Friday, October 31, 2008

Friday 10/31/08 S. Boulder Peak

8.5 miles
3,000 vertical

What a great Halloween day. Normally it is snowy and cold on Halloween, but today was sunny and clear with temps in the upper 70's and not a bit of wind, absolutely PERFECT! Allison, Sierra and I got out for a nice leisurely hike up S. Boulder peak She was feeling pretty lousy, borderline sick, but mostly a bit jetlagged having just returned from 15 days in Spain and Portugal. We went pretty slow and stopped a few times, making the summit after 1:40, I think an all time record slow time (maybe we went slower once while postholing after a blizzard). Spent a long time on the summit as Allison and Sierra relaxed, while I rehearsed a new route through the rocks Dave showed me a few weeks ago that he claims saves 5-10 seconds........

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Wednesday, 10/30/08 Sanitas

3 miles
1,300 vertical

Due to other obligations, I went short today so I could go easy. Headed over to Sanitas with Sierra and as is most often times the case was just a "dog walk" which was fine as I went hard on Mon/Tues. I felt it a bit in my legs today and mentally was not all that into being out. Went up in 20:15 which included about 90+ seconds of waiting for Sierra to dick around and sniff things. Felt particularly left footed on the descent and never really felt like trying to get in a groove so it ended up taking 17 to get down.

In the afternoon, I took my dad to the base of the 1st Flatiron, as I was expecting some friends to come running by. As if on cue, a bunch of friends came past and scrambled up the 1st, then over to the 3rd. I just happened to have my camera and took a few photos and went back down to the jct. to watch them run past. They never showed, as they took a bushwhack route I did not know about. We zipped back to Chautauqua hoping to see them finish their run/scramble. In comes Stefan, Charlie, Buzz, Bill, Adam and Dan, but NO DAVE! WTF! Guess he sprained his ankle, real bummer.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Tuesday, 10/28/08 Green Mountain

6 miles
2,500 vert.

Started at Chautauqua, went up the 1st Flatiron access trail to the shortcut. Was feeling great today and just cruising really. Noticed that with very little effort, my time checks were just barely off PR. I just kept a moderately brisk pace, not digging whatsoever, listening to Competitors podcasts in my own little world. Bumped up the pace for the final 6 minutes or so really going balls out for the last 90 seconds trying to sneak in under 37, but missed it by a bit, arriving at the summit in 37:04 which was surprisingly 18 seconds shy of PR on this route. I went cautious on the down as I was wearing road shoes and the steep sections of off trail running were slick with pine needles. Opened it up a bit on the lower sections, hoping to sneak in under an hour for the RT, but I lost too much time pussyfooting in the pine needles.

37:04 up
23:42 dwon
60:46 RT

Monday, October 27, 2008

Monday, 10/27/08 Green Mountain

5 miles
2,400 vertical

Headed up Green this morning from the Gregory TH via Amphi/Saddle/Greenman. I was feeling pretty good today, but being late in the year, I was not really aiming to go hard. Just went out smooth and efficient, never really pushing and reached my time check at the Saddle/Greenman Jct. in 19 minutes, quite surprisingly about 30 seconds ahead of PR at that point. From here, I bumped it up a notch, but did not really seem to go too much faster. Toward the end, I was hoping to sneak in under 33, but finished at 33:19, a PR by exactly 30 seconds. Not sure what that was about, I have been taking it real easy lately, perhaps that was a factor? I was also wearing clunker shoes, pants, winter top layers, hat/gloves as it was 24 degrees when I awoke this morning, but I felt great afterwards having got a huge dose of runner's high.

Took it super easy on the descent.

Up: 33:19
Down: 25
RT: 58:19

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Thursday-Saturday October 23-25th 2008, Canyoneering in Utah

Little Wild Horse Canyon, Bell Canyon, Crack Canyon
San Rafael Swell near Goblin Valley
October 24-25th, 2008

(sorry for the jumble ahead, for some reason when I copy/paste it messes with the format :(

My dad is visiting for 10 days and since he had never been to Utah, I figured a trip to canyon country was in order. Looking for some easier canyons to hike that would still give him a good taste of slot canyoneering, I sent out an e-mail to a few friends where Jason Halladay immediately replied with the recommendations of LWH, Bell and Crack Canyons and provided the necessary web links (thanks Jason!).

Kevin Lund coincidentally had just recently taken a trip to LWH/Bell and he too provided some great beta and suggestions. We would also have Sierra along as well, so that immediately ruled out anything in National Parks and whatever we chose needed to be dad and doggie doable. These canyons sounded great, especially since I had never been to this specific area and the trip was set.We headed to Utah Thursday on a perfectly clear day and dad was quite impressed with the drive, as he had never been West of Frisco on I-70. The roads were a bit sloppy near the tunnel and on Vail Pass from the recent snowfall, but the snow really added to the beauty of the drive.Arriving at Goblin Valley shortly before 4pm, we quickly found an awesome campsite just outside the park on the way to the LWH/Bell TH and set up camp amongst the piles of solidified mud that resembled sandstone monoliths. After some exploring, dinner and a great campfire, we settled in for nearly 11 hours of sleep.Friday morning, we were in no huge hurry to get going as it was a bit cold and our nifty little campsite was slow to catch the morning rays. We moved on to the relatively warm and sunny trailhead to cook oatmeal and prepare for the hike, I was quite anxious to explore these canyons and show my dad what Utah was all about.The LWH/Bell Canyon loop is quite easy by canyoneering standards, is a great beginner route involving some very limited and minor scampering and is a very scenic and worthwhile representation of Utah’s slot canyons. We decided to do this loop counter clockwise as described on the website and as suggested by Kevin. It sounds like it is best to go this way if there are any standing pockets of water, but when dry, I am not sure it really matters one way or the other.LWH Canyon was enjoyably long and offered a variety of features ranging from “narrow” (slightly more then shoulder width) slot canyon, to wide open wash with towering, sheer sandstone walls. The only obstacles of note were two short up climbs toward the upper end of the canyon that I would have hardly noticed had it not been for having to lift Sierra through as they were a bit awkward and overhanging. No problem for any moderately fit/agile human, but a bit tricky for a dog.Route finding on this route is quite easy, as all of the key junctions are signed and it is quite well travelled as evidenced by the multitude of footprints and shoe scuffing throughout the canyon. The descent down Bell Canyon was a bit shorter than LWH and offered a few more obstacles. Again, they hardly would have been of note, but a few required giving Sierra some assistance and coaching. Several times, she pulled off some pretty amazing moves where dad and I were quite impressed with her agility and problem solving skills. We only saw a few people the entire day, but I was surprised to arrive back at the TH to find the lot full and cars parked up and down the road. As it turns out, there just happened to be an ultra race taking place on Saturday, so that may have had something to do with it. Learning of the race, I immediately drove to the park to inquire whether or not they were allowing late entries, but the race had filled, bummer.

After another great campfire and 10 hours of sleep, we got up with plenty of time to eat breakfast and watch/cheer on the race as it happened to go right by our camp. I did not recognize any of the runners, but it was really giving me the itch to race, or at least go for a killer run, but I did not want to ditch dad. I was amazed that although we watched the runners go by at what I estimated to only be the 4 mile mark, there was a 45 minute spread between the 1st runner and the last runner? (two races of varying distances both started at 8am).It was roughly a 15 mile drive from camp over to Crack Canyon on good roads and although the guidebook describes being able to drive a ways down the wash, it hardly seems worth it even with 4wd, so we just parked at the small, but signed TH next to the smooth 2wd road.This canyon seemed a bit different than LWH/Bell in character. Crack Canyon starts off very wide open with towering sandstone walls and slowly narrows. The sandstone has been carved out and pocked by wind and water over time creating what looks like vast cliff dwellings in miniature. Eventually, the canyon begins to “slot up” a bit and there are a few minor down climbs that can easily be bypassed. As the canyon continues, there is a short subway section and some not too narrow narrows along with more wide open canyon strolling. Soon we came to several obstacles that required some passing of packs, spotting and Sierra coaching. This was all fun, but dad was starting to feel it, yet Sierra was just hitting her stride. She was pulling all kinds of stemming moves and watching her problem solve was really amazing. Her leaping and ricocheting skills were a sight to behold.Unfortunately, we came to a 10+ foot sheer drop-off that had us a bit perplexed. It was smooth, slightly overhanging and although there were a few footholds, it would require some tricky moves to get up and down. I really wanted to go, but I knew this was beyond dad’s abilities and certainly more than I would allow Sierra to attempt, especially since I knew there would be no way to lift her over it on the return trip. We scouted briefly, but unfortunately found no reasonable alternative and had to turn around.This was just as well, as the physicality of the two days out was having a cumulative affect on my dad who struggles with ongoing ailments from a car accident a few years ago. I was impressed with how well he did both days all things considered and we had a great time and had perfect weather while we were there.


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Tuesday, 10/21/08 Green Mountain

6 miles
2,500 vertical

Today I just barely snuck in a run between squalls of various precipition. I parked at Chautauqua and warmed up across the park to the Gregory TH. The small window of opportunity had me motivated to run fast, but my legs just were not there. Got to Gregory in 4:43, then headed up the Amphi/Saddle/Greenman route, sticking to the main trail, no shortcuts or NE ridge. Picked up my pace a bit over the last half as I was feeling a bit better and was motivated by the deteriorating skies. I was in shorts/tee and was fine until the final few hundred vert. where it started to get windy, the temp dropped dramatically and it began to squall some good snow.

Even further motivated by the snow, I cranked the downhill the best I could (without corrected vision as I was too lazy to put in contacts). I see OK, but with the dim light it was tought to focus too far ahead. The damp ground made footing nice and tacky, but caution was needed on certain rocks and I made good time on the down. Cautious but quick, I negotiated the technical sections of the shortcut down to the back of the 1st, then down the access trail (it is pretty much all a technical section) and when I hit the smoother section, I gave it all I had, knowing I was putting in a good descent (for me). Got to Chautauqua 22:30 after leaving the summit in a full on sprint, people on the trail were practically jumping out of my way as I huffed on through.

Up in 39:18
Down in 22:30
RT 61:48

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Sunday, 10/19/08 S. Boulder Peak, Bear Peak (Bill Loop)

10 miles
3,500 vertical

Got out with Dave (Mackey) this morning for a great run over S. Boulder and Bear starting at the S. Mesa TH. It was a perfect day, warm, sunny, calm and the foliage is in full swing. Neither of us were really in the mood to go hard, so we just went at a casual and conversational pace, talking about all kinds of topics and having many good laughs. We got to the base of Shadow in 22, then 23 more to the saddle and we topped out in 52ish. Dave showed me a new route through the summit rocks that is more direct and might save 5-10 seconds next run.

We took it easy over to Bear, rolled over the top with hardly a pause, then went surprisingly casual down Fern (I was fearing he was going to dust me here). Both Dave and I ran into seperate friends along the way and stopped briefly to exchange pleasantries. We headed back S, on the Mesa trail, then down the Bluewhatever trail back to S. Mesa TH after 1:51 total.

Saturday, 10/18/08 Bear Peak in 4.5 hours

Bear Peak via the Keel and the South Wing
~7 miles
~3,300 vertical
Jeff Valliere and John Prater

Whenever I get off the beaten track (and even sometimes when I am on the beaten track) in Boulder OSMP, I often times marvel at how much adventure there is to be had in my own back yard. This most recent outing with John far exceeded my expectations.

John proposed scrambling some rock on the East side of Bear Peak, which on a day as perfect as this fine October 18th, I could not think anything I would rather do, so we started our adventure from the Cragmoor TH around 1:45pm. There are multiple ways to approach these rocks (all involving some bushwhacking and good route finding), but we decided to take the Shanahan Trail to the Mesa Trail, then South, crossed a minor drainage, up the log steps then departed the trail after we rounded the corner in the middle of a large meadow and made a beeline for the Keel. Once in the trees, it was tricky to find the actual base of the Keel as visibility is obscured and there is a LOT of rock that all looks appealing to climb once you get up in there, but John was well equipped with good beta and got us there spot on.

I put my climbing shoes on at the base and John just climbed in his running shoes and had no trouble. The bottom of the rock is a bit mossy and grungy, but all around not too bad. I would say the climbing is mostly high class 3, to low class 4 in spots for the majority of the way. There is some exposure in places, but there are multiple points to bail onto easy ground to the North (not that you really feel the need, but it is usually somewhat comforting to me to know the option is there).

The final 30-40 feet of the Keel is rated a bit harder (low 5th class we guessed, or very hard 4th). John easily scampered up and I attempted to follow, but the moves were a bit awkward and it was somewhat exposed, so he tossed me a rope and all of a sudden it became infinitely easier (amazing how much of climbing is mental). From this summit, the most logical way down was to down climb our ascent route. We observed the tree Roach describes in the Flatirons Classics book, but it seems to have deteriorated over the years as the branches on the lower half are sparse, thin and dead. The down climb was a little tricky, but I was glad to have John on the other end of the rope protecting my descent. Once I was down and in a safe position, he then put the rope around a flake on top where I then belayed his down climb and he of course made it look quite easy.

From the base of Keel’s summit block, it is an easy class 2+ scamper to the South to re-connect with solid ground. From here, we contoured South along the base of the North Wing, over a small indistinct ridge, then down toward the base of the North end of the larger South Wing. We put our climbing shoes back on and started up the rock that was covered with lichen, moss and algea. Immediately, it was obvious that this was going to be a test for me, as the climbing was certainly harder than the Keel and quickly became much more exposed as we gained elevation.
The Wings start higher than the summits of most Flatirons and by the top they are certainly by far the highest technical rocks around. Being so high on this rock is an amazing position to be in, especially free soloing. I did my best to just make very deliberate and cautious movements and tried my best to not look down between my feet, as seeing 1,000 feet of air makes me a bit queasy. John of course thought nothing of it and was talking my ear off the whole time, while I occasionally muttered out a requisite response.

I just followed John as he navigated the easiest lines and I took my sweet time. For the most part, holds were plentiful and the rock was good quality, but there were a few spots that certainly made me pause and think for a bit as the moves were a bit thin, or spread out, or the rock was a bit polished, or all of the above. Up, up and up we went, the rock seemingly continuing to infinity. There were a few tricky bulges where things steepened a bit and a few spots that required some reachy, stretchy lay back flake/crack grabs. 5 feet off the ground I would not have thought twice, but the mental hurdle to do that stuff as high up as a high rise building was a real psychological hurdle for me.

Eventually we topped out on the rock which was an easy walk off, maybe 100 vertical feet below the S. Ridge of Bear Peak, where we found awesomly unique views to the West of S. Boulder and the sun beginning to set over the divide. Although I had a very fun time on the climb, I was really excited to set foot on level ground. At about this time, a Fox News heli flew over to cover the Buffs game and circled around getting some footage of us. Not sure if it made the broadcast or not??

We continued on the ridge toward Bear, doing our best to stay on top. Most of it is class 2+ or 3, but some of the towers are 4th or 5th class, yet can be bypassed. We finally made the summit of Bear a few minutes after 6pm to watch the setting sun on this perfectly warm and calm fall evening. Bear had a whole new feel to it considering we travelled over roughly 2,000 feet of rock to get there (the Keel is roughly 1,000 feet, as was the S. Wing). It felt so good to put my running shoes back on and then be able to cruise the trail back to the car.

Technically, this was not that hard of a climb. John was speculating that the S. Wing was on average a bit harder than the 3rd Flatiron (aside from the summit pitch of the 3rd being a bit harder), maybe 5.0-5.2 sustained. He also thought it to be longer than the standard route on the 3rd , we were guessing that it was around 1,000-1,100 vertical feet of continuous climbing, but that is of course just a guess. It was certainly the most challenging and committing climb that I have undertaken. When I soloed the 2nd Flatiron last week, just about the time I was sick of the exposure, the route jogged right, got easier and the exposure relented. This climb however, just went up and up on steep rock and got really high really quick. Free soloing this stuff is very easy for climbers of John’s caliber, but it was a real mental challenge for me, it certainly is not for everyone, and I am not sure it is even for me.


Friday, 10/17/08 Green Mountain

8 miles
2,700 vertical

Went up Green, past the 1st. Up in 43. Came down in 28ish. Went fairly casual as I was still feeling my run from Wednesday. I then met George and ran easy with him for a bit as he was warming up for a harder effort. I started his 10 minute hard interval with him, but only lasted a few minutes as I was not feeling up to the challenge and wanted to stick to my "easy day".

Friday, October 17, 2008

Thursday, 10/16/08 Pt. 12,644 "Little Buff"

Pt. 12,644 (aka “Little Buff”)
~10 miles
~3,400 vertical
Jeff Valliere, Gerry and Jennifer Roach, Sierra and Charlie

I sent out a few e-mails to see who might be able to get up to the high country on Thursday and got a quick response from Gerry inviting me to join he and Jennifer on a hike up “Little Buff” to close out her 10 mile/Mosquito 12ers. This sounded great to me and plans were set. We had all climbed the Buffalo Peaks previously, but somehow we had all managed to overlook Little Buff.

We started from the “trailhead” off of 431 (mile 8.5) and followed one of the many old logging roads generally South and slightly West aiming for the general vicinity of the saddle between East Buffalo and Little Buff. Since it is hunting season, the three of us, plus the dogs, were adorned in an assortment of Elmer Fudd orange hunting caps, vests and flagging ribbon. We really looked like a rag tag group.

Of course we made one of the classic climbing “mistakes” that Gerry and I were recently discussing, cutting up too soon and were faced with either an unpleasant side hilling adventure across talus and unconsolidated snow or continue on our path up the fall line. Fortunately (and as we fully expected), we had not cut up toooo soon and we found an easy and more efficient route to the anticlimactic summit of Little Buff.

We took a long break on top as the weather was quite nice aside from a bit of wind, but was otherwise pleasant. For kicks, we descended to the Little Buff, East Buff saddle and explored the Lynch Creek drainage a bit, then did some extra credit bushwhacking/log road following making a perfect figure 8 and adding considerably to our “Roach Points” for the day.

All in all a great trip to the Buffalo Peaks area with great company, topped off by a stop at Coney Island for some well earned junk food.


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Wednesday, 10/15/08 Walker Lollipop from Eldo

Walker Ranch Lollipop from Eldorado Canyon
~14 miles (plus an extra 2 miles RT for the approach)
~3,800 vertical

I’ve been wanting to run this route hard for a long time, after running it easy and hiking it several times. George's recent post renewed my interest in the area and I was eagerly planning it in my mind for the past few days. I parked where the Eldo road turns to dirt and ran in the back way via the Fowler Trail and got to the visitors center in 12 minutes going very easy. Used the bathroom and mentally prepared myself for the pain and suffering to come as I was not really sure how I would feel.

I paced myself pretty reasonably up the trail, reaching the park boundary in a little over 7 minutes and then kept up my effort through the technical sections and up and down the rollers. I was hoping to get to the Walker Loop in less than 30 to help build a little bit of a cushion (as I was hoping to do the entire run in 2 hours), but got there in 30:18, not too bad I guess, but I had my work cut out. Just to change things up, I decided to run the loop clockwise and made quick work of the steep “hike a bike” section, cresting the far ridge after 3 minutes on the loop. From here, I just tried my best to maintain a steady tempo on the gradual to rolling climb. I passed a mountain biker as I neared the far parking lot and was sure I would get re-passed by him on the downhill, but I was surprised to hold him off (or he took a break or got on the road).

I worked hard to maintain good turnover, which is key on this route, but I was quickly realizing that I was a bit na├»ve to think I would be able to run this whole thing in 2 hours, given the fact that I have not done any “fast” running with quick turnover in months, and even that was very minimal. It took me exactly 1:04 to run the loop, then 10 minutes to crest the ridge on the climb out of the canyon. I was really starting to hurt and I knew I would not make 2:00, but was willing to accept slightly over, no worse than 2:05 I was hoping. I kept repeating in my mind a statement George posted not too long ago: "This is a test of endurance, so endure dammit" or something to that effect.

I really pushed for all I was worth through the remaining rollers and technical sections and finished at 2:05:18.

I was a bit trashed afterwards, so I walked most of the way back to the car and just enjoyed the canyon and watching the climbers on the far wall. My legs are already a bit stiff, I think I might feel this one for a few days.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Tuesday, 10/14/08 Shanahan Loop/Slab Recon

7 miles
2,100 vertical

Got out for 2 consecutive runs today (1 run with a 10 minute break?). Started from Shanahan at 4:30ish for Bear. Part way up, I changed my mind and decided to meet Dave, Stefan and Charlie for a run up to the Slab to recon for tomorrow's scramble. I ran something like 3 miles, mostly on trail with some off trail exploring. Met them a bit before 5 and we went easy up to the slab. They engaged the rock, while I went the more cautious and circuitous route to meet them at the short downclimb. The route through the woods was wet with patchy snow and extremely slippery. We all took it easy coming down, it was cloudy, damp and a bit chilly. Hopefully things warm up a bit and dry out for tomorrow.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Monday, 10/13/08 Bear Peak

6 miles
2,800 vertical
49 up
31 down

Got out for an easy but great run with Sierra this morning up Bear. It had snowed in Boulder and on the peaks and was amazingly beautiful. The snow increased as I went up, but was never more than an inch or two deep. It was surprisingly grippy too, like blown styrofoam. The summit boulders were treacherous though, took 6 minutes RT from the sign to the summit and back as I was being quite careful not to loose my footing. The descent was fun through the snow and Sierra bounded all over with a huge doggy grin, voicing her approval of these early signs of winter. The trees were encrusted with a shiny coat of crystaline ice, glimmering in the morning sun and the peaking aspen were especially brilliant with the added coat of ice. Great day to be out in the hills.

Saturday, 10/11/08 Flagstaff

4 miles
1,400 vertical

Allison, Sierra and I got out in the rain for a nice run. I was not eager to go out in crappy conditions, but once I did, I had a great time and was happy that I did. Just like at Pikes, I fumbled with my shell.... too hot, too cold, on with the hood, off with the hood, adjust pit zips etc.... Allison kept getting ahead and I would have to concentrate to keep up. It's a miracle I broke 3 hours at Pikes considering my mental state and lack of focus when it is that crappy out.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Thursday, 10/9/08 Free Solo of Second Flatiron and Green Mountain

Second Flatiron
Freeway II, F3 *Classic*

For a long time I have been wanting to climb this route. The description in Roach’s Flatiron Classics book makes it sound so easy, but I was still a little apprehensive. Several days per week I have been running past it, carefully examining what I could see from the base and the walk off. Recently, I have been watching friends scamper up the Flatirons at a near run, competing with themselves for personal bests and course bests, making it look sooo easy.

I am not fooled though, these guys are some of the best climbers/all around uber fit athletes around and are infinitely more skilled and experienced than I. Even though this stuff is a cakewalk for them, it is tough and somewhat scary for me. The consequences of a fall would most certainly be fatal, or at least life altering.

This morning, at the last minute, I decided that today was the day I was ready to tackle the 2nd Flatiron via the 800 foot long Freeway route. I have climbed the 1st and 3rd before roped to competent climbing partners, but today I was all on my own.Allison and Sierra accompanied me to the base of the climb under cloudy skies and surprisingly cold temps. I changed into my climbing shoes at the base and immidiately began scampering up. I felt a little awkward at first and stayed left where the climbing seemed to be a bit easier.

My awkwardness was compounded by the fact that Allison was watching, along with a group of tourists, I felt a little silly. About 100 feet off the deck, the terrain started tempting me right and the air under my feet seemed to increase dramatically. Tied into a rope, I would not have thought twice, but I think I got myself into some harder terrain than necessary. Good hand holds and foot holds were minimal and somewhat spaced out, requiring some reachy moves and many friction holds where I had to fully trust my sticky rubber climbing shoes.

Several times my knees began to shake and I was questioning my sanity, it sure looks easier from the ground.Soon enough though, I reached easier and less exposed terrain with better hand holds as the route made a right turn along the ridge. I scampered up, tempted to go fast, but always playing it safe and making sure I had 3 points of contact and trusted my holds. Sooner than expected, I heard a whistle, and looked up to see Allison at the walk off point at the top of my route, just as I was approaching the jump across gap. I stood and contemplated it for a moment. It is not too exposed, but it looks like it would be a hard landing, so I opted to down climb and go around.

The remainder of the route got a bit steeper, but hand holds were plentiful and bomber, so it was a great way to finish. The sun came out on the second half and warmed things nicely, including the rubber on my climbing shoes. Sure would have been nice to have that extra grip in the beginning….At the end of the route, I received a hearty congrats from Allison and Sierra, changed into my running shoes and we continued on to the summit of Green Mountain.

It ended up taking me 40 minutes for the entire climb of Freeway, extremely pokey when compared to my climbing pals that do it in 10 minutes or less, but I just took it one move at a time and played it as safe as possible and had a great time. As far as rock climbs go, this is amongst the easiest, but it was certainly one of the hardest things I have accomplished without a rope and completely on my own. I can’t wait to do it again!

Wednesday, 10/08/08 Green Mountain

8.5 miles
3,460 vertical

Before spectating Bill's scrambling "event" from the base of the 1st Flatiron, I took a quick trip up Green via the 1st access trail. I felt great, but was building a LOT of mucus in my throat and lungs for some reason. Not sure if it was the air quality or what, but it was noticably dry and I was having a heck of a time breathing and I was very dehydrated, constantly licking my lips and such. Despite this, I still managed a 38:20 ascent and a 25 minute descent (6:13 to Bluebell Tr, 7:31 to 2nd Flatiron turn, 10:38 to base of 1st Flatiron, 20:45 topping out behind the 1st). I was going fairly hard, but never really digging too deep.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Sunday, 10/05/08 Green Mountain

7 miles
3,000 vertical

Had a nice run up Green today, past the First Flatiron to the summit (40 minutes), then cruised back down (those new shoes hook up great on the loose stuff). I have never seen anyone on this "route" beyond the back of the 1st and today saw 2 people, imagine that! I then ran the trail past the 2nd, then up the 3rd Flatiron approach trail. I did some minor scrambling up/down/around at the base and am really itching to climb the 3rd, maybe without ropes?.....

Saturday, 10/04/08 Pt. 9,300 Lost Creek Wilderness

Pt. 9,300 in Lost Creek Wilderness
~10.5 miles
~2,600 vertical
From Goose Creek TH
Jeff Valliere, John Prater, Dwight Sunwall, Sarah Thompson, Dominic Meiser (for the climb)
and Allison Valliere, Dave Hale, Emily Hale, Sierra, Shep and Kiefer (for the hike).

Two years ago, John, Dave, Allison and I visited the Goose Creek area of Lost Creek Wilderness with John and I climbing unnamed Pt. 9,242, a technical rock climb overlooking the actual Lost Creek. We were hoping to also climb Pt. 9,300 that day, another rock tower to the North, but the ascent of this rock tower took longer than we had anticipated and we simply ran out of time..... fast forward two years.

During the week John and I had gone back and forth on a bunch of different ideas for the weekend, one of them being to go back for 9,300. John ran the idea by Dwight and before we knew it, we had a great group of 5 committed for the climb.We started from the Goose Creek TH at 7:37am, intending to meet Dwight, Sarah and Dominic at the trail junction for the shafthouse at 8:30am, as they had camped out the night before. As the hike progressed, we realized that we were not going to meet them on time, so I ran ahead to let them know we were running a few minutes late.

We continued along the trail for another 1/3 mile or so, then began the bushwhack toward Pt. 9,300. This involved some areas of dense bushes, circuitous loops around giants rock gardens and a short ford across Lost Creek. We made our way roughly 2/3 of the way up the S. facing gulley which involved some steep walking, some class 3 moves over/around boulders. We then went climbers right to a spacious bench on the ridge at the base of technical portion of the climb.We took a short break, geared up and got on with the remainder of the ascent. Dominic led, placing a few cams along the way and had just enough rope to get to the top. Aside from a low fifth class move near the beginning, the climb consisted of nice class 3 and class 4 grippy slabs. There was a decent amount of exposure though along the way and since we carried the gear all that distance, it was great practice.

We found no cairn or register on the summit, so Dwight placed a register, only none of us had a pen on the summit to sign in with. We rapped down to the packs, signed in and Dwight zipped back up to put the register back on the summit. On the descent of the gulley, we met up with Dave, then made the short descent back to the field near the beaver pond where Allison, Emily and the dogs were napping. We took a long break, looking back up toward the giant east face of the tower.

There were great patches of aspen, and we took our time on the hike out enjoying this great area. It was great to hike with everyone as always and great to meet Sarah and Dominic. Can’t wait to get out there again soon!

As an aside.... this was little Kiefers first backcountry outing. He is an AWESOME little pup and did absolutely great on a hike this long. He learned how to cross a log bridge across a creek, bushwhack and did some very minor scrambling. It is amazing how obedient and well behaved he is at such a young age and did a great job keeping up with and learning from the older dogs.


Friday, October 3, 2008

Friday, 10/03/08 Bear and S. Boulder

8 miles
3,300 vertical

Allison, Sierra and I got out for a great fall hike today up Bear and S. Boulder from the Cragmoor TH, going up Shanahan/Fern. Went up in 1:02 going pretty easy (moderately hard for Allison and Sierra, although we stopped a few times to let Sierra drink). It was a great day, warm but not too warm, just right really and we really enjoyed the day and each other's company. On the summit of S. Boulder, I was commenting to Allison that I have not tested any PI trail shoes in over a YEAR, the last pair being those WRX soft shells. Great shoes, but not suited to everyday running IMHO, kind of a niche shoe.

I arrive home and find an e-mail from Mike at PI, asking me to come in and grab a pair of their new (for 2010 or 11?) Syncro Infinity trail running shoes. I got a sneak preview a few weeks ago and was excited, now I finally have a pair and am looking forward to putting them through the ringer (and having a bit of traction for my daily steep uphill/downhill runs). I have not been this excited about a PI shoe since the Peak XC came out last year.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Thursday, 10/02/08 Green Mountain

6 miles
2,500 vertical

Sierra and I got out for a nice walk today up Green via the 1st shortcut. It was cloudy and the temperature got really cold near the summit. The distant rumble of thunder had me debating turning around, but I pressed on to the top and turned tail quickly, as it was coming in quick from the West and North. Soon the wind really picked up dramatically and it began to rain and hail. I wanted to move quick, but with slick road shoes, wet rocks/ground and waiting for the dog, it was not too fast. Dressed in just shorts and a tee, I was freezing on the upper half, and although wet, was comfortable on the lower half (only if I kept moving).

Up in 57
RT in 1:31

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Wednesday, 10/01/08 Green Mountain

~9.5 miles
~4,000 vertical

Got out for a run up my now usual route up Green. I was running tight on time, but did not feel like pushing. I just figured I would go up until my watch said 4:15pm, as I was to meet Dave at 4:45 at Chautauqua to run up to the 3rd to watch a few friends do some scrambling. I got to the summit at 4:18 and did an immidiate U turn (42:26 up), and then backtracked my ascent route and went a decent pace on the descent (as well as possible on loose dirt, rock and pine cones with slick shoes) and was back down in 23:?? for a 66 minute RT. I had just enough time to grab my camera, eat a Powerbar and glug half a liter of water before I joined up with Dave to run up to the 3rd. We went at a pretty easy conversational pace, I think it took us 18 or 19 minutes. Dave scrambled up, while I waited at the base to take pictures. I think there were 8 scramblers tonight, all moving fast and I got some cool photos and video. Great evening in Boulder.

Photos and Video:

Olympic Highlight

I really got a kick out of this race and especially the post race interviews.

I know nothing about these guys, nor anything about track, but Jeremy Wariner really came across as big time cocky and it was fun to see him get trounced by LaShawn Merritt. Love the comment 2 minutes into the video by LaShawn, good stuff! The dude diving for Bronze was great too.