High in Colorado

High in Colorado
Photo: Mandy Lea Photo

Monday, July 29, 2013

Week in Review: July 22-28—Easing Back into Things

Monday, July 22nd
OFF—Ankle Recovery

Tuesday, July 23rd
OFF—Ankle Recovery 
Wednesday, July 24th  
OFF—Ankle Recovery

Thursday, July 25th
AM—5 Miles—1:41—850’—Kroenke Lake Trail from North Cottonwood Creek TH
This was pretty much my first activity since twisting my ankle on Quandary last Thursday. So, I took it super easy and just hiked most of the way. I tried stepping on odd rocks and roots to see how my ankle felt—it felt kind of OK and kind of shitty. I ran a few stretches of trail that were flat and smooth just to see how the ankle held up to running—again OK and shitty. Overall, I’m pleased with the hike considering how bad I screwed up my ankle. 

Friday, July 26th
AM—8 Miles—3:37—3,400’—Mount Antero (14,269’)
Armed with a cheap ankle brace I bought at Buena Vista Drug I felt ready to take on the world (or at least an easy 14er)! So I suited up and made my way up Antero. The standard route up the jeep road was pretty technical and as indirect as can be. The route reaches the summit in about 5 miles from the Baldwin Creek crossing. I decided to take a more direct route and summited in 2.5 miles. I’m almost positive I can summit in less than 2 miles with two good ankles that would allow me to take an even more direct  (steep) line. The draining I ascended surely tested the stability (or lack thereof) of my ankle. I felt like a new born deer heading up the mountain. I ran the first mile or so of the descent before the jeep road turned into a nightmare for those with wobbly ankles. So I basically walked all the way back down. HOT, shirtless day on the mountain. 

Saturday, July 27th   
AM—10 Miles—3:24—4,450’—Missouri Mountain (14,067’)

I decided to sleep at the Missouri Gulch Trailhead. Bad idea. Around 4 AM the trailhead was like Times Square or something. Huge groups of people everywhere, cars circling around hoping to find a parking spot to prevent them from having to walk an extra half mile, and a ridiculous amount of noise. So I decided to go ahead and get out of bed around 5 AM and get an early start. Before I hit treeline I passed every group that had started in the hour leading up to my departure. The simple mind of the weekend warrior can’t fully comprehend what is happening when a nearly naked guy passes them running up a 14er at 6 AM. Where are his clothes? His poles? His huge backpack? How is he running a 14er since 14ers are supposed to be hiked? I just pretend like I don’t hear people when they try to talk or ask questions. If I wanted to socialize then I would either run with friends or go to a bar. I was making great time up Missouri Gulch until I decided I was tired of seeing people and took an off trail route to the ridge due north of Missouri’s Northwest Ridge. After much frustration with the loose terrain and essentially a wasted 30 minutes I finally found some somewhat stable footing that allowed me to traverse over to the standard route trail. After summiting I was able to run essentially all of the descent with the exception of two or three more technical portions, which I walked due to my ankle. LOADS of people out.

 Sunday, June 28th   
OFF—Used the day of crappy weather to rest the ankle a bit more

Time—8hours 43minutes
Elevation Gain—8,700 feet                                                               

After a week off due to an ankle injury I decided to just dip my toes in the water with an easy hike. The ankle felt pretty blah. So, naturally I decided to get up to 14k feet mostly off trail the following day. My ankle seems to be holding up a bit, but the top of my foot is numb and when I press on my ankle right below the shin it sends a tingling to my toes. We’ll see what happens this week while trying to knock out some Sawatch 14ers in the Leadville area. 

With the obvious exception of getting back up to 14k feet on my own two legs the other highlight of the week was helping my buddy Ben do some scouting for the Nolan’s 14 route. He’s planning an attempt for late-August. This route is on my agenda for next summer. So, it’s nice to get as much exposure as I can via my own scouting, friend’s scouting, discussing potential routes, studying topo maps, or anything else.  

Nolan's scouting near Shavano.

More Nolan's scouting near Shavano.

Sweet sunset over Buena Vista.

Ridge leading up to Antero's summit. There's actually a road that goes all the way to where this photo was taken. I opted for an off-trail route up to this point.

Descending Antero via the road.

Sunset over Leadville.

Mining ruins outside of Leadville.

Looking back at part of the ascent up Missouri.

Ridge leading up to Missouri's summit.

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