Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Last Few Weeks & 2014 Recap

12/7 - South Boulder Loop - 21 miles, 2,200', 3:35
Pretty blah and boring long run. South Boulder Creek paths to Marshall, some connector to Mesa, eventually to the creek path, through campus and back home. I went slow as this closed out an 80 mile week, so I was feeling the miles quite a bit.

12/11 - "Royal" Flatiron Quinfecta - 9 miles, 5,900', 6:39
Big day. See here.

12/13 - Front Porch, Regency, Royal Arch - 6 miles, 2,600', 3:56
Easy day out with Andrea before the finals crush. We started up what we thought was the easy Tiptoe Slab route which is rated at 5.3. We ended up on the Southern edge of the rock, I ended up making a move that felt 5.6ish that Andrea didn't want to do, so I found my way to the top, downclimbed, then met up with him again after he had traversed like 200 feet horizontally across the rock. We started up a much easier route, then Kendrick and his friend breezed past us on route to some colossal day. I guess his Quinfecta recovery went faster than mine! All in all, the scramble was quite enjoyable once we got the route right. Next we scrambled up the 5.2 El Camino Royale on the Regency, which was quite fun aside from the approach. This leads perfectly to the Royal Arch - I'd bet no one has done the Regency and not Royal Arch.
Andrea taking a leap over 3rd on the Regency
Week Totals: 36 Miles, 10,800', 14h9m

12/15 - Streets - 4 miles, 200', 0:35
I felt like I had been living off of campus pizza and caffeine. Which I had been, during the study marathons...

12/19 - Front Porch, Stairway to Heaven, Regency, Royal Arch, Hammerhead - 5 miles, 2,800', 2:47
With finals done and my body full of all sorts of caffeine related toxins and about half a meal a day I was expecting to just flounder about, but the gods were kind and I felt fine. Dialed in the Tiptoe Slab route on the Front Porch, then shwacked through all sorts of undergrowth down to Skunk canyon to enjoy the lovely 1,000' foot Stairway to Heaven. I skipped out on Like Heaven, someday. After another equally detestable shwack I made quick work of the Regency/Royal Arch. A warmly welcomed trail - ableit it was mostly ice - lead me to Yodeling Moves on the Hammerhead. Its a pretty straightforward scramble with Freeway-esque ease. I read that you could actually get on the summit block but it looked heavily overhanging so I descended back to the car.
Shadow squatting jumping-jack thing
A lot of these approaches, and descents are pretty terrible with snow, undergrowth and so forth. I'm not sure why I enjoy them.
12/20 - Regency/Royal Arch - 4 miles, 1,500', 2:45
Hikin' round with some friends up the Regency and Royal Arch.

Week Totals: 13 Miles, 4,500', 6h7m

12/21 - Front Porch, Angel's Way, Hammerhead - 6 miles, 3,300', 3:07
I recently exchanged my climbing shoes for a bigger size - I had taken the "they should be tight" mantra to an extreme when I bought them 5 months ago. Naturally, I had to try them out, so despite not being on rocks I would normally wear sticky slippers, today I indulged. Front Porch is now completely figured out. The traverse from there to Angel's Way was predictably horrendous. Angel's Way seemed spectacular, but there was so much cold wind that my fingers kept going numb. In particular the high point was dreadfully cold, making the not insignificant downclimb excruciatingly cold. I definitely added a lot of time to this trip from stopping to warm up my fingers. I'll return under sunny skies. Given the conditions I decided to skip out on Stairway to Heaven, Hillbilly Rock and the 5th in favor of some smaller more sheltered routes - well, only one. I followed what I had to believe was Anton's prints in the snow (they had the resoled dot rubber, and from his blog I know he's been up there), which lead me to the Royal Arch trail. I aimed to fully scramble Yodeling moves. The east face was cake, I walked around the back and found the ledge up to the summit. Its super easy but is a very exposed face. Despite having water and gels for a much bigger day, I was more than done with the cold wind, so I called it.
The ridges of skunk canyon. From left to right: Mohling Arete, Angel's Way, Satan's Slab, Stairway to Heaven, Hillbilly Rock.
My hands were so cold. This brief moment when the sun finally poked out was treasured as gold!
12/22 - Skiing at Eldora - 14,700'
Not too much was open so it was mostly just getting my feet under me again. As is typical with the first day of the year, I was pretty sore. The vert I list is only descent - I'm not Kilian - I use lifts!

12/24 - Royal Arch Hike - 4 miles, 1,800', 2:40
Hikin' with mommy!

12/26 - Skiing at Eldora - 14,000'
Big snow falling all day, all but 2 runs opened during the day. Stuck mostly to the Brian Glades.

12/27 - Skiing at Eldora - 18,900'
Got up a little earlier than yesterday so was able to get in a few more runs today. Couldn't seem to land any trick today. I went 1 of 4 on front-flips and 0 of 2 on 540's, I stuck all the landings but couldn't ride away. Good day anyways.

Week Totals: 10 miles, 5,500', 5h48m (foot); 47,548', 10h33m (skiing)

12/28 - Green Mountain - 6 miles, 3,000', 1:45
Up and down the Amphitheater plus another little spur of trail, stats are estimates because I forgot my watch.

12/29 - Bear Peak - 9 miles, 3,800', 2:36
Up and down Fern Canyon from Chautauqua. I decided on a whim to forgo traction and see how my new Inov-8 RocLite shoes would handle on their own. They performed well enough, but the descent was borderline skiing. The temps dropped even further on the last push to Chautauqua (-10F maybe?), my eyelids almost froze together!

Slickery summit ridge
My mascara game is next level.
12/30 - Green Mountain - 7 miles, 3,100', 2:22
Up the middle route, down Amphitheater. Again, temps were below zero and I broke through fresh mid-calf snow on the way up. Enough snow to slaughter the downhills now. I even came within 1 second of a CR on Strava I've been reeling in descending the Amphitheater.
Looking down the Amphitheater back to Boulder.
Cold Summit
12/31 - Green Mountain - 6 miles, 2,800', 1:45
Up and down the Amphitheater. 0F at the parking lot. The ascent felt quite miserable, but my spirits were lifted when the sun was shining in its full Colorado, blue-sky glory on the summit. I ripped the downhill again, cutting 15 seconds off of the Amphitheater descent Strava CR. I was stripping off layers before I even got to the car in the relatively balmy 20F and sunny weather.
Typical trail nowadays

Year Review

The year started off mighty terrible with injury, but I was happy to capitalize on the time I was lucky enough to have healthy. It was also this year that I began keeping meticulous and detailed records. I'm also of a mathematical and analytical personality, so I find great pleasure in finding meaning and trends in the numbers.

So first off, some raw numbers from running.

Miles: 1,324
Vertical Feet: 364,200'
Time: 478h4m

Given this is my first year of data I have nothing to relate it to in terms of what a year would or should look like. I did the math on some averages per week and day - they're nothing extraordinary. In terms of looking at my training essentially all of it is packed from April 5th, my first day running post-hip injury to September 27th, the day of the Bear Chase 50. During my heavy training period a typical week fell around 36 miles, 10,000' (oddly, 10,000' is the exact average) for 12 hours 20 minutes; an average day then being 5 miles, 1,400', 1 hour 45 minutes. So apparently I enjoyed taking my time!

The other metric I kept was that of summits. Summits are cool (duh), so they get a more detailed review. All routes are assumed to be via the standard route unless otherwise noted. Asterisks denote "technically improper summits by the decree of the deity of the Rocky Mountains" - I still generally count them because I can. If its really pushing the envelope on it being a legitimate summit I gave it a double asterisk.
  • Total Summits: 85 total, 35 unique
    • 14er Summits: 23 total, 13 unique
      • Mt Elbert (14,433'): 1
      • Mt Massive (14,421'): 1
      • Grays Peak (14,270') & Torreys Peak (14,267'): 4 each
        • Kelso Ridge: 2
        • Standard: 1
        • Via Loveland Pass: 1
      • Mt Quandary (14,265'): 1
      • Mt Evans (14,264'): 1
        • via Sawtooth
      • West Evans* (14,256'): 1
        • via Sawtooth
      • Longs Peak (14,255'): 4
        • Keyhole: 3
        • Loft: 1
      • Mt Shavano (14,229'): 1 (2 if you count the mandatory re-summit from Tab.)
      • Mt Yale (14,196'): 1.5 (if you're in the boat of counting failed summits as 0.5...)
      • Tabaguache Peak (14,155'): 1
      • Mt Bierstadt (14,060'): 2
      • Mt Sherman (14,036'): 1
    • 13er Summits: 15 total, 11 unique
      • Mt Spalding* (13,842'): 1
      • The Sawtooth** (13,780'): 1
      • Mt Sheridan (13,748'): 1
      • North Arapaho Peak (13,502'): 2
      • Grizzly Peak "D" (13,427'): 1
      • South Arapaho Peak* (13,397'): 2
      • Mt Lady Washington* (13,281'): 1
      • Mt Sniktau (13,234'): 1
      • Mt Audubon (13,223'): 2
        • Standard: 1
        • Southeast Ridge: 1
      • Mt Cupid** (13,117'): 1
      • Paiute Peak (13,088'): 2
    • 12er Summits: 5 total, 5 unique
      • Mt Toll (12,979'): 1
      • Pawnee Peak (12, 943'): 1
      • Mt Jasper (12, 923'): 1
      • Mt Neva (12,814'): 1
      • Hallet Peak (12,713'): 1
    • Italian Summits: 2 total, 2 unique
      • Croda del Becco Seekofel (9,219'): 1
      • Mt Mare (6,560'): 1
    • Boulder Summits: 44 total, 4 unique
      • Green Mountain (8,150'): 22
      • Bear Peak (8,455'): 11
      • South Boulder Peak (8,549'): 6
      • Mount Sanitas* (6,863'): 5
Still, the coolest thing I've seen in Colorado.
The worst was by far Sherman, which will likely come as no surprise to anyone who has climbed it. Picking a favorite is pretty hard. Longs has to be my favorite to climb, but its summit views don't quite stack up - though the view from Chasm Lake and through the keyhole are legendary. For summit views I go with Mt Yale. You can see something like 36 other 14ers from the top of Yale, I was lucky enough to be atop on a clear day.
From the Denny Creek trail heading up Yale with my sister. I guess when I summited I didn't take any pics besides getting one of myself; good job Cordis, you egotistical prick!
I did a bunch of scrambling routes too, but I still feel like a freshman in terms of my "scrunbling" resume that I'll wait until next year to work with those numbers. But for a general feel, I did 96 routes, of which about half were Freeway on the 2nd. This is probably what I'm most excited about for next Spring - at least right now.

For 2015 I have a vast spread of goals as of now. The Radical Slam on Longs is something I probably should have done this year. Its a linkup of Meeker, Longs, Pagoda, MLW, Storm, and the Estes Cone; only 19 miles but 8,000' on some tricky terrain. I'd also like to check off one or more of the Crestone Traverse, Maroon Traverse and Little-Bear/Blanca Traverse. I was hesitant this year, but I think my scrambling/climbing abilities have been nicely refined to the point where I would be more than comfortable. One more is Vestal Peak, it looks like 23 miles/8,000' and features a beautiful approach and wonderful slabby scramble. Amongst a few others.

My primary ambition however, is the Chicago Basin 14ers (Eolus, N. Euolus, Windom, Sunlight. Traditionally done as a multi-day backpacking affair, given my lack of patience complemented by a more than slight enjoyment found in suffering I'd like to tackle them in one day. Its 42 miles, 12,000' at an average altitude of ~11,000'.

I've yet to study the route in detail yet, but from the general info I've read I devised myself several training objectives to complete by summer - I suppose June 21 then? 100 summits, I'm allowing basically everything here - including Flagstaff - given the quantity. A handful of 20 milers, a pinch of 30 milers, a dash of 10,000' days and a mixture of some other time goals should sharpen me up nicely for success.


  1. Dude that is an epic 2014. Got some good ski runs in, wonder how tough it is to pull a Killian and climb those mountains then ski down. Congrats on killing the CR on Green Mountain, obviously flying down the mountain.

    Man 13k and 364k feet is just ridiculous. Not having 14ers around will make it tough but I'm bagging some serious vert in 2015. Thanks to you buddy.

    The Chicago Basin sounds amazingly epic, but one day seriously lol. The pics are amazing man, what do you use to shoot your pics??

    1. Ha! definitely a typo on that mileage...otherwise that would be like 35 a day! Should be fixed now.

      If I ever try ski-mountaineering, I'll be doing really low angle stuff where avalanches are a non-issue. From what I've heard, historically, ski-mountaineers and XC skiers have the highest VO2 maxes ever, so its certainly quite aerobically challenging. I use my iPhone 5s for all my pics. You should get on Strava sometime, those segments are fun to chase down!

  2. Ok I don't feel like such a newb now lol.

    So now I need to find more peaks and start doing some ski-mountaineering to get myself ready for 2015.