race interview with me and I’m happy to answer questions about my race, gear, etc. in the comments below.]

While offering plenty of alone time, the Hardrock 100 also offers plenty of time to chat with friends, old and new. Here, a train of at least 10 runners heads up toward Putnam Mountain. All photos: iRunFar/Bryon Powell

More often photographed from above at Grant-Swamp Pass, Island Lake is beautiful from many angles.

The stark beauty that can be seen atop Grant-Swamp Pass.

Ben Wyrick descends Swamp Canyon with Oscar’s Pass in the distance.

Runners climb Oscar’s Pass under grumpy skies. Those same clouds help keep runners happy by keeping temperatures from soaring during the heat of the day.

Although the wildflowers bloomed early this year and the race was a week later than normal, north-facing aspects such as Wasatch Basin retained show-stopping displays.

Dappled light poured into Marshall Basin above Telluride, providing a stunning display while runners traversed between Mendota Saddle and Virginius Pass.

Adam Wilcox takes the first hands-needed steps before the rope-assisted descent off Virginius Pass, the home of Kroger’s Canteen. It’s one of my “Oh, hell no!” moments from this year’s race.

I stop whenever I pass the textbook Great Unconformity in Box Canyon, where a whooping 1.3 billion years of geology is missing between the 1.4-billion-year-old Precambrian rock below and the roughly 27-million-year-old volcanic San Juan Tuff above.

One of the numerous (and numbered) Red Mountains pokes out above the Million Dollar Highway during the climb up the Bear Creek Trail.

Trout hit the surface of what I’ll call Upper Cataract Lake as Day 2 of Hardrock 2018 dawns.

The simple, yet stunning scene of the Grenadier Range showing off from Green Mountain. For me, this is the view that is Hardrock.

Having my nieces–Maya (9) and Norah (7)–crew me at Hardrock will surely be a highlight of my year. Here, they join me for the final stretch toward the Hardrock.

I deeply wish Bill Dooper had been there to sit next to me outside the gym after this year’s Hardrock. But he wasn’t. However, my race was dedicated to him and he “paced” me the whole way. Miss you, Bill!

Bryon Powell: is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of iRunFar.com. Having spent nearly 20 years as an ultrarunner and three decades as a trail runner, he's also written Relentless Forward Progress: A Guide to Running Ultramarathons and co-wrote Where the Road Ends: A Guide to Trail Running. He calls Silverton, Colorado and Moab, Utah home.

View Comments (25)

  • Wow, just wow. Have to go there one day, definitely.
    Thanks!

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    • Great photos of a great course.
      And great performance too. Congratulations!

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      • Thanks, Markus!

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  • Bryon,
    The HAT! Bill is smiling.
    Was in the Dayton, WY Merchandile (owned by Craig and Elaine, great story here runners) at last year's Big Horn and there was a Green Bay Packer birdhouse for sale. Turns out it was made by the Jerry Kramer who lives just across the Idaho border and who was just inducted into the Canton football Hall Of Fame. At this year's Bighorn, the birdhouse was gone. Why didn't I buy the birdhouse?
    Really glad Bill left the HAT with you. Precious.

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  • Amazing photos. Thank you for sharing

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  • You're right -- gonna have to make it a point to get up there one of these days...

    Somehow there should maybe be a special award for someone who can finish that fast and take those pics!

    JV

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    • I think the award is either (1) running the race itself or (2) great beer from southern California... fortunately, I got both! ;-)

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  • Absolutely breathtaking photos. Thanks for posting!

    Any chance you could share the type of camera you hauled along on your run to take them with?

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    • "Any chance you could share the type of camera you hauled along on your run to take them with?"

      I sure can... an iPhone X. :-)

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  • Amazing. Thanks!

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  • Lovely photo's (and good run too)!

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  • Always amazed by runners who have the energy to frame photos. Excellent shots worthy of a coffee table book too. Fantastic work.

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    • Who knows, someday there might be an iRunFar photo book. It's something I ponder from time to time, but hesitate since I'm no pro photographer.

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      • You're a pro. Thanks for the great photos.

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  • Those are really terrific photos -- congrats. So which do you prefer, clockwise or counterclockwise, and why?

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    • With a little joking and a little truth, I prefer whichever direction I've run less recently... more time to forget the pain and difficulties as well as a growing desire to see the other direction's particular views, lighting, etc.

      From a performance standpoint, I'm coming to think I prefer many of the descents in the counterclockwise direction as well as preferring getting the loooong-time up high section from Cunningham to Sherman out of the way early. Hopefully, I get in in 2019... or 2021 and can confirm. :-)

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  • Great shots Bryon!

    How do you keep your camera or phone from not losing battery power taking 700+ shots over the course of 2-3 days anyway? Really nice shots man. Congrats on a great run. You looked great out there - fantastic smile too! Keep it up!

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    • Hi Norb,
      Airplane mode is the biggest help here. While probably not a big help, I also quit most apps I'm not using at the time. All I really used were the camera and podcast apps. I did briefly turn off airplane mode while coming in and out of Telluride and Ouray.

      I carried a lipstick size battery for one segment from 55-70 miles. I mostly used it to charge my watch, but put the rest of the battery to my phone.

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  • Beautiful photos, thanks for sharing

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  • Awesome shots!! really makes me wanna go there!

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  • Brilliant. Its the moments well away from the start and finish and the aid stations that only you experience that are the essence of the personal experience.

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    • And the real excitement of running the race is not knowing where those moments will occur!

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  • Wow! Stunning, spectacular country, amazing photos!! THANK YOU for sharing!! And, CONGRATS! Rima

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  • Really beautiful out there. In those moments when you stare at those views, sure the pain is gone momentarily even. Such a power that nature has on us.

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  • Bryon,
    You are a great photographer and capture the magic of the San Juans perfectly! Congrats on a great Hardrock!

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