High in Colorado

High in Colorado
Photo: Mandy Lea Photo

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Week(s) in Review: December 8 - January 4

Week in Review: December 8-14

Monday, December 8th
PM—3 Miles—1:11—1,600’—1st Spyronêtte
Easy up and down…

Tuesday, December 9th   
AM—8 Miles—7:11—5,400’—Torreys Peak (14,267’) from Loveland Pass
Point 12,915’ > Point 12,714’ > Cupid Mountain (13,117’) > Point 12,756’ > Point 12,936’ > Grizzly Peak (13,428’) > Torreys Peak (14,267’)
Easy hike with Stuart and his dog, Rocco. It felt good to feel the burn of high altitude for the first time since October. Surprisingly beautiful day up high. If I were pushing the pace I probably could have got by with running tights and a long-sleeve shirt.

Wednesday, December 10th   
AM—13 Miles—3:19—4,700’—2nd Flatiron, Green Mountain, Bear Peak, South Boulder Peak
I started off the day with an easy ascent of Green Mountain via the Freeway and NE Ridge. On the summit I ran into TK and Jason. After a brief conversation, I continued on towards Bear and SoBo. My legs never felt great, but they seemed to keep moving on the ascent up Bear Peak’s West Ridge. The weather was pleasant enough and I was moving quickly enough that I shed my shirt—sun’s out guns out! I eventually reached the summit of South Boulder Peak in 1:58’ish. From the summit, I began a casual meander back to Chautauqua via Shadow Canyon and Mesa Trail.

Thursday, December 11th
AM—9 Miles—6:39—6,000’—Royal Flatiron Quinfecta

Royal Arch > 5th > 4th > 3rd > 2nd > 1st

Cordis and I decided to get out for a Flatiron Quinfecta. He had never scrambled the 4th or 5th Flatirons and I had only done them once. So, we decided to go descending order to get the unknown routes done with sooner rather than later. I was REALLY slow on the 5th due to my left knee hurting considerably more than previous days. During our ascent, I spotted the downclimb off the south side of the slab and made mental note of it. We went back to the Royal Arch and descended back to the base of the 4th Flatiron. To me, the lower slab provides the best scrambling on the 4th. The upper two slabs are somewhat forgettable and seem more frustrating than anything else. I suppose my opinion of the 4th Flatiron might change over time as I get more experience on the route. Cordis seemed pretty happy to reach the summit of the 4th after nearly taking a fall as we approached the gully between the summit of the second slab and Green Mountain Pinnacle. Descending from the summit of the 4th back to the Royal Arch Trail was the worst descent of the day. The 4th and 5th Flatirons took quite a bit of time, but I sort of expected that since neither one of us knew the routes. The 3rd Flatiron was nice and straightforward. I showed Cordis up the Free for All route on the 2nd Flatiron for his first time. The slightly harder scrambling near the Pullman Car has made this one of my favorite routes. After a quick downclimb off the 2nd we made our way to the base of the 1st. Our scrambling pace up the Direct East Face was painfully slow as we were both feeling the fatigue of the day. A slow downclimb and a trot back down to Chautauqua was all that separated us from being able to chug some water. It’s hard to beat a day of scrambling with good company.

Friday, December 12th
Climbing in Eldorado Canyon with Evan
Evan and I decided to get out on another classic multi-pitch route in Eldo. After a brisk morning, we were fortunate enough to make our way up Long John Wall (5.8+) in perfect t-shirt weather. A few fun rappels had us back down on solid ground.

Saturday, December 13th  
AM—13 Miles—8:40—8,700’—20+ Easy Flatiron Climbs in a Day
A few weeks ago I did Ten Easy Climbs in a Day after getting a little inspiration from Mark Oveson’s “Top Ten Easy Climbs in a Day” list in Haas’ Flatirons guidebook. I completed my list of ten climbs with relative ease, which left me wanting to pursue an even bigger day of scrambling. With no idea of how long this day would take, I headed up the hill around 7:30am with my Osprey Rev 6 full of water, food, a puffy jacket, running tights, gloves, and a headlamp.

I sent out an email to the Minions to see if anyone wanted to join for part of the day. Dylan Cousins arranged to meet me at the base of the 1st Flatiron for the Direct East Face. He joined me for every one route after the DEF. Having Dylan along for the day made things considerably easier. I was already feeling pretty spent by the time we started up the Freeway (route 10) and was thinking about calling it a day. I just kept my nose down towards the rock and slowly made my way up. After the Freeway I led the way up Free for All; a route Dylan had never scrambled.

A quick up-and-down on the 3rd Flatiron had me at 14 routes for the day. This is where I let Dylan lead the way and take me on a few new-to-me routes around Mallory Cave that were part of the Tour de Flatirons this year. Front Porch, Dinosaur Rock, and Der Zerkle all proved to be pretty sweet routes. Fatigue was starting to set in as we made our way up Dinosaur Rock, which left both of us struggling on even the easiest terrain.

After we finished the routes around Mallory Cave we began a laborious trot back towards The Regency. The run out and back from Mallory Cave was actually a strange bit of a relief during a day filled with nothing but slab scrambling. My legs somewhat welcomed the running cadence. Now, an easy scramble up The Regency and Royal Arch were all that separated us from completing the big day. We were both hurting pretty bad at this point, but managed to eventually get up The Regency. Shortly after summitting The Regency we found ourselves sitting atop the Royal Arch and taking in the views. A brief downclimb and a little over a mile trot were all that kept us from the water and food that awaited us in the comfort of our vehicles. The run back to Chautauqua definitely hurt, but was over as soon as it started.

Not a bad day at all…

Different Routes—21
Total Guidebook Pitches of Scrambling—98 Pitches
-Ascending—79 pitches
-Descending—19 pitches
Total Feet of Scrambling on Rock—11,910 Feet
-Ascending—10,570 Feet
-Descending—1,340 Feet
  1. 1st Flatironette—Southeast Ridge
  2. The Spy—East Ridge
  3. 1st Flatiron—North Arête
  4. 1st Flatiron—Southwest Face (Downclimbed 5 Times)
  5. Sunset Flatironette—Chase the Sun
  6. 1st Flatiron—Direct East Face
  7. 1st Flatiron—East Face North Side with North Arête
  8. 1st Flatiron—Baker’s Way
  9. 1st Flatiron—Atalanta
  10. 2nd Flatiron—Freeway
  11. 2nd Flatiron—Free for All
  12. 2nd Flatiron—West Face (Downclimb)
  13. 3rd Flatiron—Standard East Face
  14. 3rd Flatiron—Southwest Chimney (Downclimb)
  15. Front Porch—Tiptoe Slab
  16. Dinosaur Rock—East Face Right
  17. Dinosaur Rock—West Face (Downclimb)
  18. Der Zerkle—Sunny Side Two
  19. Der Zerkle—Northwest Corner (Up-and-down Climb)
  20. The Regency—El Camino Royale
  21. Royal Arch—East Face (Up-and-down Climb)
Sunday, December 14th
OFF—I decided to give myself a little rest by just hanging around the climbing gym today

Weekly Totals
Time—27 hours 1  minute
Elevation Gain—26,400 feet

Week in Review: December 15-21

Monday, December 15th
AM—12 Miles—3:24—4,450’—Green Mountain and Bear Peak
Easy effort with David Ponak. My legs felt like hell all day. There was a bit more snow than I anticipated, which had me regretting my shoe/sock choice. Things got a little chilly on the ascent of Bear and the initial descent down Fern Canyon to the saddle. Once we hit the saddle things warmed up a bit.

Tuesday, December 16th  
AM—3 Miles—0:29—1,200’—Treadmill
Easy run to see how my knee was feeling…

Wednesday, December 17th  
OFF—Endurance Lead Climbing Day at BRC with Phillip

Thursday, December 18th
PM—3 Miles—1:32—1,600’—Flatiron Access Trails
The original plan was to scramble up the Freeway on the 2nd Flatiron with Stuart. I got about 30 feet or so up the face when I slipped and started sliding all the way down to the bottom. When I was 15-20 feet from the bottom I hit a bump in the rock that caused my hands to come off the face. With the possibility of doing a backflip down the rock seeming somewhat likely, I decided to turn around and ran down the remainder of the face. Near the bottom, I did some fancy footwork and avoided total disaster. I decided to just hike up to the Freeway walk-off and meet Stuart there. Today I learned that it always pays to make sure your shoe soles are free of mud when you arrive at the base of a scramble. Later on in the night I realized that my right heel was pretty damn bruised and I was walking with a noticeable limp.

Friday, December 19th
AM—3 Miles—0:30—1,200’—Treadmill
I bruised my right heel in yesterday’s fall on the 2nd Flatiron. So, I decided to do a test run on the treadmill in case the pain proved to be unbearable. Turns out that running and climbing down really hurt, but I’m walking around with a bit of a limp.

Saturday, December 20th  
AM—8 Miles—1:10—1,400’—Mesa Trail
I met up with Marco from Rock & Resole at his house near the lower Skunk Canyon Trailhead. We headed up towards the Mesa Trail at a casual pace. My legs are still tired from my 20+ climbs a week ago. At the Bear Canyon split-off we turned around and headed back. Once we got on less snowy/icy trails we were able to enjoy a few miles at 6:00/mile pace.

Sunday, December 21st 
Climbing in Eldorado Canyon and BRC
Evan, Tony, Stuart, and I headed up to the West Ridge around 10am with the intention of climbing several multi-pitch routes, but brutally frigid winds quickly put an end to those plans. After climbing Mesca-line (5.7) I was content to call it a day and head to the nice, warm climbing gym. Evan, Stuart, and I got in several pitches of leading at BRC. The gym session was a productive one for me—I led a 5.11- and took a couple of nice lead falls (falling is fun!).

Weekly Totals
Time—7 hours 7 minutes
Elevation Gain—9,850 feet

Week in Review: December 22—28

OFF—I took this week almost completely off from any physical activity. I climbed one route in Eldo and at the gym a few times. Absolutely no running, though. For some reason when I go back to Missouri I feel incredibly lazy and unmotivated to do any running…

Week in Review: December 29 – January 4

Monday, December 29th

Tuesday, December 30th  
AM—15 Miles—3:20—1,300’—Stocksdale Park (Liberty, MO)
I needed 15 miles to hit my mileage goal for 2014. So, I ran 15 super easy miles in the freezing cold.

Wednesday, December 31st  

Thursday, January 1st
AM—9 Miles—2:51—2,800’—Green Mountain
A New Year’s snowy slog up the front side of the mountain with a Bear Canyon descent. The front side was broken really well, but the snow was still a little unpacked. The descent trails were still in need of some heavy foot traffic to pack the snow down a bit better.

Friday, January 2nd
PM—7 Miles—0:57—200’—Bike Paths
Easy run on the bike paths from BRC.

Saturday, January 3rd  
AM1—5 Miles—0:49—1,300’—Treadmill
A nice hill workout. I enjoy running on the treadmill a bit in winter since crappy snow sometimes makes running uphill outside terribly inefficient.

AM2—5 Miles—1:49—2,500’—Green Mountain
Easy up and fast descent on the front side with Stuart and Rocco.

Sunday, January 4th
AM—4 Miles—0:36—1,000’—Treadmill
A mellow day on the treadmill.

Weekly Totals
Time—10 hours 23 minutes
Elevation Gain—9,100 feet

Cordis making his way down the 5th Flatiron downclimb

Cordis finishing up a long day on his first (my second) Flatiron Quinfecta

The Royal Arch in all its glory

Looking down the arete leading up to the 5th's summit

Making our way into the gulley between the second slab of the 4th and Green Mountain Pinnacle

Cordis topping out on the 4th Flatiron

Downclimbing the 3rd Flatiron's SW Chimney

Nearing the end of a long day by crawling up the DEF of the 1st Flatiron

Nearing the North Arete of the 1st

Cordis and I taking comfort in the fact that we just have a short downclimb and run back to Chautauqua

Bear Peak's West Ridge

Just topped out on Long John Wall in Eldo. Thanks to Evan for taking me up another Eldo classic. 

A sweet early morning view of the 3rd during my "20+ Easy Climbs in a Day"

Nice view of some of the ridges in Skunk Canyon, I think

Looking up at Dinosaur Rock and not really feeling motivated

Heading up Green Mountain in fresh snow

Slabs as far as the eye can see...

Grays and Torreys off in the distance

Knocking out my 3,000th mile of 2014

Me heading up the 5th's arete (Photo: Cordis Hall)

Standing on the 3rd, debating if I have the 2nd and 1st in me (Photo: Cordis Hall)

Upshorts shot heading up the 1st (Photo: Cordis Hall)