Thursday, July 31, 2008

S. Boulder Peak

8 miles
3,000 vertical

Got out for a great run up S. Boulder Peak for something a little different. Went warm-up pace to the signed jct. just beyond the creek at the base of Shadow. Got there in a leisurely 21:15 and then upped the pace through the canyon. I was feeling good on the warm-up, but that was no surprise, since it was just a warm-up afterall. As I increased my effort, I knew my legs were not fully recovered and never fully ramped it up. I went hardish for 3 or 4 minutes and knew that pushing would set me back more than help at this point, so I just resigned myself to fast walking and jogged the easier sections. Once things leveled a bit before the switchbacks prior to the saddle, I started feeling fairly good and upped the pace again. Made the saddle in 43:22, then the summit in 49:03. Did a quick turn and got back to the saddle in 3:40, then another 13:50 to the junction and 14:28 back to the TH for a total of 31:58 descent and 1:21:01 RT. I felt like I got a quality workout even though I did not push too hard. My feet felt quick and accurate on the descent and I never felt like I was pushing at all, just rolling with it really.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A few laps on the track and a trip to Mallory Cave

Got on the track at 6:30am. Warmed up for two laps, ran a 1:21, took a cooldown lap, ran another 1:21 and called it quits. I was just not feeling it mentally or physically. Probably could have pushed through it, but my gut was telling me that I was not doing myself any good. I quickly shifted gears and drove up to NCAR and ran up to Mallory Cave in a super easy 19 minutes. The cave is closed April 1st - Oct. 1st, so I found a sunny rock overlooking town and sat up there for 5 minutes or so and jogged back easy.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Green Mountain

5 miles
2,400 vertical

Started off this morning intending to go moderate. I was going solo on Green for the first time in a few weeks, so I brought along my Mp3 player. As I started walking through the West edge of Chautauqua, my legs were feeling pretty tight and tired, so I figured even going moderate was going to be an effort. Having gone on a recent road trip, my Mp3 player was set up with a variety of music that Allison and I could both agree on, instead of my usual line up of sports podcasts. I spent my warmup and the first 6-7 minutes scrolling through songs and trying to find my Endurance Planet podcasts, but with all the auto tagging fancy smarty stuff going on, it was like looking for a needle in a haystack, so I got pi$$ed and turned it off and yanked out the headphones.

By now, the first junction had passed and I decided to bump up my pace a bit. I was never giving it too much, just rolling along at a good clip and I started to notice some decent splits. As I went up, my legs felt better and better with each step. I started thinking about 33-34 range and really started gassing it good at 27-28 minutes into the run. I knew it would be desperately close and I could taste the pain of the effort over the final few switchbacks, but my legs felt AWESOME. I made it in 33:49:92. I figured that was my 2nd fastest, but after a quick search of my logs when I got back, I realized it is a PR by a second or less! This buoyed my confidence a bit after my somewhat disappointing ascent of Grays on Saturday. I think as long as I don't mess up in the next 2 weeks, I am in a good position.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Monday 7/28/08

Biked to work
16 miles

Sunday 7/27/08 Beartrack Lakes, Mt. Evans Wilderness

~12 miles
~2,400 vertical

Feeling a little trashed from running Grays/Torreys the previous day, it was a nice change of pace to do some casual hiking with Allison, Sierra, Kevin and Joe. We got up in the morning without a plan and called Kevin and he proposed "something on the East side of Evans". I just went along and the remainder of the day was improv, which I normally am opposed to as it rarely seems to work out when there is no plan. "Working out" usually means me getting to the top of some peak, and I planned on nabbing Epaulet, the little bump between Rosalie and Evans. It took us quite some time to get to the lake, so by the time we got there, the skies looked a bit threatening and I was content chilling out. Great day with great company, followed by a burger, fries and shake in Morrison to top it off.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

15 miles/5,060 vertical feet
Jeff Valliere, George Zack, Claude Clegg, Justin Mock
2hrs 50 minutes RT running time

Got out for a great high altitude training session today. We started from the Bakerville next to I-70 and were shooting for the fastest known time by Kraig Koski of 1:29 from Bakerville to the summit of Grays. To even come close to Kraig’s time, I would have to have a great day, but I was not entirely sure how I truly felt. Within the first few minutes up the road, I was a bit redlined and was wondering what the heck I was thinking going out this hard . Justin was right on me and came past at about a mile into the run and kept opening up the gap, but I was not at all surprised as I was informed by George that he is a very fast runner. George and Claude were a bit smarter and hung back a bit. My goal was to get to the summer TH in 30 minutes, then quite naively was thinking that I could do the remainder in 55-58 minutes. Things don’t always go as planned though and I was feeling like crap even before the summer TH and wanted to stop . I made it there in 30 and was across the bridge just a touch over 31, stashed my hand bottle and a Fuel Belt bottle and kept heading up. The initial rock steps were hurting and I knew I was losing time, and would continue to do so. I held it together fairly well until the big sign before the Kelso turnoff and was only about a minute off of PR at that point for the upper section. Justin was far ahead and I could only see him on the longest stretches (4:30 ahead) and I figured I would never see him until the summit. Surprisingly though, I started to reel him back slowly as we got higher and higher. I was walking long stretches and running when I could, but I was imploding fast and my quads were screaming in protest. On the final few switchbacks, I was getting closer to Justin, but could not quite catch him by the top. He finished in 1:32:?? and I was at 1:33:32. Awesome effort on his part though, the guy is fast, especially considering he has only been that high a few times. It was great to have him out there to chase, otherwise I may have just dialed the effort back a notch or 3.George was a short ways back, as he too was having an even worse day than I and Claude was nowhere to be seen, as he mixed up Grays for Torreys and headed to Torreys first. After George topped out, we cruised over the Torreys in 17 minutes, where we saw Claude along the way and agreed to meet for the descent, but that was the last we would see of him until we got back to the car. The descent back to I-70 from the summit of Torreys took an hour and I for one was a bit spanked. George and Justin dropped me pretty good over the last mile and I was just anxious to be done.As always, it was great to get out with Claude and George, and great to meet Justin. As an aside, it was the most crowded I have ever seen it on these peaks, unbelievable how many cars were parked all along the road and how many people were on that trail. I would guess we saw maybe 400 people?If I were to do this run over again, I would certainly sacrifice 2 minutes on the approach, which I think would have saved me way more on the upper half. Not sure really how much it would have helped, but I have to think the losses higher up become exponential, at least that was the case for me today in addition to not feeling 100%. Either way, I gave it all I had on the day.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

July 24th, 2008 Green Mountain

6 miles/2,500 vertical

Got out with Homie and Sierra for a casual trip up Green. More of a quick hike as we were waiting on Sierra often and just shooting the breeze and catching up on recent adventures. Did not feel all that peppy, I think it was from being out late last night.

July 23rd, 2008 Green Mountain

6.5 miles/2,500 vertical

Got out with George for a casual stroll up Green. Both of us are recovering from different workouts and saving a bit for a hard run on Saturday. Bumped into Kraig and ran with him for a bit.

July 18-21st 2008, Wilsons, El Diente, Gladstone, Pt. 13,123 A

Allison and I have been coordinating with Dave and Emily for several months for a camp trip to Navajo Lake to climb the Wilsons and El Diente this July. The three 14ers would be new for Allison and Emily and I was secretly hoping to fit in Gladstone if weather and time permitted. Dave’s sister Sharon and nephew Matt were to meet us as well, along with Dave’s brother Mike who was to meet us at the lake after driving in from Texas.

Overall we had a very safe and successful trip, most goals were accomplished, but most importantly we had a great time and avoided bad weather.Allison got all 3 14ers, Emily got both of the Wilsons. Dave and I both got to add these three peaks to our 2nd go around for the 14ers, Matt got Mt. Wilson and El Diente (he had already climbed Wilson Peak 3 years prior), Mike made an impressive climb (3rd or 4th 14er ever) of Mt. Wilson and made a valiant attempt of El Diente. Shep added both of the Wilsons to his list, getting him to 50 14ers, and Sharon had a great time relaxing and camping.

As a bonus, I was able to sneak in 13,123 A on Friday before dinner after the afternoon storms cleared and on Saturday, we were blessed with a perfect day, so I joined Kiefer Thomas (who we expected to see and bumped into on Mt. Wilson) for Gladstone.I will not hash into route details as they have been well documented in guidebooks and past trip reports, but just focus on a few highlights from the trip and post some photos.

Friday 7/18/08 Day 1: The hike in and UN Pt. 13,123 A

After a night in Montrose at the No Tell Motel, Allison and I hit the trail from the Navajo Lake TH at 9:15am with majorly overloaded packs. Always thinking about Pikes Peak, I promised myself that I would take it SUPER easy and not risk straining any tendons, joints or ligaments by shocking them with a hard effort and all the added weight of a multi-day pack. We covered the ~5 miles/~1,800 vertical to the lake in a very casual 2.5 hours as I lagged behind Allison on the super steep switchbacks to the lake. I was dreading this section, but it seemed much more manageable this year.

Dave and Matt greeted us on the far side of the lake and accompanied us to our favorite camp spot we used 3 years ago at the far end of the upper most trees. The skies were threatening, so we quickly established camp and spent the remainder of the afternoon ducking in/out of the tent and mostly napping. Around 4:30pm, the sun came out and the clouds completely disappeared. I was getting a bit antsy after being cooped up all afternoon and just had to go climb something. I put out offers, but unfortunately had no takers. I decided on Pt. 13,123 A since it was quite close and presumably easy (according to Forrest’s TR). I set off from camp a bit before 5 and soon bumped into Allison and Emily chatting with Jim and Karen Ohl. I stopped and talked for a bit, but was anxious to climb my peak and be back in time for some gourmet Backpackers Pantry.

I followed the Navajo Lake trail back down/up to the Woods Lake junction, then up the Woods Lake trail for a few minutes to where I cut a hard right and headed straight up the steep grassy hillside. Before long the grassy slopes gave way to soft dirt/mixed rock then transitioned to miserable fine steep scree. For each step up, I slid back the same amount. Luckily I came prepared with some tough work gloves and employed the full use of all fours and was able to make some upward progress.

Before long, the crappy scree almost instantly turned into nice stable blocky slabs on an easy ridge. The views quickly opened up and the views of El Diente and the surrounding peaks were astonishing. Buoyed by the views and grumbling stomach, I picked up the pace a bit and arrived at the top 50 minutes after leaving the luxurious Eastern shores of Navajo Lake. I spent 10 minutes taking pictures, soaking in the scenery and trying to ring up the group on the two-way radio.

Reluctantly I decided that I must go down. The descent was amazing fun. I took it slow and cautious on the upper slabby section, then enjoyed carefree plunge stepping and boot skiing through the loose stuff that had been cause for a few choice words on the ascent. Descending the steep grassy section was quick, but great care was necessary to not twist an ankle. Once on the trail, I picked up the pace a bit and made it back to camp 30 minutes after leaving the summit, just in time for dinner! What a fun little side trip.


Saturday 7/19/08 Day 2: Mt. Wilson and Gladstone Peak

Allison, Emily, Mike and Shep left camp about 10 minutes before Dave, Matt and I departed at 5:00am. We plugged along over the clanky talus enjoying the help of the nearly full moon to illuminate our way. It took us a while to catch them and it would have been much later had it not been for them stopping for a break. Unbeknownst to us, Kiefer was sleeping in his tent only feet away from our first pit stop.

We made the grind up the ever steepening slopes of Mt. Wilson, getting slightly off course (a bit too far right) and were in some terrain that was a bit steeper/looser than we would have preferred with our group of 6 and we eventually popped out right at the notch beneath the crux. Since I got there a bit ahead of the group, I used that time to follow the ridge and cairns down for a few hundred feet and get a better descent route dialed.

Dave and I had been there before, but it had been snow covered and things were a bit different this time without the snow cover.After a short break, we engaged the final class 4 section to the summit on the East facing aspect. I went first, followed by Allison, Emily, Matt, Shep, Mike and Dave. We spent a short amount of time on the summit and began the slow task of getting down the summit pitch as safely as possible. Lots of great teamwork and spotting saw us past the crux without incident. Back at the notch, we bumped into Kiefer who was on his way up. After a short period of introductions and conversation, we parted ways with the plan being that he would catch us on the way down.The revised route down (sticking to the cairned “standard” route we deviated from on the way up) was slow and deliberate, but much more solid and safe than the way we went up.

Kiefer quickly caught up to us, where he, Matt, Dave and I boogied off toward Gladstone. Getting to the saddle/ridge for Gladstone took a bit of time due to the snow crossings and sidehilling in loose junk, but we eventually made it and were a bit surprised by the sight. The summit looked surprisingly distant and the ridge appeared to be somewhat involved.We started along the ridge and came to a very interesting narrow section of ridge, maybe a foot wide. I started across walking, but chickened out half way across as it seemed to get increasingly precarious.

At this point Dave and Matt bowed out, as they were not really all that committed. I was very thirsty and getting a little hungry and at first considered bailing as well as the summit was looking pretty far away. After a brief internal argument with myself, I decided that now is my opportunity. The weather looked great and I had a solid partner in Kiefer. I never looked at my watch, but I think Kiefer said we made it up in 35 minutes or so.

Going up was a blast and any sections of climbing that looked questionable, we stayed low and on climbers left. After a brief stay on the summit, we started down the ridge and for kicks we opted to stay on top for the most part. Only once or twice did we bail to the East side to circumnavigate a difficult spot.The descent back down the rotten slopes into upper Navajo Basin went fast, but was a bit tedious and we were ready to be finished. After treating some water at Kiefer’s camp, we said our goodbyes and I ran back to camp, arriving there shortly before 4:30pm.


Sunday 7/20/08 Day 3: Wilson Peak

Again, on the trail a few minutes before 5am, today it is just Dave, Emily, Allison, Shep and I as Matt has climbed this one and Mike needs a rest day. We make good time up the trail, but several stops along the way allow a group of 11 to slowly creep up on us. I am torn between being patient and enjoying the day and hurrying up as I do not want a group of 11 strangers above us on a loose class 3 mountain.

We carefully make our way across the short class 3 cliff traverse and then up the loose slopes to the ridge. The class 3 section I forgot about and came as a bit of a surprise to myself, Allison and Emily, yet the loose slopes leading to the ridge that I was not fond of last trip pass in no time and seem much shorter and easier.

Just below the false summit, another unexpected break allows the lead two climbers of the group of 11 to catch us, but they are quite courteous and hang back while we approach the summit crux pitch.On this trip, the short down climb from the false summit was dry which made things seem much easier. 3 years ago, it was a bit icy and snowy which was cause for a bit of puckering.

The crux was cake and we made it through no problem, but still had the other group putting pressure on us. Oh well, first come first serve . On the summit, we examined the wreckage of the plane that crashed on the summit in Sept. 2006 during a blizzard. All 4 people on board died and have never been found, yet many of their personal belongings still litter the summit, a brush, pilot headphones, swim goggles, a calculator, underwear etc….. quite sobering.We took our time on the summit as the group of 11 made quite the racket.

As it turned out, they were all members of “that other website”, 3 of which were celebrating their completion of the 14ers. We asked when they planned on leaving the summit so we could decide whether or not to wait for them to go, or get a head start as we did not want them above us. They replied that they would be a while as they were pulling out beers and looked to be in no hurry. Minutes later, they are all queuing en masse above us as we are working our way through the upper part of the crux descent . Allison politely asks for them to wait and we safely make it over to the false summit.

Once there, we meet up with fellow 14erworld member Todd Holmes and exchange pleasantries. We are able to boogey ahead of the large group and make it past the difficulties and stop for a break before the Rock of Ages saddle. Wouldn’t you know it, the boisterous group of 11 decide to plunk down right next to us and have another party. Sweet! We try to outlast them so they would not be following us all day, but as soon as we pack up, they all follow and we are destined to be together until the bitter end.After we packed up camp, we contemplated inviting them to backpack out with us, but decided we would leave them alone .


Monday 7/21/08 Day 4: El Diente via Kilpacker Basin

After moving camp to a spot near the creek crossing a half mile up Kilpacker Basin the previous day, we were well positioned to tackle El Diente’s South Slopes route. For a long time we fretted over how we wanted to approach this one. Allison and Emily are not entirely comfortable on steep snow and the N. Slopes route looks to be a dangerous combination of snow and loose rock (probably not that bad, but was no place we wanted to be). We decided that Kilpacker would be the best option and allow both Dave and I to try out a new route on this rugged peak.The trail up through the valley and across the talus was well defined and we were in awe of the scenery.

The route up the S. Slopes was very intuitive, and easy to find cairns for the most part. There were a few gulleys to choose from, each seemed about equal in difficulty. The uppermost few hundred feet to the ridge was class 3 with a lot of loose rock and required great care as to not bombard one another. Although a bit dangerous due to the rock fall potential, I found the route to be pretty easy and efficient.

Once on the ridge, we cut left toward the summit and the crossover couloir. We came to a difficult section that I did not remember and Matt, Dave and I made it through, but it was enough to halt Mike, Allison and Emily. Mike and Emily were starting to feel the effects of several hard days of climbing and wisely decided that they had had enough. Allison was about to call it as well, but I knew she had it in her and I coaxed and spotted her through the section. From there on it was no problem making it to the summit, the only real remaining difficulty being a bit of lingering snow in the gulley just below the summit.

Our summit stay was brief as we were worried about some slowly building clouds and the time it would take to get the group down safely. I sent Dave ahead to get the other half of the group moving down, while I hung back to guide Allison and Matt. Matt, who at only 17 turns out to need little to no guiding and is quite adept beyond his years. He was a great help in assisting Allison through several sections and I was glad to be in his company. The descent was slow and exacting, but we made it down without incident and cruised back to camp, then backpacked out.

We arrived at the car and threw our packs in just as it started to pour. What timing. We all met up in Ouray where we stayed at the same hotel and we all went to Buen Tiempo for a well deserved dinner.


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Wednesday, 07/16/08 Track

4.25 miles
~0 vertical

Had a nice 7 mile/23 minute warmup..... on the bike that is on my way to Fairview. Did a warm up lap, then hit it hard right off the bat. Had a bit of beginners luck and ran a 74 400 which kind of went to my head as it did not seem very hard. With a casual lap in between each, I did:

800 @ 2:41
1 mile @ 5:44 (hard but not feeling like giving it my all)
400 @ 83 (felt like crap and was ready to call it a day)
1 mile @ 6:14 (wanted to see how long it would take to run a flat mile just going a very sustainable pace, comfortable breathing, could do this indefinitely).

Biked to work, then home after work for a total of 19 bike miles.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Tuesday, 7/15/08 Flagstaff

4 miles
1,300 vertical

Intended to go up Green, but Sierra was especially slow today so I did not have time for the full trip. I felt better than I thought and wanted to go a good bit faster, but it was good to have her company as we headed up Gregory. At the last minute, I decided to head over the top of Flag so I could get to work at a reasonable hour.

Monday 7/14/08

Biked to work and back easy. 15.5 miles.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

321s on Pikes

321s on Pikes
12 miles
4,300 vertical

Had a really fun time on my maiden 321 voyage. I almost blew it off because I had a really lousy night of sleep. I went to bed at a decent hour, but it was probably 11:30 by the time I drifted off and I woke up often throughout the night. I was wide awake at 4am and should have just got up, but laid in bed until 4:59am. Was a little slow to get out the door and hit the road at 5:27. Made it to the gate at 7:15, paid my dues (remembered the $2 off coupon) and made good time to the summit. After fiddling around and getting ready, I finally got on the trail at 8:15.

It was interesting to run down the Barr Trail, as I have only run up it in the past. The day was beautifully sunny and the temperature was perfect and there was not a breeze. I took it pretty easy on the way down, making small talk with other runners heading down for the same workout, just taking in the scenery and enjoying the great morning.

My times for the first 3 down miles were 10:52, 7:44 and 9:56. At the A-Frame I tied my windbreaker around my waist, took a quick pee and got down to business. Feeling quite fresh, I started off pretty quick, but was quickly reminded that I was over 12k and I adjusted my pace accordingly. I wanted to just bury myself, but I knew I had to save a little for my 2 and 1, so I went a hard, but sustainable pace. First mile was 15:15, second mile was 13:15, then the third mile was 16:03 for a total of 44:33. I felt great and ran everything save for a very few steps on the 16 golden stairs. If this were all I were doing, I could have put a good bit more into the first 2 miles, but not sure how that would have set me up for the last mile, so it was probably a smart plan.

I went to the car to suck down some gel/drinks and add some more sunscreen, which seemed to take a bit longer than I had hoped. I don’t think it was a good thing to dilly dally, I should have had a quicker turnaround as I think that little break did me no favors.

I went even more cautious down 2, as my legs were feeling the effort and I had no reason to go too fast. 11:42 and 9:18 for the two down. Did a U and headed back up and I was in immediate distress, this was really hurting. My 2 up was just and exercise of survival and any confidence I had from the first 3 was quickly dashed and the effort seemed exaggerated. 14 flat for the first mile, then 18:09 for the final mile. Ouch. At this point I kicked around the idea of bagging it, but a quick drink and swig of gel made me feel a little better and I figured even if I had to walk it, I was going to get it done.

Down to the 1 to go sign in a pokey 12, then turned and just hit it hard to get it over with. “Hey, I actually feel better!” I was able to run most of it, and walked about half of the 16 stairs, but was feeling way better than my last trip through this stretch. Finished in 17:42 to the heckling of Claude who had just finished his trip from Elk Park. I gave him a ride back to his car and headed home.

I felt good today, but not great, I was expecting more out of my 2, but oh well, it was an awesome day on the mountain and this was an extremely beneficial workout which I look forward to doing again.


Down 3: 10:52/07:44/09:56 = 28:30
Up 3: 15:15/13:15/16:03 = 44:33

Down 2: 11:42/09:18 = 21:00
Up 2: 14:00/18:09 = 32:09

Down 1: 12:00
Up 1: 17:42

Total: 155:54

7/12/08 Green

7.5 miles

2,500 vertical

Social walk with Allison, Dave and Emily and the dogs (Sierra, Shep

Friday, July 11, 2008

Tribute to Scooby in Dave's words.

Tribute for Scooby
"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." -- Will Rogers

Friends:Thank you so much for your heartfelt expressions of sympathy, empathy, condolence, and consolation on the recent loss of Scooby. Emily and I have cried and smiled over the many kind posts, lively anecdotes, and fun photos in this thread…and our hearts have been warmed by your support of us (including Shep!) and by your fond memories of Scooby. We have also received many PMs, emails, cards, and flowers from our FourteenerWorld friends...again, thank you so much for your support and generosity. Emily and I also offer reciprocal thoughts to all of you who considered Scooby a friend and welcomed him as a climbing partner, and who now feel his loss.The remainder of this post is my tribute to my best climbing buddy and forever friend, Scooby. I'll provide some of his history, list his mountaineering accomplishments, describe the circumstances and aftermath of his tragic demise, and expound upon his legacy. As a consequence of my psychological state, eloquence escapes me at the time I need it most... I hope that these words, photos, and recollections will comprise a worthy remembrance and farewell to such a loyal friend and incredible spirit.Emily and I brought Scooby home in July 1997, just after returning from our honeymoon. He was my first dog. Scooby lived with me in College Station, TX; I was on the faculty at Texas A&M University while Emily taught at a high school in Dallas. Scooby went to work with me every day (a two-mile walk each way), and sat in the office with me or went on walks with many of my students (he cheerfully served as a "surrogate" for those who missed their own dogs back home). He was a great traveling companion for my twice-monthly trips to Dallas, as he sat bolt upright in the passenger seat, enjoying the open Texas road and the passing scenery. This first year of our friendship, we established a clear pattern: nearly constant companions, separated only when I was in class, in stores, in restaurants, or on interviews.Scooby's mountaineering career commenced when we moved to Colorado in 1998. Tabeguache was his first fourteener; unfortunately, his sore feet precluded Shavano becoming his second fourteener that same day. Shep arrived in January 1999, so Scooby's big-brother job was to show him the mountain-climbing and trail-hiking ropes from the four-legged and low-center-of-gravity perspectives.During the summers of 2000-2004, canine-frisbee competitions limited our mountain-climbing activities. Both dogs were great performers in the toss-and-catch and distance events, and Emily and I each formed two teams paired with Scooby and Shep. Scooby won many first-, second-, and third-place awards in state and regional competitions. In 2001 and 2002, the Scooby-Emily team won several awards for long-distance catches; and, for several years, they held single-digit world-record placing among female competitors. My proudest canine-frisbee moment was in 2003, when the Scooby-Dave team won the season's Hershey Memorial Award for racking up the most points in toss-and-catch competitions. We also did frisbee demos at events for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and for a charity for the families of the Littleton-based flight crew killed on 9-11. And, Scooby and I were part of an intermission show at the 2001 Meeker Classic Sheepdog Championship Trials. Scooby's frisbee catching was shown on a Colorado Springs newscast and in photos published in The Gazette and in the Academy Spirit (the U.S. Air Force Academy newspaper). We "retired" from canine-frisbee competitions and events four years ago, as we decided to spend most of our time in the mountains rather than on city athletic fields.The incredible endurance, natural agility, fierce loyalty, and gentle demeanor characteristic of the border-collie breed pre-adapted Scooby to be a tireless hiker, nimble climber, devoted companion, and gregarious friend. He clearly took these innate attributes to higher levels in his love of hiking and mountain climbing, in his devoted partnership with Emily and me, and in his enjoyment of other human and canine company. We packed many many many outdoor times into our ten years in Colorado. Over the last several days, my review of personal notes, trip reports, and hundreds of photos allow me to derive the following list of mountaineering accomplishments for Scooby:-- 47 of the 59 Colorado fourteeners listed on the FourteenerWorld climbers page (he lacked Eolus, North Eolus, the Bells, Capitol, Longs, Sneffels, El Diente, Mt Wilson, Wilson, Little Bear, and Crestone Needle)-- 146 total fourteener ascents-- 11 winter fourteener ascents-- 5 traverses of the Sawtooth Ridge, including 1 in snow and 1 at night-- 3 ascents of the Kelso Ridge-- 19 ascents of 18 centennials, including a winter ascent of Cronin-- many other 13ers, including the Spanish Peaks, Apache, Squaretop, Organ, Baldy Alto, and Sheridan-- snow climbs of the Y Couloir, Little Italy Couloir (5X), Lost Rat Couloir, Angel of Shavano (4X), Queen's Way, south-face couloir on Democrat, north-face gully on Challenger (2X), and "Cincinnati Couloir" on Pikes-- dozens of climbs of local 9ers (e.g., Eagle, Herman, Blodgett)-- backpacking trips to the Rawah Wilderness, Buffalo Peaks Wilderness, Lost Creek Wilderness, Chicago Basin, Lake Como, Capitol Lake, Willow Lake, Navajo Lake, Snowmass Lake, Cochetopa Creek, and Barr Camp2008 was developing as a banner year for Scooby in the mountains. As of July 3, his high ascents for the year thus far were Rosedale, Sherman, Democrat, Cameron, Lincoln, Bross (2X), Grays (2X), Torreys (2X), Tiptop, Morgan, Santa Fe, Sullivan, Hope, Ruby, Cooper, Pikes, Castle, Wetterhorn, and Uncompahgre. Unfortunately, our long-anticipated plans for Wilson, El Diente, Sneffels, and The Needle this year will not be.
Before this tragedy forever changed our lives, we were already dealing with the potentiality of Scooby's imminent mortality, as he was diagnosed with a large hepatic tumor on June 30. The recommended surgery had a 10% mortality rate, and the survivors' prognoses depended upon a number of factors, not all of which were in Scooby's favor. With the vet-internist's approval, we delayed the lobectomy surgery a couple of weeks for the sake of our long-planned backpacking trip to Navajo Basin…sort of a "Make-a-Wish Foundation" outing for Scooby, and a way of giving him the most rewarding summer possible. He would have been out of climbing commission for several weeks after the surgery.The Fourth of July was the last day of Scooby's awesome life. The actual day was a relaxing and breezy time of sitting on the porch with coffee, running to a local park for a prolonged frisbee session, and driving to various stores and other destinations. He and Shep sensed the excitement of our late-afternoon cul-de-sac party, and they looked forward to canine partiers, more frisbee, loving children, and dropped food. My last sight of Scooby alive was of him awaiting a frisbee toss from one of our neighbors. Approximately three minutes later, as the aerial fireworks reached a crescendo, I noticed he was gone; we were very concerned, but had no idea that he had disappeared forever.Frightened by the fireworks, Scooby had bolted from the party, and apparently ran and ran and ran. A jogger saw him running on the primary road in our subdivision, and briefly grappled him to read his identification tags. Unfortunately, even though she held his tags, she failed to realize that he had a Ruff Wear collar under his happy tie-dye bandana, and he pulled away from her as a salvo of bottle rockets exploded overhead. This was the last chance for him to be saved. We frantically searched most of the night and all the next day. I quickly created a flier with his photo, and posted dozens of copies at local stores, on light poles, on street signs, and on "multi" mailboxes.As I was searching west of the interstate late Saturday afternoon, I received the sobbing phone call and crushing news from Emily: "Sharon found Scooby...and he's dead." I rushed to the scene (on the northbound lane of Interstate 25, approximately 200 feet south of the Baptist Road interchange), and ran across 75-mph traffic to where he lay. The beautiful and effortlessly bounding form I saw the previous day on the summit pitch of Wetterhorn was now incongruously reduced to a broken still body, with dusty and grass-littered fur blowing in the tailwind of each passing indifferent vehicle, enveloped in the malignant sound of tires on pavement. His laughing eyes were now cloudy and unseeing, and his expressive ears hung randomly. We carried him to the car on a blanket, and took him home. We let Shep say goodbye to Scooby in the garage...I then bagged his bloating body, and sullenly iced him down.This whole situation has been so completely unreal for Emily and me, and I keep expecting to wake up from my worst f--king nightmare. This is such an incredibly painful time...we miss Scooby so much, and still can't believe that he's gone forever. All that's physically left of him now are a few woofs of his fur (we trimmed off his white tail tip as a keepsake) and a small wooden box with his ashes; it's hard to believe that such a wonderful dog and boundless spirit have been distilled to a few ounces of sullen gray material.Scooby's life was tragically cut short, and Emily and I deeply mourn the trails that will not be walked, the peaks that will not be climbed, the frisbees that will not be chased, the new friends that will not be made. And, there are so many little Scooby things that I'll miss so much: his happy face at the front window when I came home from work; his fuzzy butt in my face in tiny tents; his head between the front seats of my truck as he watched the road; the black and white double dogpile at the bottom of stairs when Emily and I slept late Sunday morning; his joyful "woo woo woo woo woo" as we loaded into the truck for a mountain trip; his paw on my knee (at home) or shoulder (while driving) when he wanted something; his snoozing under my desk when he came with me to work; the way he and Shep often walked down the sidewalk and trails shoulder to shoulder, in the fluid coordinated motion reminiscent of figure skaters; him waiting patiently for the last veggies in the bowl; our weeknightly runs. But most of all, I will simply miss his loyal companionship, his comforting presence, and his endearing personality now that our 11-year streak has been forever broken.Over the last ten years since Tabeguache, Scooby and I have walked together on a long mountain trail that ended on Wetterhorn and Uncompahgre last Thursday. The two of us, along with Emily, Shep, Matt, Sharon, Jeff, Allison, Sierra, Hoot, and many others, have had many wonderful times together on the trails and peaks, and I will treasure these memories forever. The death of my loyal friend is the single worst event of my life…I have never experienced such profound sadness and crushing loss. But I derive great joy in reminiscing about the countless good times and from considering how he immeasurably enriched my life over these years. Scooby will no longer actively appear in my trip reports and photos…but, he will always be with me on the hikes and climbs.Finally, I close with appropriate mention of Scooby's special buddy, Shep. Several of you have asked about Shep...Emily and I are making a concerted effort to help him through this trying time. Clearly, he is disturbed, but we are not sure how much he understands. His demeanor is undoubtedly a combination of his own sense of loss and of the grief emanating from Emily and me. He made me choke up Monday night: I was working on the computer, while he was on a sleeping bag next to our bed. He suddenly jumped up, and bolted down the upstairs hallway to the far room....he either had a dream or heard something, and was desperately looking for Scooby...
Below is the most complete list of Scooby's FourteenerWorld climbing partners that I can recall right now. Thanks to all of you who considered him a friend and welcomed him as a trail partner over the years. I know that his outdoor experiences were enriched by the many friends he encountered on the trails and peaks. If I've left anyone off the list, please let me know...I'd like for this post to be record of his many friends.

Jeff and Allison Valliere, and SierraHoot GibsonBrian FreiburgerMatt HaleKevin LundSue PersonettHeather MusmannoRyan MishmashJerry ShustrinJohn PraterKevin BakerSteve Hoffmeyer and Terri HorvathKen NolanJean AschenbrennerGerry and Jennifer RoachDoug HatfieldKate Decker and Paul StratmoenJeff and Jean Kunkle, and DenaliDwight SunwallBeau JeanmardDerrill RodgersBen OsbornJeremy HakesDoug ShawMark BrownForrest Thorniley, and LupineBob DawsonSharon AdamsSteve NichollsSteve CassinKeith and Beth BershaderCarol GerberJohn BroadbooksFerenc JacsoPete KrzanowskyJames JustGeorge BarnesNate StutzkeJoey LutherRyan Schilling and Erin BurrJamie PrincoRicky CarrJim WiseKevin and Diana CraigJared WorkmanJohn and Renata CollardMike Via

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Green Mountain

6.5 miles
2,500 vertical
45:40 up
31 down

Met George at Chautauqua, ran easy blabbing about all kinds of things, mostly training, Pikes Peak and of course Scooby and how much we get attached to our dogs. Legs a bit heavy from hard workouts the previous 2 days.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Fairview Track

5 miles
0 vertical

After months of idle threats, I finally got to the track this morning for a good "speed" session (speedy for me).

I biked in from home, 7.25 miles at a casual pace which served as a good warmup. Warmed up on my feet for 2 laps easy, then did an 800 in 2:42 (1:17 at 400). I felt blown and discouraged, so I jogged around the field to find a place to pee and of course a truck of construction workers pull up as soon as I start the flow. A quick stop and casual trot makes it look as if I am just jogging around.

Back to the track, another slow lap, then I try for a mile. 1:22 on the first lap, 2:43 for 2, 4:12 at 3 laps then 5:32 for 4 laps.

I do a cooldown lap, then run a 2:40 800, cool down for another lap, then do another mile. 1:29?, 2:40, ?? for the 3rd then 5:39 for the mile. Not great, but better than I was last year.

Cooled down for a lap, then ran a 1:17 lap.

I find that I can't go much faster for 1 lap than I can for multiple, I just seem to have one gear.

I quit here, as my knee was talking to me a bit, which is the first time in months.

Ended up getting in 30 miles on the bike today.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

In Memorium of Scooby

My great climbing friend Dave had the terrible misfortune of having his dog Scooby run away due to being scared of home fireworks on the 4th. They found Scooby the next day dead on the side of I-25 in Monument.

Scooby was an 11 year old Border Collie and he, along with his brother Shep were 2 of the best dogs one would ever have the pleasure of meeting. Along with Sierra, these 3 dogs were an awesome team of happy doggy pals in the mountains and shared countless adventures together over the years. Scooby had climbed something like 50 unique Colorado 14ers and many other peaks. If you count repeats, Scooby probably had something close to 200 14er ascents. An amazing dog.

I put together a collection of my favorite pictures of Scooby and his friends over the past 3 years that I have known him. He will be missed greatly and leave an unfillable void.

Tuesday 7/8/08 Green Mountain

6 miles
2,400 vertical
25 down

Wanted to do some sort of interval training today, but was not sure what until the last minute. I ended up doing 11 minute on/minute offs. Started from the Gregory TH and had a nice easy warm-up for 8 minutes up Gregory Canyon. The whole time I was fearing the pain that I knew I was about to go through. The first 2 efforts I felt as though I would explode and the minute on dragged forever, while the minute off seemed like 10 seconds. Things got progressively worse through effort #5 and I was thinking I could do no more, but then things came around and I felt consistently good on efforts 6-10 and then put in an unplanned 11th interval. This brought me to just below the first switchback before the 4 way junction. I jogged a moderate pace the remainder of the way to the summit and then came down the same way in an easy 25.

Monday 7/7/08 Enchanted Mesa Skunk

~6 Miles
~1,000 vertical

Started with the intention of heading up Green, but at the last second, took a left on Bluebell-Baird to the 1st access trail, over to the base of the 2nd and down the 3rd access trail to Mesa. S. on Mesa to Skunk, then put together bits and pieces of trail around Enchanted Mesa and back to Chautauqua and up to the car. Felt crappy to start, then OK once I was out for 15 or 20 minutes. Did not feel like going the least bit fast and just took it completely easy.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Saturday, July 5th, 2008 Eva, Flora, Parry, Bancroft

Flora, Eva, Parry, Bancroft
~12 miles
~5,000 vertical
Jeff and Allison Valliere, Kevin Lund and Rick Canter (for part of the way) and Sierra

At the last moment, plans came together to meet up with good friend and fellow 14erworld member Rick Canter at Berthoud Pass for a bit of hiking. Allison, Kevin and I had plans to cruise the divide for a ways while Rick would play things by ear and use the day for acclimating.

We agreed that we would eventually go our separate ways and try to rendezvous later for the return trip as we started up Mines Peak at 8:00am. Rick warned us that he might be hurting having only been in Colorado for a day after arriving from Maryland, but… Rick was moving quite well all things considered and cruised along no problem as we chatted about all things related to mountains. I love talking with Rick and especially admire his passion for the mountains and ambition to make trips out here to Colorado every year on his own and climb as many peaks as he can fit in. Even though he lives on the East Coast, he is a Coloradan at heart.

Sadly, we parted ways with Rick near the top of Mines Peak as we set off for more distant peaks. We made the surprisingly distant (but very easy) summit of Flora around 9:40ish and took a 25 minute break. Eva looked further away than expected and the drop to the saddle was a little bit more significant, however turned out to be a very easy walk.

Once on Eva, Allison and Kevin announced that they were done for the day, but I was eyeing Parry and Bancroft. They said they would meander back as I ran over to tag the other summits. Made Parry in 20 minutes, then another 13 to Bancroft. I took a 5 minute break and eyed/seriously contemplated running over to James, but did not want to have my hiking mates waiting/worrying.

I gassed it pretty hard on the way back and got back to Flora in about 40 minutes where I again met up with Allison and Kevin. There were a few dark clouds building and I was hoping to catch Rick on the way down, so we jogged most of the way.

Unfortunately, we never caught Rick as he was long gone when we returned to the pass at 1:45. I talked to Rick later and he had made it up Flora, but called it a day there.

As an aside, that evening we got a terrible phone call from Dave informing us that Scooby had passed away. After 3 years of countless climbs and great times with Scooby, Shep, Dave and Emily, it struck us particularly hard as we have become very attached. Scooby was in all ways one of the best dogs I have ever come across and we all loved him. If it is this hard on us, I just can’t imagine how bad Dave and Emily feel. Rest in Peace Scooby, your presence in the mountains will always be felt and never fogotten.


Friday July 4th, 2008, Jasper Peak

Jasper Peak (12,923)
6.6 miles RT
2,860 vertical
Northeast Slopes from 4th of July TH
Jeff and Allison Valliere, Kevin Lund and Sierra

Had an awesome hike on the 4th of July from the 4th of July TH (this was not a novel idea we observed on the way out, as there were cars parked down the road for nearly a mile!).

Started around 7:15am and got a good parking spot at the TH. Cruised up the trail to the Jasper Lake turn, dropped a bit of elevation to cross the creek and found the short lived trail on the South side of Middle Boulder Creek. From the end of the trail, it was a short and simple bushwhack to tree line.

We followed Roach’s route description to the small lake and then the crashed plane.From the plane, we headed up the NE slopes to the ridge. We could have avoided snow all the way to the ridge, but opted to cross a few patches as it is relatively low angle, the snow was perfect for kicking steps and we had axes.

We were kind of wishing we had brought crampons and started an hour earlier as there are ample moderately angled snow climbing opportunities here.Once on the ridge, we could peer over toward Snow Lion, Snow Leopard and Gaiteraid.

I was secretly wishing we had opted for Snow Lion, but it would have required a bit more planning and a much earlier start on the day (there was a significant amount of rocks littering the route, some as big as kitchen stoves).From the saddle, it was a snow climb up the ridge, not too steep, but with snow it was enough to keep your attention and we were happy to have our ice axes just for peace of mind.

We made the summit around 10:45am at a very leisurely pace and lounged for quite some time.The descent back was a breeze and involved some top notch boot skiing. All too soon we were on the main trail passing the masses, a stark contrast after spending most of the day by ourselves, only seeing 2 others briefly on the summit.All in all an awesome way to spend the 4th, topped off by going to a friends house for the requisite top notch BBQ.


Thursday, July 3, 2008

Green Mountain

5.5 miles
2,400 vertical
41:57up/30 down

Felt like absolute crap today, like I had cinder blocks attached to my feet. Even though I immediately knew it was not my day and I resolved to go slow, it still seemed like a disproportionate amount of effort just to make it to the summit, never mind the time.

Excuses excuses for today:

A 17 hour straight moving/unpacking Ultramarathon on Monday
Crappy sleep all week
Crappy eating all week
Biking hard yesterday (not having been biking at all for a long time)
Skipping breakfast (I bonked hard near the top to add insult to injury)