High in Colorado

High in Colorado
Photo: Mandy Lea Photo

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Week in Review: August 5-11

Monday, August 5th
OFF—Acupuncture in the morning and shitty weather in the evening granted me a recovery day

Tuesday, August 6th
AM—7 Miles—2:27—3,750’—Reverse Decalibron + South Bross
I did the Decalibron loop a while back, but got stormed off Bross before I could make the quick out-and-back over to South Bross, a sub-14er. So, I charged straight up the hill to tag South Bross first thing in the morning which would give me the option of calling it a day after that peak. Instead, I decided to make the full loop and tag the rest of the summits. I reached the summit of Demorat, my last summit of the day, in 1:57. Overall, it was a pretty uneventful day. The hikers sure were chatty. I don’t mind talking occasionally, but I’m always curious as to why hikers think someone running up/down a 14er wants to stop to answer stupid questions like “what are you training for?” or any other question along those lines.
“South Bross” (14,020’)
Mount Bross (14,172’)
Mount Lincoln (14,286’)
Mount Cameron (14,238’)
Mount Democrat (14,148’)

Wednesday, August 7th  
OFF—I parked at the trailhead for Shavano/Tabeguache with the intent of doing that linkup this morning, but shitty weather kept me curled up in my nice, warm sleeping bag in the back of the Taco

Thursday, August 8th
AM—10 Miles—3:20—4,200’—Redcloud Peak (14,034’) and Sunshine Peak (14,001’)
Happy birthday to me! Most people want parties, beer, and company on their birthday. I want mountains, solitude, and relaxation. Which is what I got. After sleeping in until 8 AM I finally got on the trail and started up Redcloud around 8:30 AM. The original plan was to summit Recloud, Sunshine, and Handies, but I knew getting to Handies before the storms rolled in would be a stretch with such a late start. The trip up Redcloud was pretty nice with a decent stretch following along a roaring stream as the trail gently made its way upward. The actual climb up Redcloud was really easy with a few glimpses of the seemingly out of place red summit along the way. I disposed of the traverse to Sunshine pretty quick. On the way I passed a couple from Texas at the base of the final push to the summit. They couldn’t believe how fast I caught them and they REALLY couldn’t believe that I started over three hours after them. I descended straight down the talus and eventually joined with what I think is the Northwest Ridge route on Sunshine. Near treeline I noticed the afternoon storms starting to roll in. I made it back to the Taco just in time to make breakfast and avoid too much rain. Handies will have to wait. Not a bad way to celebrate a birthday. 

Friday, August 9th
AM—4 Miles—2:02—2,400’—Mount Sneffels (14,150’)
I wanted an easy day, but I wanted to get up to 14k as well. So I decided to drive up the road a bit into Yankee Boy Basin to cut out some of the easier road mileage on the trip up Sneffels. I parked at the trail that goes to Wrights Lake and used that for my approach to Blue Lakes Pass to ascend via the 3rd class southwest ridge. With the exception of most of the rock being frosted over, this route proved to be surprisingly easy considering how heinous the ridge looks from below. I spent a little more time on the ascent than really needed due to making sure of my foot placements on the frozen rock. The descent down the south slopes started out pretty easy on the top gully. The frozen terrain was covered with enough snow to grant some traction. So I was able to just hop down pretty carelessly. The scree col was a shit show of people—probably 30 or more. Every 30 seconds it seemed someone was yelling “Rock!” to the people below. I stayed to my right on the descent to avoid getting near those people. Near the top of the col I got a little carless in my running, forgetting that I was wearing approach shoes that have shitty traction on scree, and took a little fall. After sliding about 10-15 feet on my ass in skimpy running shorts I came to a stop and assessed the damage—decent amount of blood and trail rash from my ankle up to my ass. Nice…After 1-2 miles of runnable terrain I made it back to the Taco and scrubbed the hell out of the trail rash. That’s always the worst part.

Saturday, August 10th   
AM—40 Miles—9:22—14,000’—Telluride Mountain Run
I had been looking forward to this run for a while. Mainly because of the ridiculous amount of vertical crammed into 40’ish miles, but also because the San Juans are awesome. Dakota and Reese put on a great race on a great course. Couldn’t ask for more. I might do a little write-up eventually, but don’t get your hopes up. I’m horrible when it comes to post-race writing. Mostly because I haven’t found a way to do it without the writing sounding like the book report of some ignorant 3rd grader. 

Sunday, August 11th
OFF—I don’t really need an off day because my legs feel great, but after sitting in the coffee shop long enough to let the afternoon storms roll in I decided that being lazy today seemed like a great idea. Letting the legs recoup for attacking the Wilson Group tomorrow morning.

Time—17 hours 12 minutes
Elevation Gain—24,350 feet                                                                

Not a bad week considering I took three days completely off. I got to bag a few new 14ers and even spend my birthday above 14k feet. I went into the Telluride Mountain Run feeling as hiking-fit as ever and came out with essentially no soreness. So that’s good, I guess.

At the beginning of the month Kelsey and I decided to try a month-long experiment at being vegans. To my shock, it’s been going rather well for both of us. Yes, we’ve both cheated a few times, but that was sort of expected when going from eat-whatever-the-hell-I-want diets to full-on vegan diets. It’s a difficult transition to make overnight. In about two weeks, I’ve noticed significant improvements in energy levels, which has been a problem for me when putting in 20-30 hour weeks with 30k feet or more of vertical. It’s hard to find energy sometimes when you’re totally fucking exhausted all the time. I’ve also noticed improvements in my recovery after big days, which has helped me do big days pretty close to another. The biggest thing I’ve noticed is fat disappearing faster than I could ever have dreamed. I can say without-a-doubt that I’m the fittest I’ve ever been at any point ever in my life, which has me excited to see how things are at the end of the month. Who knows if I’ll continue this vegan thing? 

Following the stream on the approach to Redcloud


Happy birthday to me on the summit of Redcloud.

Looking back towards Recloud from the summit of Sunshine. Obviously, there is no Sunshine...

Storms starting to roll in a little on my descent from Sunshine.

Wrights Lake on the way up Sneffels

Looking back at the ridge I used to ascend Sneffels

Yankee Boy Basin with Sneffels (left) in the background


  1. "Most people want parties, beer and company on their birthday..."

    and cupcakes.

    1. No. No cupcakes you vegan cheater...