Sunday, May 31, 2009


May totals:

174 miles
68,220 vertical
4 14ers
4 13ers
1 12er
6 Bear Peak
5 S. Boulder
8 Green Mountain
3 Sanitas
2 Flagstaff
5 bike rides

Ran a PR on Green, ran my first Bolder Boulder.

Yearly totals:

834 miles
274,480 vertical
15 14ers
5 13ers
2 12ers
25 Green
15 Sanitas
26 Bear
18 S. Boulder
9 Flagstaff
17 Bike rides

Sunday, Biked 50

Woke up with a whole bunch of ideas, Kelso Mountain, Grays/Torreys, Pikes, Green/Bear/SoBo etc..... I waffled big time, so much so that I started to get ready to head to Bakerville, but then bailed halfway through packing (still mostly packed from yesterday). It is kind of an awkward time in the mountains right now. I am itching to go rip up the high peaks, but there is still too much snow for really running and some winter gear is still necessary, or you just deal with postholing. I truly just did not feel like getting in the car, so I decided to go for a road ride.

Headed from the house to Baseline, West to 75th, N. to Jay, Jay to 36, 36 to Lee Hill, over Old Stage to Left Hand, then up to Jamestown. I started off full of piss and vinegar, riding anywhere between 28 and 32mph for the first 8+ miles. My speed fell off a bit over Old Stage and up to Jamestown of course and I arrived there after 1:16, but I was feeling pretty good considering my riding has been minimal and sporadic at best.

Headed back down to Lefthand, went over the backside of Lee Hill, screamed down the other side at 50mph or so, Broadway S., West to 9th and 9th South to the Creek Path, where I followed that East and eventually made my way home. 50 miles in 2:30.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Saturday, 5/30/09 Mount Parnassus (13,574) and Woods Mountain (12,940)

Mount Parnassus (13,574) and Woods Mountain (12,940)
~7 miles
~3,800 vertical
~5 hours
Jeff and Allison Valliere, Kevin Lund and Sierra

The plan for Saturday was to do something up high. What that was, nobody knew until we set foot on the trail. We had a few ideas, but none of those ideas included getting up too early, driving far, carrying snowshoes or heavy packs, so with a lack of any novel ideas, we found ourselves at the Watrous/Herman Gulch TH a bit before 8am. The names Pettingill and Citadel came up in conversation, but those involved gear and planning, which we were short on, so Parnassus it was.

The trail up to Watrous Gulch was snow free and just prior to the creek crossing, we made our own route, hopped the creek and headed directly up the fall line. As we quickly ascended and I-70 became more distant, a large dark cloud was building, guess where? Directly above Parnassus of all places. Step by step, we did not know if we would summit, or be running back down the hill any minute. Being the major chicken that I am when it comes to lightning, I was going to take no risks to bag Parnassus for the umpteenth time.

Luck was on our side though and we made the summit after a leisurely 2:20 ascent, topping out at 10:30am. Conditions were perfect as the cloud dissipated and we lounged for a good half hour. We were hoping to get Woods and then ring the gulch by finishing with Machebeuf, but once we topped out on Woods around 11:30am, the clouds were quickly building and there was some threatening thunder over Stevens Gulch.

Playing things on the safe side, we bailed back to the saddle, descended toward Watrous Gulch, but just prior to tree line, we contoured left, piecing together nice patches of dry ground all the way back to the mostly melted out trail. Of course the sun came out and we were bummed we opted to head down so soon, but better safe than sorry. We took full advantage of the sunny weather window and lounged for quite some time in the high valley next to the babbling brook, snacking and laughing. Although leisurely and local, it was a great morning to be up high and get a little exercise.


Friday, May 29, 2009

Thursday, 5/28/09 Green Mountain

We had a great turnout for the Green Mountain TT last night, Dave Mackey, Ricky Gates, George Zack, Tim Long, Justin Snow, Stefan Greibel, Christian Griffith, Anthony ? and Heather Swallow. We went up the Amphitheater, Saddle Rock, Greenman route to the summit. I was hoping to go under 35 minutes which would be a best for me this year (though I have not been targeting this route or any other for that matter). My PR was 33:19 and I was sure that I was nowhere near that fitness, but I was going to give it my all up the mountain. I led for a short while up Amphitheater, but I knew that with guys like Dave and Ricky breathing down my neck, my number would soon be up. Sure enough, Ricky comes by hardly showing any effort. He is the smoothest, most efficient, most gifted uphill runners I have ever seen, certainly in a whole other league. Dave came by soon after and I tried my best to keep him in sight, but about halfway up the mountain, he too was gone. Dave has been training hard to win the upcoming Western States 100 and the hard work is really paying off, he will be tough to beat there.
I was hurting like crazy almost the entire time, going about as hard as I have ever been. I felt like crap, but in a crappy way that one should feel chasing guys of that caliber.I made the summit in 32:35, a full 43 seconds ahead of PR and would normally have been walking on air and elated, but having getting dusted so severely, put my efforts in true perspective and I was truly humbled. Dave finished in 31:28 I think and Ricky was something like 28:38? Amazing! I’m still not sure I am in PR type of shape, I think I just PR’ed due to the excitement of running with (chasing) World Class athletes like Dave and Ricky. Next week is Bear Peak, I can’t wait!

Check out GZ's post with pics.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Wednesday, 5/27/09 Green Mountain

6:30am, Green Mountain. Walked up Amphi/Saddle/Greenman in 41, jogged back down in a casual 30.

1pm, 1 round of mini golf (mandatory fun at a work outing).

4pm, 20 miles on the bike with Allison.

5pm, mowed the lawn, long over due.

Looking forward to Green TT tomorrow!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Monday, 5/25/09 Bolder Boulder

I checked my e-mail one final time before bed on Sunday night at 10:13, got an e-mail from Tim mentioning that he had a free BB entry. I blew off the idea since a). I don't really run on roads and have not put in any flat/fast or paved training this year or really ever for that matter b). was not tapered, having run ~8,300 vertical in the past 2 days and c). it was a bit last minute and I like to plan/prepare for races.

I awoke a few minutes before 6am and felt well rested. I wanted to head into Boulder and cheer on Dave and George regardless and then go run Green after, so I just threw on some running clothes and put together some food. I called Tim and he did not answer, so I just went about my usual pre-run preparations, having no idea what I might be getting into that morning. He called me back at 6:05 and he filled me in on the details, that he had an extra entry and he was just going to run casual, as he is just 2 days beyond running a 50k. I ran with him in one of the much slower waves, which is a bit far back in the crowd, but this actually seemed more appealing to me than an A or AA wave entry, as it would take a lot of pressure off and I would not feel as strong of a desire to beat myself up competing. This way I could just run a comfortable pace and see what all the Bolder Boulder hype was all about.

We toed the line and I was quite calm, unlike most races where I am feeling self pressure to perform. The gun went off and I took off fairly quick just to stay ahead of the masses. Tim yelled something like WTF Jeff! But I was busy trying to catch and pass the guy with the long silly hat and the gangly 6'1" 13 year old with size 14 bright yellow boats. I soon put away goofy hat guy and was running neck and neck with yellow shoes, as we quickly caught the next wave. I knew running a decent time was out of the question, but I had no idea really how much of an additional challenge it would be to weave and bob through so many thousands of people, young, old, costumes, the whole gamut of silly stuff.

Though I was laid back about it, I wanted to push a little, just for kicks as I felt halfway decent and it is easy to get caught up in all the excitement and festivity. I eventually ditched the 13 year old, now proud of myself to be leading the my wave ;). There were sections I could run an OK pace, but I was mostly cutting back and forth across the road, seeking out small gaps, hopping curbs, medians, running sidewalks, front lawns. Getting through the clogged water zones was a bit of a challenge as well and cutting an apex was pretty much out of the question.

By mile 4, I was starting to wish I was in the A or AA wave, as my legs were feeling somewhat better with each mile and I think just being ahead of the crowds would have saved me a few minutes for sure. I stayed well within myself, running a fairly comfortable pace that I felt I could run almost indefinitely (not necessarily self imposed pacing though). I checked my watch a few times toward the end and realized I would be close to 40 minutes, which I was starting to shoot for. The final "hill" was nothing and I was easily passing people in chunks of 100, but as I got into the stadium, I could see the finish on the far side and knew I was hosed, as the crowds were quite dense, it was kind of like getting out of a Rockies game and I had to settle for a few seconds over 40. Bummer.

Either way, it was fun getting out and seeing what the race is all about. If I can score another free entry next year (by opening a 1st Bank checking account like several friends did this year), I may head back and try to go a little faster. I think it would help a lot to run with a faster wave (either the A or the AA) and have people pushing me at similar speeds and not getting blockaded. A few fast/flat miles leading up to the race with a bit of taper may help some as well. Thanks Tim, good times! Now off to the BBQ circuit.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Sunday, 5/24/09 Bear, S. Boulder, Green

Scott, Homie and I got out for a casual run over the 3 peaks today. Went conversation pace the entire time, topping out on the true summit of Bear in 51 I think, then headed over to SoBo, back to Bear and down to West Ridge. A nice thunderstorm was brewing to our West and moving in, so we hustled our way down at a decent clip. At the junction, the somewhat unanimous decision was to go up Green, but soon conditions deteriorated with steady rain, turning to hail with increased thunder and lightning. I wanted to bolt out of there at full speed, as I am pretty nervous of lightning, but opted to stick together as a group. On the way through Bear Canyon, Scott took a nice (but unintentional) dip in the creek, sitting there for a moment or two as he assessed. He was a little scraped and bruised, but otherwise OK. Made it back to the cars as round two of the storm was really picking up, a loud flash/boom very nearby ushered us out.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Saturday, 5/23/09 S. Boulder/Bear

Got out with Dave this morning for a run up S. Boulder/Bear. We jogged conversation pace up to the mouth of Shadow from S. Mesa (22 even I think at the trail jct. sign), then 22:44 for me up the canyon, made the summit at 50 and change (don't remember the exact time). At the bottom of the canyon, Dave told me to go ahead if I wanted. I upped the effort and immidiately got a good gap and was a bit surprised, he either stopped to pee or was just toying with me. Eventually he reeled me back in a bit before the saddle and cruised on past, putting 30-40 seconds on me by the summit. We then headed to Bear (where I stashed by bottle before it got steep), made the summit at 1hr even, then I had to backtrack to get my bottle, as Dave wanted to descend via W. Ridge/Bear Canyon. We took it anywhere from moderate to easy on the way down, shooting the breeze the entire way. Cruised our way back on the Mesa Trail, finished in 2:11.

It was a great day and good to get out with Dave. I actually felt pretty good today despite being over a minute off my best through Shadow Canyon and 5 minutes off PR at the top (though we were taking it casual on the approach). My legs felt reasonably good, lungs a little less good and my lower back was killing from stooping over, always seems to happen on this section of trail and rarely at other times on other trails. Dave and I are planning on a regular weekly time trial up a peak which should hurt like crazy, but build good fitness.

TT #1, Green Mountain, Thursday, 5/28/09, 5pm Chautauqua Park. All are welcome.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Thursday, 5/21/09 Sanitas

17:22 up S. Ridge, pushed hard, but did not expect much more.
Ran a ways down, met Allison/Sierra, back up, down E. Ridge/Valley.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Wednesday, 5/20/09 Green Mountain

Got out for a great run up Green after work today. Went SUPER easy, yet was only 42 seconds slower on the same route than I was yesterday morning where I busted my hump, go figure.

37:32 up
1:03 RT

Monday, May 18, 2009

Jones, Shavano, Tabeguache, Espirit Point

Jones Peak (13,604)
~9 miles
~4,500 vertical

After getting camp set up near the Blank Gulch TH around mid afternoon in preparation for Shavano and Tabeguache the following day, I had a few hours to kill before dinner and the weather was nearly perfect, so I figured I would go explore and see if I could fit in a climb up Jones Peak.

I started off heading North on the Colorado Trail, went about a mile past the junction of the Shavano Trail, crossed Squaw Creek and headed NW, over a ridge, crossed another small creek and began climbing the SE ridge of the SE ridge. The bushwhacking was relatively easy up to about 11,000 feet, then the hill got a little steeper, a little rockier and a lot more vegetated with plenty of deadfall up to about 12,000 feet.

Before long, I emerged from the trees as the clouds that were previously enshrouding the peaks were mostly dissipating. The day was relatively warm and there was hardly a breeze. Up I went over Pt. 12,985 and got my first real view of the true summit. There were several rollers that could be easily skirted with some painless side hilling, a steepish climb to the summit, then a bit of confusion. There were several similar height summits along the ridge, then a much higher point almost all the way to Shavano. A quick check of the GPS confirmed that I was on the summit of Jones, but what is that other peak? Unfortunately, I don’t have time to keep going and have to be content with just Jones.

I promised Allison that I would not be gone long, so I tried to get back fast, but the steep/rocky/deadfall section between 12,000 and 11,000 feet was very slow and tedious, resulting in lots of slips, trips and curse words. Keeping my same line going down also turned out to be a bit of a challenge, so I occasionally referred to my GPS just to streamline things. Once I hit the Colorado Trail, I jogged the remainder of the way back to camp, regretting the heavy pack I carried, as I only needed my glove liners, GPS, camera and a bottle of water. Oh well, better safe than sorry.

Shavano, Tabeguache, Espirit Point
~11 miles
~5,600 vertical
Angel of Shavano from Blank Gulch TH
Allison, Sierra and I

The Angel is one of our favorite easy snowclimbs/glissades, so when Allison suggested the trip and the weather forecast looked to be perfect for Sunday, I was eager to go. We camped in a nice meadow just beyond the Blank Gulch TH and enjoyed a quiet night.

We arose a bit past 5, but were slow to get going, which did not happen until 6:22am. We made good time up the trail, passing several other groups of 1’s and 2’s. The trail was free of snow all the way to the point at which we began the bushwhack toward the base of the Angel. In the woods, there was a short stretch where there were sporadic patches of snow (no snowshoes necessary), but they could easily be avoided or crossed without any difficulty. At the base of the Angel, we took about 30+ minute break to gear up/fuel up before engaging the snow.

Conditions were soft, as it was 8:30am before we started climbing the snow, but very easy as the angle of the slope is pretty laid back. We decided on the right arm, hoping for a more direct line toward the summit, but the snow was discontinuous and we eventually removed the crampons/axe and made the final grind toward the summit which always looks much closer than it is. Having climbed each arm and the head in the past, I have determined that it does not matter which way you pick, it is all about the same.

I topped out at 9:55 and Allison was 7 minutes behind. She was very happy with that since it was earlier than she topped out last time, we started 22 minutes later AND she passed and put time on all the guys we passed.

Once on the summit of Shavano though, she was reminded how far it was over to Tabeguache and decided to turn me loose and have at it while she and Sierra took a break. Not wanting to keep her waiting long, I boogied over there at a quick pace on the mostly dry ridgeline down to the saddle, avoided most of the snow on the ascent of Tabeguache, then retraced my steps back to Shavano. For some reason I thought it was 15 minutes each way, but it ended up taking me 25 over and 21 back going pretty hard. Oops.

Back on Shavano, I finally relaxed a bit, taking a long break and soaking in the scenery. It was so calm, warm and sunny, it felt as though summer had truly arrived. On the way out, we tagged Espirit Point for kicks, before the much anticipated glissade down the Angel. Lots of whoops and hollers as we sped down, Sierra sprinting and pouncing along side.

It was such a nice day, we took our sweet time walking out, finishing the day at 2:40pm and reluctantly drove home, wishing we could do it all over again.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Wednesday, 05/13/09 Torreys and Grays via NW Face

Torreys via NW Face/Grays Peak
~14 miles
5,060 vertical
Bakerville Winter TH
Partner: Sierra

Our recent climb of Guyot made me realize how much I have been missing the high peaks and the small section of using crampons and axe had me wanting more. For years I have been eyeing the NW Face (climb 2.12, p. 27 in Roach’s 2nd edition Fourteeners book) and Emperor Couloir, but have never made it over there. Since I could not stir up any partners aside from Sierra at the last minute on a Wednesday, I opted for the easier option.

I started up the road at 7:00am and got a great pull from Sierra on the leash, as a blue pickup truck passed and she was sure that it was Dave Hale and her doggie buddies and wanted to chase. I tried to convince her that Dave drives a Toyota, not a Dodge, but she was having none of it.

We reached the Grizzly Gulch turn in 15 minutes and from there to the summit, it would be new scenery for me. After enjoying a snow free cruise from Bakerville, I was forced into my snowshoes about 1/5 mile beyond the junction. Soon there were some secondary junctions with tracks leading in multiple directions. I always picked the more travelled looking path, knowing I need to stay on “the road” for quite some distance. Sooner than expected, the road I was on ended at a mine and there was no sign of trail, road, track or anything.

Not wanting to backtrack, I made my way into the thickly vegetated woods along the creek bed and was bogged down in the bottomless sugar snow. My heart rate was maxed and I was going nowhere. To my right, I spied a S. facing, but steep slope and headed for it. After a few choice words, a reachy acrobatic creek jump with snowshoes from icy rock to a mystery landing, I made it up the dry slope and regained my intended route on the snow covered dirt road.

The snow was mostly packed if I stayed on old tracks, but with all the snow and having never been up Grizzly Gulch, the route was not always obvious. I made it to a point in the valley directly under the NW Face at 11,160 at 8:15am and took 15 minutes to get geared up for the climb. Initially, after swapping snowshoes for crampons, I was having trouble staying on top of the crust and was post holing, regretting the choice to put on crampons so early. Soon, the slope steepened enough that snowshoes would have done no good, as I worked hard to surpass the initial bench to get to the actual base of the mountain.

As I approached the base, the snow firmed up a bit and conditions were perfect for kicking steps. I initially made good progress as the wind was mellow, snow conditions were good and the temperature was just right. Before long, I started to look up and make guesstimates of when I may top out. I was thinking just 10-15 minutes more, for what seemed like forever, but a quick glance to the right revealed that I was not even as high as Grizzly Peak (only 13,427). I was hoping to just cruise up, but was instead getting discouraged with my slow pace and occasional pauses to catch my breath (although at the time justified it as taking in the views). Then things got interesting as the full brunt of the winds raking the divide picked up in earnest.

The wind sounded like a jet roaring overhead, I would look up and see a swirling blizzard of wind driven snow racing down the snow slope toward me. I would bury my axe, make sure both feet were firmly embedded and just hang on, as I watched snow fill the cuff of my glove. I have better mittens in my pack, but there was no way I was going to dig for them now. Between bursts, I would step step, plant (axe), step step, plant as quickly and safely as I could through the wind deposited powder on top of semi-breakable crust, all the while keeping tabs on the next assault from above.

After what seemed like an eternity, I finally gained the ridge close to the summit and was reminded what real wind was all about. I skulked along the wide, gentle, snow covered ridge toward the top, but needed to plant my axe more than once to not get blown off. Sierra crept along low to the ground, keeping close to me, though all the while smiling and wagging her tail.

I was starting to bonk and was really getting cold, as it felt more like winter than May. I tagged the summit and immediately noticed that there was no place to hide, so down I went toward the Grays/Torreys saddle without breaking stride. From past experience, I knew there would be no respite at or near the saddle, so I decided to blow off Grays and just quickly drop off the saddle in hopes of finding some shelter.

My toes were about as cold as I can ever remember from being compressed by the crampon straps and front pointing for nearly 3,000 feet and I was starting to feel a bit desperate. As I descended, they started to warm, but it felt like thousands of stinging needles and my toes felt as if they were swollen. Surprisingly, they felt somewhat better in the 10 minutes or so it took me to reach the saddle, but the wind was not relenting.

Being stubborn, and a glutton for punishment, I decided to give Grays a shot, even though I was feeling a bit worked. By staying a bit below the ridge to the left as I ascended, I was able to stay mostly out of the wind, but it meant dealing with deep snow with unpredictable talus underneath. Though difficult, it was far better than dealing with the hurricane force wind.

Fortunately, there was enough of a wind shadow behind the summit rocks that I could collapse in a fetal position, pant, gasp, groan and put down some gel, water and a few Clif Shot Bloks. Once recovered, I remembered that I had a camera with me, took a few photos, enjoyed the views and was able to remember why I love coming up here so much.

On the descent, I was able to piece together mostly consolidated patches of snow and kept my crampons on all the way to just beyond the Kelso ridge jct. and was actually thankful to have them on in at least one spot, as the summer trail had disappeared under a steep snow slope. I think there is more snow up in Stevens Gulch now than I have ever seen.

The trip out was a cruise for the most part, as I was able to stay on top of the crust with my snowshoes and post holing was minimal. A truck had made it to within a mile of the summer trailhead, but it looked like an effort. The drive to the steep section of road by the first houses is almost completely melted out and would be easy to drive there if you have 4wd/clearance.


Start Bakerville: 7:00am
Grizzly Gulch Turn: 7:15am
Base of climb at 11,160 8:15am
Start climb: 8:30am
Torreys Summit: 10:40am
Grays Summit: 11:17am
Summer TH: 12:40pm
Finish Bakerville: 1:24pm


Monday, May 11, 2009

Monday, 05/11/09 Bear Peak/S. Boulder Peak

I decided I needed to go somewhat hard today, so I took a shot at Bear Peak as a bit of a fitness reality check. From the first step, I felt lousy. Nothing in particular was bugging me, I was just a bit lethargic, had little energy and was generally not into it (into being outside, just not into railing it).

I pressed on and my time checks were decent, so I faked it for a bit, but knew by the saddle that I was not able to fake it for much longer, the charade was over. From the time I got on the Fern Canyon Trail, all the way to the summit, I was power hiking mostly and only ran several very short sections. I made it to the post near the summit in 39:49 and was only moderately satisfied, as I was hoping to be under 40, but was secretly hoping I would do better than that.

I know I am not at my best yet, but was secretly hoping for at least a minute better than this. Perhaps I could better this a bit if I felt a little better to start, who knows. From the post, I cruised over the true summit, hopped down the rocks on the West side and jogged over to S. Boulder at a more conservative pace. I backtracked to Bear and then descended Fern, just cruising, never pushing. Not a bad day, not a great day.


Cragmoor TH 0:00
Shanahan Jct. 2:50
Doggy Mud Pond Jct. 4:30
Mesa Trail 13:30
Saddle 25:58
Bear 39:49
S. Boulder 51:5?
Bear 1:01:??
Saddle 1:09
Finish 1:28

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Saturday, 05/09/09 Mt. Guyot

Mt. Guyot (13,370)
Ascend E. Ridge
Descend SE. Ridge
~9 miles
~3,000 vertical
Jeff and Allison Valliere, Dave and Emily Hale, Sharon Hale (to Ga. Pass), Sierra, Shep, Kiefer, Sophie

After a week of bouncing around different ideas, none really sticking, Dave suggested that we give Mt. Guyot a shot. I have often times eyed Guyot’s symmetrical East Ridge driving past on 285 and it has been on my list for many years.

The Hales camped Friday night at the Michigan Creek Campground, where we met them around 7:45am on Saturday morning. From the campground, we drove another ~2 miles or so on the Michigan Creek Road toward Georgia Pass where we were stopped by several snow drifts about ¼ mile from where the road crosses French Creek. For a long way, the walk along the road was mostly dry, save for several inconsequential sections of snow to cross. About a mile or so below the pass, snow became the dominant theme and we donned our long dormant snowshoes.

The slowshoe plod to Georgia Pass was a breeze on hard packed and well consolidated snow as we followed faint snowmobile tracks. From the sign on the pass at 11,500, we turned West, walked for a short distance over rolling snowdrifts and through the final remaining trees/krumholtz. As the wind scoured East Ridge became more pronounced and steepened, we packed up the snowshoes and began the stiff climb on loose talus.Soon, Dave and I became a bit annoyed with the steep and somewhat loose talus, so we veered a bit to climbers left onto the snow in search of easier walking. Conditions were perfect for easily kicking steps and we made efficient upward progress, all the while keeping close to the rocks as to not temp any trap door cornices.

Once at the false summit, perhaps less that 100 vertical/300 lateral feet from the true summit, we could see the remaining difficulties (that we were aware of from our pre-trip research) which consisted of a somewhat narrow, knife edged corniced ridge. Staying on the ridge proper would not be that steep, but the potential for a cornice collapse, dropping you 1,000+ vertical to the left is significant. To avoid this danger, one must stay a bit right below the ridgeline on ever steepening snow which is above LONG and steep snow/talus slopes. A fall here would certainly be bad news.Emily had no crampons or axe and opted not to continue on. Allison had crampons/axe and agreed to consider it after I tried it and gave report. Dave had an axe, but only Kahtoola Microspikes.

I started along the final section, very confident with my axe and crampon placements, knowing the snow was in perfect condition. The snow steepened and I got great purchase with all points and felt great, all the while reminding myself of the increasing exposure beneath my feet and to not become complacent. I made a last cautious mantle move over a hardened drift and was on the summit. The views were great and I strolled around for a bit taking pictures while waiting for Dave.I looked back down and saw him slowly ascending and could see that he was uneasy with his less than optimal traction.

I carefully walked down to meet him, the exposure now more apparent and we backtracked to a safer area. His Microspikes were not at all adequate for this type of terrain and I offered him my crampons. Since his feet are so much larger, he thought his boots would not fit, but luckily they extended far enough and he was able to complete the climb with relative ease.Allison and Emily were kicking back in the warm sun on the sub summit, keeping track of our progress and ultimately made the decision that they were content where they were.

Before long, we all reconvened, took a long break and then cautiously descended the SE Ridge down the variable snowfields and talus. At treeline, snowshoes were required once again and we made the easy trek back to the cars.All in all a perfect day. A great climb in excellent weather with great company. It was awesome to be back in the high mountains again after a near 2 month hiatus. Thanks for planning Dave!


Monday, May 4, 2009

Monday, 5/04/09 Green Mountain

Sierra and I had a nice evening run up Green via Gregory/Ranger.
Of course she was lagging, sniffing, dawdling, but I took her knowing that I was intending to go easyish and she ensures that (although I felt great and was itching to go fast). I finally put her on leash since I was a bit sick of stopping to call her to me and we picked up the pace just a bit and actually started to go at a decent pace. Many of the fallen trees have been cleaned up, but several are still completely blocking the trail, not sure why they skipped these since they removed trees above and below.

Made the top in 45:25, down in 31 for a 1:16 RT.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

5/3/09 Sanitas x 2 and Anemone

Allison proposed that we head to Sanitas, in search of warm and dry trails. We parked at Settlers Park and warmed up over Red Rocks. My plan was to run "fast" up the S. ridge while she and Sierra took Dakota Ridge to the Eastern ascent and I would meet them along the way. After an all too brief warm up, I started my watch and was immidiately going a somewhat quick, but seemingly comfortable pace. I kept upping the intensity and knew I was moving well and was hoping to sneak in under 18, but in the back of my mind, I was sure I was going to be closer to 17. A little past the 1/2 way mark, I started to feel a bit of burn that I just could not shake off, so I backed it down a touch and hit the top at 17:44. I was reasonably happy with that, especially since I have not been too focused on going fast for a long time, only a couple runs this year where I really pushed. I think I am getting to the point where I have laid down enough base and endurance and need to start upping the intensity a few times per week.

I briefly caught my breath at the summit and continued down the other side where I met Allison and Sierra at the sign board where the valley trail really starts to climb back up the Eastern flanks of Sanitas. I went down and past Allison for a bit, turned and worked hard to catch back up to her while Sierra paced me along.

From the summit, we headed back down the S. Ridge, headed up Anemone to the high point and came back down. Not a bad way to spend a Sunday morning.