High in Colorado

High in Colorado
Photo: Mandy Lea Photo

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Lots of Catching up to do... June 1 - August 2

I'll try to get some photos up as soon as possible...

Week in Review: July 27-August 2
Monday, July 27th
AM—4.5 Miles—1:09—700’—West Snowmass Trail
Really mellow shakeout run/hike.
PM—8 Miles—1:10—200’—Rio Grande Bike Trail
Another easy run on pretty flat bike paths.

Tuesday, July 28th  
AM—18 Miles—3:58—3,050’—Conundrum Hot Springs
My legs still felt pretty tired, but I wanted to get in some decent miles. So, I ran up to the hot springs, soaked for a bit, and ran back down.

Wednesday, July 29th   
AM—9 Miles—2:35—1,300’—East Maroon Creek
My original plan was to find a way up the east face of Pyramid and descend the standard route. I ended up leaving the trail too soon, which resulted in the single worse bushwhack of my life. Willows, thorn bushes, water crossings with shoe sucking mud, ankle breaking rocks completely hidden by the thick willows, and Stinging Nettles. Those goddamned Stinging Nettles that I had never even heard of until after this “run.” When I finally emerged from the bushes I stood at the base of the talus slope to scout out a route. Then I looked at my legs and arms and they were covered with hives. Not knowing if I was going to break out into a full-blown allergic reaction I decided to play it safe and bail. The rest of the day was full of tingling extremities and horrible itching.

Thursday, July 30th
AM—26 Miles—12:05—8,400’—Capitol Peak (14,130’) and Snowmass Mountain (14,092’)
With Paul Hamilton. We both car camped at the Maroon Snowmass TH. In the morning I whipped up some coffee and drove us to the Capitol Creek TH. We hit the trail a little after 7:15AM and made our way towards Capitol. At the Capitol-Daly saddle we chose to stay directly on the ridge to K2 and continued staying on the ridge to the summit of Capitol. Next, we retraced our steps back to K2, ventured down the K2-Clark ridge, found the Wandering Dutchman Couloir, and descended into Pierre Lakes Basin. This all ended up going much smoother than anticipated. The terrain from Pierre Lakes Basin to the Snow-Cap Ridge crossover was a bit tedious with shifting talus/boulders being present the entire way. At the base of our ridge crossover it seemed that our route might involve some 4th (maybe 5th?) Class terrain, but we managed to keep it extremely loose 3rd Class all the way to the ridge. We then had to cross over a small pass on the west side of the Snow-Cap Ridge before contouring south to the West Ridge of Snowmass. There were no visible cairns, which led Paul to keep looking around to the South for signs of a known route. Ultimately, we returned to the base of the West Ridge and began our ascent here. This route finding error ended up costing us about 45 minutes or more. As we began our ascent of Snowmass I could tell that it would be a slog for me. My legs just didn’t seem to want to move upward. Eventually, I reached the summit and joined Paul for a few minutes of calorie intake. We decided to drop almost directly off the summit and make our way towards Snowmass Lake. Not too long into the descent, I stepped on a wobbly rock and cut my left Achilles pretty good. So, I decided to just walk in on down to Snowmass Lake with the intention of starting to run as soon as I reached the trail around the lake. Of course, I had to sneak in a few more route finding errors before reaching the lake. I was a bit bummed to discover that the trail around the lake was overgrown with willows and rather difficult to run, which led me to walk all the way around it. When I finally reached the main trail heading back towards Maroon Snowmass TH I was able to run fairly well for a few miles. However, in the last 3-4 miles back to the trailhead my left Achilles started hurting pretty bad forcing me to inject spurts of limping into my running. After a little over 12 hours I was happy to finally end the brutally burly day…

Friday, July 31st 
PM—5 Miles—1:12—1,400’—Sunnyside Trail
My left Achilles was really tight, but loosened up about a mile into the run.

Saturday, August 1st 
PM—13.5 Miles—4:06—5,150’—Castle Peak (14,265’), Conundrum Peak (14,060’), and Castle Peak
The five mile grunt up the jeep road seemed to never end. From there, it’s a pretty easy ~1,500’ up to the summit of Castle. I bopped right over the summit and began the short 17 minute trip over to Conundrum. Another 23 minutes later and I was back on the summit of Castle. Here, I chatted with a guy named Shawn for about 30 minutes or so before beginning my descent. Once off the ridge I was treated to a nice 500’+ glissade back down to the road. The five mile road back to the Taco passed by rather quickly.

Sunday, August 2nd
AM—9 Miles—2:36—4,300’—Mount Elbert (14,433’)
Easy ascent with mostly power hiking. Reached the summit in 1:39. It seemed like everyone on the mountain wanted to talk to me on the descent. Since I wasn’t really in a hurry today I obliged.
PM—8 Miles—1:21—600’—Hagerman Pass Road
Easy run that was likely just as much about chasing numbers as anything else…

Weekly Totals
Time—30 hours 15 minutes
Elevation Gain—25,050 feet

Week in Review: July 20-26
Monday, July 20th
OFF—Legs still sore from Power of Four

Tuesday, July 21st 
PM—2 Miles—0:30—450’—Colorado Trail
After a day of being shuttle driver for Ben, Gavin, and Timmy while they scouted part of the Nolan’s route I finally got out to see how shitty my legs felt. They felt shitty…

Wednesday, July 22nd  
AM—14 Miles—5:14—6,500’—Mount Columbia (14,073’) and Mount Harvard (14,420’) via Rabbit Ridge
I decided to connect Columbia and Harvard via the Rabbit Ridge traverse. To avoid onsight downclimbing the 5.7 crux crack I opted to ascend Columbia first. I ascended via the standard Nolan’s route. Once I got into the wind I questioned why I didn’t bring more clothing. The wind was frigid. At the summit of Columbia I considered bailing due to the cold winds, but after about 10-15 minutes sitting in a wind shelter with the sun shining on me I was warm enough to push on to Harvard. The ridge proved to be about as much fun as one can hope for in the Sawatch. With the exception of the short 5.7 crux, the ridge was a fun section of 3rd/4th Class terrain. I was standing on the summit an hour-and-a-half after leaving the summit of Columbia. From here, it’s a pleasant run all the way back to the trailhead.

Thursday, July 23rd
AM—4 Miles—0:41—150’—Turquoise Lake
Really easy run along the lake with Jamie.

Friday, July 24th
PM—10 Miles—4:59—5,000’—Pyramid Peak (14,018’)
My original plan was to ascend the West Face and try to descend the East Face. I tediously made my way up the West Face. The route ended up being fairly straightforward, though full of loose boulders and chossy gullies. The crux of the route ended up being about a 20-30 feet tall choss dihedral that I climbed to gain the south ridge. Reading other reports it seems that this is likely avoidable. Who knows? I got cliffed out while trying to descend the east face and then it started raining pretty hard. So, I trudged back up to the standard route and took it all the way down.

Saturday, July 25th    
PM—28 Miles—6:29—8,200’—Maroon Bells Four Pass Loop
Gorgeous loop on a really hot day. After three years of having this loop on my “to do” list I finally got out and ran it. I woke up not really feeling up for any off-trail route finding shenanigans, which made the loop a good option. I chose to run counter clockwise. My legs never really felt good. So, I walked an awful lot of runnable terrain throughout the day. I enjoyed a decent stretch of trail from Buckskin Pass to just below Trailrider Pass without seeing anyone. When I reached Frigid Air Pass I was greated to the masses of people and it just got worse between there and Maroon Lake. The descent from West Maroon would be difficult on a good day, but throw in tons of people who aren’t willing to budge an inch for a runner and it sucks a lot. Guess that’s what I get for running this loop on a weekend. Other than the beautiful scenery, the highlight of the day was taking a swim (well, bath) in Maroon Lake at the end of the run.

Sunday, July 26th
AM—12 Miles—4:53—5,600’—Maroon Bells Traverse: Maroon Peak (14,156’) to North Maroon Peak (14,014’)
With Paul Hamilton. My legs were pretty crappy all the way up the east slope of Maroon Peak. About halfway up we ran into a dopey looking father/son duo that seemed to have the balance of a giraffe on roller skates. The son rolled his ankle while ascending, causing them to bail on the summit. On the way down the son slipped again and slid like 20 feet down the side of the mountain where he proceeded to slice his shoe and foot open on a sharp rock. After telling him to just sit on his ass and scoot down the mountain we proceeded with the grunt up to Maroon’s south ridge. From here, it’s an easy trip up to the summit of South Maroon, which we covered in 45 minutes. We downed a few gels and assessed the weather while on the summit; determining that the weather would hold for at least the hour we assumed we needed for the traverse. The traverse ended up being easier than we both expected with surprisingly solid rock in all the places you needed it. As expected, we encountered a few route finding errors here-and-there, but it took us exactly one hour to complete the traverse. From the summit of North Maroon we descended via the standard route and were back at the Taco in under five hours.

Weekly Totals
Time—22 hours 48 minutes
Elevation Gain—25,900 feet

Week in Review: July 13-19
Monday, July 13th
AM—9.5 Miles—2:48—4,300’—La Plata Peak (14,336’)
Went up/down the standard route with Paul Hamilton. I still have a lot of work to do with acclimation. About 500 feet below the summit I encountered a mountain goat. Initially, it was in an awesome position and I thought could snag a great photo, but then he kept coming closer and closer. Before I knew it, I was standing about four feet away from this huge, horned beast with football –sized rock in my hand. Yelling at it didn’t seem to bother it much. After a few minutes of yelling I finally just gave him the “get out of here” sign with my hand and he took the hint. When I reached the summit I lingered around for 15-20 minutes. Any time I can hang out shirtless at 14k feet I take advantage. After my loitering session I turned around and trotted back down to the Taco for breakfast. 

Tuesday, July 14th   
AM—14 Miles—3:50—4,800’—Mount Massive (14,421’)
With Paul Hamilton. We set up a shuttle between Fish Hatchery and the Elbert TH. The planned route was to ascend Massive via the East Ridge, descend the SW Slopes to North Halfmoon TH, ascend Elbert’s West Face, and descend the standard NE Ridge back to the truck. I was sucking wind pretty bad on the way up Massive. So, when we finished the descent I decided to bail on Elbert and run back to the truck. I gave Paul the route beta and he set off to explore.

Wednesday, July 15th    
AM—15.5 Miles—2:24—1,800’—Hagerman Pass (11,925’)
Ten minute warmup followed by 10x3 minute intervals with 4 minute uphill jogging rests up to Hagerman Pass. I finally felt sort of decent while running uphill at elevation today. I started at the beginning of the dirt road to Hagerman Pass (where it splits off from the paved road around Turquoise Lake). I reached the summit in 1:17, but could probably take a considerable amount of time off that later in the summer when I’m better acclimated. I just jogged back down to the Taco.

Thursday, July 16th
AM—5 Miles—0:58—800’—Conundrum Creek Trail (Aspen, CO)
Easy jog up and down a few miles in Conundrum Valley. This looks like a gorgeous area that I’d really like to explore a bit more.

Friday, July 17th
PM—5 Miles—1:01—1,400’—Sunnyside Trail (Aspen, CO)
Easy run up the Sunnyside Trail to the radio towers. Reached the towers in 33:13 then did an easy jog back down.

Saturday, July 18th     

Sunday, July 19th
AM—33.5 Miles—7:04—10,550’—Audi Power of Four 50k
I wasn’t feeling terribly fit or acclimated coming into this race. So, I just approached the entire day with a mellow effort and focused mainly on enjoying the course. I got off-route for a bit and added 15 minutes to my day. I definitely enjoyed last year’s course considerably more. In an attempt to cram as much vert into 50k as possible they omitted several sections of nice runnable singletrack ascents and replaced them with non-scenic routes straight up ski slopes.

Weekly Totals
Time—18 hours 07 minutes
Elevation Gain—23,650 feet

Week in Review: July 6-12
Monday, July 6th  
AM—6 Miles—2:35—2,800’—Grant Swamp Pass (12,920’)
Hardrock 100 trail work. I ran a little on the ascent to catch up to the crew since I was talking with Rick Trujillo, which let the rest of the group get a 30 minute head start. Hiked all the way down.

Tuesday, July 7th    
OFF—Resting my knee a little more

Wednesday, July 8th     
AM—9 Miles—1:50—2,900’—Kendall Mountain Bailout
Easy run with Ben Clark. We bailed due to storms.

Thursday, July 9th
AM—15 Miles—2:32—1,200’—Alpine Loop Road
Mellow run with Ben. We began near the turnoff for Cunningham, ran out 7.5 miles, and turned around. Not a bad place for a road run if you can handle the smell of diesel fuel and the sound of fat Texans riding jeeps/ATV’s…
PM—1 Mile—10:28—0’—Hardrock 100 Beer Mile
This was my second beer mile ever. Last year Justin “The Lip” Luttick kept me off the podium. This year was different. My moving time was 6:31, which makes my drinking time 3:57. I need to practice drinking more, but at least I took 3rd place!

Friday, July 10th
PM—12 Miles—5:19—4,300’—El Diente (14,159’)
Up/down South Slopes from Kilpacker TH. Peter Bakwin asked me to help Brett Maune out with his 14er speed record attempt since Ophir Pass was closed due to a rock slide. The original plan was for me to meet him on the Ophir side of the pass, have him walk across the rock slide, give him a ride to the TH, and join him for El Diente and Mount Wilson. The pass was cleared before his attempt, but I decided to tag along anyways. Brett was moving fast up El Diente and my unacclimated ass was having a hard time keeping up. Eventually, we hit a big snow field and I decided to get out my ice ax. On the ascent I could look at the south side of Mount Wilson and the descent I would face should I continue on with the traverse. It didn’t look too appealing. The snow quality was crap at best and the sound of rockfall was nearly constant. So, I decided to just bag El Diente and return back to Kilpacker. Still, not a bad day at all…

Saturday, July 11th
OFF—Celebrating Hardrock

Sunday, July 12th
PM—6.5 Miles—2:30—3,700’—Hayden Mountain North (13,139’) and Point 12,864’
With Paul Hamilton and Cordis Hall. We set up a car shuttle with the intent of ascending via the Hayden Trail, traversing Hayden Ridge, and making our way down the Richmond Trail where the shuttle awaited. However, storms and some technical/chossy looking terrain caused us to bail down a grassy scree slope shortly after hitting Hayden Mountain North. Above treeline the descent was pretty easy, but once we hit the trees it became a little more of a shit show. We eventually hit a trail on the west side of Crystal Lake and took that back to the car.

Weekly Totals
Time—14 hours 58 minutes
Elevation Gain—14,900 feet

Week in Review: June 29 – July 5
Monday, June 29th  
AM1—2.5 Miles—0:50—1,250’—Mount Sanitas
Easy early morning hike/jog with Deb.
AM2—3 Miles—2:31—2,400’—1st Flatironette, The Spy, 1st Flatiron (North Arete), Sunset Flatironette (Chase the Sun), 2nd Flatiron (Free for All)
Finally felt confident and on-point with my scrambling. Had a little scare on the lower crux of Free for Hall where my foot slipped and I had to catch myself before falling, but that didn’t seem to do much to shake my confidence.

Tuesday, June 30th    
AM—13 Miles—3:27—4,800’—South Boulder, Bear, and Green
From Chautauqua, down Mesa to Shadow Canyon, to SoBo/Bear/Green, with a descent of the front side of Green.

Wednesday, July 1st
AM1—21.5 Miles—4:48—5,600’—Backside Loop
Green Mountain via front side>west ridge> Flagstaff Road>Meyers Gulch>Walker Ranch>Eldorado Canyon>Old Mesa>Mesa. This is always a fun loop and a great fitness test. I have some work to do on fitness…
AM2—5.5 Miles—3:10—2,500’—Green Mountain Hike
Met up with Kristina for a hike up Green Mountain after my run. Went up the NE Ridge and down the front side.

Thursday, July 2nd
AM—7.5 Miles—1:43—2,550’—Royal Arch, Flatirons Access Loop, and Hill Repeats
Met up with Josh Uhl with the intention of scrambling, but rain forced us to do an easy jog up to Royal Arch. After closing the Flatirons Access Loop I hit Bluebell Road for 5x2 minutes hill repeats.

Friday, July 3rd  
AM—15 Miles—3:51—3,400’—Devil’s Thumb/High Lonesome Loop
Ran this with David Ponak. This was my first time on the loop and it certainly didn’t disappoint. With a few miles left to go I fell and busted my knee. The swelling eventually forced me into a bit of a limp back to the Taco.

Saturday, July 4th
Climbing at The Pool Wall in Ouray, CO with Rush Combs
My knee still hurt pretty bad when walking. So, running wasn’t really an option.

Sunday, July 5th
AM—5 Miles—2:42—1,700’—Chief Ouray Mine Hike
I did trail work for Hardrock 100 in order to get an extra ticket in the lottery next year.

Weekly Totals
Time—23 hours 06 minutes
Elevation Gain—24,200 feet

Week in Review: June 22-28
Monday, June 22nd 
AM—8.5 Miles—2:09—2,900’—Green Mountain and Flagstaff Mountain
Up front side, down West Ridge/Long Canyon and over Flagstaff Mountain
PM—5.5 Miles—3:48—2,650’—2nd Flatiron (Freeway), The Regency, Royal Arch
I decided to head out for an easy hike/scramble up the Freeway. When I returned to Chautauqua I ran into Rush, Logan, and Guy making their way to The Regency and Royal Arch. I decided to join them for a little more easy scrambling.

Tuesday, June 23rd
AM—11 Miles—1:52—1,850’—Flagstaff Mountain
From Ebin G Fine park. After a little warmup I did 5x5minute intervals on Chapman Drive and returned to the park via the Creek Path.

Wednesday, June 24th     
AM—10 Miles—1:19—200’—Boulder Bike Paths
Just an easy run along the bike paths. Terrible planning on my part as it was bike to work day. What a shit show…

Thursday, June 25th
AM—11.5 Miles—2:37—3,500’—Bear Peak
From Chautauqua, up Fern Canyon, down Bear Canyon with 4x30 seconds hill repeats on Bluebell Road at the end.

Friday, June 26th
AM—5 Miles—2:32—1,900’—The Slab (Sygyz) with Satan’s Minions
Another interview scramble with the Minions. This was a sweet route with a fun, sneaky downclimb. Stuart, Cordis, and I went on to climb some random rock with a big, gated-off cave on the SE face of it.

Saturday, June 27th 
AM1—2.5 Miles—1:38—1,600’—1st Flatironette, The Spy, 1st Flatiron (North Arete)
A quick morning scramble before meeting up with Deb to head into the mountains.  
AM2—14 Miles—5:29—4,800’—Torreys Peak (14,267’) via Kelso Ridge and Grays Peak (14,270’)
Whew…First time at altitude since October sure was a kick in the ass. This took way longer than anticipated and I got some pretty bad sun burn…

Sunday, June 28th
AM—6 Miles—1:08—800’—North Tenmile Trail (Frisco, CO)
Just an easy run with Deb before heading back down to the Front Range.

Weekly Totals
Time—22 hours 36 minutes
Elevation Gain—20,200 feet

Week in Review: June 15-21
Monday, June 15th 
PM—5.5 Miles—1:37—2,500’—Green Mountain
Up/down front side at sunset after the long drive from Missouri. Ran into Eric Lee and Cordis Hall on their descent. Felt the altitude a little bit on this one.

Tuesday, June 16th   
PM—4 Miles—2:22—2,150’—2nd Flatiron (Freeway), 1st Flatironette, The Spy, 1st Flatiron (North Arete)
With Max Keith and Cordis Hall. First time scrambling in about 7 months. Lacked confidence.  

Wednesday, June 17th 
AM—3.5 Miles—1:51—2,000’—2nd Flatiron (Tunnel Route), 1st Flatiron (Atalanta), Sunset Flatironette (Chase the Sun) with Satan’s Minions
I felt a little better on the slabs today, but still didn’t trust my feet totally. Always a fun day with the Minions…

Thursday, June 18th
OFF—Climbing at BRC/Travel to Sheridan, WY

Friday, June 19th
OFF—Resting for pacing duties

Saturday, June 20th 
AM—34 Miles—7:52—5,700’—Bighorn 100 Pacing for Max Keith
I paced my friend Max from Santiago, Chile for the last 34 miles of his second 100 miler. He ran strong and finished in 22:42, which was good enough for 10th place.

Sunday, June 21st
PM—3 Miles—1:35—1,600’—1st Flatironette, The Spy, 1st Flatiron (North Arete)
After the long drive from Sheridan to Boulder I decided to hit the slabs to stretch out my legs.

Weekly Totals
Time—15 hours 19 minutes
Elevation Gain—13,950 feet

Week in Review: June 8-14
Monday, June 8th 
AM—6 Miles—0:58—200’—Santiago Roads
Still sick. Miserable run.

Tuesday, June 9th   
OFF—Sick/Travel to United States

Wednesday, June 10th 
AM—5 Miles—0:45—0’—Orrick Roads
Still battling a fierce sinus infection.

Thursday, June 11th

Friday, June 12th
AM—11 Miles—1:29—0’—Orrick Roads

Saturday, June 13th 
OFF—Still sort of sick

Sunday, June 14th 
OFF—Feeling a little better

Weekly Totals
Time—3 hours 14 minutes
Elevation Gain—200 feet

Week in Review: June 1-7
Monday, June 1st
AM—15 Miles—2:31—2,600’—San Cristobal Trails/Roads

Tuesday, June 2nd    
AM—18 Miles—7:57—9,700’—Traverse of Sierra del Ramon
Provincia > Tambor > San Ramon > La Cruz
Started feeling pretty sick this morning. So, figured I would try out this sweet route before I was too sick to function in the mountains.  

Wednesday, June 3rd  

Thursday, June 4th

Friday, June 5th

Saturday, June 6th 

Sunday, June 7th 

Weekly Totals
Time—10 hours 28 minutes
Elevation Gain—12,300 feet

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