Sunday, May 18, 2014

5/14 to 5/18

Took the first half of this week mostly off and the second half mostly not off, Sunday probably could have been its own post but its not.

5/14, Wednesday - Half Sanitas, 1000ft, 32min, 2 miles
With work now underway I was up at 5AM which will likely become commonplace this summer. Biked to Settler's Park and started up the red rocks trail. Descended down to across Sunshine Canyon and grimaced as I attempted to make my way up the Sanitas trail. I felt pretty out of shape, going up especially. Lack of time mandated a pre-summit turn back, but sunrise views and just being on trails were enough for me this morning.

5/15, Thursday - 2nd Flatiron, Freeway, 1,250ft, 1hr, 2.5 miles 
Despite yesterday's meager distance, it made my hip sore, so I hiked today. Arrived at the base of the 2nd which is usually pretty quiet with 5 other people also at the base. I waited for the one guy already started to move off of my usual route and rocketed up in smooth 9:10 (PR). After some digging I've found that the fastest known time from Chautauqua to Chautauqua is "a hair under 33 minutes" by Stefan Gabriel (notably the Strava segment champion of Chautauqua) and Dave Mackey. I'd like to think I have a shot at grabbing this. Approximate splits would be: 11 minutes to the base of the 2nd, sub-10 minutes going up, 11 minutes back down totaling a hair under 32. Oh, and Anton passed me.

I like dis.
5/16, Friday - Flagstaff Mountain, 1:29, 2,000ft, 7 miles
I put in a practice hard effort to the base of the second in 11:15, on par for what would be needed for the fastest car to car time. Started going up in my brand new Altra Lone Peak 1.5's (awesome) and quickly realized the rock was a wet and slippery slab of doom so I made a detour loop before heading over to Gregory Canyon and got in a summit of Flagstaff. I felt terrific on uphills all day which was very reassuring after not being able to hardly even hike on Wednesday. This was also my first time at Chautauqua not scrambling since a New Year's Day hike with my mom. It rained (fun, and unusual for Boulder) and my Indian food lunch was uncomfortably  present (bad).

5/17, Saturday - Bear & South Boulder Peaks, 2:25, 3,300ft, 7 miles
Woke up and saw a picture on social media of another runner from Boulder above the clouds and immediately headed out for Bear Peak. Started from the NCAR which I now know not to do because it starts with a downhill (which I do not like). I ran some but hiked most everything (not like I can run Fern Canyon). Around 7,700ft I began emerging from the clouds and I couldn't stop looking around at the beautiful scenery.
Some sort of Flatiron poking out of the clouds.
Just before I reached the summit Anton passed me (I haven't not seen him at Chautauqua in like a week).
Disregard the body-less backpack who found his way into this panorama.
I then meandered over to South Boulder Peak for good measure and to get the vertical over 3,000ft.
Looking South across an expanse of clouds.
Looking at the pictures, the clouds and their shadows really emphasize the shear scale of these mountains. Often living in Boulder their magnitude is discounted due to the fact that Longs towers 6,000ft higher relatively close by and is plainly visible from near anywhere in the Northern foothills. Looking to try and get into some "big boy" mountains tomorrow it was good to look over Longs and say "that looks as safe as eating a razor blade".
Summit of South Boulder inside the burn scar looking East.
Today more than I think any day every I realized just what sort of athletic wealth and appreciation for all things natural is contained in Boulder. Runners, Hikers, Climbers, Bikers - everyone seemed to be outside on this glorious day, whether on the streets or the trails. Even further, you can expect to greet everyone you pass with a "hello" and smile. I feel pretty privileged to live in such an amazing town.

5/18, Sunday - Kelso Ridge Sufferfest,  6:18, 3,100ft. 10.2 miles
First venture back into 14k territory since bailing on Quandary and here I am again dropping off a ridge heading back to the car without a summit (either one). Started off from the winter Gray's Peak trail-head with Andrea (who brought his stellar camera, so any picture that looks good is his) -  it adds 1,500ft and 3 miles which is just great. Our plan was to summit both Gray's and Torrey's peak by means of the Kelso ridge. Hiking up an iced over road is something I would not complain about if I didn't have to do again.
This abandoned cabin is right alongside the trail  (photo by Andrea)
So it started perhaps not perfectly, but as time progressed a wonderful sunrise slowly illuminated the surrounding ridge lines still very much draped in snow. We paused briefly at the summer trailhead to take in the surroundings.
Sunrise or maybe closer to sun has risen (photo by Andrea)
Sunrise (photo by Andrea)
Where did that glowing ball of fire come from?
Snow shoes weren't necessary until about a mile later when the icy crust finally gave way to the morning sun, though following ski tracks served for some time until then.
Andrea appearing underdressed, though temperatures were around 50 all day
Reaching the Kelso Ridge turnoff, we made the decision to give it a shot. First obstacle was to ascend a short and steep snow field capped with a small  cornice. It proved to easier than it appeared as we hope the grim looking ridge would also be.
Working my way up (photo by Andrea)
We traversed across lose rock and wet snow until we reached a crux in which neither Andrea nor myself felt navigating in the horrendous conditions in stiff snow/hiking boots. After some deliberation we made the call to backtrack to the standard route and abandon the perilous/fun route.
Galloping in extreme places (photo by Andrea)
On the "easy" part feeling not too confident (photo by Andrea)
"I hate this, this is the worst, I want mommy" we said in unison after trying to find a route through slop city.
No regrets here, under the right circumstances this ridge would be great line, but today it was like walking up a water slide covered in sharp rocks while you can't breathe. At the top of the original snowfield from which we began our traverse, a careful descent was in order - or rather rocketing down on my bum, great fun. We re-joined the standard route already depleted and exhausted with still plenty of ground left to cover. How much vertical had I done already this week? Who cares, my legs feel like sacks of burnt peanut butter begging for mercy. Andrea didn't feel much better and views of the summit -  while as close as they ever got -  still appeared crushingly distant. At this point we made call number two to bail - shucks. We were still pretty happy with the experiences of the day and were satisfied enough to turn our backs on the pair of 14ers.
Even less than ideal days are pretty good sometimes
Going downhill the first thought was immediately "We should have brought skis", you could fly back down relatively effortlessly and in style. Well, we tried our best to enjoy our long quad-killer snow shod descent back to the car with reasonable success. Next mission: Beau-Joe's Pizza (and/or a bathroom). This is one route I'll certainly be back for when this pesky precipitation magically disappears.

I'm tempted to say "good enough" but in reality it was "good", even maybe "really good". Funny how pleasure can be found on the most peculiar of days like this. Its also days like this where you remember that the Earth was not sculpted for humans (by humans perhaps more recently), we are guests and contrary to what popular childhood play date beliefs suggest, the guest doesn't always get what they want.

What a week, despite opening with 3 days off, a demolition of Cordis's legs appears to have taken place. Rest? I don't need any stinking r...-
I'll be asleep.

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