Mt Pluto: The Mud Must Flow

October 5, 2013

Because what’s more fun than ten plus miles of uphill obstacle course?

Answer:  not much!

Several months ago, in the midst of one of the uber long emails my friend Shade and I have been exchanging this year, I typed to him something to the effect of “hey, wanna do Tough Mudder together?”  And lo, thusly did we find ourselves last Saturday, he having flown in to visit, at the base of Northstar at Tahoe, ready to get our mud on and rock the course.  Our team name was set, our shirts crafted for the post-event celebration, our training done, our fangs bared… we were ready.

patch - back

Amusingly my biggest concern going in wasn’t for the electric shock obstacles, but the cold water ones (this lynx loves cold weather, but cold water is another matter).  In the previous days before the event the weather had taken a plunge downward, and the later-than-desired start time suddenly seemed fortuitous so that we started in a balmy 17~C.  That would come back to haunt us later, mind, but at the get go the “California Sun” effect shone true, and despite our shirts and shorts we felt nice and warm.  With the lighting of the orange smoke, we were off!

It.  Was.  A.  Blast.

The atmosphere during the event was pretty great.  They emphasize “Tough Mudder is not a race, it is a challenge,” and overall I saw nor felt any attitude or posturing by anyone.  You went, you continued, you did your thing, and helped each other out.  Several of the obstacles are designed that basically you need to help each other out in some way, which is cool.  That said, I saw a lot of trash throughout the course, including shirts, bottles, energy packets, and even tones of cups at the water zones not more than 10’ from the trash bins.  That was disappointing – I’m not sure what mentality would make littering OK.  LNT!  Mind your MOOP! *

The course zigzagged up Mount Pluto, starting around 6600’ and heading up to about 8600’, five miles on the upside and nearly six miles on the down way.  Twenty obstacles were spread out along the course (I purposefully did not look at the course map prior, to keep the order and exact set of obstacles a surprise), including, of course, much mud and water.  All total fun.  Dare I say it, the course was overall pretty easy for  me, my extensive hiking, upper body and overall kung fu training seeming to have paid off.   My worst obstacles were the walls – while I got over each one of them on the first go, they were definitively not gracefully executed (I almost did it perfect on the 10’ high Berlin Walls, but my mudfeet slipped and I ended up wriggling over).  Jumping 15+ feet down into water for Walk The Plank had a moment of stomach going “WHAT?!”, which was amusing.  The “surprise” obstacle was very fun, albeit not much of a challenge.  As for the Electric Eel, it was like being punched in the back hard with a chicken heart fist.  I yelped.  Each time.

The last mile or so was the hardest part of the course, for our friend, the sun, began to set.  The long shadows and a few errant clouds robbed us of the nourishing infra-red, and, coupled with having just completed Arctic Enema and crawling through mud while being sprayed with a hose (under barbed wire, natch), the shivers did come.  Every break in the clouds was greeted with shouts of joy (joining my cheers I’d been doing every mile marker) as we added the sun’s rays to what warmth we were generating through our hiking.  Cold and crampy we pushed on, happy to get to the base for the final two challenges.

The second last obstacle was Everest, running up the quarter pipe.  My memory of it was run run run run run get hand down something something hey I’m at the top.  From Shade’s view, I apparently ran and ended up about 3’ higher than the top of the quarter pipe.  So, that was surprising yet cool!  After that, a run through 20’ of electric wire didn’t seem like much.

Thusly, on the 28th of September, did Snow & Savannah successfully complete the Tough Mudder challenge, with spirits high, many high fives (our rule:  high five after every obstacle), lots of lithe action (on the over/under obstacles and the uber-rocky downhill we outpaced everyone with our feline felicity), some shivering, a bit of Hollywood (I was doing fancy jumps over little rivulets in the trail), and lots of grit.  Seriously, I don’t think I’ve EVER been that dirty before in my life.  The post-event shower was hilarious.

Delightfully, my friend was able to stay for a few more days after the event and we used it to its fullest, recovering (natch), exploring, hours of fabulous conversation, breaking into my fabulous teas from China, and even getting in some sword sparring.  All around good time.

Next year, I’m going to his neck of the woods and we’re doing it again.  Rock on.


* Leave no Trace!  Mind your “Matter out of Place”!


  1. My nephew and two nieces did this last year, https://www.facebook.com/nathan.b.harris.5/media_set?set=a.301907573243859.55178.100002738565411&type=3

    It looks like fun.

  2. Glad to hear you had a good time!

    Love the logo too! If you do one in CO next year, I’d totes where the logo to support you guys too :-)

    • Ugh… “wear” not “where.” Silly homonymns!

    • w00t! Consider it done!

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