Monday, July 8, 2013

July 1 - 7

Mon-AM: 3:15, 5300' ~ Maroon Bells Traverse
From Maroon Lake, up South Maroon and down North Maroon, 3:15:37 car-to-car. Splits: Crater Lake, 17:10; S. Maroon turn-off, 36:10; ridge, 1:22:55; S. Maroon, 1:51; Saddle, 1:57:30; N. Maroon, 2:16:50; Crater Lake, 3:02. I did this once before last September, but Joel was filming on that run so there was a lot of stop-and-go and I wanted to get a true, no-stops time on the route. The descent off of North Maroon and back to the parking lot could go a lot quicker if your tolerance for kicking rocks down the mountain and elbowing past tourists after Crater Lake is a lot higher than mine. Wasn't in the mood to be an asshole, so just took it pretty casual.

Tue-AM: 2:42, 4700' ~ Pyramid
From Maroon Lake, up the West Face/NW ridge and down the NE ridge (standard route). 1:47 to the summit, :55 descent. Wanted to scout this ascent for a link-up of the Bells with Pyramid, and it was classic Elk choss. After crossing West Maroon Creek the talus field and grassy rib ascent went well but then I erroneously chose a 5th Class chute instead of staying further left on the bits of grass. After emerging from that it was lots of route-finding and choss-management to finally make the summit.

Wed-AM: 6:58, 8500 ~ Capitol-Snowmass Link-up
From the Snowmass Ranch TH, ran up West Snowmass Creek, bushwhacked up to Moon Lake, summited Capitol, traversed back over the Knife Edge to drop into Pierre Lakes Basin, cross the Snowmass-Capitol connecting ridge and finally ascend Snowmass' west ridge before dropping down to Snowmass Lake and running the trail back to the trailhead. Really fun day with hours of talus hopping and some good bits of scrambling.

Thu-AM: 2:44, 4800' ~ Castle & Conundrum
Up Castle's NE ridge from the Ashcroft road, over to Conundrum, and back down. Tired legs from yesterday, but the mellow 4WD road was a nice change after all of yesterday's scrambling. This finished off the Elk 14ers then.

Fri-AM: 2:23, 4400' ~ Oscars Pass
Up and down Bear Creek/Wasatch Saddle from the Telluride Town Park, with Joe. Since the Hardrock course is going back to its original routing this year, Joe wanted to check out the trail. It's awesome. This is the best course in the world.

Sat-AM: 7:16, 10,800' ~ Grenadier Traverse (well, Arrow, Wham, & Three Trinities)
From the Molas Lake TH I enchained Arrow Peak, Vestal Peak, and the three Trinities before running back. Splits:
Animas River, :27
Elk Creek Trail beaver pond, 1:05
Vestal Creek crossing, 1:46
base of Arrow, 2:03
summit Arrow, 2:33/34
base of Wham Ridge, 3:04
summit Vestal, 3:39/40
Vestal/W. Trinity Saddle, 4:00
summit W. Trinity, 4:17/18
summit Middle Trinity, 4:44
Middle/E. Trinity Saddle, 4:49
summit E. Trinity, 4:58
Elk Creek crossing, 6:00
Elk Creek Trail (beaver pond), 6:03
Animas River, 6:34:30
Trailhead, 7:16:45
The run in on the Colorado Trail/Elk Creek Trail was on very good tread and the climbers/use trail heading up Vestal Creek was easy to find. It was a bit choppy at first negotiating a fair bit of deadfall but not too bad. The ramp up the northeast face of Arrow is super obvious and most of the way is just marching up a giant slab, turning into some minor 4th-ish class stuff at the top. About half-way up I ran into Timmy Parr, who was climbing with a partner, but I didn't chat long knowing I had a lot of vert/scrambling ahead of me. My only major mistake of the day came in my descent off Arrow. For some reason I thought the gully down its south face would be quicker than retracing my route down the ascent ramp. Oy, bad choice. The top was full of loose debris and then about 2/3rds of the way down, the gully narrowed and cliffed out. I'd already dropped about 6-700', so I was reluctant to head back up over the summit and instead decided to try out the steep, definitely 5th Class downclimb. It's hard to grade something you're on-sight downclimbing, but with the water-slick rock and in running shoes it felt like 5.5-6 for me. Definitely stressful and cruxy. With that behind me, I was good and warmed up for Wham. I suppose if I had only been interested in traversing the peaks I could've just gone up Vestal's SW ridge/face, but Wham Ridge is one of the most classic alpine routes in the state so I was psyched to drop all the way to 12,200' or so to climb its full extent. The bottom half is super mellow, fairly low-angle slab marching, but eventually the grade kicks up a bit and the terrain becomes 4th Class on solid rock. The crux was a maybe 30' crack unavoidably out on the face and massively exposed, but 5.4 sounds about right---holds were there whenever you needed them. Above that was more 4th Class with the odd easy-5th move and soon enough I was on the summit. West Trinity was the least interesting/engaging peak of the day being mostly 3rd Class but then Middle Trinity probably served up the most complexity of the day for me. I stayed right on the ridge crest for too long and eventually dropped to the south and negotiated a Broadway-like ledge that required one spicy bit of downclimbing before lots of 4th Class led to the summit. Fairly certain I did not find the easiest way up this peak. Mercifully, East Trinity was the most straightforward route-finding of the day--straight up a 3rd Class gully with a little 4th Class at the top--and only required an extra 500' or so of vert. The run back out to the car went well enough, but the nearly 2000' climb back up to the car from the Animas River was a kick to the nuts in the hot mid-day sun as I stubbornly refused to pop one final gel. Good practice to run up a climb like that late in an outing, though. Overall, one of the more satisfying runs I've had in the mountains. I suppose some day it would be worthwhile to come back and tack on Silex, Storm King, and The Guardian, but I really enjoyed the aesthetic of this outing.

Sun-AM: 2:03, 4500' ~ Handies
Up and down from Grouse Gulch. Nice mellow outing on tired legs. The 500' drop into American Basin is always a little less fun (as a climb) on the way back down.

Hours: 27h21min
Vert: 43,000'

A fun week exploring the Elk Range that was punctuated with the particularly satisfying traverse of the Grenadiers, something I've been wanting to do for a long time. This week I'll be pacing Joe at the Hardrock 100 on Friday, with hopefully a couple other San Juan adventures thrown in.

Looking at the traverse over to North Maroon Peak, Monday morning.
Goat on the summit of Pyramid Tue morning with the next day's objectives on the horizon--Snowmass & Capitol.
Vestal and Arrow Peaks as seen from the approach up the Elk Creek drainage Saturday morning.
Arrow Peak's NE face, the morning's first objective.
Vestal Peak's famed Wham Ridge (north face). Can't believe this one came out blurry. Dammit.
Starting up the iconic face.
Approaching the crux on the ridge.
Summit of Vestal, with Arrow behind.
Next up, West Trinity.
Looking back west along the line-up of five peaks, after having summited and mostly descended East Trinity.
Vestal and Arrow Peaks, from the northeast.


anna said...

I love looking at all your photos. You run in the most awesome places!

R. Logan Brooks said...

Beautiful look as always at some new scenery. God speed to Joe and yourself at Hardrock. He is primed for another go at the podium. Cannot explain how stoked I am to see your name on the list for UTMB! These next few months could stack up well when you look back upon them in 20 years.

Steve said...

Great pics. Have a great time at Hardrock. One equipment you use a MAC to download your XT7 watch or a windows based PC? I can't find any software for a MAC.

Dylan Bowman said...

Unbelievable! So, so sick.

I did the NW route on Pyramid this time last year (post-WS) and was in full pucker zone most of the way. You're an absolute freak.

Good luck to you and Joe this weekend. Wish I could be there.

mtnrunner2 said...

What a fantastic (!) week, I am so envious -- although I had fun in the Sangres.

The Bells always look heinous, and I'm not really looking forward to that when the time comes in my 14er rotation.

The Grenadiers, on the other hand, look fantastic. Still above my pay grade.

Jamie said...

Steve. I know the question was for Anton, but from what I've read, the XT7 does not have Mac compatible software. That's the primary reason I haven't bought it myself.

Steve said...

Thanks Jamie.

Unknown said...

Hi Anton, are you actually running in the 110's? or are you using new stuff? Thanks & keep it up!!!! you're the man!

Coolrunnings said...

Did you get to attempt Nolan's?

Anton said...

Steve - Hmmm...I don't think I own an XT7 watch. I use the (discontinued) Highgear Axio Max. SImple altimeter and stopwatch, don't download anything.

Jesus - Most of my running is in the 110s, but lately has been in a customized pair with a beefy toe rand on it. I also have been running in protos of the update to the 110 (110v2).

Unknown said...

Hi Anton! I was the lady who somewhat awkwardly asked for a picture with you and Joe in Cafe Mobius.... (I tried to figure out the least awkward way to approach y'all, but these things never play out as eloquently in reality as they do in your head....) My husband and I are escaping the Texas misery in this magical place and were excited to be able to be in town for the start of Hardrock this year as it is our dream run someday.

I wanted to take an opportunity to say what I wasn't able to get out in person. I wanted to say thank you. First of all, thank you for letting me steal a little of your time for a picture. I'm sure it's a little awkward being approached by total strangers like that. Most of all, thank you for being such an inspiration in the trail running community. Brandon and I both really respect and admire the way you approach running and living life. It is motivating to see someone who always strives for the best and yet takes such joy in what he does (of course, how can you not take joy in being in the mountains?). Again, thank you for the indulgence; it was an honor to have met you.

Summits said...

For the Maroon bells traverse did you stay on the ridge proper? Did the run yesterday, ended up on the left side of the ridge after the 1st sprier, only regaining the ridge proper after the third. Followed what I am assuming to be poorly placed cairns

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