High in Colorado

High in Colorado
Photo: Mandy Lea Photo

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Disfruta Tu Vida -- 2014 Highlights

Lots of miles, lots of vertical, lots of time on feet, and lots of great memories…

Yes, 2014 was a good year for me. To be honest, the last three years have been the best of my life. As I continue to put off rejoining the work force and a “normal” life I can’t help but feel a sense of dread building within me. But for now, I’ll just drink a beer, not think about that stuff, and continue focusing on little more than enjoying the present.

I don’t have much more to say than that.

So, here’s a list of what I feel were my Top 10 running/climbing/life highlights of the previous year, in no particular order…

Top 10 Highlights of 2014:
  1. Finished the ranked Colorado 14ers and all but one unranked 14er (Sunlight Spire)
  2. Led my first sport climbing routes (still need to lead trad)
  3. First (and second) Flatiron Quinfecta
  4. Did 20+ Easy Flatiron Climbs in a Day (98 total pitches)
  5. Celebrated two years of living out of my Toyota Tacoma
  6. Finished my 2nd 100 miler (The Bear 100) and ran a 50 miler the next week
  7. Took part in my first race with Satan’s Minions
  8. Little Bear-Blanca-Ellingwood traverse and Crestones traverse in back-to-back days
  9. Did my first snow climb (Longs Peak via Keyhole route)
  10. Running the Pikes Peak Ascent and pacing Dave Mackey for 25 miles of Leadville 100 in the same day (It was awesome to watch Dave slowly work his way up from 90’something place and eventually finish in 5th. School was definitely in session that day and it was great to be the student in the front row.)

Of course, it wouldn’t be a year-end post without listing a bunch of numbers that don’t really mean anything to anyone but me. But hey, I enjoy using spreadsheets and tracking numbers. Guess I’m still an engineer at heart…

2014 vs Previous Years:

  • 2014—3,001
  • 2013—2,227
  • 2012—2,500
  • 2011—1,841
  • 2010—561
Time (hours:minutes:seconds):

  • 2014—845:27:12
  • 2013—705:09:13
  • 2012—514:40:05
  • 2011—331:26:06
  • 2010—90:53:43
Vertical Ascent (feet):

  • 2014—830,000'
  • 2013—663,900'
  • 2012—524,200'
  • 2011—245,900'
  • 2010—4,700'
Outings (Runs/year):
  • 2014—342
  • 2013—246
  • 2012—255
  • 2011—237
  • 2010—95

Oh yeah, no year-end post is complete without a crapload of pictures…

Cruising on the Freeway (Photo: Random Scrambler)

Stairway to Heaven (Photo: David Ponak)

Satan's Minions after a Tour de Flatirons scramble on the 3rd (Photo: Mike Wardian)
Old friends and new friends. 

Sunset on the 1st Flatiron

Topping out on The Spy

Admiring the 3rd from afar

Sunrise on the 1st

Another sunrise scramble of the 1st

Just another Orrick, MO sunset

Scrambling with Legends. Bill Wright leads the way up The Regency-Royal Arch-5th Flatiron as Peter Bakwin and I follow

Sitting atop Stairway to Heaven after 10 Easy Climbs in a Day

Admiring Boulder during a 3rd Flatiron downclimb

Stairway to Heaven reaching high into the heavens

Peter Bakwin and I doing some early AM scrambling (Photo: Bill Wright)

An early start on some obscure routes near the 4th Flatiron with Tony Bubb and Stuart Paul

Tony Bubb seems to know every rock in The Flatirons. I think he does...

Cordis Hall wrapping up an exhausting day on his first (my second) Flatiron Quinfecta

Trotting along through the burn area of Bear Peak's west ridge

An early morning start to my 20+ Easy Climbs in a Day

Enjoying a white Green Mountain

Angels Landing is probably one of the best sub-hour runs I've ever done. Gorgeous. (Photo: Random Hiker)

Stuart and Rocco making their way back from Torreys

Cordis Hall negotiating the 5th Flatiron's arete

The usual Flatiron scramble up-short shot on the 1st (Photo: Cordis Hall)

Playing around Zion (Photo: Ben Clark)

More fun on the Zion Traverse (Photo: Ben Clark)

Hidden Valley, one of my favorite trails around Moab

The view from Angels Landing in Zion NP

Based on the posters all over the Grand Canyon one would think that going down to the river would lead to certain death. So, after running down South Kaibab, up Bright Angel, and back to Kaibab along the Rim Trail I had to celebrate being alive with a PBR below the rim of the canyon. 

A flat 100km in Kansas. Brutal...

When I go home to visit family the only thing I want while running is a hill. Just one hill...

Summer in the Sawatch

Green in winter

Some down time during a photo shoot near Estes Park

Sometimes trail/mountain running hurts...

Look up when you're walking along the streets. You just might see a double rainbow. 

Sunnyside Loop in Aspen with Luke Stephensen

Crestone Peak, Northeast Crestone, and Crestone Needle with Paul Hamilton and Brendan Trimboli (Photo: Paul Hamilton)

Traversing from South Little Bear to Little Bear (Photo: Britt Jones)

Looking back at Little Bear, Blanca, and Ellingwood

Sometimes beards get caught in ATC's while rappelling (Photo: David Ponak)

Avoiding the shit show of ice/water/loose rocks in the Hourglass of Little Bear by climbing up beside it (Photo: Paul Hamilton)

Standard Green Mountain summit shot (Photo: David Ponak)

Sunrise in Nederland

Cornet Falls in Telluride

You never know where inspiration will strike. 

David Ponak gazing at Queen's Way

Island Lake. Yes, this place really exists...

Sunrise in the Sawatch. 

Looking down on Frisco from Peak One

My first ever summit of the 1st Flatiron with Peter Bakwin leading the way (Photo: Peter Bakwin)

Spring in the Indian Peaks Wilderness

Sun's out, guns out on the summit of Mount Sneffels (Photo: Random Hiker)

Island Lake and Ice Lake

Northeast Crestone. When I first looked at this peak in summer 2013 it terrified me. In summer 2014 I returned with Paul Hamilton and Brendan Trimboli for the Crestone Traverse. When I looked at NE Crestone it looked way easier than I remembered. Maybe a year's worth of climbing/scrambling experience had something to do with that? Regardless, Paul took off towards the peak and I followed. The most difficult part was traversing over to the base since it involved some snowy/icy terrain. Once we reached the base it was a quick cruise up to the summit on a route that doesn't feel as exposed as it looks from afar. It took us less than 10 minutes to get from the summit of Crestone Peak to the summit of NE Crestone. This helped me realize that peaks aren't always as hard as they may seem...

Running around Capitol Peak (Photo: Luke Stephensen)

Another white Green Mountain

If there's one thing I know about Telluride, it's this...

Exploring around Spearfish Canyon before the Black Hills 50

Island Lake

David Ponak during Bighorn 100. Running 100 miles isn't all rainbows and sunshine...

Beard envy (Photo: Jeremy G.)

Brendan Trimboli and I doing some Crestone traversing (Photo: Paul Hamilton)

Sure is a sweet ridge separating Little Bear and Blanca (Photo: Paul Hamilton)

Storm's a comin' in Spearfish, SD

A leisurely stroll in the San Juans with Gerbster, Eric, and Kari before Hardrock

An amazing sunrise on my way to a successful completion of Colorado ranked 14ers. Operation Dark Snake was my last ranked 14er... 

Looking back at the traverse Paul Hamilton and I had just done. Left-to-right, Ellingwood, Blanca, and Little Bear. 

Capitol Peak and some nice wild flowers

Here's to more scantily clad days at 14k+ feet!