Lake Isabelle

Lake Isabelle

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thursday, 11/24/22 Bear Peak/Green Mountain

9.28 miles/4,030 vert./2:12:32/149 avg HR Garmin Data

I was mentally enthused to get out this morning for a few peaks, as the weather is unseasonably warm and I had a morning pass, but as soon as I started from Chautauqua at 7:39am, I physically felt really stiff, tired, creaky, uncoordinated and even still a bit low energy from this lingering cold I have had for the last week +.  I figured as an in between compromise, I would run Mesa to Bear Canyon, run the new trail again and make a loop over Green.  By the time I got to the mouth of Bear Canyon though, I made a spur of the moment decision to head up Bear.  I was feeling a little better as I warmed up (though not up to par with what I had hoped) and just hiked up Fern at a mellow pace.

Above the saddle, the increasing amount of ice made things pretty interesting (without traction) and I had to really perform some gymnastic moves to maintain upward progress without killing myself, as much of the trail is a real solid bobsled run.  Even the off trail workarounds in what I hoped would be more grippy snow turned out to be really slick and icy.

I made the true summit of Bear in a very slow and casual 1:06 from Chautauqua and got to the top seconds after 2 other guys, one of whom looked a bit familiar.  Turns out it was Dakota Jones and we chatted for a bit.  He and his friend Jeff ? were planning to drop down Fern, but after relating my fun times ascending, they decided to join me down the W. Ridge (the route they had ascended).  We took it fairly easy down W. Ridge, but even so, I managed to take my best fall in a while.  I stepped on a very dirty and inconspicuous patch of ice and my feet came out like the guy on the wet floor sign and I was down in an instant.  Luckily it looked/sounded worse than it really was, but I ended up with a good bit of trail rash on my hipass.

There were some more ice patches that we negotiated slowly/carefully without incident and then once down to Bear Canyon, Jeff headed down, while I showed Dakota the new route I found last weekend on our way up Green.  This was Dakota's second summit of Green for the run and he was telling me his rather exciting story of catching up to a mountain lion on the trail earlier in the morning (on Saddle Rock just before it meets Greenman).

For the descent, I introduced him to the Greenman/NE/1st access route which he really enjoyed.  Despite feeling pretty off of my game this morning, it was a great time on an awesome morning and was fun getting to know Dakota a bit.


  1. I saw you as I was headed down Fern. I use microspikes but not when conditions are like they are currently. I was thinking LaSportiva screws might work well b/c although the exposed rocks on the lower sections might wear them down at least I would have some form of traction on the upper portions. With all of your experience, do you think the screws are a good idea or is it not icy/snowy enough currently to justify them? Thanks for any insight.

  2. Thanks for mentioning the mountain lion...nope nope nope nope nope....

  3. Anonymous, I was wondering what you were using for traction coming down Fern and almost asked you about conditions. Was planning on W. Ridge anyways as I knew it would be better the better descent option.

    It is a tough time right now traction wise, each option has it's pros and cons. I hear the Sportiva hobnails have a good lifespan, but still wear out, though I can't speak from experience. Screw shoes would be OK I guess too, but running on dry trails with screws 90% of the run does not sound appealing. Carrying spikes, only to use them on intermittent snow/ice is not appealing either, as you would spend a lot of time putting them on/taking them off, or just wearing them down on rock. I don't mind doing that when it is mostly snow, but when it gets to 50/50 or worse, then I don't bother with them.

    Soooo, my strategy, which has been working well lately, is just finding routes with a minimal amount of snow/ice and just sticking to them and getting around the ice the best I can, or taking unconventional routes that don't see much traffic and thus do not become packed ice, pick S. facing slopes (not many really, Sanitas is most always dry, Shadow Canyon melts out reasonably well too).

    Rob, Dakota said it was more afraid of him than he was of it, but then again, Dakota is MUCH faster than both of us.

  4. Hipass! thanks for not posting photos. :-)