Mountain High 

There is a segment of the population that has been eye-balling the weather reports regularly for the past two weeks. Sure, skiers and hunters have been studying it, not to mention the cry babies who fear winter's bite, but they are not the folks I'm talking about. I'm thinking of the hardcore gang of runners taking part in Le Grizz Ultramarathon this weekend. With forecast temps between 37 and 57 degrees, little wind and a mere 20 percent chance of precipitation, this year's race is ripe for a record-breaking performance. So what is the record for this 50-mile ultramarathon you ask? 5:34:38. Or about nine miles per hour for five-and-a-half hours. In other words, faster than many of us ride our bikes around town, but slower than the top speed of a domesticated pig. In 1982, for the inaugural event, the field held 16 runners. This year, over 100 racers are participating. Le Grizz isn't all business, in the past (the distant past) the first 24 runners to cross the finish line received 22-ounce bottles of Big Bear Malt Liquor. Not sure what the "prize" is these days, but all things considered, might I suggest Four Loko?

The 31st Le Grizz Ultramarathon takes place at the Hungry Horse Reservoir southeast of Columbia Falls on Sat., Oct. 13, at 8 AM. Visit

click to enlarge PHOTO BY CHAD HARDER

Thursday October 11

Gnarmageddon it, Matchstick Ski Films presents Superheroes of Stoke, brah. Wilma Theatre. 7 PM. $10.

Friday October 12

Active outdoor lovers are invited to the Mountain Sports Club's weekly meeting to talk about past glories and upcoming activities at Bigfork's Swan River Inn. 6–8 PM. Free.

Get back in shape and learn something new at Freestone Climbing Gym's Intro to Bouldering course, which introduces basic techniques, safety, ethics and more. Class includes 1.5 hours of instruction and two weeks of unlimited climbing. 935 Toole Ave. 7–8:30 PM. $40.

Saturday October 13

The Butte Bouldering Bash up on the Boulder Batholith is alliteratively the best climbing competition Homestake Pass has to offer today, with "a wide variety of excellent problems from V0-V10," according to the organizers. Strap on the mat, chalk up and do work! Visit

Avalanche experts from all over the U.S. are in Whitefish for the Northern Rockies Avalanche Safety Workshop. Go see 'em and maybe you won't do anything stupid in the backcountry this year. Grouse Mountain Lodge, Whitefish. 7:30-6:30 PM. $25/$20 adv. Go to

The Pumpkin Run is not a new dance, unfortunately, but its proceeds benefit the Missoula Food Bank. 400 meter kids run (12 years old and under) is at 9:45 am and 5K race is at approximately 10:09 am. $4 for the 400 meter run and $13 for the 5K/$11 for Run Wild Missoula members. Race day registration is located at Osprey Baseball Stadium near River Front Trails in Missoula. Register at Race day registration starts at 8:45 AM and ends at 9:30 AM.

A wolf trapping certification class takes place at the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, 5705 Grant Creek Rd., from 9-4 PM. Register at

Take a cruise up Pattee Canyon way with the Montana Natural History Center during its Saturday Discovery Day Fall Foray: Lichens! Forget whatever you think you know about this bit of flora. Or is it a fauna? 120 Hickory St. 10–2 PM. $15/$10 members. Visit

Wednesday October 17

Get your gear sold or pick a new-to-you ice axe during the Used Outdoor Gear Sale at the University Center atrium. Drop it off between 7 and 11 AM and pick up your cash or that junkheap Mountainsmith pack between 5 and 7 PM. Sale from Noon–5 PM. Fifteen percent of the day's sale benefits UM's Outdoor Program.

Thursday October 18

The miniNaturalists Pre-K Program is aces for outdoorsy learning and such for yonder childrens. The Montana Natural History Center. 10–11 AM. $3/$1 for members. Visit

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