2014 Pikes Peak Marathon

2014 Pikes Peak Marathon
2014 Pikes Peak Marathon, Ready to Rock (or be rocked)

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Saturday, 10/06/12 Bear Peak

Bear Peak via Fern Canyon
4.65 miles/2,700 vert./1:45 RT

Long anticipated plans for a quarterly free day in the mountains fell through, so I shifted gears and figured a couple hour run over multiple Boulder peaks and possibly some exploring would be a decent plan b.  Sent out a few invites and Tim was on board right away.  Morning arrived and the day was quickly filling with family obligations and my chances of pinpointing a start time diminished to about 0.  Not to mention, it was in the 30's and rainy, so I bailed on Tim.

I am rarely ever dissuaded by the weather, at least for non high country stuff, if I have the opportunity and desire, it never matters to me whether it is 100 degrees or below 0 and blizzard conditions, I enjoy it, but the weather today was not particularly motivating.  As the morning progressed though, I was able to fit in some time to get out and fortunately, I was able to save Tim in time from going on a road run.

Met up at Cragmoor at 10:45 and started up the hill.  I was wearing my heavy waterproof Sauconys, heaviest Winter running pants, long sleeved Smartwool shirt, long sleeve REI hoodie shirt and then my waterproof Patagonia hooded shell, beanie and thick gloves.  Of course within minutes, I announced that I was hot and had to shed a layer.  Tim on the other hand, was in shorts and a light windbreaker and seemed to be quite comfortable.

In Fern Canyon, the rocks started to become coated with ice and we commented on being careful coming down.  Above the saddle, everything was coated with an increasingly thick and solid layer of ice, the rocks, dirt, grass, pine needles, trees, us.

The going was slow, but it was bearable, until we got to the final stretch of talus to the summit.  This is where Tim (smartly) called it a day, but I was determined to make the top, so I continued on, crawling much of the way.  Once at the post, the normal route along the ridge seemed to be a sure way to really get injured, so I carefully navigated some of the alternative routes I use on the West side, but as I got to within 10 or so vertical feet of the summit, I was stymied no matter how hard I tried.  It was just too slick and the chance of really getting hurt was significant.

I eventually backed off, then it took me longer to just crabwalk back down to the bottom of the talus field than it normally takes me to get to the bottom of Fern Canyon on a dry day.  The remainder of the descent to the saddle was really slow and deliberate, but was able to get down unscathed.  Conditions improved and I upped the pace trying to catch Tim, but he had gotten cold and had to keep moving, so had a pretty good gap on me.  When I finished, he was in the car trying to salvage his hands.

Tough conditions for early October and I really wished I had wore my Ice Bugs (considered it, but figured it would just be wet up there with a little fresh snow).  Still a great time and was good to catch up with Tim, it had been way too long.