The Grin & Bear It Trail Run is the oldest trail race in Crested Butte! Two different distances to challenge your skills. The 25k traverses a round about way to Green Lake. The classic 15k is straight up to Green Lake and back.
Join us for a post-race French toast brunch at the finish line.
There will be NO REFUNDS for this event. All of the proceeds benefit The Crested Butte Nordic Center, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit.
25.7K – LOOP
The race Starts and Finishes at the Crested Butte Nordic Center – 620 2nd. Street, in downtown Crested Butte.
A mass start commences from the Nordic Center, climbing directly up to Journey’s End road, where racers turn LEFT continuing downhill to the junction with Highway-135. Racers proceed south paralleling the highway for a 1/4 mile, before arriving the Baxter Gulch trailhead. Here runners are routed onto single track, starting a series of sharp switchbacks climbing 600 feet through shaded aspens. This climb eventually opens up, transitioning to a climbing traverse. (Don’t forget to look over your left shoulder to view Mt. Crested Butte’s imposing presence over the valley!)
This initial climb tops out at 9,431 ft, before providing competitors a momentary 200 ft. downhill respite. Upon crossing a bridge across Baxter Creek, steady switchback climbing again commences for the next mile. After making a second crossing of Baxter Creek, elevation gain levels off, climbing more moderately through open meadows and surprise views of Mt. Whetstone. Moderate climbing continues until around mile 5.25, where 450 feet is more steeply gained in less then 1 mile. This push delivers runners to a high saddle at 10,700 ft, and a sneak peek view into the adjacent Ohio Creek valley drainage.
Here the course embarks on a brief .5 mile descent, intersecting the Carbon Trail #436 where runners make a RIGHT turn and begin their final 545 feet of climbing to the course high point at 10,983 ft. Here runners are treated to panoramic views of the high peaks spanning the Elk Mountain Range to the east, in addition to the expansive valley bottoms of the upper Gunnison laid out below. The trail becomes consistently rougher throughout the next 2.5 mile portion of course. This section of trail is either traversing or descending, but is utterly rock strewn throughout all the way until meeting the Green Lake Trail intersection.
At this juncture, racers are routed up a .3 mile spur to the Green Lake checkpoint and an opportunity for a refreshing alpine lake dunk. After tapping the towering ponderosa pine standing at the bank of the lake, racers make an about-face, setting themselves on a 4.5 mile melee, descending 2,100 feet back into the Town of Crested Butte. Downhill running is shaded and very enjoyable, as technical trail is only sparsely punctuated. At mile 12.5, Green Lake Trail intersects a private subdivision road, runners make a right hand turn, running the road for .4 miles, then making a left hand turn to reconnect with the Green Lake Trail single track. From this juncture, 2 miles and 623 feet of elevation loss remain, returning racers to the finish line back at the Crested Butte Nordic Center.
15K *Classic* – Out & Back
This course starts & finishes in the open gravel area in front of the Crested Butte Nordic Center (620 2nd Street). Departing the open gravel area on a northerly trajectory, the route rapidly transforms into singletrack routing racers onto an elevated traverse in the opposite direction above the Nordic Center. In less than 1/2 miles the singletrack intersects the dirt graded – Journey’s End subdivision road. Runners turn RIGHT, again proceeding northerly, following municipal signage pointing to Green Lake. In 1/4 mile up the road, another sign will direct you to turn LEFT at the Green Lake trailhead, where singletrack recommences. Runners switchback their way up through dark timber and a pleasant rolling terrain until being dumped out onto primitive double track where an abrupt climb commences. At the top of this climb, runners intersect a second portion of dirt graded subdivision road.
Here a sign directs you to turn RIGHT. In 1/2 mile, look for another sign directing you to resume the second half of the Green Lake trail. Turning LEFT, runners wind their way up through more dark timber and intermittent meadows. The trail gets a bit more rugged on the upper portion of singletrack. Stay STRAIGHT at the intersection with Trail 436. Continue past an initial pond for .3 mile to arrive at the majestic emerald shore of Green Lake. After tapping the towering ponderosa pine standing on the bank of the lake, racers make an about-face, setting themselves on a 4.5 mile melee descending 2,100 feet back to the Nordic Center.
Finish Approach – Runners DO NOT retrace the elevated traverse on the ‘Canal Trail’ to complete the course. As you turn off the dirt graded Journey’s End Rd., continue straight down the rocky double track paralleling the Ice Rink building, routing directly to the finish line.