Andy McKay

Aug 18, 2023

Race report - Mt Frosty

Mount Frosty is the tallest mountain in Manning Park at 2,426m and last week I tried to run over it as part of the Frosty Mountain Ultra. Sort of. Last year in three days I hiked over it and absolutely loved it.

I’m in no shape to try the 50km, but aimed for the 27km instead. This is the biggest trail run I’ve done yet in terms of distance and elevation. Further more after hiking it, I knew it was a challenge. Here’s the elevation change:

Mount Frosty can be snowy in the summer and this race has had people snowed on or torrential rain before now. This year the main enemy was going to be the sun. That’s why there was quite a long and detailed amount of gear to carry, that wasn’t light.

This is one week after the Gran Fondo and my goal was “Have fun, Don’t die”. I didn’t die, I mostly had fun.

The first 5km or so is a fun run through very dry dusty trails. Then there’s a climb up to Windy Joe. That was power hiking. Then it alternated running and hiking for the next 4km plus. This was my favourite part with some amazing lovely running in the trees. Then the 6km uphill climb started. We came out into the sun and I started to suffer. Soon my pace fell badly and it all started to go wrong.

I crested at 3h 5m, that’s 17km into the race and the views were just absolutely amazing. On the top was a bagpiper. A bagpiper who’d hiked up early in the morning to stand at the top and pipe everyone over. The sight and sound of a bagpiper dressed in pink, with a kilt, drinking a beer to help us all over was amazing.

After that things went wrong, I had multiple heart problems and my pace just fell off. I was aiming for an hour and half running down the hill, it took me two hours and it wasn’t pleasant. Dehydration, the sun, overdid it on the first bit, not in shape, bad nutrition, bad sleep (I barely slept the night before). Probably all of that played a part.

I survived, but the downhill was not pleasant. I’m fine now and a beer later helped.

It was an amazing mountain, a lovely few hours of suffering in a beautiful place, and a well organized event. Plus a bagpiper. I’d be happy to do it again, I’m not going to let a bad heart day stop me.