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Variants or alternative routes - everything is planned in case of bad weather

by Press Release
Tuesday 25th June 2013
Tags  The North Face Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc   |   The North Face   |   ULTRA-TRAIL DU MONT-BLANC   |   UTMB   |   TDS   |   CCC   |   PTL

Race news: The North Face® Ultra-Trail Du Mont-Blanc® - August 26 to September 1, 2013

After three complicated years due to the weather, the organisers have made the necessary arrangements to ensure that the event can take place in 2013, as closely as possible to its original format, even if the weather conditions are very difficult. The organisers would like to remind you that its priority was always (and will be particularly for this year, 2013) that every race takes place on its original route, or as close as possible!

The idea is to avoid on one hand that runners and volunteers, in EXCESSIVELY bad conditions, can find themselves at night on passages at altitude (+2000m) and are inaccessible to help other than by foot, and on
the other hand, to respect the distances, the height gain, the schedules and the logistics.

"Simple" variants as well as complete alternative routes were revealed during a partners’ meeting. All the scenarios were envisaged to guarantee the running of every race without putting the runners and volunteers in danger and with 4 wheel-drive accessibility to give help within a reasonable time-frame (bad weather excludes helicopters).

The definitive maps with time barriers will be on-line on the race site over the next few days.

UTMB®: 3 scenarios for juggling the weather

The start of the UTMB® will be given at 16:30, one of the changes for 2013. The reason being that one of the alternative routes which avoids crossing the between the Col du Bonhomme and la Croix du Bonhomme lengthens the route by 2 hours for the slower runners. If changes have to be made to the routes, the runners will be informed at 08:00 the Friday morning. Whichever of the options are used, the distance will be between 160km and 168km for a height gain of around 9600m.

Scenario 1: very bad conditions from Friday until Sunday

The race will essentially take part in the Chamonix valley, in two parts.

  • A first loop of 85km follows the normal route via Les Houches, St Gervais and up to Les Contamines. It is from there that the modification begins with a climb up to the "Signal", to return to the col de Voza, a descent to Servoz, returning to Chamonix via the Parc Merlet.
  • The runners continue their race with a second loop of around 83km: direction Argentière via le Lavancher, then up to the col des Posettes. First passage through Vallorcine (Buet) in the direction of Switzerland via Finhaut, l’Arpille, le col de la Forclaz to rejoin the normal route passing by Trient, Vallorcine, le col des Montets. The climb to La Flégère will avoid the Tête aux Vents before arriving in Chamonix.

Scenario 2 : acceptable conditions on Friday becoming bad thereafter

The event will start from Chamonix along the normal race route (on the condition that the paths of the col de la Seigne and the Mont Favre ridge, for which there are no alternatives, are feasible) and if the Italian sector of the Grand col Ferret or the Swiss side present dangerous conditions for the Saturday, the race will be stopped in Courmayeur for 2 ½ hours for each runner. During this 2 ½ hours runners recuperate their spares’ sacks, have something to eat and take an organised shuttle bus to Chamonix to restart the race exactly 2 ½ hours after their arrival in Courmayeur. This principle of “continuation” used in Nordic skiing, means that the exact intervals between runners, as they were on arrival in Courmayeur, are the same on their restart from Chamonix centre sportif and the second loop is run as in scenario 1.

Scenario 3 : bad conditions on Friday getting better thereafter

The race will start from Chamonix on the first alternative loop as in scenario 1. In the same manner as in scenario 2, the race will be stopped in Chamonix for 2 ½ hours for each runner. During this 2 ½ hours runners recuperate their spares’ sacks , have something to eat and take an organised shuttle bus to Courmayeur to restart the race, exactly 2 ½ hours after their arrival in Chamonix, by following the second part of the normal UTMB® route via La Fouly, Champex, Trient, Vallorcine.

Local variants may be set up in delicate sectors such as near les Chapieux, Bovine, Catogne or the Tête aux Vents.

CCC®: start area changed with a Franco-Swiss route

In the case of bad weather making in the Italian and Swiss sectors of the Grand col Ferret impassable, the start will be from Chamonix (and not from Courmayeur). The runners, notified on Thursday at 14:00, will run the second loop of around 83km of scenario 1 for the UTMB®.

As for the UTMB® , depending upon the conditions, alternative paths near Bovine, Catogne or the Tête aux Vents may be used for reasons of safety.

TDS: route lengthened by 10km

Here, also, if there is bad weather alternative routes will avoid the sectors of the Col de Chavanne and the Cormet de Roselend. To explain the former the runners will go directly to the col du Petit Saint Bernard and to avoid the second they will pass by the Cormet d’Arêches, Beaufort, Hauteluce before rejoining the normal route at the col du Joly. This big loop in the Beaufort country lengthens the race by about 10 km to make a total of about 130km. The start will be maintained in Courmayeur and the runners will be notified of the change on Tuesday at 14:00.

This year, for sure, it will be good weather during the last week in August.

For more information, check out www.ultratrailmb.com - ultratrail.tv
Facebook : www.facebook.com/UltraTrailMontBlanc - Twitter : @TNFUTMB


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