The Badwater 135 changed its route in 2014; it may be permanent now.
The newly released report from Death Valley National Park effectively brings an end to the traditional route of the Badwater 135, an annual 135-mile race held in the scorching July heat that took racers from Badwater Basin in Death Valley, Calif., to the flanks of Mount Whitney outside of Lone Pine, Calif. The report comes as a result of the park’s December 2013 moratorium on issuing special event permits in the park for a pertinence and safety review.
According to the Special Park Use for Sporting Events Safety Assessment and Recommendations for Death Valley National Park from August, 2014:
“Events will not be permitted for locations in the park below 2,000 feet during the day between June 14 and September 9, between 10 a.m. and sunset, when temperatures historically reach 110 °F (43 °C).”
Chris Kostman, race director for the Badwater 135, created a “new and improved” route for the 2014 race. Kostman avoided Death Valley by beginning the race in Lone Pine, Calif., taking racers out into the desert with a turn-around point just before the turn-off to Darwin, adding in some extra elevation with a 4,500-foot climb up Cerro Gordo and ending at the traditional Whitney Portal finish. The new route may become permanent.
“Badwater 135 isn’t a place or a start line, but a state of mind and a way of life. It’s about a life dedicated to going further and digging deeper, connecting with the environment and other people, supporting charitable causes and caring about the planet on which we live,” said Kostman at the pre-race talk in July. “The Badwater 135 spirit has never been more alive and well.”
As for moving forward with the race, Kostman is optimistic.
“I still see a bright future for the Badwater 135, but prefer not to comment yet until we have fully digested the myriad new requirements for hosting events in the park and have requested clarification of some details brought up in their 73-page ‘safety review,’” he said.
Read the full report from the NPS here: http://www.nps.gov/deva/parkmgmt/upload/DEVA-Sporting-Event-Safety-Assessment-Final-8_20_14-1.pdf