Monday, April 8, 2013

April 1 - 7

Mon-AM: 1:53, 4500' ~ Flatiron Trifecta (1,4,5) + Green Mt.
From Chat, enchained the 1st, 5th, and 4th Flatirons before heading to the top of the mountain. My scrambling was really on point this morning, both on the faces and on the downclimbs. Nothing like moving quickly and efficiently over moderate rock, I love it.
PM: 1:04, 3000' ~ First Flatiron+Green Mt.
Another great evening run. There was a slight amount of sprinkling going on at the trailhead, so I headed to the base of the First with some urgency, not wanting to get caught in the middle of the face on wet, slick rock. As a result, ended up getting to the base in 11min and then charging up the face in 11-flat, which is only 10 seconds off my PR scramble. Downclimbed in 2min and kept working hard to the top of the hill, ascending into falling, big, floppy flakes of snow. Snappy downhill, too.

Tue-AM: 2:01, 4500' ~ Flatiron Trifecta (1,4,5) + Green Mt.
From Chat, same exact outing as yesterday morning except that this morning I was slower, mostly due to very low clouds that were covering the flatties and making the rock wet/slippery. Rubber was not sticking. When I topped the First, the clouds were still lower than its summit and I was treated to one of the more epic views I've seen in Boulder in a while---clouds at my feet and snow-encrusted trees on the slopes above me. The rest of the run was stuck in the clouds, though.

Wed-AM: 0:25, 500' ~ East Longs Trail
Oy, rough morning. I've been fighting off a head cold for the last few days and it finally caught up to me. Drove all the way to the Longs Peak trailhead, but was struggling to keep it together and stay awake so should've known better. Trudged out of the parking lot and was hoping that I could just snap out of my funk but after only 15min on the trail I knew there was just no way I was going to slog up the mountain...sleepy, weak, super tired. Running back downhill to the trailhead was almost too much effort. Drove home, slept another 4hr, was in a daze the rest of the day, and went to bed super early.

Thu-AM: 4:18, 5000' ~ Longs Peak
Up Martha's/Cables, down Cables. Exciting morning on the mountain.
PM: 1:17, 3000' ~ First Flatiron+Green Mt.
Gorgeous day, so I went to Chat in the evening for a quick scramble and summit. My avalanche-battered lateral right knee was definitely touchy out of the parking lot but mostly disappeared on the uphill. Cruised the First but then on the march to the top of Green I could feel that my tweaked left foot was quite painful. I knew I'd twisted it pretty badly during the morning's shenanigans but I guess I was just more focused on my knee. I thought the run down would be horrible, but the foot was just tolerable. However, within minutes of finishing the run I couldn't even weight my foot anymore, and I spent the rest of the evening hardly able to stand and about 99% convinced that it was broken.

Fri-PM: 1:12, 3000' ~ First Flatiron+Green Mt.
Took the morning off because I was afraid my foot was broken, but after a short walk it seemed to be miraculously healed. Cautiously headed out in the afternoon for a scramble and run then, and the foot was fine. My knee still hurt, but mostly just on flats and gradual downhills (steep downhills it's fine).

Sat-AM: 2:52, 6500' ~ Flatiron Quinfecta+Green+1st Flatiron
Awesome morning. Was up with the sun and biked up to Chat to rack up some vert. Scrambled flatties 1,2,5,5,4 feeling strong and scrambling really well. Super efficient. Went to the top of Green then and on the way down was so psyched with the nice weather that I figured, what the heck, one more lap on the First was worthwhile. In the 2hrs since I'd been there the east face had gone from being vacant to passing five roped up parties...such is a Saturday morning on one of the more iconic formations in the country. Right knee is still janky.
PM: 2hr?, 1700' ~ First Flatiron
Casual hiking/soloing with Jesse and Kaley. It was Kaley's first time soloing the First. I was elated to score a #1 and #0.5 cam under a flake about 500' up, but, of course, they belonged to the next roped party that we passed a few hundred feet more up the face. How do you just forget $130 worth of climbing gear?

Sun-AM: 2:55, 4000' ~ Chasm View (13,100')
Bugger. First time I've been skunked on Longs. Spooked by Thursday's mishap, I got an early (for me) start of 6:00am at the trailhead where the wind was already ripping. It's often windiest during the hour or so surrounding sunrise, so I remained confident in the forecasted (and typical) 20-25mph winds up high, but that would not be the case. The minute I passed treeline, life became a miserable struggle. Epic blowing snow, snail-like forward/uphill progress. This stuff is basically de rigueur on Longs, so I tried to stay optimistic. It took forever to clear Mt. Lady Washington's north ridge (ok, ~20min longer than usual) and when I did, conditions somehow intensified. Like, doubly so. Forward progress across the Boulderfield toward Chasm View and the Cables was mostly accomplished on all fours and I dreaded lifting my head amongst the maelstrom just to keep a bearing on where I was going. Which was often futile anyhow because the status quo was a hurricane white-out. Climbing the Cables in this was out of the question, and I knew things would only be worse on the west side of the Keyhole. Groveled my way to the snow apron below the Cables at ~13,100' before finally deciding to turn around. Unfortunately, things were just as bad on the way down until I got to treeline when it turned into an idyllic, mostly calm, gorgeous spring day. Things were so mellow and sunny at the trailhead that I almost couldn't believe I'd bailed. But then I looked back up toward the summit, saw the mountain still completely obscured in a wall of white, and was fine with my decision. I guess that's sort of the point of this whole Longs thing. If I weren't going for a bunch of summits I probably wouldn't have even headed up at all this morning, let alone gotten to 13k'. If you get out enough, you're bound to hit some non-ideal days.
PM: 1:07, 3000' ~ First Flatiron+Green Mt.
Quick evening lap on the hill, in what is becoming a nice trend of second-run-of-the-day-high-energy. Locked up the bike and felt relatively peppy right out of the gate. Felt like I was really going for it on the east face of the First, but couldn't quite duck under 12min (12:05 scramble) hitting the summit in 23min. Once I was on the arete there was a very strong wind that also slowed the downclimb. Felt strong on the rest of the outing, but my right knee/fibula/peroneals are still pretty touchy from Thursday.

Hours: 20h04min
Vert: 38,700'

Kind of a weird week. Basically took a day off right in the middle of the week, and then had another easy day on Friday, but still hit some solid volume, so things are looking good. Starting to feel fit for the first time since last October, which is always nice. Super tough week up on Longs...barely made it out of the parking lot on Wednesday, bit of a calamity on Thursday, and then turned back high on the mountain on Sunday. Good chance I won't even make any attempts this coming week considering the buckets of snow we're supposed to get over the next 48hrs. I'm going to take that as an opportunity to test the shin with a few outings of more continuous running this week.  Maybe--gasp--even a proper long (4hr+) run?!

The east face of Longs as seen from Mt. Lady Washington.
Dreamweaver couloir on Mt Meeker (left) and the Loft.
The Flying Dutchman couloir is looking nice.
Sunrise over the Twin Sisters on Sunday morning.


mkirk said...

Anton, glad you're okay after your misadventures on Longs this week. It seems you're already using these experiences to amend an already impressive operations manual for your Long's project. Awesome pictures as always. Keep on truckin'

R. Logan Brooks said...

Kinda speechless about that week and how it unfolded. So I won't elaborate. Great snap of the sunrise over the Sisters. Literally pic of the year for you. Nice work Tony.

sam said...

Tony, you take some fantastic shots during your runs. What camera do you use?

PatrickCT said...

Tony: Whew - that's about the 'least damaging' avalanche outcome I've read in a glad you were able to walk away in relatively good form and share another mt learning experience for others to digest.

Tim Finocchio said...

Quick question for you, did you have your axe out to self arrest and if you did, did you think it would have helped? I was in an avalance on Dodge's Drop in NH which is in Tuckerman Ravine and even though I had my axe out it is next to impossible to penetrate through the debris to get to a stable snow to stop the fall/slide.

Barry Bliss said...

Saw your photo/quote in Outside Magazine last night.
It's interesting to see how this whole thing of climbing/running is begining to be talked about as it's own thing and neat to have read your posts over the last few years about being injured and then hiking and now seeing the way it is all coming together.
Grateful for the good writing as always,

Anonymous said...

Awesome week Tony!

But do you support yourself through the weeks and months I find it hard to imagine anyone doing as much as you holding a job or even a part time job :)

Barry Bliss said...

@Dallas Green

"Financially, I've been quite frugal my entire life--some times radically so--and this has allowed me to get by with much less than what might be considered the norm. With parents who were a high school teacher and a non-profit director/farmer, frugality has always basically been a necessity in my life and a habit I am thankful that my parents taught me. I have spent several months at a time living voluntarily in my S-10 pick-up, The Roost. I am fortunate to be supported by a research assistantship for my graduate studies and various sponsors, most significantly New Balance, in my running. Combined with occasional free-lance writing/production of on-line content and running store/coffee shop gigs here and there, it has always been more than enough."

Anton said...

Sam - Sony Cybershot.

Tim - Ditto. I had the axe out, but not much you can do when everything around and under you is moving.

Dallas - See Barry's response, except I'm no longer in grad school. I am very fortunate with my sponsor support from New Balance, BUFF, Ultimate Direction, and Swiftwick. I could get out as much as I do (and have in the past) working 20-30hr/week, but the travel/event/photo-shoots part of my life becomes a whole lot tougher to fit in around a more conventional work schedule.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the response....and congrats on finishing Grad School! Hopefully when your DVD comes out this summer, you will have even more in the piggy bank.

Unknown said...

Hi Anton,
the picture with the sunset is awesome.
I look forward to your DVD in the summer.

The Soul Runner

Anonymous said...

Forgot to add this to my last comment...

Please don't kill yourself with another close call on Longs again, as you have a very big race coming up on May 11th ;)

(I assume you will be tapering in next few weeks along with traveling...)

Holler said...

That sunrise photo is fantastic.

Unknown said...

Amazing pictures! Love reading your blog, great inspiration!

Unknown said...

When does In the High Country come out? I'm really looking forward to it!!!!!!

Unknown said...

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