Race Preview: 2017 Freezeout Challenge (Emmett, ID)

Emmett is a town in Idaho of about 6500 people and sits about 30 miles east of Ontario, OR (and 30 miles north of Boise) right along the Payette River. While it is a little bit out-of-the-way of most Oregonians, it is a cool opportunity to check out a race in a different NW state. The Freezeout Challenge is a 12k (just over 7 miles) and 6k (just under 4). The main difference in the courses are that the shorter distance will avoid Freezeout Hill, a challenging climb in any weather – probably made more difficult in the likely frigid January temperatures.

The course will be on unclosed roads, but the roads are pretty rural in nature and don’t see much traffic. The climb to the top of Freezeout Hill will be closed, as it is a monument. Here’s some info on the hill:

The Freezeout Hill Pioneer Monument was located adjacent to old Highway 16, the Old Freezeout Road, as it enters Emmett. Many wagons with settlers entered the Emmett Valley down this steep hogback from the rim of the valley. In the winter of 1864 a freighter and another wagon of valley residents came upon the grade. The weather was bitter with freezing rains, snow and wind. The frozen earth made it impossible to descend. They attempted to rough-lock and lower their wagon, but it slid out of control and into a gulch. They returned to the top and camped with the freighter. Upon reaching home many told the story with the words, “We likely froze to death. We were froze out of the valley.” The name stuck and the Freezeout Hill Monument was erected in 1928.

The 12k race will already start 2205 feet above sea level and climb an additional 578 before returning on the descent. Check out this video for the roads and views (start around second 20):

About 160 people raced the two distances last year, so it will definitely be a good-sized event. The race raises money for the Emmett Baseball Association.


Freezeout Challenge (Emmett, ID)
When: 10am on January 21, 2017
Where: Gem County Fairgrounds
Register: Online here; $28

About Author

Matt Rasmussen lives in Keizer, Ore. with his wife and three daughters. He enjoys watching hockey, going to as many breweries (618) and wineries (152) as he can, and all things Canada (he was born there). Matt was raised as a baseball player and officially transitioned over to running in 2010.

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