Thursday, May 27, 2010

Thursday, 05/27/10 Mt. Evans

Mt. Evans 14,264
Mt. Evans Road from Echo Lake gate/NE Face Route
Partners: Tony (his version), Brandon (his version)
~19 miles/3,700 vertical
2:11 up/26 on top/1:24 down
Evans Summit #26
14er Summit #218

We were all itching to get up high for some good altitude training and after throwing around ideas earlier in the week, Tony suggested Mt. Evans to avoid the snow that is still blanketing many of the usual high country trails in order to get in some actual running instead of post-holing. This sounded great to me, as the road is still closed (opens tomorrow) and I could use it as good practice for my upcoming race there on June 19th.

We met at Neptune in Boulder at 6am and Brandon was gracious enough to drive. We took our time at the “trailhead” (or roadhead?) and eventually got going a few minutes before 7:30. We jogged together at the start, trying our best to re-adjust to running at such an altitude and generally went conversational pace (albeit a bit labored at times). Just before the 2 mile marker, Tony pulled off to take care of some business in the woods and I just kept trotting along, knowing that he would catch up eventually.

Trying to keep my road running to a minimum, I jumped off the road just before the “bristlecone” switchback near tree-line and cut up the steep hillside. Running this road can be a bit monotonous, but it was an excellent altitude workout. At around the 4-5 mile mark, the wind started to pick up in earnest and was mostly a headwind to Summit Lake. I was very glad to have packed the extra shirt, hooded wind breaker and hat/gloves and soon pulled over to put it all on. Some gusts were strong enough to nearly stop me in my tracks and many threw me well off my intended line. I called upon my years of cycling experience and tried my best to get aero. Though it helped a bit, it really just resulted in a sore lower back.

Tony was planning to stick to the road and I was going to take my chances with the snow on the NE face. Tony was quickly catching up at this point and I paused a bit before heading up-slope to talk about maybe meeting on top depending (vague “plans”). I started up the snow and was glad to find that it held my weight, yet was soft enough for kicking perfect steps and I was completely sheltered from the wind. I was planning to piece together patches of bare ground the best I could, but the snow ended up being more efficient and preferable. This section only took 27 minutes to the parking lot going at a steady, but not too intense pace, then four more minutes to the true summit (2:11:29 @ 159 avg HR). It was now 9:38 and the wind was cranking, so I dropped off the true summit and found shelter from the wind in one of the old/roofless summit buildings.

Tony arrived ~18 minutes later (sticking to the road is MUCH longer and windier), where he tagged the top quickly (new 14er for him) and I then talked him into descending the snow with me. The snow descent went quick, 9 minutes to the road, then we fought wind for a few miles down the road until it finally subsided (1:24 descent time @ 157 bpm average….. you actually have to push a bit to get down this road).

Brandon was not planning to run to the summit, but opted to run to Summit Lake and back, so he was long finished and changed by the time we returned to the car. We hung out for a while recounting the day, re-fueling and having a good time, in no hurry to get back down to the heat.

An awesome day out with great company.


  1. It was awesome to meet Brandon, Tony and you today at Echo Lake. You guys rock!

  2. JV, thanks for the trip.

    All, let me be clear...there was no "roadhead" as JV stated. I think he needs to consult the urban dictionary before throwing out terms like that. Are we clear?

    Bret, thanks for saying hi. Funny how incestuous(?) the Colorado running blogosphere is.

  3. Hi Jeff,
    Just and FYI for you:
    Running this morning I SAW A BROWN BEAR on the Mesa trail just south of Fern cut-off, 35 yds away from me. I had just come off the single track onto the wider trail when I saw it standing in the middle of the trail on all four legs looking at me. We stared at each other, I turned (pretending to leave) and looked back after taking a couple steps, he turned to leave but also stopped and we looked at each other again, after 30 seconds he scampered up into the woods. I waited a minute and then ran down the trail past the spot where he was standing. I looked up into the woods but couldn't see him anymore. That's the first time I've seen a bear on those trails.

  4. JV - you are famous ...

    Kraig - that is a great story. It makes it seem like the bear went home and told the story of I SAW A HUMAN!

  5. Looks like technically it's a black bear even though the fur was brown.