Saturday, July 18, 2015

July 5 - July 18

7/5, Sunday - Peak 1 (12,805'), Tenmile Pk (12,933'), Peak 3 (12,676'), Peak 4 (12,866') - 11 miles, 4000', 3:32
With Jack's ankle woes I was left to our planned traverse of the Tenmile Range in Frisco on my lonesome. Combined with the preceding night's 4th of July celebrations and a grim weather outlook, my expectations were low. I got up Peak 1 in ~1:30, pretty casual; the travesrse in the distance looked long, but I started my way to Tenmile Pk (or Peak 2, I highly resent whomever gave such vanilla names to these proud peaks). The ridge from Tenmile to Peak 4, including Peak 3 is by far the most exciting of the traverse, unless your Peter Bakwin doing actually the full range. I tried staying on the narrow spine of the ridge the whole time, but I would occasionally reach a 5th class overhaning downclimb on questionable rock, at which time I would easily skirt around the sides. Really, the whole traverse can be kept easily at 3rd class if you go just below the 20ft wall of rock on the top. The ridge to Peak 4 was a true and sustained class 3 scramble and by far the best of the day. Peaks 5-10 are all tundra/talus and I was feeling especially sluggish so I glissaded down to a trail I spotted from the peak and took a mellow forest road back to Frisco to meet Jack for the impending conquest of 4th of July traffic.
I opted out of downclimbing this gendarme and instead back tracked and skirted around the right side.
Some steep exposure 4,000ft below to the interstate from the Peak 3 - Peak 4 connecting ridge.
7/6, Monday - Green Mtn - 9 miles, 3000', 1:32
A rainy group run. I ran every step from home until the final stone steps -- I think I could have run continuously the whole thing today, but we always throw in the towel and hike the last 100ft together. After getting a ride to the pub I still had to run 1 mile home with a BLT sandwich, a beer and some fries in my stomach, yech!

7/7, Tuesday - Green Mtn, Chase the Sun, 1st Pinnacle - 6 miles, 2900', 1:44
From Chat I jogged easy up the backside for a mellow 45min ascent. I descended down to the west face of Chase the Sun and took its arete around to North where I could descend right to the 1st Pinnacle. Some tribe of middle-school age kids saw me scrambling up the last pitch and told me I was "savage". I suppose its a compliment, but I was most interested in how "savage" became a descriptor kids used.

7/8, Wednesday - Longs Peak (14,255') - 13 miles, 5300', 5:15
Fun day. Started early at 4:45AM straining to see the trail sans headlamp. I ran until about halfway through Jim's Grove at which point I relaxed into a mellow hike. The cloud ceiling receded downward to obscure most of the mountain by the time I hit the Keyhole, so I put on my warm hat and gloves along with rolling my tights down to my ankles (versus the 3/4 roll-up I was previously sporting for the best 3/4 tights weather possible). The ledges were a little wet but with smidgen of extra care they were trivial as usual. The trough was still all snow, but had undergone a great freeze with our recent cold stint so I continued my pursuit onward. One bright side of the otherwise dreadful conditions was that the trough as a snow climb is magnitudes better than the scree-fest it assumes for true summer. The snow began on the Narrows, though with little accumulation; little extra care and its easy as normal. The homestretch posed the biggest dilemma but after a minute of surveillance I found a line up a crack system that went easily. The descent went smoothly, even down-kicking steps in the trough (oddly, very fun). I jogged easy back through Jim Grove to the TH. I was pretty happy with my time considering I felt completely fresh at the finish, never remotely pushed and faced garbage conditions. Looks like I've got my 14er lungs back!
Well, it is called the Narrows.
7/9, Thursday - Off
Driving to Silverton

7/10, Friday - Off
Watching Hardrock.

7/11, Saturday - Kendall Mtn + Silverton - 13 miles, 3800', 2:54
I marched right up the avalanche chute out of town and racked up a quick 3000ft (1,600ft in 1 mile!) before deciding the clouds looked too ominous for me (there had been on/off lightning storms all week). Of course, I turn around, skies look blue; I put on my coat for the rain, it stops, one of those days. A concilation I did a loop around Silverton with some tempo effort. Average pace was 8:20 over 7.5 miles with 750' of climbing at ~9,300' above sea level, so I was very pleased.
A 13er just a few footsteps from town!
Week Totals:
52 miles

Sort of bummed I missed 20,000ft with Longs, Tenmile and three days in the San Juan's. Though it was the result of a fantastic time spectating and semi-crewing at Hardrock. I was able to check out each aid station till mile 48 and see many of the finishes, including Kilian's and Frosty's. What a course it is, absolutely massive! It was probably one of the more inspiring things I've seen in my life.

7/12, Sunday - Hayden Mountain North (13,139') - 7 miles, 3700', 2:45
Kendrick introduced me to Paul Hamilton (2nd to Sage at Speedgoat last year, so he's got some speed) and we ran up to Hayden ridge tagging a 13er before being literally hailed off of the mountain and bushwhacking back to the car.

7/13, Monday - Mt Sopris (12,966') - 13 miles, 4600', 4:03
Having arrived in the dark, I was deprived of the view of Sopris rising 6000 feet out of the town of Carbondale. Though only a 12er, its demeanor is far more suited to a 14er given its size. Don't let the time on this fool you, I hiked a ton, and slowly hiked even more. Even going down I hiked a lot. Nice little recovery jaunt.
Capitol (center) from the summit of Sopris
Thomas Lake, alongside the trail to Mt Sopris
7/14, Tuesday - Capitol Pk (14,131') - 17 miles, 5400', 5:10
The view from Sopris was inspiring so I drove straight to the Capitol Creek TH and made camp for the night. I was running down the ditch trail covered in cattle droppings at 6AM with a magnificent view of Capitol's grim North Face. The long 6 miles approach ended abruptly with steep switchbacks rising from Capitol Lake to the Capitol-Daly saddle. The was a good amount of snow still in the basin, but traversing along the already carved steps was a no-brainer even without any form of traction. After summitting "K2" I stayed generally along the 4th class ridge all the way to the summit rather than taking the standard route that meanders around beneath the ridge, far more exposed to rockfall (common in the Elks)  and far less fun and direct. The scrambling really isn't that bad, but there is some heavy exposure that could make someone not comfortable looking down a thousand feet or two feel pretty squeamish. I can now agree that the "knife edge" is far over-hyped.
High in the air on Capitol. "Satan's Ridge", probably the most technical, dangerous and loose 14er traverse in Colorado, leading to Snomass way in the distance.
7/15, Wednesday - 2 x (1st Flatiron + 2nd Flatiron) - 4 miles, 2900', 2:05
I picked up my new (well, ~110 miles were already on them) running shoes re-soled with climbing rubber today! It was a slow jog to the base of the 1st, but upon starting up I felt an indescribably secure stick with each step I took. Without much effort, I easily made a 17min scramble. Seriously, this rubber makes just about everywhere on the 45 degree slab a great foot-hold. Downclimbing the Freeway I was able to honestly run about 200 vertical feet getting some wide eyes from a few climbers. On the second lap up the 1st I was a bit slower, 18:22; still much faster than my typical ascent. On the 2nd, I downclimbed the Freeway to just below the jump then traversed South and trudged up the Free for All route to the true summit. I finally nailed the line on this one, sticky rubber playing a large part.

7/16, Thursday - Regency, Royal Arch, 5th Flatiron, 4th Flatiron, Challenger, Morning After - 6 miles, 3300', 3:53
Fun day out tagging a bunch of routes in the central flatirons area. After the warmup jog along the Mesa trail I began what would be the theme of the day: messing up routes. I was too far south on the Regency, which was no issue given its such an easy rock. The Royal Arch was one of two exceptions that went very well; though, you have to give a concentrated effort to mess up Royal Arch. I took my now typical route straight up the center of the 5th, then I tried downclimbing to the ledge along the south side. I chose a ledge way too high and ended up doing a couple more 5.4 - 5.5 moves as a result, but it was more of a time suck than anything. On the 4th I took the water groove on the second piece, which was of course filled with water (argh!). I should really just stick with the lines that I can nail on the 5th (keyhole downclimb) and 4th (hand traverse on the second piece). In retrospect I got the third piece's line pretty well. From here started my mini Barkley-esque schwack. Challenger's lower third is still a bit puzzling, particularly 10ft right below the hand-crack, but its just such a cool rock! Last (after much thrashing about in the undergrowth) was Morning After -- or The Needle, or The Thing, depending who's guidebook you're reading. It was 5.4 on the first pitch till you hit the 5.7 overhanging roof. This move took a minute, but once you have all of your holds properly identified, you just pivot on your foot, and just like that you're over it. I tried taking the 5.6 northern variation but opted out midway through, downclimbed and traversed south to the standard 5.4 route up the southern side. The run/hike/curse/scream/scramble back to Royal Arch was a wet lichen covered hell and I was overjoyed to finally join the Royal Arch trail to get back down.

7/17, Friday - AM: Free For All, Atalanta/Kamikaze, Fandango - 3 miles, 2300', 2:22
Despite doubling today, I was keen on taking it easy speed wise, so I hiked everything uphill or flat and gingerly trotted downhills. After working on dialing in my route up the 2nd I putsed around on the south side of the 1st. Firstly, I started off with Atalanta which somehow ended in the finish to either Kamikaze or Zig-Zag. Then, looking for Baker's Way (seriously, how do I never find it!?) I got on Fandango and took a 5.6 variation which took me to the slot variation of the Direct Route.
PM: Dodge Block Tunnel, Chase the Sun, Amphitheater - 3 miles, 1600', 1;35
Easy scrambles with Jack, strictly hiking.
On top of Chase the Sun with behind the 1st (pic by Jack)
7/18, Saturday - Pawnee Buchanan Loop - 27 miles, 7100', 5:50
Nice group effort on the staple loop through the Indian Peaks. Up near the front of the group we maintained a good effort the whole time, but we had about an hour and a half of stoppage time between waiting to regroup and stopping for views a few times (5:50 was running time). I felt reasonably well all things considered. Nice burn in the quads on the last 3500' decent and some definite mental fatigue from long hours lately

Week Totals:
81 miles

Holy cow, that was monstrous. Looks like 3 summits (all 12,900 or higher) and 17 climbing/scrambling routes! A lot of long slow effort which was key in getting things done.


  1. Definitely a monstrous couple weeks. That 7/5 traverse looked awesome, would of been better with some company. Yeah that BLT and beer would of been sloshing around for me too, no bueno. What the Heck does "savage" mean, blows my mind?!?! Dude nice tempo effort on 7/11, with all your climbing and scrambling, it's nice to see a little speedwork lol. Wow Paul Hamilton, I bet that was pretty cool.

    Dude are you going to write up some stuff from Hard rock? I want to hear all about seeing Killian and Anna must have been epic..

    1. Eh, probably not. I have like 2 poorly taken blurry pictures, I was mostly just enjoying hanging out there. Maybe had I been crewing I would feel more compelled. In reality, I spent most of the time with my usual friends sitting in the woods clapping in between bites of burritos!

    2. Lol that sounds like an entertaining story all in itself