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|
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!?|
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.|
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|
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.|
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|
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.|
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.
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.|
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!