Sunday, May 27, 2012

Week Summary: May 21 - 27

Mon - off. Traveling back from Spain.

Tue-AM: 1:01, 3000' ~ 2nd Flatiron+Green Mt. w/ Joe
Mostly running, except for the obvious scrambling bits. So good to be back on the mountain despite the jet lag.

Wed-AM: 1:43, 5000' ~ Cameron Cone
Rallied down to COS w/ Joe after a jetlag-induced early rise and ran up and down what is becoming one of my favorite in-town peaks anywhere. Taking 1:06 from Hydro Street on Ruxton, it's a pleasingly direct way to get to nearly 11,000'. Shin felt great.

Thu-AM: 1:23, 3000' ~ Green Mt.
Took the 3rd access route up, but then descended Bear Canyon back to Chautauqua, with Joe. Was pretty disappointed to see the newly-rerouted trail down to Bear Canyon...if I wanted that kind of meandering, flat carpet I'd live in California...

Fri-AM: 1:24, 3000' ~ 2nd Flatiron+Green Mt.
Jetlag had me up at 4:30am, so I had to wait for it to get light before heading up the mountain. Descended Ranger and Flagstaff, which is the first time I've done that in ages; running is so fun.

Sat-AM: 4:15, 8500' ~ Ten Mile Traverse
Parked at the Mt. Royal TH just off of I-70 in Frisco with Joe and ran the traverse north to south, tagging every peak along the way.  Really fun techy stuff from Peak 1-4 and then lots of open alpine meadow.  The final 1000' bop to 13,633' Peak 10 was a giant struggle up a talus slope, but worth it for the glissade off the east face.  Shin felt solid all day.

Sun-AM: 2:25, 4500' ~ Mt. Elbert
Joe and I ran from our campsite on Halfmoon Creek, very near the proper Elbert TH. Started off by running the 2mi+ west to the 110J forest road turn-off, crossed the creek and headed another 2.5mi uphill until reaching the cairn at ~11,400' and striking east directly uphill, gaining Elbert's West Ridge and taking it directly to the summit. This line is ~1.5mi and 3000'. Ouch. We were both quite haggard today (predictably), but it was :26 from Halfmoon Creek to the cairn and another :58 from the cairn to get to the summit.  Descended Elbert's NE ridge in :37 to finish off the morning. The first of hopefully many, many Nolan's 14 scouting outings. After doing a climb like that, though (3000' of talus and scree), the mind reels at linking 14 of those things together in one go...


It's really good to be back in the high country.  The energy is different up here, for sure.  The turn-around in my shin was definitely promoted by my time in La Palma and Spain, though.  Salomon's team doctor was kind enough to see me a couple of times, and that, combined with the general positive energy of that trip, seems to have affected a more permanent improvement in my shin.  Things are still slightly precarious, though, and I think I'll have to carefully monitor things for some time still.

Though I suspect most have already seen it, I also recently wrote a post about some of my time abroad over on the Ultimate Direction blog.

Volcanic scree on La Palma. The Frenchies know how to have fun.  Photo: Jean-michel Faure-vincent.
Descending from Pico de Bejenado on La Palma. Photo: Joe Grant.
Proper steep in the National Park on La Palma. Photo: Joe Grant.
Mt. Royal and the rigs in Frisco.
Summit of Peak 1 with the rest of the line stretching out behind me.
Proper tech between Peaks 2 and 3. Photo: Joe Grant.
Summit of Elbert this morning.
Joe on the final pitch of the West Ridge of Elbert.
The Nolan's line descends over Bull Hill (right center) before ascending La Plata (high point on horizon). Intimidating.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Week Summary: April 30 - May 6

Mon- off.  Last day in Missoula, MT for Unbreakable screening.  Really great turn-out last night, nearly 700 enthusiastic Montanans.

Tue-AM: 1:06, 2500' ~ Green Mt.
Up and down 1st Saddle. All hiking, really nice to get back on the mountain after four days completely off in MT.

Wed-AM: 1:32, 3000' ~ 2nd Flatiron+Green Mt.
Up 2nd Flatiron, down 1st Saddle. 7:40 PR on the 2nd scramble, shin was noticeably improved from yesterday but then my stomach was completely off on the way down the mountain (hence the extra 20min or so of hiking) and I spent much of the rest of the morning with some sort of quickly-passing bug.

Thu-AM: 1:14, 3000' ~ Green Mt.
Up 3rd, down 1st Saddle. All hiking, but shin felt encouragingly solid.

Fri-AM: 2:22, 4500' ~ Cameron Cone
Parked below the Cog in Manitou Springs and then hiked up and down the mountain with Joe. Really great "in-town" mountain with the non-trivial summit altitude of 10,700'. Great mix of terrain with good trail in spots and all-fours scrambling in others. Massage for the shin with Elke Reese afterwards.

Sat-AM: 1:17, 3000' ~ 2nd Flatiron+Green Mt.
Up 2nd Flatiron, down 1st Saddle. Really great hike with a PR 6:45 scramble of the 2nd.

Sun-AM: 2:06, 4500' ~ Mt. Elbert
Up and down NE Ridge with Joe. Casual 10am start, but it was borderline summer conditions with only a few steps of snow the whole way. Summit was, unfortunately, clouded in and chilly, but otherwise a stellar morning. Can't wait to get back from Spain and move up there for the summer.

Hours: 9h37min
Vert: 20,500'

This morning Joe and I rallied up to Leadville for a high summit.  I had to get a taste of the high country before I move up there in two weeks (post-Canary Islands/Spain) for the summer.  Leadville as a summer base is an easy place to hate when one is presented with the completely open possibilities that I currently have (why not Silverton? Aspen? Telluride? Crested Butte?), but I have many intricate ties to the area and nostalgia and sentimentality is powerful.

So is thin air. Some people have trouble recovering, even sleeping, above 10,000' but I've always felt I've thrived at the higher altitudes, gaining as much psychic and emotional strength as physical from the alpine environment.  Plus, there's a just-right coffeehouse, no condos, a community that fully embraces all manner of mountain endurance sport and plenty of free camping.  And only two hours from the more civilized environs of Boulder.

This morning's ascent of Elbert included only a smattering of steps of snow just below treeline and as-ideal-as-can-be-expected early May summit conditions.  I took the liberty of some running on the descent (painfree!), but am committed to returning to primarily hiking for the next couple of weeks overseas; I want to be able to run the next time I'm back up there in a couple of weeks.


All photos: Joe Grant.