SSSR Report by Thrower
Make sure to scroll down to bottom of page for info on the Fitness Test Challenge...if you dare!

Directions: Follow link and park below the lake,-82.2985314,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m2!3m1!1s0x8859ff358790ab4b:0x922d33ed4c5b1e86

2010 SSSR Gang
SSSR is an approximately 16 mile speed hike/mountain run in the mountains surrounding Montreat on the Montreat trail system. It has 13 miles of single track, 3 miles of rail trail and a short portion of pavement. It is unsupported but there are water sources around the midpoint. The climbing is substantial and often very steep. The rugged terrain is extremely challenging and technical (written directions below).

Distance is wrong (~15 m actually), but elevation data is really close

START/FINISH: parking lot adjacent to Lake Susan--to find the parking lot, head up into Montreat, then turn right onto Lookout Rd., and the parking lot is on the right (note: all trails will be blazed with a plastic diamond blaze on trees...most intersections are marked, but you must be paying attention and read what's written on the diamond blaze if confused)
Leave the parking lot and find the Gate Trail (blue blaze) which runs from the parking lot to the creek and heads downstream. Follow this trail through the playground, beside the tennis courts, around the softball field, and through it's many twists and turns. After passing below several Montreat houses, you will pop out in a clearing with dirt and looking diagonal-left for Rainbow Mtn. Trail (gray blaze) which is near an out-building with the number 3 on it. Take this trail up and over Rainbow Mtn. being careful to watch for the summit trail at a key intersection near the top (where we will veer right); After going up and over the summit, turn right at the intersection with Rainbow Rd./Tr. and follow this staying left at the next three intersections. The last left will put you on Trestle Rd. (there is a FS sign) for about 20 yards until you will turn right onto Lookout Tr, Go up and over Lookout Rocks, then after enjoying the view stay straight over the summit to access East Ridge Trail; This trail will take you over numerous summits, and amongst it's many twists and turns it passes several trails that take you off of the ridge, so be careful to follow the blazes of East Ridge Trail (gray blazes); After going through Sourwood Gap (East Ridge Trail goes straight through), you will climb Rocky Head Summit, then you will descend to where East Ridge Tr. dead ends to Trestle/Mitchell Toll; Stay left here to continue on Trestle and follow it to the first intersection with Greybeard Trail (blue blaze- continue straight across a creek crossing to find the blue blazes of this trail); This trail follows the what's known as the Trestle Switchbacks for a couple of miles of UNBELIEVABLE trail!! Be careful to look for where the Graybeard Tr. makes a left turn near the end of the Trestle Switchbacks; After a short time on this singletrack trail, you will come to the left turn for Walker's Knob (there is a shelter there); Take this side trail a short ways to Walker's Knob, then head back to Graybeard Tr. and turn left to continue up towards Graybeard; Be looking on the left as you are climbing up in order to take notice of West Ridge Trail (which you will take after summiting Graybeard); After going over Big Slaty Mtn.(written on a gray blaze), then you will do a short out and back to the summit of Graybeard; After returning to Big Slaty, you will then take a right turn onto West Ridge Trail; This trail is a sadistic playground of rocks, roots, climbs and descents! After going up and over many more of the Seven Sister Summits, you will come to Big Piney Mtn; Turn left here on Big Piney Tr. to descend into Montreat; The trail ends at a gravel rd, then run the gravel rd. until it turns to pavement, then turn right onto Graybeard Trail Rd. and take this back past Lake Susan to the parking lot and the FINISH!!!!!

LET THE CHALLENGE BEGIN!!!!! The smack talkin' is in order as this is one of the best "fitness test" loops around, and is one of the most mountainous runs you might ever do in this area! The challenge is to see just how fast you can muster up the strength in your legs to pound out this beast of a run! Brian Beduhn, Matt Kirk and Adam Hill are calling this joyous challenge (so joyful, you might just throw up in your mouth several times!?!) to order so that it might better those who choose to accept it. Post your run times in the discussion board or at the bottom of this page in order to inspire others to see what they can do on this loop. Let the games begin....How low can it go? Important...Once you start your watch at the beginning, you don't stop it until you're back to the finish...which is where you started!! This is TOTAL time...not just "run" time!! Carry on....

March 30th, 2009: Adam Hill and Matt Kirk- 2:55:42 (skipped Walker's Knob because of weather)
April 5th, 2010: Brian Beduhn - 4:30
July 6, 2010: Bedford Boyce- 3:40
July 20, 2010: Bedford Boyce- 3:32
Aug 10, 2010: Bedford Boyce- 3:18

September 15th, 2009: Adam Hill - 2:34:08
Splits for future adventurers...(splits listed are taken between each landmark, not cumulative run time)
Start to Rainbow Mtn. Trail- 6:19:90
Rainbow Mtn Trail to Lookout Tr.- 18:06:56
Lookout Trail to end of East Ridge Tr.- 32:10:47
Trestle end of Trestle Switchbacks.- 27:35:39
Graybeard end of switchbacks to West Ridge Tr.(including out and back to Walker's Knob and Graybeard)- 26:01:44
West Ridge Trail to Big Piney Tr.- 22:58:63
Big Piney Tr. to finish- 20:55:70

November 2nd, 2010: Jon Harrison- 2:46.08

Start to Lookout(rocks or trail?, not sure)- 30:43.17
Lookout to Rocky Head- 53:51.26
Rocky Head to Graybeard Falls: 1:19.43
Graybeard Falls to Walker's Knob: 1:32.26
Walker's Knob to Big Slaty(first crossing): 1:45.11
Big Slaty to Graybeard: 1:49.18
Graybeard Summit to Big Piney Tr.: 2:21.48
Big Piney Tr to Car: 2:44.08

March 19th, 2011: Adam Hill- 2:22:16
Splits separation same as above from 2:34:08 run, with added cumulative time at end of each split
16:52 (23:33)
30:05 (53:38)
24:56 (1:18:34)
23:41 (1:42:16)
21:20 (2:03:36)
18:39 (2:22:16)
March 19th, 2011: Jon Harrison- 2:39:07
Matt Kirk- 2:49:??
Damian Wells- 2:55:??
Scott Williams- 3:00:??
Brandon Thrower- 3:09:??
(Didn't catch the rest of the runners' times, so if you ran with us this day and have your time, then by all means...add it here!)

February 8th, 2012: Jon Harrison- 2:34:58- New PR

March 17th, 2012: Brandon Thrower - 2:50:56 - PR
Start to Rainbow Tr. - 7:14
Rainbow Summit - 13:30
Rainbow Summit to Lookout Rocks - 11:47
Lookout Rocks to end of East Ridge Tr. - 31:23
Trestle Rd to Graybeard Creek - 8:02
Graybeard Switchbacks to Walkers Knob - 29:35
Walkers Knob to Graybeard Summit - 17:23
Graybeard Summit to Big Piney Tr. - 29:19
Big Piney Tr to Car - 22:38

December 13th, 2014: Adam Hill- 2:19:01!!
16:40 (23:20)
29:06 (52:27)
24:55 (1:17:23)
22:26 (1:39:49)
20:33 (2:00:23)
18:38 (2:19:01)

December 13th, 2014: Adam Standley- 2:24.26
December 13th, 2014: Ben Grant- 2:39:?? *watch died, so judged by start time/finish time
December 14th, 2014: Todd Swift- 3:07:??
December 14th, 2014: Arnaud Levasseur- 3:07:??

January 25th, 2015: Matt Roane-3:08:43

February 8th, 2015: Mandy (Cookie Monster) Higdon-3:27:08

July 30, 2015: Joseph Quinlan ~4:00.31

September 9, 2015: Joseph Quinlan ~3:20:15

September 24, 2015: Doug Daniel- 2:43:11
Start to summit of Lookout (top of rocks): 28:58
Lookout summit to Walker's knob: 1:02:36
Walker's Knob to Greybeard Summit: 16:35 (cumulative: 1:48:09)
Greybeard summit to Big Piney Tr: 32:31
Big Piney Tr to Finish: 22:38

December 16, 2015: Joseph Quinlan- 2:53:45
Car to Rainbow summit: 21:35
Rainbow to Lookout Rocks 33:49
Lookout Rocks to Rocky Head 1:04:15
Rocky Head to Walkers Knob 1:45:43
Walkers Knob to Greybeard 2:03:33
Greybeard to Big Piney 2:32:01
Big Piney to car 2:53:45

February 26, 2016: Joseph Quinlan- 3:27:20
Car to Rainbow Summit 22:31
Rainbow to Lookout Rocks 34:10
Lookout to Rocky Head 1:07:26
Rocky Head to Walkers Knob 1:52:11
Walkers to Greybeard 2:18:40 yikes!
Greybeard to Big Piney 2:52:14
Piney to Car 3:27:20

March 3, 2016: Joseph Quinlan ~ 3:07:33
Backwards!! Physically or directionally?
Car to West Ridge Trail 37:26:11
West Ridge to Greybeard Summit 1:19:28
Greybeard Summit to Walkers Knob 1:34:52
Walkers Knob to Rocky Head 2:12:24
Rocky Head to Lookout Rocks 2:39:47
Lookout to Rainbow Summit 2:50:47
Rainbow to Car 3:07:33

June 27, 2016: Adam Hill, Christopher Murray, Doug Begemen, Ian ?? - 3:48:47
(splits same separation as Adam's from above)


November 21, 2016: Joseph Quinlan 2:50:12
Car to Lookout Rocks 32:51
To Rocky Head 1:00:40
To Walkers Knob 1:40:31
To Greybeard 1:59:03
To parking lot 2:50:12

Dec 22, 2016: Josh Stevens and Adam Hill 2:52:35
(only got a few splits)
start to Rainbow Mtn Tr 7:46
West Ridge to Big Piney 26:46
Big P to finish 21:40