Saturday, August 2, 2014

7/21 to 8/2

After the 28 mile, 8,200' Four Pass Loop I decided to make a point to get some recovery for a week. Well, I took 2 days off then got my road bike which has been sitting in a garage in need of some repairs fixed up. I ended up biking 3 times during the week. Despite not being a huge fan of road or mountain biking, I figure that easy days should be on a bike just to reduce the total impact your legs are getting. Biking does certainly work your legs though, and a bit different muscles than running does, so my legs continue to be sore as always. Anyways, I was able to resist my bipedal urges for 6 days. Had a dense few days since:

7/26, Saturday - N. Arapaho Pk (13,501') & S. Arapaho Pk (13,397'), 10 miles, 4:13 (3:40 Moving), 3,700'

I started from the Fourth of July trailhead under a somewhat threatening looking sky, though the weather was about 60F, perfect for running. My legs felt a bit heavy and rusty from biking and not running in a while, but they tiptoed along up the trail. Still on a self-declared "recovery-week" (whatever that means), I didn't necessarily put too much effort into things (i.e. I walked a bunch). The morning was quiet and overcast as I made my way up. As is typical for me, above 13,000' I can't hardly run uphill, so I power-hiked the last 400' up to South Arapaho. Up top the wind was whipping, but I never got more than a bit chilly.
The creek- or trail rather. Mt. Neva (L) and S. Arapaho Pk (R)
S. Arapaho, N. Arapaho, Arapaho Glacier (from left to right)
Not sure why I was nervous about the traverse, its said to be Class 3, which for some reason sounded hard despite soloing up to 5.6 comfortably this Spring. Anyways, this was the real fun of the day. There are these orange arrows that point to the easiest way around things keeping it Class 2+ most of the time. Well that's no fun. I tried staying on the ridge proper till I would reach a cliff and have to backtrack, even found a mini "leap of faith". I still hate my Altra's for climbing anything, but they were plenty good today. Ended up hanging out on N. Arapaho's summit for about 20 or 30 minutes talking with a couple from Boulder. Also, Boulder's water supply is right below here, so I could have poisoned everyone - but I didn't, because I'm not a terrorist. Right.
Ridgy Ridgy Ridgy
Large summit cairn of N. Arapaho with some exposure! In the distance is Boulder on the plains.
I played around equally as much and had to redo my route several times, but it was just so cool to climb around up there. If you stay on the ridge proper you can get into what I would call 4th class stuff. Fun. At this point the overcast sky had opened up to a relative inferno (only like 80F) for this area considering when I ski here in the winter its been -31 (that's without wind chill!). Made my way back down pretty casually. Wildflowers were even better than last week!
Its like a sidewalk, but different
Hmm, how to say this. In the manliest way possible Columbines and Indian Paintbrushes are my favorite flowers
Got back to the trailhead to greet what appeared to be the entire Denver-Metro area. Glad I got there early! Beautiful and fun day.

7/27, Sunday - Mt. Yale Hike, 8 miles, 2,900'

My sister is moving out to DC in a few weeks and had yet to be up on a 14er. Her boyfriend and I decided that Mt. Yale was an "easy enough" mountain without succumbing to the throngs of crowds which would surely be present at the close and easy Grays, Torreys, Bierstadt, Evans, etc. We ended up not making the summit - turned around at 13k' - but it was a great day out in the Sawatch which has some huge scenery. Really the goal was to give her the "big mountain experience", so I think we did that and am glad we turned around before things got miserable and un-fun.

7/29, Tuesday- Grays Pk (14,270') & Torrey's Pk (14,267'),  9 miles, 4,300', 3:03

The Arapaho's wet my appetite for more technical lines, so I gave another go at Kelso Ridge. So its really a lot easier without wet and slippery snow covering all the rock! I ended up running into my friend Jason at the trailhead - his jeep made it up the rough 4-wheel road, I relied on my legs for an extra 2 miles, he was also going for Kelso with three other guys (Dan, Doug, Trent). So I joined up with them. Jason is about 200 pounds of pure muscle and is a phenomenal runner, pretty demoralizing to see someone with that kind of mass move that fast (and he only looks bigger around a bunch of skinny runners). We made pretty quick work of the ridge, crossed the saddle and bombed the 4,000' back down. Again, going down I excelled, going up I was getting pulled along. I think 2 of the four guys were Hardrock finishers. So crazy. I got a ride back down to my car so I didn't have to run the 4-wheel road back down. Awesome morning, legs felt awesome all day and all before work.

Also, shout-out to Mr. Schulb - I got up at 4:30 AM - I'm getting there!
The five of us heading up at sunrise (photo: Jason)

Jason on the approach, Kelso ridge is on the right leading to Torrey's Peak (right) with Grays Peak (left)
Trent on the Knife Edge of Kelso ridge, I'm in the top left, camouflaged into the rocks.
Me and Trent executing the stereotypical 14er pose with a sign we found (photo: Jason). I guess Trent used to be paralyzed a few years ago after a car accident, needless to say he's had an amazing recovery! A good quote was "some muscles in my arms are still paralyzed but I'm good!"
Racing to the finish with Doug - a 2014 Hardrock finisher! (photo: Jason)

7/30, Wednesday - Green, 7 miles, 2,500', 1:39

Been raining for a few days now which has let the temperature in my apartment fall below 80 - finally. Anyways, wasn't any lightning all day so I enjoyed a mellow lap of Green. I hadn't actually stood atop a Boulder mountain this July interestingly enough - the last time being on June 30th. Really pleasant evening with peppy legs, despite being inside of a cloud the whole run.

7/31, Thursday - Anemone Ridge/Sunshine Canyon, 4 miles, 1,000', 1:21

Easy jogging around Anemone ridge with Elliot. Enjoyed some sweet sunset single-track followed by a quick scramble of the nearby fins. Was originally planning on doing the weird Anemone ridge, but it was closed for some unknown reason. Whatever. Awesome evening with great company to keep my pace in recovery mode. Vertical is blowing up right now and I love it.

8/1, Friday - Anemone Ridge/Sunshine Canyon, 4 miles, 1000', 1:00

Same exact route as yesterday. My new Luna Mono huaraches arrived in the mail today - perhaps the only shoe that can be shipped in a standard envelope! They actually offer a surprising amount of cushion for being a sandal, about as much as I'm used to nowadays anyways. Lacing is a bit a of a debacle right now, but that should improve with trial and error. They also worked pretty well scrambling (on the Red Rock Fins) as they have a Vibram outsole. Good fun.

8/2, Saturday - Mt. Neva (12,814'), Mt. Jasper(12,923'), 17 miles, 5,000', 6:08 (4:03 moving)

Being relatively uncharted territory (even in Colorado's ocean of mountain beta), I found one sentence in a comment on SummitPost that suggested this exact line had been done before. Its almost certain it has been done before (I mean its Boulder area...), and each segment has absolutely been done before, its just a fairly obscure linkup. So I really studied the maps. Luckily, the one section of this route which is off trail/route is easy n' breezy alpine grass. Started from 4th of July Trailhead and grumbled up the moderate incline to Caribou Pass. The north ridge to Neva steadily increases in both elevation and technicality. The crux is an exposed 4th class section in a sliver of a notch that is almost vertical. but the rock was solid and though holds weren't abundant what was there was great, it went well enough. The summit followed shortly thereafter. Neva is a bit peculiar for being as prominent as it is while not even getting to 13k' - thus being relatively unknown, its a real treasure.
Approaching Neva's North ridge
A close look at the ridge. The dark-ish triangle is actually a very thin notch with some fun 4th/5th class climbing
Looking back from the summit.
Next up was a generally class 2 grunt up Mt. Jasper, the gentle giant albeit it comes short of even 13k'. I've also found various different recorded elevations for the mountains, but a smidge under 13k' feels about right. I sat around on Jasper for probably 30 to 40 minutes. I hadn't seen anyone in almost 2 hours, so I played some music and laid out on a rock and enjoyed my Nutella-dilla. The Southwestern slopes of Mt. Jasper were totally surreal, attacking the steep downhill in knee deep wildflowers is something I'm sure to remember.
A simply phenomenal selfie looking back towards Boulder. A real Boulderite woud be able to identify Green and Bear!
Looking back to Neva.
The few high points provided a trip down memory lane when I tried this last year and turned around due to dehydration/fatigue. One thing I did remember was not to shortcut down to Devil's Thumb Lake - last time it was an infuriating 30 minute willow-whacking profanity inducer which left me even more exhausted and dehydrated. Still, the familiar territory was nice after the airy and adventurous ridgeline. Missed the Diamond Lake trail turnoff and ended up having ton run all the way down to Hessie and start jogging up (ugh) to 4th of July until I was able to hitch a ride. I probably was stopped for 2 hours, considering my solo-party on Jasper, route finding gawking on Neva, and general nature enjoyment stops. Always good to get peaks that you can see from Boulder. Still remaining are James, Audubon, Apache, Navajo, Toll, Paiute, Pawnee, Iroquois, Eldorado, Niwot Ridge, Old Baldy, Meeker, Pagoda, Storm, Lady Washington, Skyscraper, I started typing that thinking there weren't many left and now I've realized I've got a ton of untouched territory; which is both intimidating and encouraging. Nutrition and energy were awesome today. I brought 5 gels, two nutelladillas, 40oz of Tailwind and a cliff-bar. Turns out having calories in you is super helpful when you have to burn them.

Some awesome days in the hills lately. I think I've found my favorite type of route: class 3/4 up with a downhill that you can fly down. Simply put, I sought after things that excited me more than stats that excited me. What then happened is I did so much that excited me that I got stats that excited me.

Week Totals (not including Arapaho traverse last week):
Miles: 49
Vertical: 16,996'    .....YES!
Time: 18:55

I suppose the miles don't correlate with the vert/time. Yeah I'm slow, what of it?


  1. Solid weak and excellent job getting up at 430, but try an hour earlier to be on my schedule lol. Awesome that you went step for step with some Hardrock finishers, that's a real confidence booster.

    1. I actually had to get up at 3 the day after this was posted. It was miserable and I will no be doing it again! But I can see the appeal if you can tolerate the initial 10 minutes of pain peeling yourself out of bed.