Monday, December 30, 2013

Bear Peak Hike

Since the foot decided to take a step back in its healing, I was off for another walk up Bear. It's always good to hike this one since it's on the fringe of being "un-runnable". Made it up and down in about 2:10 which I was really pleased about, especially for walking (as fast as I could walk that is). Also gave me a chance to try out my new micro-spikes too! They worked really well in the hard packed steep snow, a little sketchy on rocks, but a life-saver on the descent.

Peculiar mixture of dry dirt and snow that makes up most of North ridge to the summit

View from the trail on the north ridge

Storms along the divide

Summit of Bear

King of the North!(-ern front range, Longs Peak)

New friend from Missoula abandoning me after we just met... 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

2nd Flatiron

Just beginning to get back into the groove of constant running, its been fun to add some climbing/scrambling into the routine as well. It adds tons of vertical while keeping speed at a minimum. Yesterday Dre (from my trip on Pawnee Pass) and I took a break from finals studying to go get some trails in. Apparently he hasn't ran since the Pawnee adventure, but he kept up just fine. We originally planned on doing Bear Peak, but decided on climbing the 2nd instead - less time on the trail meant more time studying later. I'm starting to find a good route up the second flatiron that I can really move on. I want to get my time down around 25 minutes, which seems feasible. The climb isn't hard, but I feel like finding the right route is what makes you go fast rather than just climbing fast. Yesterday's time was 38 minutes up, but we went really casually; with my PR at 33 I'll get the time eventually.

Dre about half-way up
Facial expression looking super intelligent
Dre on the moves to the top
 Distance door to door from apartment was 6.5 miles, pace 19:41 (9ish, excluding the time on the rock), and a gain of 1,700 ft

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Green Mountain

I finally made it up Green Mountain in Boulder today. Hadn't got up there since early July (Used to do Green every weekend). I left home with the thermometer at -2F so I was well layered like an onion. Even still it was really cold most of the time. I took the skunk canyon trail from Broadway-ish up to the mesa trail. First photo pit stop was at a frozen creek crossing:
Frozen Pine Needles (my personal favorite picture)
Frozen Pine Needles
A few sketchy parts with the snow
I had borrowed my friends slip on mini-spikes, but they were for a bigger foot size and for boots, so they kept on falling off and I ended up carrying them half the time. I don't think they could have helped to much in these conditions either, as it was mostly powder. From the Mesa trail, I took Bear Canyon. About halfway up Bear Canyon I went for my first water. I found my camelbak tube completely froze, despite being inside my pack and inside an insulator. The next result of the cold, was eating a gel, I basically had to chew it. I ran for about 10 minutes tightly gripping the tube until it thawed. The going was really slow, partly from the weather, partly from doing 10 miles up Boulder Canyon last night and mostly from me just starting getting back into trail running shape. Thus I was forced into a quite a bit of power hiking. My favorite part about taking Bear Canyon up is that I always feel like when you reach the summit it almost surprises you, it feels like there is going to be more to climb. Views on the summit were pretty cool too:
Panorama looking North from summit (apparently broken on the right side)
Summit scenery
The descent was pretty fun (and stressful in parts). I took the Saddle down (which I have never been on before). Most of the time it was just finding a way to go fast without falling. At a couple points, it was easiest to just sit down and slide on my butt down a steep section. I'll probably choose Greenman next time next time descending in the snow, but I can imagine Gregory canyon being pretty terrible too. Another fun adventure was getting a pebble out of my shoe in the snow, really hard to do without submerging the foot in snow. Final pictures from descent:
Typical section of trial on Saddle-Amphitheater descent
This is a shoe. In fact, its my shoe.
Total: 12.5 miles, pace: 14:00, Elevation: +3,200

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Bear and South Boulder Peaks

Up and down from Shanahan Ridge Trailhead (glad I found the bus stop there). Should probably invest in some Kahtoola microspikes at some point (50% of the people I saw had them), but the traction wasn't too bad in my normal shoes. Finally got my South Boulder Peak summit. Nice views and cold hands:
Indian Peaks (I think) from Bear
Top of Bear
Longs Peak
Top of South Boulder

Thursday, November 21, 2013

1st & 2nd Flatiron Loop

Woke up this morning to the first notable snow of the winter this morning and decided to hit up Chautauqua. Thought about going for Green, but I wasn't sure if my foot was ready for that kind of distance and vertical. I figured the 1st and 2nd Flatiron loop would be a good median. I haven't ran even a real hill in almost 3 months, so my legs felt as fresh as the snow on the ground. Snow was also nice because you can't go too fast on snowy/icy rock and it provides a good cushioning for the foot. I didn't push it too hard, I hiked and took pictures whenever I wanted. The run was awesome, I think this is actually the happiest I've ever been on run. It was just perfect. Would definitely recommend doing a snowy run like this to anyone who is interested. I'd say the pictures say why:

Looking up the first.

Icicles on the side of the first.

Base of the first


Rock with snowy (obviously)

The first from the trail up.

Top of the first from the top of the trail.

Top of first from the top of the trail.

Best view of the city I got, clouds were really thick.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Bear Peak Night Climb

Wow, this was an adventure. Since I have been healing from a stress fracture in my foot, I have been doing a lot of hiking which has lead to some climbing. Also since, I'm studying engineering I don't get much time to go. So Friday night I took the bus to the trailhead nearest to Bear Peak in Boulder. As a preface, here is my GPS tracks (I turned off the GPS for a short segment).

Segment 1, GPS could get location right away, stops at base of climb.
Starts far left at the end of the climb, notice the missed junction down Bear Canyon just to the right of Distance 1.

Much Void
I hiked under a setting sun for the first 45 minutes and then it was all headlamp from there. I arrived at the base of this huge slab at the base of Bear, it stretches out lengthwise across almost the entire mountain. I decided I would do some climbing. In the darkness it wasn't too hard to climb, I took my time looked around and found routes pretty easily. You can see what I climbed in the gap between the two GPS tracks. It wasn't until I realized that when I looked back down that my light no longer reached the ground. There was just a void of blackness. Didn't feel like messing with my camera 500 ft up on a wall to make the picture not suck.

Boulder city lights, the creek is the black band breaking up the city. Much beauty.
It was an odd and somewhat surreal feeling, almost as if the world ceased to exist outside of my illuminated area. It was a pretty warm night, no clouds in the sky to block the stars, and the ridge line of the flatirons sheltered me from the wind descending from the west which hammered Boulder all day. Looking back east, I was above the trees and had a fantastic view of the front range, all the way from Boulder to Denver. I found my camera may not be the best suited for night photography, but here is the best shot I got of the city lights. For some reason the sweeping panorama wouldn't work at night either.

Moon at framed by wood and rock stuff. Such Lunar.
I realized at a certain point that downclimbing would take forever and be not fun at all, so I traversed my over to the North side of the slab and found a relatively flat gully full of solid holds and footing that was really easy to downclimb out of. Now that I was on the edge of this flatiron, I knew I could just follow it straight up and I would end up on the summit of Bear. A lot of really fun scrambling in this part. The moon at this point was positioned perfectly. As I climbed it was consistently framed by the edge of the rock and the trees. I took probably 80 pictures of this trying to make the flash flood the right foreground objects, this was the best shot I ended up with.

Although technically this was not on an actual trail, it often felt like I was. I would have to assume climbers have created there own trails in this area with all of the awesome spots. Eventually I hit a long stretch of talus which finally gave me a view of the summit. I often found myself turning off my headlamp to get my bearings. The flood of light right around me didn't allow my eyes to see into the distance too far. I hit the actual trail about 200 ft below the summit. Finally I reached the top. Quick advise: do not attempt a summit selfie with eyes adjusted to the dark with a bright flashing camera.
Such eyes
Summit marker at top left, Much denim. Wow.
Heading back down I was zipping along the trail until...BOOM I lost the trail. I'm realizing I'm really good at getting zoned out and totally missing a turn and taking some route that vaguely resembles a trail. I realized that I missed the turnoff for Bear Canyon and instead bushwhacked my down to Fern Canyon. Yes, literally there were hundred of leave-less bush branches whipping me in the face. I have ran Fern Canyon many times before on the descent of Green Mountain and I knew the trail was right alongside the stream. I could here the water but the close I got, the denser the bushes became to the point where I couldn't get through them. I would guess my pace at this point was about 2 hours a mile. When I remembered there were power lines next to the trail, I was back on packed dirt pretty quickly. The junction of Fern Canyon, Bear Canyon and the Mesa trail is super confusing, judging on the lay of the land, when I took the downhill trail South, that to me made total sense being the Shanahan Ridge trailhead I started from was downhill and to the South. Wrong (again). I realized where I was pretty quickly, but I also realized that taking the Mesa trail back to Chautauqua would only add 30 minutes. But I was really tired and since I had left the shelter of the ridge, the wind had resumed its 40 mph gusts; I called my room mate, and he agreed to meet me at NCAR with his motor car. Great success. Hashtag Adventure.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

I met Kilian Jornet!

Kilian Jornet was at the Boulder Running Company for a presentation, Q&A and book signing Thursday night. I managed to snag the 5th to last ticket. If your reading this and don't know who he is: Google/YouTube him, he is insane. One story that basically summarizes him is that he said "When I was about 13 I found this really cool loop through the mountains, it was about 50 miles". Now he has a pretty thick accent, but even if that was 15 its still ridiculous. Anyways, I got a copy of his book signed and got a picture with him. Crazy.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Flood Run

So after my my 4 14ers and 69 mile week my body had enough and I've been sick since Monday. Just when I was starting to get better, Boulder flooded. So I ended up not being able to run (or do any physical activity besides drag my sick body to class) for 5 days. The monsoon rain stopped this morning and the sun was visible again so I went out to get in a few miles and see the damage. I had been following the events on Twitter quite a bit from home so I knew it was pretty bad but that the water should have receded enough to check things out safely. I stuck mainly to the Creek path.
Creek path underneath 28th (picture above & below)

I read if this amount of percipitation would have fallen in snow form it would be 10ft. Being from Colorado I have no idea how to quantize rain in inches.

If you look at the white car far back, about 5 seconds after I took this it, the ware was about half way to the windows.
Western side of Creek path 28th street underpass
Creek/Folsom, didn't want to take pictures of peoples apartments here, but they were obviously soaked. 
Just below Folsom Field, a lot of the area is like this, not too deep with water and muddy.
And people wondered why I didn't want to play in the flood waters...
Bridge from Sewell Hall to creek path totally washed away
Bike sharing at its prime right below Sewell Hall
Boulder High area, low depth fast flowing waters.
I really couldn't see the path at all in a lot of places, nor tell where it went even after running it 3 or 4 times a week for the past year. Scenery is totally different and will take a long time to clean up this mess.

Boulder High, to the right of the fenced area is BHS's practice fields for lacrosse, soccer, etc. total swampland now.
If you were watching news the first night, this is the tunnel in that first video. This is the tunnel a lot of off-campus students use to get to class. The mosaic tiling was finished Monday or Tuesday, just in time!
Shoes covered in mud, I honestly tried avoiding water/mud but it was impossible.
Water problems are over, but the cleanup of dirt and debris is going to take months. Going to need to find a new go to path since the creek will be impassable for a couple of weeks. Breathing still felt kinda sickly, 4 more days or so and I should be ba
ck to normal.

Distance: 4 miles, Pace: Slow, Vertical: 2ft or something, Fastest mile: 25:30 or something :)