Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Wednesday, 12/31/08 S. Boulder, Bear, Green, Flagstaff, Sanitas

~16 miles
~6,250 vert

Homie, Sierra and I completed the skyline traverse, South to North from the South Mesa TH, over S. Boulder, Bear, Green, Flag and Sanitas. Went pretty casual for the most part, 3:50 to the summit of Sanitas, 4:19 total. Great day, sunny and warm, great way to wrap up the year with a great friend.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Tuesday, 12/30/08 Sanitas

3 miles
1,300 vertical

I was hoping to get out this morning for a lap on Sanitas, but 100mph winds thwarted those plans. The winds finally calmed in the afternoon and the warm sun and calm air proved irresistable. I started sometime around 3:30pm and still had plenty of sun once I got up on the ridge for both the ascent and descent. I felt surprisingly good after my 3 day "off season" and my legs felt strong and springy. The trail on the S. Ridge is completely melted out and it was great to not be wearing scratchy/heavy studded shoes. I went moderate for the first 1/3, then upped it to "hard moderate"/"lower end of hard" for the upper 2/3 and made the summit in 18:31. I certainly felt as though I had more to give which was encouraging, just no sense going too fast right now. I went quick on the descent, but certainly did not feel as though I was pushing and was surprised to be down in 12 minutes for a 30:31 RT.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Friday, 12/26/08 Bear/S. Boulder

7 miles
3,500 vertical

Conditions were bare ground or ice (mostly ice) up to the saddle, then frozen granular to the top of Bear. I was in a bit of a hurry due to time constraints and wanted to go quick, but after 4 or 5 strides, I knew I would not be going quick today. Dull studs on ice further complicated matters and I made it to the summit post in 50 and a half, then 51 and change to the true summit. It was annoyingly windy and I headed over to S. Boulder, getting there in 1:04ish, back to Bear in 1:14, then took me 30 minutes from the post to the car going quite cautious, with many slips and near falls. Ughh. We need more snow or a week of 80 degree weather. 1:45 RT.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Day, 12/25/08 Green Mountain

5 miles
2,400 vertical

Amphi, Saddle, Greenman
Great morning outing with Allison and Sierra.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Wednesday, 12/24/08 Bear/S. Boulder

7 miles
3,500 vertical

Homie joined Allison and I for a trip up Bear and S. Boulder from Cragmoor. Was a great day, but of course a bit cool and breezy on the upper ridge. Made the true summit in 58:??, traipsed over to S. Bo, then back. Great way to work up an appetite for a Christmas eve dinner. 2:3? RT. Sierra was sporting her finest Christmas outfit, a red bow, a tree ornament and her usual bell.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Tuesday, 12/23/08 Bear/S. Boulder

7 miles
3,500 vert.

Conditions were prime this morning for a quick trip and my legs felt better than they have in a while. I went reasonably hard and made it to the true summit of Bear in 45:31, carefully picked my way down the back side and headed for S. Boulder, arriving there at 56:37, turned tail and was back on the true summit of Bear at 1:06:?? I changed into a dry hat and was on my way. Made the saddle at 1:15 and carefully pushed the down, hoping to go under 1:30, but fell short at 1:31:37. I was reasonably happy given the conditions and my lack of speed right now, but was hoping for 5+ minutes faster. Oh well, it is the "off" season.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Sunday, 12/21/08 Bear/S. Boulder

7 miles
3,500 vertical

It was a touch cold today and I was tempted to stay home. Feeling a bit of guilt after indulging ourselves at Gateaux Bakery in Denver (11th and Speer, I HIGHLY recommend it), I felt the need to burn a few calories more than anything. We started from the Cragmoor TH, Allison and Sierra were going a good pace and the trail conditions are perfect right now, well packed snow and very little ice. Minutes into Fern Canyon, we bumped into Kevin, Nico and their friend, so we stopped and chatted with them for a bit. I was fearing wind on the upper ridge, but fortunately it never materialized and the trail conditions to the summit remained perfect. I think we made the summit in 1:05 including stops. We continued to S. Boulder without pause and soon bumped into Dave and Travis, so we spent some time chatting with them. It was surprisingly pleasant on S. Boulder with a warming sun and calm air, so we relaxed for a bit. As soon as we started down, it seemed really cold again, but fortunately we were well prepared. Spent more time on Bear, then chatted with several people we crossed paths with, I think everybody is getting into the holiday spirit. Back at the car after 2:54.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Saturday, 12/20/08 Flagstaff

4 miles
1,700 vertical

Went up Flag with Allison and Sierra and was cold, tired and not that into it. Allison was going pretty fast and I kept having to surge to catch up, then fall behind. We tried to descend Gregory, but there was police tape and wildlife closure signs, which required some extra to get back to the car.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Friday, 12/19/08 4 laps on Sanitas

10 miles
4,200 vertical

Twas a warm and sunny Friday, trail conditions were slushy in spots, dry in others, yet ice and snow packed also, a bit of everything. Made a new pair of screw shoes this morning with only 11 strategically placed studs per shoe to keep me on track, yet not be scraping on the rock as much as with my usual screw shoes that have 23+ screws per shoe. Went super easy, 23:05 up the first ascent, down the East side to the sign, but did not bother following the canyon down to Hawthorne as it is very mucked up now, the type of mud that piles up inches thick on the bottom of your shoes. I backtracked to the car, had a snack and drink, then did it all over again, 22:06 up, then 1:05 for the RT (4 minutes faster than the pokey first lap).

Baaaaad Squirrels!!!

Sierra loves to look out the back door and keep tabs on the deck and back yard. Occasionally she just goes ape sh!t and nearly goes through the glass as a particular squirrel will sit on the deck or railing and just flick it's tail, seemingly just to taunt the dog.

Here is a somewhat mellow example of this comical interaction.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Thursday, 12/18/08 Green, Flag and 2 laps on Sanitas

14 miles
5,300 vertical

Met George for a great run up Green from Chautauqua and went up in 51 yapping the whole way. It was great to have company and go a mellow pace. On the way down we bumped into Brandon, his wife Kim and a friend of theirs. Nice to finally meet Brandon, as we have "known" each other through the Blog world for some time. We added Flag on the way down for kicks. 1:40ish RT not stopping the timer at all.

I then drove over to Sanitas for 2 laps. It got colder as the day went on and I was absolutely freezing, especially since I was damp from the first run. 1:26 for this segment.

Wednesday, 12/17/08 Sanitas X 2

6 miles
2,500 vertical

See yesterday. Although today I had Allison and Sierra for company and it was nice and warm.

1:35 total

Tuesday, 12/16/08 Sanitas X 2

6 miles
2,500 vertical

Ho hum, another trip up the S. Ridge, down the East side and then back the way I came. Cold to start, but warmed up nicely.

1:20 total

Monday, December 15, 2008

Monday, 12/15/08 Sanitas X 2

6 miles
2,600 vertical

Headed out the door at 8am and the thermometer read -13 (after dipping to -18, a new record for this date). I totally spaced it when I got up and did not notice the negative sign in front of the number and thought it was warmer than it was, but after walking the dog, I knew something was not right since my nose was about to fall off. Despite having studded snow tires and AWD, S. Boulder road was a parking lot, so I gave up and went home. I sat it out for an hour hoping all the 9-5ers had made it in to work and gave it another go, but it still took me an extra 20 minutes to get to the TH.

The trail had seen a good bit of traffic and was nicely packed if a bit icy, but perfect for a sharp pair of studded shoes. I went quickish, but did not want to suck in too much cold air or break a sweat so I never really pushed too hard. There was a major inversion today and the upper half of the mountain was actually quite warm (relatively). On the second lap I was even carrying my mittens, as my hands were just too warm.

Lap 1:

Up in 23:37
RT in 37:47

Lap 2:

Up in 23:32
RT in 37:37

Saturday, 12/13/08 Bear/S. Boulder/Bear

9.5 miles
3,600 vertical

Allison and Sierra joined me for a stroll from the S. Mesa TH. Went pretty easy for most of the way, until I got clearance to cruise ahead once we were half way up. Allison was just going to do S. Boulder, but at the last minute decided to add Bear, so I ended up chasing her for another lap on Bear. Great day to be out. 2:38 RT.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Friday, 12/12/08 Sanitas X 3

9 miles
3,900 vertical

Hiked/ran the first lap with Allison and Sierra, 26 up/20 down as we met a friend who we walked with. I did the final 2 laps on my own, listening to great archives of the Competitors on my Mp3 player, very good stuff for multiple laps on Sanitas. Conditions were mostly dry and it was sunny and reasonable. I really wanted to do another lap or two, but had to get home.

Lap 1:
26 up
20 down

Lap 2:
19 up
14 down

Lap 3:
22 up
14 down

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Thursday, 12/11/08 Bear/S. Boulder

7 miles
3,500 vertical

Allison and Sierra joined me for my almost daily trip. The trail up Fern is well packed all the way to the summit now. Had a near fatal mishap with falling ice (missed us by inches) that got our adreneline up. Very windy above the saddle, pretty cold too, I guess it really is December. The trip to S. Boulder was the usual slog, all evidence of my trip yesterday was mostly wiped out. The trip down was a blast on the packed snow.

1:10 up Bear
1:33 S. Bo
2:58 Total

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Wednesday, 12/10/08 Bear, S. Boulder, Sanitas

10 miles
4,800 vertical

The trip up to Bear saddle was an easy cruise on packed trail. Above that, it was a complete wallow fest even though the trail had seen a few recent visitors as the wind was creating some impressive drifts. The trip to S. Boulder was tricky and laborious taking 20 minutes to get there and a little less to get back. I had originally planned on doing this twice, but the snow conditions above the saddle eliminated that possibility, so I moved on to the warmer and sunnier climate of Sanitas for one lap.


Bear: 1:05
S. Boulder 1:25
Finish 2:20


23up/17 down

Tuesday, 12/09/08 Sanitas X 2

6 miles
2,600 vertical

Started at 7am, lots of slipping and sliding in the fresh snow despite a set or two of footprints to chase. Even though I put in an effort on the high side of moderate both times, I was only able to muster a 26 minute ascent each time. The first descent was 23 minutes and then I cut 5 minutes off the next time down. Fun day.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Monday, 12/08/08 Sanitas

3 miles
1,300 vertical

Went easy with Sierra.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Sunday, 12/07/08 Grays and Torreys

Grays and Torreys
15 miles
5,060 vertical
Jeff Valliere, Ken Nolan, Steve Hoffmeyer, Dwight Sunwall

Ken sent out in invite earlier in the week for a Sunday climb of Grays and Torreys and since I had not yet climbed either peak in the month December, I eagerly agreed to join. Even though Steve and I had just climbed Grays and Torreys a few weeks prior, I was looking forward to getting up high again and testing some new gear (La Sportiva Ultranord GTX trail running shoes, Tubbs racing snowshoes), along with spending some time in the hills with good friends, getting some exercise and enjoying some fresh air.

We met at the Bakerville winter TH at 7am and were hiking up the road by 7:15am. Even though it looked brutal up high, the wind was mostly non-existent and the temperature was reasonably mild. Around the first corner, we find a Tacoma stuck, sideways across the road with 2 guys working their tails off to shovel out, good luck with that!

The trip up the road to the summer TH on packed snow seemed to go quickly as we conversed about many things related to mountains and 14erworld of course. From the summer TH to the Kelso turnoff, snowshoes were helpful, but not entirely necessary as the snow was sporadic and not very deep. We stopped at the Kelso turnoff to stash snowshoes and add layers, as the wind seemed as though it would soon be a factor. Due to time constraints, reluctantly I had to bid my adieu and move ahead. I started off a bit fast, but of course the wind was not what I had prepared for and I was getting warm. I decided to back off the pace a bit as to not get too sweaty, but soon after, the trail turned from nice hard packed snow and bare ground to some knee deep postholing/sidehilling which certainly slowed things down and heated things up for a bit.

Around 13,000 feet, the wind picked up a bit and the trail became consistently hard packed as I followed a family of goats. I actually somewhat welcomed the wind as I was a bit overdressed as calling the weather from minute to minute was nearly impossible. I was thankful to have my Kahtoola running crampons which made the going much smoother and almost seemed like cheating. I reached the summit just as the sun made a very brief appearance as the upper 500-800 feet of the peaks were mostly shrouded in cloud. I spent 8 minutes here eating and making some clothing adjustments, then quickly set off for Torreys.

The trip down to the saddle on well consolidated snow was surprisingly quick and easy, but the trip across the saddle and up Torreys seemed to take forever, as the snow was not as neatly packed, not to mention the colder and now pesky headwind/crosswind. I arrived on Torreys summit and did an immediate u-turn. I went somewhat slow and cautious back to the saddle, then worked my way a little beyond the summer cutoff as the snow looked a little better a bit higher. This is where I was very thankful to have some sort foot traction, as the slope seemed steeper than I recall without a packed trail and the snow conditions were variable. Adding to the excitement, the wind was blowing hard down the hill, forcing me to think about each and every step, as the consequences of a fall would be bad news. I felt reasonably safe though as long as I went slow and always had 2 poles planted along with at least one foot on the ground at all times. Without crampons on my feet, I would certainly have re-ascended Grays to avoid this section.

After the “crux”, the going was generally smooth and fast. Once back at the snowshoes, I stowed my crampons and put on snowshoes for faster travel back to the summer TH which was definitely more efficient. The trip back to the car was uneventful and I was surprised to pass crowds of people who had only gone to or near the summer TH, but we saw nobody above all day. I was pleased to avoid ski traffic and made it home at the hour I was shooting for.


7:15am start Bakerville
~10:30am Kelso Turnoff
11:37 arrive Grays Summit (8 minute break)
12:15pm arrive Torreys Summit
1:45pm arrive Summer TH (5 minute break)
2:25pm Finish Bakerville

7hrs 10 minutes total.

Saturday, 12/06/08 Sourdough Trail

7 miles
800 vertical

Got out for a snowshoe "run" today with Kevin, Allison and Sierra on the Sourdough Trail. This was more like a walk, avoiding patches of bare ground, generally flat with some rollers. It was windy, but fortunately not too cold. Either way, I was not at all inspired.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Friday, 12/05/08 Green Mountain

5.5 miles
2,400 vertical
Allison, Sierra and I

Cold, surprisingly high wind, deep snow drifts, stumbling, falling, trudging, postholing, slipping, wallowing.... the occasional swearing. All fun though.

1:07 up Gregory/Ranger
1:02 down Greenman/Saddle/Amphi

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Thursday, 12/04/08 Bear Peak/S. Boulder Peak

7 miles
3,500 vertical

The Pikes Peak Ascent in August prepared me for this day and winter in general....

For some reason, I thought this would be fun in the snow. Fun?.... maybe, but difficult, slow and tedious would be better descriptions. The snow that fell/is falling during this storm is super light and fluffy and it was surprisingly deep at the Cragmoor TH and only got deeper as I went higher, ankle to shin deep most of the way.

I was only able to run the smoother section of Shanahan Trail, but aside from that, this outing was a careful hike. There were some faint footprints as I went up Fern, which helped marginally at times. Near the summit I bumped into Scott E's friend Kevin and we chatted for a bit, mostly about foot traction and what Scott might be up to. Kevin's tracks ended at the summit signpost, so I forged past to the summit. What seemed slippery yesterday, required full on undivided attention today as there was so much pillowy snow covering everything and I was on all 4 most of the time, a touch exciting I must say as I cleared snow to expose steps and ledges that I knew were hiding beneath.

The trip over to SBP was tedious to say the least, as the deep fluffy snow was always providing surprises. I just never knew whether or not I was going to step on solid ground, glance off a rock, or drop off a step. Crabwalking/crawling were frequent means of locomotion, along with some minor galumphing at the summit of SBP. Sierra hung in there like a trooper, she was even having an absolute blast. I took things very cautious on the way out, as the descent off Bear was very difficult, literally every step to every other step resulted in a stumble, slide, twist or near fall as all footprints were now long obliterated. The snow at the base of the slab was chest deep from all the mini spindrift avys collecting at the bottom, very interesting to walk through.

1:07 up Bear
1:29 SBP
2:38 total

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Wednesday, 12/03/08 Bear/S. Boulder

7 miles
3,500 vertical

Had a very enjoyable and leisurely jaunt up Bear and S. Boulder today in the snow and sub 24 degree temps. I felt awesome physically and mentally, but still took things pretty easy as I was trying (without success) to not sweat too much in the cold, plus the fresh dusting of snow (maybe and inch?), made things pretty slick (although not quite set up for studded shoes yet). I took great care to travel very slow and deliberate over the summit scrambles/talus fields and the last bit on Bear seemed truly alpine with the fresh snow and low visibility as the thick cloud ceiling seemed to be hovering aroun 7,700 feet or so. Again I was the only human making footprints between Bear and S. Boulder, but followed the footprints of what I guessed to be a fox most of the way. I felt very solid on the descent, but again went cautious as to not eat it.

49 Bear Summit
1:02 S.B.P.
1:14 back at Bear
1:47 finish

Tuesday, 12/2/08 Sanitas x 2

5.5 miles
2,500 vertical

The wind had me up most of the night and also had me up early as I thought the roof was going to blow away. It was 55 degrees on the thermometer, so I figured what the heck, i'll head to Boulder and see how it goes. I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was completely calm. Went up the S. Ridge super easy, hiking mostly with some light jogging in 21:55. Went down the East side to Hawthorne, then retraced my route, 18:04 back to the summit.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Monday, 12/01/08 Bear Peak, S. Boulder Peak

7.5 miles
3,500 vertical

Started from a new TH today (Stoney Hill Road?) that starts between the Bear Creek Trail and the Cragmoor TH. It is a little longer in my opinion than starting from Cragmoor, but a refreshing alternative regardless. Jogged easy on the lower sections, hiked even easier on the upper sections. 54 up Bear, 1:10 to SBP. Went super easy on the down, as I had 2 left feet and zero coordination today for some reason. 1:58 total.