Summit Challenge Tips from the Shack #4


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Tip #4  Top 10 Summit Challenge Tips

Things you want to Know About the Phoenix Summit Challenge

1.  Buy (and train in) your shoes now. You’re already late and definitely don’t want to wait to break shoes in. So, buy shoes or boots now, get to training, and feel more than comfortable the day of the event. 

2.  Find a driver or carpool. There’s lots of driving and towards the end of the day you could be quite tired. Plus, your only “downtime” is in the car. If you can carpool with a friend, it will make parking easier and the two of you can switch off on driving.

3.  Walk every day. On top of any hiking-training you’re doing. This helps you get used to being on your feet for long periods of time.

4.  Practice your day. Yep, make sure you practice your hydration and nutrition well before the day of the challenge. And on the day of the challenge, avoid trying anything new! If you haven’t been using it in training, don’t try it in the challenge. This includes avoiding mistakes, like adding in fizzy drinks to your regiment suddenly or wearing a brand-new shirt. Also, test your gear, especially water holding packs or bottles. You can’t really know until you do it … it’s part of the fun.

 5.  Dress in layers. Some years the weather has been cold and rainy. Bring layers! Summits may be cold or windy, if you’re drenched in sweat you will shiver all the way down. Pack a lightweight, crushable rain or wind layer.

6.  Use your car as home base. Keep a cooler, snacks, water, and changes of clothes and socks in the car. Your car is your home base and can transport all your needed items, so you don’t need a heavy pack.

7.  Travel the course. Before the challenge, take a few of the hikes back-to-back. This will familiarize you with the course and with driving routes. Get your, kids, friends & family in on it with you!

8.  Good Sunscreen! Some higher-level SPFs (50+) contain ingredients that can actually trap body heat by sitting over pores. ThinkSport Sunscreen. ‘Nuf said.

9.  Try training on large, loop trails. Get in a long hike on a loop trail. Go for a 10- to 15-mile hike on a series of trails or a loop trail, so if you get out there and decide to change mileage based on how you’re feeling or weather, you’ll have options.

10.  Be courteous. There are participants who run it like a race! If you are on the descent, step aside for those heading up. If you see someone running (and it’s not your team), move out of the way! Help fellow Challengers if they need it.


Gear List for PSC:

  • 1.5 to 2.5 Liters of water should work well for each summit as long as you are refilling in the car to the next summit. Keep in mind you’ll want a little extra to wet a bandana for on your neck or rinse off any scrape or road rash you get on a nasty fall or maybe just to give a fellow challenger who didn’t take enough or who had an even gnarlier fall.  1 L of water = 2.2 lbs. so this is where most of the weight comes from.
  • Bandana, it’s what you're wetting and putting around your neck when the exposure starts getting to you.
  • Wide brim hat to get a little relief from that exposure.
  • Small First Aid Kit. 1 – Sheet of Moleskin, 2 – 4x4 Gauze Pads, 2 – XL Band-aids, 7 ft. of Tape, 3 – BZK Wipes, 4 – Ibuprofen or similar, 2 – Benadryl (in case of bees), Personal Medications.
  • Headlamp. Especially if you’re planning on taking it slow or get a late start. We had 20 or 30 people coming down South Mountain in the dark last year during the U-Rock Festival.
  • Emergency Poncho (Optional) Yep. It’s rained and been windy before.
  • Snack. (Optional) but sometimes it really is nice.
  • Personal Gear. Keep it lightweight and take the things you’ll need.


  • A Duffle and Cooler for in the car will do wonders. Extra Frozen Water, socks, snack, Shirt, Rain Jacket, etc. You need to resupply and changing your socks halfway through is awesome.
  • Camel Up (drink your fill) in the car before each summit. This will help keep you going. You should be doing this during your training as well.

Best of luck and come visit us when you're done for some cool prizes.