Sunday, August 16, 2015

August 10 - August 16

8/10, Monday - Green Mtn - 6 miles, 2500', 1:09
I spent most of the previous night paging through the IPW guidebook and messing around with Caltopo routes, so I was running on 5.5 hours of sleep and 3 days of Longs. Surprisingly I felt phenomenal the whole time. I was able to stay on or just in front of Smith, though I'm certain he wasn't having to work nearly as hard as I was. This dude ran Pikes Peak 50 mile (leading from start to finish, of course), Four Pass (28mi, 8000') and a 29mi/6600' Boulder skyline all last week; beware UTMB!

8/11, Tuesday - Off
Felt like it.

8/12, Wednesday - 2nd Flatiron FKT - 4 miles, 1800', 1:18
Just by chance the morning RMR run was meeting at Chautauqua so Jack and I bumped up our already early meeting from 6 to 5:45AM and joined them on the initial jog before we broke off for the 2nd. I wanted to see what sort of time I could go on just the route of Freeway, I was hoping for something around 7:30. I split the watch and marched up for the 108th time, this is nice since I can keep my head down and stay on the fastest line without looking or thinking much. I usually take a glance down at my watch at the jump and saw 5:30, way faster than I thought I would be. Gave just enough gas to firmly sneak under Stefan's FKT of 6:50 at 6:33 before collapsing on top while Jack came up in 7:15ish. We were able to join right back with RMR as the route tops out on the trail they were on, so we finished off with a few extra miles for fun with them.
Jack, Peter, Kea Dog, Me, Doug, Seth, Tim, Dude visiting from Iowa behind the 1st. Photo by Silke.
From the new apartment I met Jack on the creek path where we ran another easy mile into the canyon before starting the first of ten intervals of 90 seconds on, 60 seconds off. The first 3 were much easier in the canyon, then the last 7 climbing up the back of Flagstaff Mtn on Chapman Drive were good n' rough. Cruised back to my old apartment to do some cleaning and ride my bike over.

Woke up ungodly early at 2:45 and met Smith, Alberto and Jack to tag some peaks before Ryan and Alberto had work and Jack and I had to go back to sleep. Despite the rough hour it was pretty cool to see the sunrise at 13k'. Didn't really push much and had a great time.
Couldn't resist a fun little ledge scramble on the East Face of Paiute, or Jack's dad called it "Death Mountain". Photo: Ryan Smith
Silohuettes of Alberto, Jack and myself on top of Audubon with the cities of the front range just behind. Photo: Ryan Smith

Probably the highlight of the summer thus far. Jack and I had considered the Mohling Traverese, but after reading Peter Bakwin's TR where he used the sentence "The entire cliff-band felt like it would peel off at any moment" to describe one particularly daunting section I found a slightly longer but less death-defyingly technical route. We got an early start and hammered up and over Pawnee Pass from Brainard Lake then cut south to Crater Lake. The views of Lone Eagle were immaculate, especially from the perspective at Mirror Lake. We lost quite a bit of time leaving the trail too late to the northeast gully. Dodging Achonee Tower, I took a 5.4 variation on the northeast face to the summit of Mt Achonee, while Jack took a 4th class ledge system to the saddle without summiting. This was one of the best technical scrambles I've done, wild exposure, thrilling position and steadfast rock. The traverse to Hopi was the easiest section by far. Getting to Iroquois from there was a bit interesting, but never seemed to cliff out. Iroquois  was a pleasure to stand atop and marked our exit from the Lone Eagle cirque. The terrain from Iroquois over Mt George to Apache Pk was hellish to say the least. At this point my memory is a bit hazy as we were pretty beat, but there were 3 or 4 significant notches that were reasonably tricky. The south ridge of Apache could potentially be a glorious climb, however it felt like 5.7/8 and I was completely unwillingly to pull through the crux. Its a beautiful ridge though. Instead I went around to the south while Jack downclimbed some truly heinous overhang thing on the north face (I don't really know, he said it was crazy). We reconvened on a sub-summit of Apache (I unknowingly side traversed around the true summit) and just barely willed ourselves to not butt slide down the glacier where (some meager amount of) food and water awaited in the car. Heading up Navajo we were both extremely tired, certain we both felt better at the finale of our respective 50 milers. Nevertheless, we took an exciting 5.4/5 route up the north face and collapsed for a brief moment, finished with the day's peaks. Thankfully we had a fun descent (aside from the 2.5 miles of flat crowded trail) which included a perfectly scree filled gully which had an old airplane crash's wreckage scattered throughout. Then we were able to glissade down the San Isabelle glacier to where it became a soft waterfall, where we each drank a few bottles since being on a ridge for the last 5 hours had prevented any water collection. The stats in no way reflect how truly difficult this was for me. On paper it looks much easier so I had taken one handheld bottle of tailwind (100cal), another bag of tailwind (100cal) and one gel (100cal), Strava estimates I burned 3600 calories which I would guess is an underestimate given it fails to incorporate technicality (and I'm assuming) elevation into its estimates. Definitely one of the toughest and best days of my life, and gets me thinking...Pfiffner Traverse?

Splits (from Long Lake TH):
Pawnee-Pass/Lake-Isabelle Junction -- 0:22:44
Pawnee-Pass -- 1:02:00
Crater-Lake/Cascade-Creek Junction -- 1:47:28
Left Crater Lake -- 2:23:07
Achonee Tower Saddle -- 3:18:24
Achonee -- 3:42:41
Hopi -- 4:10:35
Iroquois -- 4:54:30
George --5:25:30
What my deranged mind thought was Apache -- 6:20:47
Navajo -- 6:47:08
Lake Isabelle -- 7:48:37
Long Lake TH -- 8:28:56
Mirror Lake is a popular camping spot for this hard to believe view of Lone Eagle. The people here would be the last we would see (aside from the ominous Search & Rescue helicopter circling around us, looking for some other guy) for the next several hours.
From where we left Crater Lake out of the photo to the right to Achonee. The ridge between "Hopi" and "Iroquois" can be seen on the skyline, that was one of the easier sections, to give some perspective.
8/16, Sunday - Off

Week Totals:
50 miles

Not as a high a volume week as I have been recently, but a lot higher in terms of quality, and well, 2 days off will take down the volume quite a bit. The FKT up the 2nd Flatiron and Saturday's ridge run were both really satisfying objectives. One more week till classes, so I need to make it good!

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