Saturday, June 27, 2015

June 15 - June 27

6/15, Monday - 2nd Flatiron + Green Mtn - 8 miles, 2900', 1:35
The RMR group was sort of broken tonight with everyone doing their own thing. A bunch of people are doing the Bighorn 100 this weekend, other had just ran Quadrock 50, others were normal and Jack and I scrambled the 2nd to meet them on top. Jack and I maintained a great pace standing on the summit 47 minutes after leaving Chautauqua (a 9:30 scramble). What was most encouraging was that we both didn't feel like we were really pushing that hard. Ran into Kendrick who is finally back in CO coming down, so Eric and I chatted with him for a while before getting back to the TH.

6/16, Tuesday - AM: Locomotion Lab - 4 miles, 0', 0:30 - PM: 2nd Flatiron + Spyronette - 4 miles, 2100', 2:00
Another AM session as a lab rat doing my 3km time trial. I felt really strong on this one, curious to know how it compared to last week (when my times are revealed to me next week). In the evening I got in some low key scrambling with Kendrick and his friend Max who is here from Chile for the Bighorn 100 on Friday.

6/17, Wednesday - AM: 2nd Flatiron, 1st Flatiron, Chase the Sun, 1st Flatiron - 8 miles, 3100', 3:05 - PM: 1st Flatiron - 3 miles, 1600', 4:40
First day to meet up with Satan's Minions for scrambling. We first tackled the Dodge Block route on the 2nd, finishing with the tunnel varation. From there we moved over to Atalanta (not a typo) on the 1st Flatiron, new to me but a super mellow route to get up the 1st. Next was Chase the Sun, a route I've debated for the last year but been to lazy to explore. It was generally straight forward with a couple tricky notches. Last, I did an easy ascent of the 1st with Peter Bakwin. After being home for a few minutes I was invited to do an easy ascent of the 1st so after a quick breakfast I headed back out with Logan and Yves. Logan and I soloed up then Logan belayed Yves on top rope. Longer than expected so I was (literally) burnt by the end.

6/18, Thursday - 1st Flatiron + 2nd Flatiron - 7 miles, 2000', 2:23
Should have seen this sluggish day coming with how long I've been out lately. That being said I jogged easy to Chautauqua, hiked to the 1st then scrambled like a slug with several stops. I downclimbed the Freeway and jogged home. I'll maybe try and take tomorrow easier so I have a better weekend. Maybe.

6/19, Friday - Off
First true rest day in about a month, so it was warranted.

6/20, Satuday - Mt Elbert (14,433') & S. Elbert (14,134') - 11 miles, 5300', 3:01
A good effort up to S. Elbert from Black Cloud Creek, then it was feeling my way around the snow patches up to Elbert proper. I ran into Peter Bakwin coming down the West ridge of Elbert (heading to Bull Hill) as he prepares for backpacking the entire Sawatch Range next week (essentially, Nolan's 14 +1 in 7 days).

Week Totals:
52 miles

The massive amount of time I spent on the 1st on Wednesday really had me burnt on energy (thus the slow and miserable Thurs and Fri off). Thankfully, the off day made a big difference for a productive three days up high. I'm ready for the snow to meet its demise so as to not be spending 20-30 minutes trying to navigate through the knee deep snow, then once in the snow fear that I'll hit a rock and break my leg.

6/21, Sunday - La Plata Pk (14,336') - 10 miles, 4500', 3:31
Jack and I started 30-40 minutes after his dad and brothers and caught them just below the Northwest ridge. I was probably stopped for 30 minutes-ish of the time as I would often get too far ahead then wait. We hiked together then I descended quickly alone (I hadn't brought water and it was clear it would be a while otherwise) and met them back at the trailhead.

6/22, Monday - Mt Princeton (14,197') - 12 miles, 5400', 3:48
My CR-V could have easily made it up to the radio tower, but it was fine adding on some honest running and bonus vert with the 2000ft/3mi forest road up to the second parking lot. Since I was traveling especially light today I decided I would turn around regardless at 2h30m so I wouldn't get too dehydrated or calorie depleted. Conveniently, I summitted in 2:27, which I was very pleased with given the vert and conditions. The descent was soft wet snow and talus (similar to the ascent, really) until I was back on the forest road. Instead of wasting my time and legs with the <5% grade downhill, I opted to just take the forested ridge back down.

6/23, Tuesday - Locomotion Lab - 3 miles, 0', 0:30
Another 3km time trial, I got to learn my times today, and they are highly unimpressive. Some conciliation was learning that even most of the CU track athletes run dramatically slower on our antiquated indoor track.

6/24, Wednesday - Torreys Pk (14,267'), Grays Pk (14,270'), Kelso Mtn (13,164'), Torreys Pk, Grays Pk - 16 miles, 7900', 5:13
Big day. Started on the Steven's Gulch road 1.5 miles from the TH which I felt phenomenal on all the way past the TH to the turnoff for Kelso Ridge. From there I enjoyed the snow free scramble until the last 25ft of kick in steps up snow. After a quick tag of Grays I wallowed through some snow field and on the fly decided to head up Kelso's south slope. Might as well do the whole loop again. The full ridge from Kelso to Torreys was fantastic, aside from really losing my lungs on the final push to Torreys. I somehow found plenty of energy to march up Grays before descending back down ~4000ft to the car.

6/25, Thursday - Mt Sanitas - 6 miles, 1500', 1:11
Easy group run with RMR

6/26, Friday- The Slab & Harmon Flatironette - 5 miles, 2100', 2:48
Morning with the minions. We first took "Syzygy" up The Slab as an easy cruise before some went up to Bear and I, along with Kendrick and Stuart went out to find something else to scramble. Somehow we ended up on Harmon Flatironette (known only after later conferring with my guidebook), which was also cruiser before jog/hiking back down.

6/27, Saturday- Steven's Gulch Traverse - 11 miles, 6000', 4:49
I was celebrating my friend Elliot's 21st Friday night and I arrived home at 3:45AM before a painful 5:30AM alarm clock - bring on the coffee! Logan and I parked right at the foot of Kelso Mtn and stormed across the stream for a casual meander to the summit. Kelso Ridge was certainly the highlight of the day, so we gave a bit more effort in surmounting Torreys. Grays was disposed of quickly and soon we were on the far less traveled route to Mt Edwards (13,850'), McClellan Mtn (13,587') and Ganley Mtn (12,902'). These relatively small peaks were a lot further away than we initially thought, but offered the greatest views I've seen of Grays and Torreys. We descended arguably prematurely down a ridiculously steep scree field which terminated in an unsettled graveyard of microwave size rocks. Then it was a mile-ish jog down the road to the car.

Week Totals:
62 miles

A strong week with eight 14er summits, four 13er summits and some Boulder area tally marks. While Kelso Ridge is open, I'm still a bit hesitant on other alpine scrambles; maybe one more week of class 2's before I can settle into some more engaging peaks (Elks, IPW, Longs, etc). I finally went and submitted a pair of used (~110 miles on them) Inov-8 RocLite 255 to be resoled with climbing rubber; they are scheduled to be done by July 7th and I'm very excited to try and improve my scramble times in them (especially on the 1st).
Top of the 1st with Max (right) and Kendrick (photo cred: Kendrick)
On top of Elbert with the snow spotted ridge to S. Elbert behind
La Plata Pk (right) from Black Cloud Creek
Stevens Gulch Traverse was in top shape! Linked up Kelso, Torreys, Grays, Edwards, McClellan, and Ganley with @cordisimo . If you're comfortable with avalanche gulley's, I couldn't recommend this enough. #14ers #13ers
A photo posted by Logan Polfuss | 19 (@polfuss) on

Sunday, June 14, 2015

June 7 - June 14

6/7, Sunday - Bike - 29 miles, 3000', 2:05
From home up Old Stage to Lefthand Canyon, then up Lee Hill and back home.

6/8, Monday - Mt Ida (12,880') - 9 miles, 2800', 3:20
Fun day with Yves and Victor in RMNP. Lots and lots of snow in the trees made for a non-ideal descent, but we got in some fantastic ridge running at 12,000ft on reasonably clear trails.
Victor & Yves trotting across some snow just below the summit.
6/9, Tuesday - AM: Locomotion Lab - 5 miles, 0', 0:45 - PM: Mt Sanitas - 3 miles, 1300', 1:15
20 minute warm-up, 3km time trial, run home. I always forget how fun it is to move that fast. Easy hike/run with Daniel in the afternoon.

6/10, Wednesday - Freeway, 2 x 1st Flatiron - 5 miles, 2,800', 2:32
Started off with tagging the Freeway with a big RMR group, some people new to scrambling so it was a relaxed pace. Afterwards, Logan and I went and did a lap on 1st. At this point I was well warmed up (or tired, who knows) so I went for an all out ascent which I completed in 12:59. I really didn't feel that fast aside from nailing the first pitch in ~1:30. Given I normally do that pitch in 4:00, the few minutes I took off my previous PR of 15:40 probably came all from that. I think sub-12 is doable.

6/11, Thursday - Brainard Lake Bike - 59 miles, 5800', 4:16
From home, I started off with the relatively short but far more steep Lee Hill. Grinding up this sharp incline makes the subsequent ascent of Lefthand Canyon feel far less steep. I felt terrific on the final climb to Ward but started to feel heavy legs on the final stretch to Brainard Lake. I had thought about going around to Nederland and Coal Creek Canyon for the way back, but the sky looked overwhelmingly threatening. I was able to outrace most of the storms back, but did get rained on a few times.
Not sure why I brought 2 bottles, guess I haven't figured out what I need for biking yet.
6/12, Friday - Bear Pk - 6 miles, 2800', 2:00
Easy up and down Fern Canyon with Andrea.

6/13, Saturday - Mt Elbert (14,433') - 12 miles, 4900, 3:43
Spent the night at the trailhead to acclimate. I started a little farther back since I didn't want to deal with the super narrow 4x4 road and the annoyances it would entail which gave my a couple miles on the Colorado trail to warm up. From there I took the East ridge where snow started about 300ft after treeline. Only a few soft patches and the rest was solid. Brilliant sky and weather.
On top of Elbert looking towards the technically less massive Mt Massive
6/14, Sunday - Bull Hill (13,761') - 7 miles, 4000', 3:47
What a disaster. I had planned on taking the less used Black Cloud Creek trail up to Elbert and its unranked brother to the south, but I ended up taking a social trail for some sport climbing on Monitor Rock by mistake. This trail ended way below treeline and I was marching off-trail up unreasonably steep mud and thick foliage until I hit treeline where it was post-holing to Bull Hill. With the undoubted knee deep snow that would accompany the extra 1.5 miles over to Elbert I turned back for an equally miserable descent. The whole thing was probably closer to 6 miles since the GPS considered my meandering about on top as honest progress. On the bright side were some good views, a goat (I think goat) skeleton, mining ruins and a massive bighorn sheep.
The rest of the bones were scattered over a few hundred feet in the center of Monitor Gulch.
Mt Massive (left) and Mt Elbert (right) from Bull Hill. Summer down low, winter up high.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

A while back to now

5/17, Sunday - Mt Sanitas - 11 miles, 1400', 1:40
BRC was demoing some new Inov-8's so I joined what amounted to be just RMR's on a Sanitas jaunt. I wore an old pair of socks that did not do well with the demo shoes and formed a blister (I almost never get blisters) which forced me to a near walk on the streets back to the store. I ended up getting hooked up with a free pair of smart-wool socks in the end though, so it was cool.

5/18, Monday - AM: Beark Pk - 6 miles, 2900', 3:09 - MM(?): Flat - 5 miles, 300', 0:45 - PM: 6 miles, 2500', 1:30
Weird day. Elliot is back in town so we hiked up Bear Peak in the mucky rain and clouds. Not sure how he seemed so much faster from last Fall after being at sea level for the last 5 months, but I was pleased to make descent time for a hike. Around lunch I got messaged that some high school XC guys were meeting up so I ran with them for a few miles before biking straight to Chautauqua for the RMR ascent of Green, then to Southern Sun for food and drinks with them.
Top of Bear. Photo: Elliot
5/19, Tuesday - Green Mtn - 6 miles, 2500', 1:51
XC teammate said he wanted to try a mountain run, so we made a quick climb of Green in the mud before an excruciatingly slow descent (like 45 minutes, which was slower than our ascent). I guess he doesn't like downhills much, but it was fun to get out with an old friend.
Snow in May!?
5/20, Wednesday - Green Mtn - 6 miles, 2500', 1:17
Met up with Kory early before leaving Boulder. I told him to go his normal speed (i.e. fast) so I could try and keep up. Well, I didn't keep up, but I'd like to think that the 45,000' over the last 10 days handicapped me a bit. We had talked about doing a double Green, but we are both born in CO and can't tolerate the rain so we decided going home was a better option.

5/21, Thursday - Hidden Valley - 5 miles, 1000', 0:45
Arrived in Moab with a few hours of daylight so I took Kendrick's advice and went to Hidden Valley, which is probably the closest trail to town. I was expecting a "meh" sort of run, but frankly it was one of the prettiest runs I've been on.
Hidden Valley TH, getting behind the ridge is literally a hidden valley which looks much nicer than the usual desert dirt.
5/22, Friday - Amasa - 5 miles, 600', 0:42
I was told an early start to the day, but I guess to rafters that means we leave at like 10AM. So I had an hour to kill. Fun trail.
Amasa TH, I really don't know what its called, but it was cool
Week Totals:
50 miles

5/23 to 5/30 - Grand Canyon Rafting
Pretty fun and tame aside from maybe 5 cumulative minutes of losing-your-mind-insane-rapids. Particularly Hanse rapid (which we ran completely wrong and ended up backwards for a bit); massive 8 foot waves would instantaneously fill the raft with water (thankfully we had self-bailing rafts). Anyways, it was super duper and I can't wait to get out on a raft again, even if I never get back to the GC.

5/31, Sunday - Bright Angel - 10 miles, 4700', 3:11
I was only rafting the first half of the trip, so I hiked out at Phantom Ranch with an overstuffed old swimming backpack, which translated to very sore shoulders.

6/1, Monday - AM: Pritchett Canyon - 4 miles, 700', 1:06 - PM: Spyronette - 3 miles, 1400', 1:56
Made it to Moab late (tried making better time, but after a speeding ticket on a completely empty road in the middle of nowhere...argh). I slept at the trailhead in the car and then sort of picked a random trail, then scrambled up some sandstone mound which featured a spicy downclimb. Found a 4x4 road and took it back to the TH. RMR was demoing Hoka's tonight, then Rush and Guy wanted to scramble instead, so I took a pair of Hokas up Spyronette which we disposed of quite casually. Cut down to the Amphitheater and ran back to Chat with the gang.
On top of one of them sandstone mounds.
6/2, Tuesday - Free For All & Freeway - 3 miles, 1400', 1:35
I hadn't investigated the legitimate route on the second since my Quinfecta, and I couldn't remember too much. I got off of the Freeway ridge too early, then attacked the Pullman too early which put me in some uber exposed and near vertical hand crack. After much trial and error I found a more efficient way around to the South gully where I found the remaining moves to go much easier. Just a 30ft section I need to figure out. Downclimbed Freeway super slow to get back.

6/3, Wednesday - AM: Freeway - 3 miles, 1400', 1:51 - PM: Lab Rat - 4ish miles, 200'ish, 0:30ish
Yves and Victor are returning to mother Europe soon and had to yet to scramble a flatty. The start was rough to say the least. Yves quickly figured out that you don't want to lay down on the rock, but rather keep you mass vertical to utilize the rubber on your shoes. Victor on the other hand would for some reason assume a completely prone position anytime he felt unsure, which always made his position magnitudes worse. Despite the adversity they predictably reached the top unscathed. The whole thing ended up being more humorous than anything, as a fall about anywhere on the 2nd would only be something like skinned knees and elbows.

In the evening I participated in a study at the CU locomotion lab. I ran a few easy intervals at increasing speeds before taking a VO2 Max test. They said I was at about 53 or something, I have no idea what that means, but I heard Kilian is at like 93. Part of the study is that I can't know time or distance, so numbers are estimates.
Demoing a harder sequence for Victor. Photo: Yves
6/4, Thursday - 1st Flatiron, Free For All, GMP, Challenger, Green Mtn - 8 miles, 4500', 3:45
Good to get a nice long effort for the first time in a long while. Started off with an efficient climb of the 1st. I tried out a new route by going up the middle of the slot variation and standard route, which added a couple minutes. Descended down to the 2nd and was slightly more on route on Free For All, though I somehow entered the South gully super low. Took the talus north of the 3rd down to Royal Arch and on the fly descided to head up to Green Mountain Pinnacle which is way off the trail. Finding the right entrance to the chimney went poorly, then once I was finally at the bottom I was immediately sure I would not be soloing the chimney in running shoes - yikes! Took the East Face route instead, which Roach calls 4th class but I call at least 5.4. Challenger is rated at 5.4, but it feels more like the 5.6 pitch on the 1st than anything. I think I just picked a bad line though. The top half is super smooth, but its an unreal position that puts you soaring seemingly miles above the other flatirons. Hiked up to Green and descended to the 1st then down to the Amphitheater. Long, hot and humid without water!
Finding some exposure atop Challenger. The formation below is Green Mountain Pinnacle, the chimney separates the far left and right chunks.
6/5, Friday - AM: 2nd Flatiron - 6 miles, 1700', 1:18 - PM: 1st Flatiron  - 3 miles, 1600', 2:01
Ran from home rather than biked since I wasn't sure if the weather would hold. As I was heading up there was only a light drizzle and the skies didn't look too bad so I figured the Freeway would be fine. About a third up, the sky broke into torrential rain and uncomfortably close lightning. The quickest way off the rock was off the top, so I charged up through the water pouring down the rock and rocketed back home. In the evening I convinced Jack to climb the 1st (he had yet to go up). I used my climbing shoes for the first time in a while, and good heavens are they stickier than my massively overworn Inov-8's. Maybe I'll actually get around to resoling an old pair of shoes sometime soon.

6/6, Saturday - South Arapaho Pk (13,397') - 6 miles, 
Jack and I originally planned on taking the approach from Rainbow Lakes, but we found the road closed. Rather than add 3 miles of pavement each way we went over to the more standard 4th of July TH. We left the trail at about 11k' when snow started to get deeper and kicked steps up intermittent snow to the Old Baldy ridge. The snow had certainly froze the night before making for slick conditions; thankfully an old snowshoe trail left some now frozen steps for us to make it to the top. The traverse looked way too snowy so we headed back down the ridge further and then dropped straight down to the TH with some fun glissades.
Slowly melting. The foreground of this photo is actually a permanent glacier, so its not the best example.
Week Totals:
48 miles

Decent week to get things going again. Still a good amount of snow up high, but its definitely manageable without snowshoes and ice-axes in select places now, and more should be opening everyday!