Sunday, August 10, 2014

8/3 to 8/10

8/3, Sunday - Longs Peak (14,259'), 17 miles, 5,100', 9:06

"Relaxed" hike up and down Longs via the Keyhole with some high school buddies - well, as relaxed as Longs can be. I could really feel my improved climbing as I felt completely comfortable in sandals, even on the class 3 stuff. I forgot just how brutal the 6 mile approach is, walking it takes about a millennium; I was able to convince my friends to jog the last 2 miles. I scouted the North Face Cables route (a technical 5.4 climb), its nearly always wet. Not sure I'm ready for it this summer. Last 7 days have been 65 miles and 19,036' of climbing, 10,200' in the last 2 days. I love it!
The North Face of Longs Peak from the Boulder Field on the descent
Sunrise over the Twin Sisters on the morning approach.

8/4, Monday - Sunshine Canyon, 6 miles, 1,000', 2:22

Easy jog to meet Elliot at his work, then we drove to Eben G. and jogged up Sunshine Canyon and then scrambled up the fins. Same route as last week.

8/5, Tuesday - Mt Sanitas, 5 miles, 1,800' 0:58

Biked to Eben G. and made quick work of the 300' bump of the red rock fins before trotting up Mt. Sanitas. Had a weird conversation with some guy on top; oh, the people you meet on mountains. Found a cool scramble that cuts the last switchback without taking more than 4 steps off trail, way more fun. Finished with some barefoot in the grass at Eben G. and followed it with core/stretching/things and a cold soak in the creek. Not sure how I've been feeling so good lately, I've been focusing on eating more calories, maybe that's helping, I just seem to be getting up hills without too much strain lately.

8/7, Thursday - N. Arapaho (13,501') & S. Arapaho (13,397'), 9 miles, 3,700',  3:23

Couldn't decided on where to go, Elliot selected this choice for me out of of Grays/Torreys, Longs, or the Arapahos. Slept at the trailhead for an extra early start as well as worked the pace to get to work somewhat on time (did not particularly succeed on that front). Felt super groggy all the way up to S. Arapaho in 1:35, really just felt out of it. Made the 3rd/4th class traverse to and from N. Arapaho in 22 minutes each way feeling a bit better. Descended back down casually in some sort of time. Biggest outing I've ever done without a pack - brought my phone for camera-ing and an ultra-light windbreaker tucked in my wasteband, no water or food. Fun stuff.
Top of S. Arapaho with the traverse to N. Arapaho behind me
For anyone considering a Suunto watch, the watches are miles better than anything currently available (the Ambit3 seems to almost be a smartphone). But the software is downright terrible. For a numerically oriented mind such as mine I need my stats stat (look at that wordplay!), their website has been down for 2 days at this point, which is sort of intolerable given how much the watches themselves cost. I try to never use their software and only use Strava, but there is no other way to get data from watch to Strava without "MovesCount" (what kind of a name is that anyways). Ok, rant over.

8/9, Saturday - Lefthand Canyon, 12 miles, 900', 1:00||1st & 2nd Flatirons, 4 miles, 2,000', 3:25

Wanted to go for a very long adventure today, but fate had other plans. I was riding up Lefthand Canyon early this morning when I noticed my front tire was a bit low. I thought I would pump it up some more with my hand pump that I had packed. I pressed the hand pump on to find out it wasn't compatible with the valve and thus instead, discharged all of the air. I then checked my spare tube - same valve. Crap. So I had to walk the bike down the canyon about 2.5 miles to get a ride back to Boulder. Really frustrating, especially considering the epic day I had meticulously (but apparently not) planned - for it all to be dismantled by overlooking such a minuscule but evidently significant detail...ugh!

So instead I wandered over to Chautauqua and found the route to the true summit of the Second Flatiron, its completely insane, a real proper climb necessitating ropes and such - I'm satisfied just finding it though, it gives me peace of mind to have absolute evidence its way over my ability, and thus don't feel drawn to do it. Afterwards I went over and casually ascended the First Flatiron, for the first time in about 3 months. Obviously I didn't rush (just look at the time), but I was glad to be done as the herds of people were arriving. Chat is not a place for solidarity on a summer weekend!

8/10, Sunday - Mt. Audubon (13,229'), Paiute Pk (13,088'), Mt Toll (12,979'), Pawnee Pk (12,943'), 14 miles, 4,500', 4:54

Weird day. I planned on trying to bike to the trailhead (also what I planned yesterday) but my alarm went off dark (yeah, that early) and early; I was super tired and I heard a murmur of thunder with the pitter patter of rain outside, so that decision was easy. Rolled over and slept for a couple more hours then drove up to still feel tired on arrival and thus curled up in the back of the car for another hour - really productive start to the day, going back to sleep twice. Ok, now lets go. It took me a couple tries to get myself to the right starting trailhead, but eventually I was on my way up to Mt. Audubon. Maybe it was the sleepiness (that does seem to be a recurrent factor) but I didn't have it on the uphills today, was able to run maybe 1,500' total. Made the summit as some clouds settled in around the mountains - not stormy, just enough to block visibility. The ridge to Paiute was uneventful and though I read there was some "horrible 4th class downclimb" it rarely was more than class 2 - at least by my route skirting the southwestern edge of the ridge on some conveniently placed ledges. Paiute was in a total mess of clouds, I contemplated just heading back to Audubon, because I really couldn't see a whole lot. After a brief survey determining the true summit, the clouds parted for minute or two and revealed my whole route to me, which was all I needed. I suppose Toll was the hardest of the traverse, but I followed what I read, and what seemed obvious which was to head up the gullies on the Northwestern side. It was pretty loose - I wouldn't want to be behind someone (being alone does have that advantage), but the technicality was fairly trivial. It seemed like a more loose version of "The Trough" on Longs to me. The easiest way ended up staying to the right of the gully I was in to stay on more solid rock - but given the visibility, I was just following my nose for the easiest and most direct route. It seems like there are dozens of possible (and possibly super fun) routes up Mt. Toll, it would be interesting to find one that is more fun. Its difficult to scout, given its isolation. From Toll it was a simple talus tip-toe down and up to Pawnee, which went much quicker than I anticipated. I heard a distant rolling thunder about 10ft from the summit to the North so I barely broke stride on the summit aside from eating my last GU. I saw people for the first time since Mt. Audubon at Pawnee pass. The descent was typical until about a half mile from my car I caught a toe completely wrecked. In the half-second from catching the toe to hitting the ground I thought "Cordis, you stupid idiot, why did you not pick up your feet more! This is going to hurt so bad!". Its always when there are people ~40ft ahead and I'm looking for a quick route around them, I lose focus and crash. Of course, these things never happen to me when I'm actually doing something dangerous - danger keeps me very focused and calculating in all my decisions and movements. Same with skiing, I twisted my knee around on a groomed slope somehow after doing flips, spins and steep glades all day. I hate it! I guess its probably best this way though, I'd rather have some scrapes and bruises than, be well, incapacitated.

I debated tacking on Shoshoni Peak I think I would have been fine energy wise, but about 5 minutes after getting back to the trailhead, a bright flash and concussion of thunder rocked the area. Glad to not be in that, as I know a good number of people were still out there (...or arriving). Also, quick reference, Anton did this route and added on the class 4/5 Kasparov Traverse and Navajo Peak and did it faster than me doing less and had set a speed record on Gannett Peak two days before and climbed 4 Flatirons and went up Green Mountain twice one day before. He seems to do more in one week - or day - than most people can do in a year. Crushingly inspirational.

Splits: (probably more for my own future reference than anything...)
Brainard Lake: 0:00
Mitchell Lake Trailhead (finally!): 0:21 (0:21)
Audubon Summit: 1:29 (1:48)
Paiute Summit: 0:45 (2:33)
Toll Summit: 0:52 (3:24)
Pawnee Summit: 0:26 (3:51)
Pawnee Pass: 0:12 (4:02)
Brainard Lake: 0:52 (4:54:37)

Mt. Audubon accessorizing with some clouds
The view for most of the day: class 2+/3 ridge with severely limited visibility.
Best views I got all day, from Pawnee Pk to the hazy Navajo, Arapaho, Shoshoni and Iriquoi massifs.

Week Totals: (not including Longs, I know I'm off on the posting/totaling thing. I do somewhat care, but not that much, also not including biking)

Distance: 39 miles
Vert: 13,080
Time: 15:25

Sort of pathetic mileage for me, but the vert is good enough, which is more or less what concerns me most. The vert also came on significantly more technical routes than previously so the lower mileage is to be expected to some extent.


  1. nice week, sorry about the brutal toe catch. again you have more vert in one week than I have planned for the month lol. appreciate all the detail as I live vicariously through your climbing.

  2. Things are surprisingly healing up really quickly fortunately. Do you follow a plan? I've never really tried adding sort of structure to my training - perhaps obviously. A training plan would certainly be more conducive towards actual improvement, but I worry about not doing as many spontaneous adventures under the grip of a plan.

    1. Funny thing, I had my steep hill climb yesterday and kept telling myself "don't pull a cordis" sure enough on my way down towards the bottom on a very easy section jumped off a rock and my tired legs wobbled. Luckily caught myself with my hands before a full on face plant lol.

      I have a "template" but I really love a flexible schedule where I can change it based on how I feel. But I am definitely adding more vertical to my plan.