Saturday, October 31, 2009

Saturday, Basic Boulder Mountain Slopfest

The snowy conditions deterred a lot of people, as there were only 25 or so runners this year. George, Homie, Brandon, Justin, JP, Bill (who I never saw), Ben, Adam all showed up, yet the rest I did not know. We scratched along sidewalks and road for a long time, taking it easy and chit chatting. Those of us in front all missed the cut off trail to get us over to Bluestem and got called back. Homie led the stretch through a field along the barb wire fence. No trail, just uneven bare ground, snow drifts, rocks and cactus.

Once on the main trail, Ben, Justin and I were running a comfortable pace, but were still slowly gaining on the remainder of the group. I stopped for a quick pee and Homie caught up, so I ran with him for a while as Justin and Ben creeped further and further up the trail. At the gate just before the turn up Bluetem, Justin had stopped to wait on the group, while Ben was long gone up the trail. We all mostly re-grouped, but just a minute of running and we were all separated again. Justin and I passed the remaining group who had gotten ahead of us while we were waiting and determined that we would turn on the gas a bit to catch back up to Ben.

I upped the pace a bit, thinking we would catch Ben sometime soon, but he had a pretty good gap and it took more work than I anticipated. The trail kind of sucked with all the snow, but was not too bad if you carefully picked you path.

I was surprised to have gapped Justin and was in no mans land between him and Ben. For a while, I went back and forth between waiting for Justin and the other guys and catching up to Ben. I ultimately decided to push a bit to catch Ben and see what happened. I figured Justin and some of the others would eventually catch back up on the (what I had hoped) well travelled Mesa Trail. I caught Ben on the climb just beyond the Bluestem/Mesa junction and was disappointed to learn that we would be breaking trail for a bit.

We took turns breaking trail for what seemed like longer than it was. The trail was variable, but beyond the Shanahan or Fern jct., the trail was better consolidated. We went fairly casual through here and I made it a point to eat a GU, some Chomps and drink some water, as we chatted with a fellow BTR runner who had joined us near Bear Canyon.

I had a feeling that I would not do much more than Green, so I ended up pushing a little up Gregory Canyon. I went fast enough to get a workout, but knew I needed to conserve a bit just in case I opt for more. When I arrived on Green, I decided that I would just wait for the group and see what the general consensus was. Ben arrived after 4 or 5 minutes and we discussed our options and ultimately decided to head down to the 4-way and hope we bumped into the group. We took another short break here and then decided we would head down Green/Bear and see how that went. I started down following a set or two of footprints, but it soon became obvious (as I expected) that it would be a rough time heading in that direction. I headed back up to the 4-way and reported my findings to Ben, where we both decided that we would prefer to run, rather than posthole for the afternoon.

After a few minutes of descending, we ran into the rest of the gang and I was surprised not to see George. Homie was looking strong and I had a strong feeling he was going to do the whole thing despite my poor conditions report.

The descent was interesting in the soft snow, footing was a bit tricky, but it was really fun. The Mesa Trail seemed to take a long time, especially with all the slush and mud. At Bear Canyon, we decided to head downhill instead of any more climbing, as we were both feeling as though we had enough.

Running the roads back to the start really sucked with the studded shoes and heavy legs and we just plodded along, finishing in 4:08. Since there was nobody around and we had no idea when anybody would return, we just split.

Although this year's edition of the Basic was not really competetive and the conditions were far from optimal, I had a great time regardless and it was fun running with Ben and getting to know him. He is a strong runner and made for good company.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Green Mountain, 10/30/09

We had an awesome time hiking Green today and there is quite a bit of snow on the trails as you would expect. Some trails are somewhat well trodden, but others have seen no traffic at all. We ascended Gregory/Ranger and the first half + mile was very slushy. The trail was reasonably consolidated for a bit before the ranger hut, then above that, it was mostly unconsolidated powdery snow. The wind has piled the snow deep along the ridge before the 4-way jct. and we took a few pictures of me wallowing in it (I deliberately got off trail). My inseam is nearly 35 inches and I was completely bottomed out. Sierra was going subterranean following my track.

I tried running some, up and down and it is somewhat slow and inefficent, so tomorrow should be a real workout (conditions are such that descending fast is a bit risky as each step is a mystery, a rolled ankle is a strong possibility if not really careful).

Not sure if I am going with my studded PI softshell Seek 3s, or my Gore Tex Sportiva Wildcats. I don't think any sort of traction will really help, but it might not hurt to have the studs as the shoes slide over snowy rocks (more of a controlled slide). Even though it is supposed to be warm tomorrow, I think pants would be prudent unless you don't mind postholing in shorts. Gaiters are a must.

1:30 up (going super easy and screwing around in the snow, taking pics etc...).
10 minutes on top
58 down

I took a bunch of photos, so I will them them continue the story.


Thursday, October 29, 2009

No running, but lot's of shoveling.

I actually like to shovel. I enjoy the fresh cold air, the snow, the exercise, and find it invigorating, but man, it makes my lower back and arms sore (especially when the bottom few inches are slush) using those infrequently used muscles.

I also have a sadistic side while shoveling, taking pleasure in shoveling in neighbors cars that park long term alongside our curb. It agitates me a bit that people use their garages as storage, then have 3, 4, or more cars and park them all over the street. Parking boats, RVs and trailers add to the mix and just further trash things up.

I like our neighborhood, it is relatively quiet, the people are nice, but long term street parking really gets on my nerves.

While shoveling, I wonder what brings people to the point where they have to store boxes and boxes of junk in their garage. How does one accumulate so much un-used junk? It looks like moving day when you walk by and see box after box piled to the ceiling(I am just itching for the opportunity to ask somebody if they are moving).

Several times per year, I systematically go through my belongings and assess what I use and don't use, will I ever use it? If I have not used it in a year, it gets donated or sold on Craigslist.

Now that I am at the point of my life where I have a garage, I don't take it for granted and enjoy using it. Less chance of getting broken into, less chance of hail damage and who wants to scrape ice and snow off their car at 5:30 in the morning before work?

Enough ranting, I will probably have to go shovel again in a bit

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Monday, 10/26/09 Green Mountain

Felt somewhat energetic during the day, but once I started up the icy trail in the cold shade at 4:20pm, I had little motivation and almost bagged it after 5 minutes. Due to low motivation, I just walked most of the way up Amphi/Saddle/Greenman.

On the summit, I bumped into some friends who were starting down, so I ended up walking most of the way down with them and was glad to have some company. This is probably my last post-work trip up Green for a while, as the upcoming time change will eliminate that possibility.

Sanitas here I come.

Up: 43:55
RT: 1:21

Monday, October 26, 2009

Saturday, 10/24/09 Kelso Mountain (13,164)

Kelso Mountain (13,164)
10 miles
3,400 vertical
5 hours RT from Bakerville (~3up, ~15 on summit, ~1:45 down)

Surprisingly, even though I have climbed Grays/Torreys nearly 20 times, I have never made it up nearby Kelso Mountain (even though we attempted it a few years ago but bailed due to weather/avy conditions).

We met Dave in Bakerville and hopped into the truck for the ride to the TH (or so we thought). When we rounded the first corner and the road gets steep where the bad rut used to be (the road is now perfectly smooth), we lost traction and begin to helplessly slide backward down the road, ending up with the back wheels in a ditch, perpendicular to the road with no harm done.

I jumped out, pushed the front end down the hill as Dave eased forward and we were back on track, however, we needed to figure out how to get back down the road without sliding off again. There was enough unconsolidated snow on the very far side of the road with some bare ground underneath, so Dave was able to make it down no problem.

We watched a Jeep lose traction and take a helpless slide as we did, as well as an Isuzu Trooper. As I waited for Dave and Allison to go park the truck and get ready, I figured it would be a good time to bust out my new Kahtoola Microspikes and the pair I got for Allison’s Christmas present and give them a shot. They were not entirely necessary, but were very helpful for the entire climb of Kelso and descent back down to the summer trailhead.

We hiked the normal summer path to about 12,000 feet and then cut right and directly up a grassy and slightly snow covered, East facing gulley/slopes all the way to the summit, which was surprisingly smooth and efficient.

Weather up high looked a bit windy and bleak, especially over Grays and Torreys, but we completely lucked out and had a nice wind shadow most of the time and even the summit was not too bad, where we lingered for a long time taking in the views. The snow is starting to accumulate, but as of Saturday, snowshoes were not needed.

The road to the summer TH is the smoothest I have ever seen it and would be a breeze right now with studded snow tires or chains, but I would not even bother to attempt it otherwise with the current conditions, as there is a high likelihood of sliding off the road (which many people had done throughout the day).

Since we only had time for Kelso, we were glad to have parked down in Bakerville, as Kelso would have been a lark from the summer TH and made for a bit more worthy hike.

As always, the dogs were happy to reunite and had a total blast.


Friday, October 23, 2009

Friday, 10/23/09 Bear Peak

Allison, Sierra and I hiked Bear from Cragmoor. Slick snow/ice above the saddle. A bit cooler than yesterday, but still nice. Went super easy, just enjoying the day.

1:17 up
15+ minutes hanging out on top
2:40 RT

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Thursday, 10/22/09 Green, Bear, S. Boulder

Green, Bear, S. Boulder Peak
~15 miles
~4,700 vertical

0 Start from Gregory TH
35:4? Green
45:46 Bear Creek
1:12:13 Bear Peak
1:25 S. Boulder Peak
1:48 Bottom of Shadow
2:36:56 Finish

Started from the Gregory Canyon TH and went up Amphi/Saddle/Greenman. The trail was mostly free of snow (but wet) up to saddle rock, then it was mostly snow/slush/ice beyond to the summit. I went hard and felt awesome, but was still holding back some for the run over to Bear/S. Boulder and the snow/ice slowed things down in spots. I topped out in 35:4?. The trail was slick in spots down to Bear Canyon, but was more slush than ice like the N. side of Green. I ran quick yet cautious through here and because of the way the snow was melting/accumulated, it was easy to get off trail when going fast (which I did several times), but the mistakes were easily corrected.

I crossed Bear Creek exactly 10 minutes after leaving Green at 45:46 and started up the West Ridge. This is one of my favorite sections of trail and I dug in through here, taking short, fast, strong steps and was feeling on top of my game. The weather could not have been better, cool, yet the warming from the sun was soothing and therapeutic. The trees and scenery through here were beautiful and belied the proximity to a populated area.

The last push to the summit of Bear was pretty snowy, not too deep, but enough to be really slippery and complicate progress significantly. I topped out on Bear in 1:12 and made a U turn, being really careful on the upper section not to take a header. While I was focusing on going slow, I took the opportunity to eat a Clif bar and drink some water. I topped out on S. Boulder in 1:25, most of the slowness coming from cautious negotiation of the upper boulder section, which was absolutely treacherous being the first through ice and snow covered rocks. I took some significant slips through here, even going at a crawl, but luck was on my side and I managed to pull through unscathed.

I took it cautious back down to the saddle, then tried to open it up a bit through Shadow, but it was a bad idea, as the wet trail was super slick also. Not icy, but almost as slick because of the pine needles, so I backed off.

Arrived at the mouth of Shadow at 1:48 and stayed straight/left on the connector trail to Mesa. I considered re-ascending Green via Bear Canyon, but I was totally enjoying running fast and having a higher foot cadence for a change, so I just had fun cruising the Mesa Trail at a nice clip all the way back. There was plenty of sticky mud and puddles and after a while I gave up trying to avoid it which meant for muddy legs and heavy shoes.

Returned to the Gregory TH after 2:36:56, feeling completely energized and exuberant. A sharp contrast to the struggle I had a week ago. AWESOME!!

Wednesday, 10/21/09 Sanitas

12:52 down

Sufficiently refreshed after a day off, I contemplated another day off, as the weather seemed a bit gloomy and I had limited time after work, but I figured what the heck, why not take a quick trip up Sanitas on the way home.

After negtiating my way through the gauntlet of construction projects (WTF with all the road construction and paving as of late? It is like bears and squirrels kicking it into overdrive before winter or something....).

I started up the S. Ridge at a slow pace, then imperceptably eased into a moderately paced lope. I felt good, but still was not willing to push myself in lieu of a possible more concerted effort the next day. I was just over 15 at the (almost) eternal puddle dip (my only true time check). I upped the pace from here to the high side of moderate for 3 minutes, still not willing to dig in, then was surprised to see low 18s at the last turn, so I put in a little more effort and made the post in 18:57. I was hoping to be in the 19 range without pushing and I exceeded that by a bit.

The descent was wet and muddy and a bit slick in spots, but I managed to get back in 12:52 without rattling myself too much. My feet felt quick and accurate today, though my lungs were filling with mucus, so I hope it is just poor air quality and not a harbinger of things to come. (I feel fine as I write this the next morning).

Monday, October 19, 2009

Monday, 10/19/09 Green Mountain


41:25 up
29 down

Went super easy up and down, just wanted to get out and enjoy the warm day.

Sunday, 10/18/09 Bear Peak/S. Boulder Peak

7 miles
3,500 vertical

My legs were feeling a bit tired and sore and I had intended to take the day off. I stepped outside for a weather check in the afternoon to confirm the 80+ degree temps and I was starting to change my mind. I got out of work and sped home to drop off Sierra and change into my running clothes and figured I would head to the Cragmoor TH with the intention of an easyish jog up Bear (is there such a thing?).

Though I was without the dog, I started off at doggy pace, 3:?? to Shanahan, 5:?? to doggy pond, 11:?? to Mesa, 16:20 to the slab. This was a very un-pressed pace, but I was certainly feeling it in my legs, most likely left over pain from suffering on Thursday.

For some unknown reason, I started feeling a bit better after klomping my way down the short descent after the Slab and starting up toward the Fern Canyon trail. There were a surprising number of people out because of the nice weather, couples, couples with dogs, a grouchy lady who should not have been wearing a skort descending on my side of the trail and seeming a bit annoyed at my passing. One lady voiced some encouraging words which helped bolster my pace.

I reached the saddle at an unimpressive 29:12 or so, about 5 minutes off PR (though I was not out for a PR, I always refer to those benchmarks in my head). I continued up toward the summit, running more than I had on my last trip, even if only baby steps and mixed in some hands on knees power hiking when necessary. About 1/3 of the way up, I notice a fleeting glance of somebody ahead and think they are descending. I look again and nobody. Where did they go? I continue on and get that competitive surge of adrenaline when I see somebody ahead moving fast.

Without pressing beyond my comfort level, I eventually catch the guy and am amazed that he has got to be at least 60. I say “hi”. No response. I then follow it up with something like “nice day!?”, “great pace” still no response, just a mummy like face straight off of Scooby Doo (“I would have got away with it if it were not for you meddling kids” kind of look). Oh well, if I can still more like that at his age, I will be super happy and might even reply when somebody says hi and gives a compliment.

I top out at the true summit in 42:5? Pause long enough for my watch to pass 43 and begin my quick but careful scramble down the rocks on the West side and make quick work of the trip to S. Boulder. I make the summit in 10 and change, do an immediate U-turn and get back to the Bear summit post in 9, skipping a re-ascent of the true summit.

Quick and cautious footwork sees me to the saddle in 10 and change, Mesa/Shanahan in 19ish, then back to the car for a 25 descent and a total of 1:29:52. Not super fast, but better than I expected considering how heavy my legs felt going into it. Felt awesome to push a little, even if only for a short bit.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Saturday, 10/17/09 Mt. Logan (12,870)

Mt. Logan (12,870)
~13.5 miles
~4,400 vertical
Start from 3 Mile Creek TH
Jeff and Allison Valliere, Kevin Lund and Sierra
7:50 RT

Saturday plans fluctuated somewhat over the last few days of the week, but with such an awesome forecast, there was no way we could not get up to the mountains. Logan has been on my perpetual “to do” list and it fit the bill perfectly, as it was a short drive and somewhat easy.

Having been up the well traveled 3 Mile Creek TH several times before, navigation was a snap as we casually hiked up the sometimes narrow valley along the icy creek. The day was slow to warm, as we were consistently in the shade through the valley and did not reach direct, unfiltered sunlight until we reached a high, willowy, wide section of the valley at around 10,400 feet. Our pace was very casual and I was pleasantly surprised that there was just about no snow on the entire route, just the odd patch of snow here and there.

We continued on up the valley, where it soon started to switchback up the slopes of 12,574. Our initial plan was to contour over to Logan, but for kicks, headed directly up to Pt. 12,574, where we took a long break in the warm sunshine.

From 12,574, it was an easy stroll on gentle tundra and occasional stable talus over to the summit of Logan. As we neared the summit, we found the remains of a crashed US Army Helicopter that appeared to have been there for some time.

After another long break on Logan, we headed down and West toward 12,257 and then near the saddle, started angling NW down through the trees and re-joined our ascent route at the start of the switchbacks below 12,574.

The trip back to the car as per usual seemed twice as long as the ascent. An amazingly perfect day in the high country, as it was seasonally warm, calm and crystal clear, a stark contrast to last weekend.


Friday, October 16, 2009

Friday, 10/16/09 Sanitas

Allison, Sierra and I got out for a trip up Sanitas in between running errands. I felt surprisingly recovered, but to keep going in that direction, I hiking with the girls the whole way, until the last stretch where I looked at my watch and it read 27:14, so I kicked it into gear and tagged the pole 2 seconds faster than my trip yesterday in 27:49, though it seemed far more easy today. My 27:51 yesterday seemed much harder than my 16:23 last year, go figure.

We went down the East ridge and then took the Dakota Ridge trail instead of the valley. About halfway down Allison pointed out Tony running a fair distance below us. I figured he might be switchbacking up, but he was actually on his way down. I paused for a while, but Allison gave me the go ahead to chase, so I ran hard for a bit to catch him. We chatted for a short bit, I guess he had just run what I ran yesterday, although I am sure quite a bit faster (his split on Sanitas was 20 minutes).

Very nice day out, picture perfect.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Thursday, 10/15/09 Boulder Skyline Traverse

S. Boulder Peak, Bear Peak, Green Mountain, Flagstaff, Sanitas
16 miles
6,250 vertical

Ran a 3:07 today from S. Mesa, over S. Boulder, Bear, Green, Flag to the top of Sanitas. I took 20 minutes off my PR, so I was a little happy with that, but felt surprisingly crappy most of the way and hoped to go faster, so I was not happy with that. I should have quit before going up Sanitas, but no pain no gain right? I ran out of water, struggled bad and was a total mess for a while after and it was a struggle to go retreive my bike and drive home. I might write more tomorrow.

Slightly Expanded version:

My old PR of 3:27 in May of 2005 was a bit soft. I have done this route many times, but always with a group, with the dog, with snow, ice etc…, so I knew I would be able to go much faster on my own. I parked my car at Sanitas and rode down to the S. Mesa TH in commuter mode (crappy town bike, bike path, civilian clothes/shoes) in 30 minutes. It felt like a good warm up and I was hopeful that I would have a good day, especially since my legs felt extremely springy in the morning when running up the stairs or whatever.

I felt OK for the first few minutes, but knew by the mouth of Shadow that I was putting too much effort into a slow time (21:20) at that point. As Shadow steepened, I knew I was in trouble. On the larger rock step ups, I just did not have the strength to power over them and I wavered a bit with each large step. I was 4 minutes ahead of PR at the mouth of shadow, but lost 2 of those minutes by the saddle.

Feeling better on the flats and downhills, I pushed a bit harder, but not really hard, just trying to be smooth and efficient. I knew I would come close to PR, but my plan to go under 3 was probably out the window. I mentally gave up a few times, but I had to get back to my car, so I just continued to plug away.

Coming off Flag, I finished off the last of my 3 x 7oz bottles and was really thirsty. At the base of Sanitas, I knew I should just bail to the car, but I got here at 2:40 and thought that if I really suffered and dug deep, I MIGHT be able to pull off a sub 20 minute ascent, which when I am fresh, I always do with hardly any concerted effort.

After a few steps, I knew that this was a pipe dream however and each step I took, I contemplated stopping. I pushed on though, thinking that to improve, you have to suffer along the way. My HR was through the roof, but I was hardly moving. I made it to the top with an abysmal time of 27 minutes for a total of 3:07:51, my slowest Sanitas trip ever, on my own, while trying to go “fast”.

Heading down, I had nothing and it took me 18 minutes back to the TH, then I was regretting parking at 4th and Mapleton, as it seemed like a monumental walk. I got in the car, rolled down the windows and began to drink the lukewarm water from my bottle, but I was hardly able to do it. I got out and laid down in the grass, panting in a fetal position, trying to get my wits about me so I could go get my bike and drive home.

Driving was a task and it was all I could do to stay awake going to the S. Mesa TH, where I took a short doze before loading my bike and continuing home. Once home I felt better after having lunch and dinner within the span of an hour. I guess I have a long ways to go fitness wise, much more than I was hoping. Not sure if I just had a bad day, or am that out of shape, or had a bad day because I am out of shape.

Either way, it was a fun run and I will probably do it again sometime soon and shoot for a better time.


Towhee/Dirt Road 13:55
Start of Shadow 21:20
Saddle 48:55
SoBo 55:45
Bear 1:06:16
Bear Creek 1:24
Green 1:43
Flagstaff 2:07
Boulder Creek 2:31
Start Sanitas 2:40
Sanitas Summit 3:07

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Tuesday, 10/13/09 Bear Peak

Another dog jog with Sierra. I work 10 hour days, so when Allison is working (she works 13 hours days), or out of town (like this week), it is easiest for me to bring Sierra to work and then include her on the afternoon run, which is fine, since I am in no hurry to get home, but the flip side is that she is never in a hurry on the run and I am forced to go her pace (a good thing sometimes).

Either way, we had a great trip up Bear (don't know whether or not to call it a run with a lot of hiking, or a hike with a little bit of running). We jogged easy into the mouth of Fern, then hiked all but a few steps to the saddle and then it was just a walk from the saddle to the top. On the descent, the trail was mostly slick just about all the way down to the mouth of Fern and I went slow and cautious.

Today was another inversion day, 48 at the Cragmoor TH, yet it was probably 10 degrees warmer from the saddle to the summit which made for a comfortable trip. The trail still has plenty of ice and slush, but is melting well and should be mostly gone tomorrow.


Mesa 11:55
Slab 16:45
Saddle 29:45
Summit post 44:19
True summit 45:01
Summit post 46:00
Saddle 56:05
Mesa 1:08
Finish 1:19

Monday, October 12, 2009

Sunday, 10/11/09 Green Mountain

All day, the sky was grey and dismal looking with the temperature hovering right around freezing and I waffled several times during the day whether or not I wanted to go run. However, when I left work, the sun was shining in Longmont and it seemed as though the poor weather was finally starting to clear and I decided to go for it. My enthusiasm was short lived though, as I drove into Boulder, it was evident that the clouds were holding a tight grip on the foothills.

At the Gregory trailhead, I debated bagging the idea as it seemed colder than the 30 degrees on the car thermometer indicated, but I made the effort to change clothes and make the drive, I should at least go for a short while. Sierra and I headed up the Gregory Canyon trail and I was questioning my judgment on whether or not I should have opted for my studded shoes, but as I ascended, the icy trail slowly transitioned to very nice snowpack.

I had to do the usual tugging and towing of the dog through the leash required section of trail, as she has to sniff, sniff and sniff some more. This drives me nuts when I am trying to run, as I have to stand there and wait (not so)patiently. Once off leash, she can repeatedly sniff and catch up as I jog casually and periodically wait to be sure she is on track.

Once past the Ranger Cabin, Sierra decided she had gotten in enough sniffing and was sticking to my heels very well and even running 10 feet ahead at times. Traction was good and I felt great, so I upped the pace a bit just to test her. She surprisingly maintained her focus all the way to the top and we arrived there in 41:28, despite all the goofing around early on. I may have even set a PR (or came very close) from the cabin to the summit, but don’t have a split to confirm.

The real shocker of the day however was the change in weather as we approached the 4-way junction near the West side of the summit. Seemingly in an instant, we went from being engulfed in cold, dense gloomy clouds to brilliant sunshine, 50+ degree temps and melted out trail. We spent a good 10 minutes hanging out on the summit rock taking in the views of the surrounding peaks, while watching the thick blanket of clouds just below drifting over ridge tops and pulsing through valleys. I have been lucky enough to witness this several times over the years, but never has it been so beautiful or welcome.

Reluctantly, we started down, taking it easy at first on the steep rocky section, then really opening up the throttle all the way down to Gregory Canyon. This section was super fun in the snow, as traction was good and the snow smoothed out some of the roughness. Sierra was having a blast as she bounded next to me, stride for stride as I whooped and hollered, we were in complete sync and fed off one another’s enthusiasm as the snowy trail passed quickly underfoot.

Once into Gregory Canyon however, the trail became a bit treacherous as the ice became more packed and solid. I slipped and slid a bit, but was able to keep it upright by going much slower. We arrived back at the TH 25:20 after leaving the summit. This was certainly one of the best runs I have had in a long time.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Friday, 10/09/09 Pettingell Peak (13,553)

Pettingell Peak (13,553)
~8 miles
~3,200 vertical
Jeff Valliere, Aron Ralston, Sierra

Allison is out of town for a week, so I had 3 days to myself to do as I pleased. I was conjuring up all kinds of ambitious plans to jump in the car with Sierra and go climb as many 13ers as I could in 3 days, maybe work on my 14er x 2 list a bit, but as the time drew near, it was evident that weather and snow conditions were not going to be optimal, so I figured I would stick close to home and get in some “local” peaks (or at least a peak).

I sent an invite to a few friends with flexible schedules and Aron soon replied that he was in town and he too wanted to get out on Friday. We bounced around a few different ideas, but settled on Pettingell, as it is somewhat short and close to home.

We met at Neptune a bit after 7am and made decent time to the TH, arriving there in about an hour and eventually got going on the snow dusted trail by 8:30am. I was expecting more snow, but was pleasantly surprised that there was only a few inches at most along the trail through Herman Gulch to Herman Lake. The temperature was in the 20’s, partly cloudy and we could see that the wind was raking the divide, as evidenced by the swirling snow devils above treeline.

Sierra led the way up the trail, with her nose to the ground and tail in the air, sniffing out a fresh set of wild canine tracks as large as hers (large fox? Coyote?) as Aron and I lagged behind chatting it up, not too anxious to fight the wind.

At the last patch of trees, we took a moment to add some layers and eat some food before the real fun began. Above the lake, the route got a good bit steeper and the snow got deeper where it was drifted in the talus, which made for some tricky footing. The final 7-800 feet were a bit tedious, as the rock was loose, the slope steep and the wind was gusting hard enough to knock me down if I wasn’t working hard to maintain my balance. With temps in the 20’s, howling wind and blowing snow, I was thankful to have packed my winter kit, including goggles.

I think we topped out around 11:45am and spent ~15 minutes or so taking in the views and pointing out different peaks. Since we both had obligations in the afternoon, we made quick work of the descent, arriving back at the TH around 1:30pm for a 5 hour RT.

Although conditions were a bit chilly, it was a good shakedown hike to help get into gear for the winter season.


Thursday, October 8, 2009

Thursday, 10/08/09 Bear/S. Boulder

7 miles
3,500 vertical

With the weather today being in the low 30's and rainy, motivation to get out was quite low. In the mid afternoon, the rain transitioned to snow, which made it not seem as bad, so I figured what the heck, better start getting used to cold and snow. I initially debated bringing Sierra, as I knew she would really get mucked up, so I put her harness on, changed my mind again, took it off and ultimately put it back on again as I could not bear to leave her after all the build up.

We went up Shanahan/Fern on the easy side of moderate, which was fine after going somewhat hard the past 2 days. The higher we went, the trees and grass became pasted with ice and I continually bumped my head on low hanging icey pine branches. Once into Fern Canyon, the trail became mostly snow packed, 1/2 inch to an inch at most, just enough to make things a little slippery and very pretty.

We topped out at the post in 48, then another minute to the true summit. Negotiating the summit pitch and then the class 3 shortcut was interesting as the rocks were mostly wet and icey in spots. I proceeded at a cautious pace over to S. Boulder, arriving there in 12 minutes, then 12 minutes back to Bear. From the summit of Bear back down the steep trail to the saddle was an accident waiting to happen with the snow, ice and crappy traction shoes I was wearing, so I went super slow and easy.

Although I normally have to wait for Sierra, she was running circles around me on the upper mountain, sprinting around in the snow at mach speed with a huge smile on her face, making gleeful grunts and noises. This alone made the entire trip worth it. Though the day looked crappy at first glance, it was an awesome day to be out and I am thankful to have had the opportunity.

Wednesday, 10/07/09 Green Mountain

Since I got out of work a bit early and it was such a nice day, I blew off Sanitas in favor of Green. I felt much better than the previous day as I had a somewhat light and healthy lunch, one of those days where I felt light and agile instead of bulky and bloated. My only problem was that my legs were feeling the previous days efforts (though not too bad). To be on the safe side, I did not push crazy hard, just a steady tempo, focusing on fluidity instead of brute force.

I made the Amphi/SR jct in 6:47, was around 12:50ish (I think) at the 1st Flatiron cutoff, then I diverted up the NE ridge and just hiked a good part of that. Made the summit in 34:54 and immidiately turned around to cruise the descent. I felt great going down and made quick work of the trail and the NE ridge. Just I was thinking I was nailing it, I took a minor slide, but pulled out of it with no consequence aside from my confidence being slightly shaken.

Up in 34:54
Down in 20:23
RT 55:17

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Tuesday, 10/06/09 Green Mountain

Met Brandon for Green today at 4:45 and ran up Gregory/Ranger and back down the front side short route. Started off moderate to easyish and after 12 minutes, Brandon encouraged me to go ahead, as he was not feeling super. I bumped it up a notch or two and was glad to find that my foot was feeling pretty good, but I was feeling a little crappy from not having run in a week, or more than a few times in the past few months, not to mention the bagels, donuts and cheesy pasta I ate today.

Despite all this, the trail was passing by reasonably quickly and I topped out in a surprising 37:56, only two minutes off PR. I made a u-turn to meet Brandon and he was not far back and moving well.

Up in 37:56
Down in 27

Monday, October 5, 2009

Saturday, 10/03/09 Road Ride

24 miles

Rode to Eldo with Allison on the road bikes easy.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Friday, 10/02/09 Pancake House, REI, S. Boulder Peak and Bear Peak

Slept in today (6:10am), putzed around for a bit, then we went to the Original Pancake House in Boulder. If you have never been, go soon, it is the best breakfast joint around, seriously. Went to REI afterwards and I picked out the ultimate winter pack, the Osprey Stratos 40, which is now on my wish list.

Spent 3 hours this afternoon taking a casual walk up S. Boulder and Bear with Allison and Sierra. It was pleasant in the sun, but the shadowy Shadow Canyon was chilly and had that fall bite.

8 miles
3,200 vertical
3 hours

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Thursday, 10/01/09 Biked SuperFlag

28 Miles
1:40 RT

Had a great ride up SuperFlag despite the wind and cooler temps. 31:59 up SuperFlag, felt pretty good.