Angels Staircase draws serious 60-kilometer runners 

By Mike Maltais

Breathtaking but brutal pretty well sums up the annual 60-kilometer Angels Staircase high-alpine run that will leave the starting line from Foggy Dew Campground at the head of Gold Creek Road west of Carlton on Aug. 9. The Staircase also offers a shorter 35K course.

The ranks of those with the requisite long-distance resume to earn a spot in the physically demanding event always include a number of hard-core local runners, and this year is no different.

James DeSalvo and Danielle Micheletti, both of Winthrop, will be in the lineup.

DeSalvo, executive director of the Methow Valley Sport Trails Association, was among the five top performers in his first appearance at last year’s 60K Staircase, turning in a time of 6 hours, 16 minutes, 49 seconds.

Micheletti finished fourth in her 40-49 age group last year with a time of 9:58.27.

Spots remain open for the six-hour-plus 60K event and the 35K, but are “going quickly” according to rainshadowrunning.com, sponsor of the event. Interested — and qualified — parties can register at ultrasignup.com.

Runners will get an early morning 7 a.m. start at an elevation of 2,100 feet and top out at 8,000 feet, and with the exception of three miles of dirt road at the start and finish will not see another road, building or car in the course of the run.

Owing to the steep, technical and remote nature of the course, competitors must have completed a minimum of two 50K runs in order to qualify for the 60K.

DeSalvo, who has competed in his share of marathon runs including the New York and Seattle races and the Sun Mountain 50K, described the Staircase as “the most difficult course I’ve ever encountered.”