Sunday, September 30, 2012

Week Summary: Sept 24 - 30

Mon- off, traveling to Spain.

Tue-AM: 1:34, 3500' ~ Pedra Forca
Drove with Dakota, Frosty, and Nuria to the foot of Pedra Forca near Baga (the start/finish town for Cavalls del Vent), which is a very dramatic rabbit-eared shape mountain whose base we run along during the race.  Ran to the summit--including some fun, optional scrambling on the excellent limestone--before descending between the rabbit ears on some not-optimal scree.  Really nice introduction to the Pyrenees.

Wed-AM: 1:20, 2700' ~ Refugi Sant Jordi
Ran from approximately km67 to km78 on the Cavalls course with Phillip Reiter, Emelie, and Frosty, which included the last two major climbs of the loop--a 600m (2000') run up a gorgeous canyon to the Refugi and then a small descent followed by a 200m (700') bop up to the final pass with incredible views of the cliff faces on the south side of the range.  Gloomy, humid conditions and all in all it was a gorgeous morning out. The first climb felt quite gradual, but the final bop will definitely have some hiking in it come race day. Really seems like it will be a mint course, judging from this small taste.

Thu-AM: 1:27, 2200' ~ Queralt Monastery
Ran up to the monastery on the mountains above Berga from the house and back down. Really nice mountains behind town with lots of trails, wish I could explore more.

Fri-AM: 0:34, 800' ~ Queralt Monastery
Drove up to the monastery with Anna and Dakota and went for a short, flattish out-and-back. Cool, gloomy day. Would be good weather for tomorrow, but it's supposed to rain all day, which is fine, too.

Sat-AM: 8:49, 19,600' ~ Cavalls del Vent 84K
2nd place, 7min behind Kilian. Both of us were under Miguel Heras' previous course record. Really cool to have Dakota round out the podium.  Pretty crazy bad weather conditions...only 183 of the 900 starters finished, many succumbing to hypothermia.

Sun-PM: off.  Wanna make sure I recover, but things feel fine except for my big toe joints. Weird.

Hours: 13h44min
Vert: 28,800'

Taper week in Spain leading up to Cavalls del Vent.  Not much else to say; the race went well.

The view from our house in Berga, at the foot of the Pyrenees.
Berga, from the Queralt Monastery high on the mountain.
Pedra Forca (Forked Rock?) outside of Baga.
Summit of Pedra Forca with Dakota, Frosty, Nuria and a Catalonian flag.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Week Summary: Sept 17 - 23

Mon-AM: 3:23, 7000' ~ Grand Teton (13,770')
Not many mountains are more inspiring than this one. Driving in early in the morning over from Dubois there was a crazy amount of smoke settled in the valley and I could barely see the peaks most of the way, but once I got, such proud summits. I'd heard there was some ice in the chimneys on the Owen-Spalding route, but conditions seemed perfect, so I figured I'd go give it a shot, even if I was turned around only a few hundred feet from the top.  Had pretty decent legs on the run up Garnet Canyon and the climb from the Lower Saddle to the Upper Saddle felt shorter than I remembered from July.  It was cold and blustery on the OS, though, and once in the chimneys there was indeed some ice, not to mention cold rubber that didn't seem to want to stick to the rock as well as I remembered, nor gloved hands that wanted to grip very well either.  I passed a couple of roped-up parties, but had the summit to myself, which was really nice. The descent went well and I mostly just enjoyed being in one of the more special ranges in the country.  Lost probably 6-7min roundtrip due to the ice in the chimneys, but I ascended in 2:08 and descended in 1:15.

Tue-AM: 8:46, 8700' ~ Gannet Peak (13,804')
One of my favorite days in the mountains this season. New FKT.

Wed-AM: 2:05, 4500' ~ Flatiron Trifecta+Green Mt.
After getting up at 5:00am to finish the final 3hr+ drive home from WY, I went straight to Chat and got on the rocks.  My legs were surprisingly minimally affected by yesterday's effort, so on my jog out of the parking lot I decided to hit all three flatirons.  The First went well with a reasonably quick 12:45 scramble and 3min downclimb. On the descent to the base of the Second I could definitely feel all of yesterday's boulder-hopping, but the scramble went well in 11:30.  More boulder-hopping over to the base of the Third, and I laced that in an only-10sec-off-PR 7:30 before a quick 5:50 downclimb. The march to the summit of Green was a bit of a slog, but I held it together and back down at Chat in 1:57 I rounded out the day's time with a mile of barefoot on the lawn there. Awesome morning.
PM: 1:18, 3000' ~ First Flatiron+Green Mt.
I was feeling lazy and just kept the whole outing leisurely with a 16:30 scramble and a mellow effort on the rest of the mountain. Amazing sunset from the top of Green, though.

Thu-AM: 4:37, 6500' ~ Audubon (13,233'), Paiute (13,088'), Toll (12,979'), Pawnee (12,943'), Shoshoni (12,967'), Apache (13,441'), Navajo (13,409')
Started from the Long Lake TH with Joe. Ran the 6min on road over to the Audubon TH and headed up the mountain. The pace seemed pretty mellow, but I could tell my legs were still pretty haggard from the past three days. I was really uncoordinated on the ridge traverse of boulder hopping from Audubon to Paiute, but seemed to find some dexterity on the descent down to the north ridge of Toll.  Mount Toll was awesome.  Joe and I located the sneaky ramp on the west side which ends in an even sneakier, exposed, cruxy step-across.  It doesn't look like it's going to go, but it does!  Which would become a theme of the day.  Pawnee was a simple talus walk-up, as was Shoshoni, but then the real fun began as we engaged the airy, sometimes loose 4th Class ledges of The Chessmen that guard the traverse over to Apache.  This section was magnificent, high above Isabelle Glacier and despite my low energy we were having an awesome day out.  The final climb from Dicker's Peck to the summit of Navajo looked quite intimidating, but for seemingly the dozenth time all day, once on the face it was actually very fun 4th Class with enjoyable route-finding and an impressive summit. From there we dropped into Airplane Gully (a plane crashed in there in 1943, there is still wreckage) and made our way back down to Lake Isabelle and the trail back to the car.  Awesome day out on some of the most fun, inspiring terrain anywhere.

Fri-AM: 2:02, 3200' ~ Third Flatiron+Green Mt.
Ran from Eben G. Fine Park up to Chat, scrambled the Third easy in 8:55, downclimbed the SW Chimney and tagged the summit of Green before descending Bear Canyon back to Chautauqua.  This has to be my favorite easy day loop, such a fun variety of terrain from flat running, to scrambling, to steep hiking, to fast descending through the canyon.

Sat-AM: 2:06, 3200' ~ Third Flatiron+Green Mt.
Ran up to Chat and then to the base of the Third, scrambled it in 8:35, downclimbed, grunted to the summit of Green and descended Bear Canyon again. The downclimb took 5min longer than yesterday because of the complete lack of sticky rubber on my shoes.  More exemplary fall weather, though.
PM: 1:05, 3000' ~ First Flatiron+Green Mt.
Awesome evening out on the hill where I PRed to the top of the First (22:32) by taking it easy to the base (11:42) and then PRing on the actual scramble (10:50 East Face). Did the downclimb in my usual careful 3:50 and then continued on to the summit of Green before running back down the front back to Chat.

Sun-AM: 2:14, 4700' ~ Flatiron Trifecta+Green Mt.
Ran up to Chat and then laced together the first three Flatirons in sequential order. I was feeling quite on point with the scrambling today and had East Face splits of 12:35, 11:10, and 7:55 for the First, Second, and Third, respectively. I still need to try Buzz's route on the Third of not crossing over the gulley at the beginning.  It does seem like it would be a lot faster. Continued on to the summit of Green after the Third before running back down to the Creek. Awesome last morning on the mountain for a few weeks.

Hours: 27h36min
Vert: 43,800'

This was the last week of hard training before heading overseas for Cavalls del Vent and the Otter Run, but I hardly viewed it that way.  Instead, I was just trying to cram in as much autumnal fun as I could knowing that conditions will likely have changed drastically in the high country by time I get back in mid-October.  So it goes, though, and I'm actually really looking forward to the change in seasons. CdV should be a ton of fun as I expect there to be a group of at least five really solid competitors going for it at the front of the pack (Kilian and Miguel, Dakota and myself, and Tofol Castaner), plus probably plenty of other legit but lesser-known Euros.  I'm excited for what is billed as a very tough course and my introduction to European mountain racing.

The Black Dike and Upper Exum Ridge (leading to the Grand Teton summit), as seen from the Lower Saddle.
Looking south from the summit of the Grand on Monday morning.
The view looking east from the summit of Gannet Peak.
On the summit of Shoshoni, considering my immediate future: Apache (center) and Navajo (far left). Photo: Joe Grant.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Week Summary: Sept 10 - 16

Mon-AM: 3:55, 5500 ~ Longs Peak (14,255')
Oy, quite the day on the hill with Joel. I wanted to show Joel the Kieners Route with the exhilarating and airy position you achieve on the Broadway traverse but with the Lambs Slide snow being in horrible late-season shape we decided to gain access to Broadway via Alexander's Chimney--an alleged 5.5 mixed route just to the right of Lambs Slide.  All in all, it was a terrible idea.  We started by gingerly climbing the Mills Glacier to the base of the wall, which was basically a conglomerate slab pitch of ice. Once on the wall there were some 4th Class slabs/cracks (definitely found some 5th Class in there, unfortunately) to get to the base of the chimney, which we then started up.  Being in the shade, and being September, the first pitch up to the chockstone held significant ice with more water running down.  We made it up, but it was sphincter-tightening to say the least. After spending some time re-warming ourselves on a sunny ledge we traversed over to a steep, left-facing dihedral with insane exposure. This was even more intimidating and took a couple tries. Above there was some easier terrain that led into the "Yellow Bowl" and a final left-facing dihedral that again was steep and hand-jammy.  More cruxing.  Reaching Broadway was never so wonderful.  After making the summit, Joel and I descended the North Face down to the top of the Cables Route, which we found, of course, to be completely iced in.  This 5.4 downclimb is usually almost brainless, but especially after our already hair-raising morning we had no nerves left to deal with the ice and trudged the 500' back to the summit to descend the standard Keyhole Route.

Tue-AM: 1:05, 2800' ~ Green Mt.
Did a headlamp ascent via the 3rd access route before spending all day in the Indian Peaks near Isabelle Lake for an Ultimate Direction photo/film shoot.
PM: 1:06, 3200' ~ Second Flatiron+Third Flatiron Minions Gathering
What a blast. Some friends were going to be putting in a hard car-to-car effort on the Third Flatiron, so I warmed up by first doing a quick lap on the Second.  After a little delay we headed up Bluebell Road and charged to the base of the rock.  I got there first (14:22) with Dave maybe 30sec back and Matt and Stefan in close pursuit.  I was moving well on the rock but was basically too anaerobic to go any harder and Stefan caught me right after the Kiddy Kar Ledge with Dave stepping on to the summit right behind me (22:22).  There were three rap ropes fixed on the top, so we all dropped off the back but Dave and I proceeded to get tangled and lost a bunch of took me a full 3min to rap the 200' to the ground (25:34).  After I finally got off the line, though, it was wing-suit time and I took off down through the boulderfield catching Dave and then Stefan down in the trees.  From there it was just an incredibly painful sprint back down to Chat for a 33:48 finishing time, a minute ahead of Dave.  Dave has the record at 33:17, and I like to think I would've been close without the tangling on the rappel, but that's all part of the fun!

Wed-AM: 2:17, 5300' ~ 2xGreen Mt.
Up and down the standard frontside route the first lap and then up the front and down the back on the second lap.  34min laps were slowed by the insistently falling rain making all of the rocks slick.  Felt like a very Fall day, that's for sure.  Good to get some consistent running in with solid vertical.
PM: 1:02, 2800' ~ Green Mt.
Up 3rd access and down front.  The continuing-to-fall rain and low clouds prevented any scrambling (wet rock), so just went for another lap on the hill, but a bit steeper line this time.

Thu-AM: 2:18, 5300' ~ 2xGreen Mt.
Two more laps on the mountain, but this time up the back and down the front for each. Managed 37min and 36min efforts this time on the slightly longer/more runnable Gregory-Ranger ascents.  Been a long time since I've done running repeats on Green, so these last two mornings have been really good.
PM: 1:03, 3000' ~ First Flatiron+Green Mt.
I was a in a bit of a hurry to get this in before the Reel Rock Film World Premiere, so had some extra incentive to get up the hill quick and ended up scrambling the First Flatiron in a PR 11:25, which was fun, before continuing on to the summit of the mountain.

Fri-AM: 2:39, 5000' ~ Longs Peak (14,255')
Got an early start up the hill and because I knew the Cables Route was iced in I used a combo of the Reveley Route up to the Boulder Field and the standard Keyhole route above there.  Descended the same way.  Didn't have particularly peppy legs after all the vert the last few days, but I did enjoy perfectly still, crisp conditions on the summit.  A small bit of snow and ice to deal with in the Trough and on the Homestretch.
PM: off - driving to Wyoming.

Sat-AM: 2:51, 4400' ~ Arrow Mt (11,678')
Started from the Trail Lakes TH outside of Dubois, WY, which is ~20min from my sister's house and also the start of the Glacier Trail, one of the standard (extremely long) approaches to Gannet Peak, Wyoming's highest peak at 13,804' (the Grand Teton is 13,770').  The run in up Bomber Basin was quite flat, and the mountain itself was fairly unimpressive, but the views of the Wind River peaks and glaciers surrounding Gannet were totally worth it, even with all the smoke in the air.

Sun-AM: 1:41, 3700' ~ Whiskey Mt (11,2xx')
A different trail/mountain from the same trailhead as yesterday.  This one was mercifully more steep and direct, though, and I was on top of the hill in just a few minutes over an hour.  There was so much smoke in the air, though, that my throat hurt. First easy-ish day I've taken in quite some time, but it was deliberate, as I'm planning on ticking probably Wyoming's two proudest peaks over the next two days: the Grand Teton on Monday and Gannet Peak on Tuesday.

Hours: 19h57min
Vert: 41,000'

This was a fun, varied week, with a couple tags of Longs, an incredibly painful sprint up and down the Third Flatiron on Tuesday, running laps of Green mid-week and then getting up to some new mountains by the end of the week.  I was pretty tired by the end of the week, but my multiple laps on Green have started re-building some confidence in my fitness and I'm really starting to look forward to Cavalls del Vent in a couple of weeks.  A big part of me is at least as inspired by getting out for as many mountain adventures as possible before the weather really turns.

About 20' below Broadway on Longs Peak. Final crux crack. Chasm Lake 1500' below... Photo: Joel Wolpert.
Longs Peak summit with the Loft in the background. Photo: Joel Wolpert.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Week Summary: Sept 3 - 9

Mon-AM: 2:02, 4000' ~ S. & N. Arapaho Peaks (13,397' & 13,502')
Slept at the 4th of July TH and took the standard avy gulley up to the ridge, hitting the south summit in 59:40 and making the traverse over to N. Arap in exactly 15min.  Both peaks were swirling in clouds and quite chilly with the strong west wind. Picked a good line on the way back down and generally had a lot of energy in the legs, which was nice after yesterday's slogging.
PM: 1:08, 3000' ~ First Flatiron+Green Mt.
Scrambled the First in 12:40 with a 4:15 downclimb...the wind was really howling up there which always makes the downclimb feel a lot sketchier.  Descended via NE ridge-SR-Amp.

Tue-AM: 2:01, 4500' ~ Flatiron Trifecta+Green Mt.
Tweaked it this morning to go 3rd-2nd-1st instead of the usual order.  I feel like going in descending order might be slightly faster for me.  Was psyched to get up the First in 13:05 with a 2:43 PR downclimb despite being in running shoes.  My climbing PR is a minute faster, but I was using approach shoe rubber.  Super dehydrated by the top of the First, so the trip to the summit of Green was a real slog.  Descended Greenman to Gregory which was a nice variation that I haven't hit in a long time.
PM: 1:19, 3000' ~ First Flatiron+Green Mt.
Got a relatively late start--7pm--so ended up descending mostly in the dark, which slowed things considerably.  New-ish shoes didn't seem to be sticking very well on the rock, so I only managed a 15:15 scramble of the First.  Funny, a week ago that would've been over a minute PR, so obviously can't complain too much. Incredible sunset.

Wed-AM: 1:18, 3000' ~ Third Flatiron+Green Mt.
Early morning because Joel wanted to catch the sunrise from the summit of the Third (lazy 9:30 scramble of the face). Kind of a sluggish downclimb, then marched to the top of Green before heading back down to Chat.
PM: 2:06, 4500' ~ Torreys (14,267') & Grays (14,270') Peaks
Took advantage of the impeccable fall weather and tagged this duo in the evening, heading up the Kelso Ridge to the summit of Torreys.  Started from my usual spot on the road at the beginning of the private property. Legs were really poppy at first but then I really struggled up Grays.

Thu-AM: 2:21, 4500' ~ Mt. Elbert (14,433')
My 23rd summit of the state's high point.  Jogged around to the backside of the mountain for an ascent of the West ridge and then descended the standard NE ridge.  Things were OK for 45min or so, but the 3000' in barely a mile up the back of the mountain was a monumental struggle; zero energy. Was extremely relieved to make it to the summit. Spent most of the rest of the day napping and eating food.

Fri-AM: 3:41, 7200' ~ Guanella Pass to Loveland Pass Traverse
This ~14mi line tags six summits: Square Top Mt (13,794'), Mt. Argentine (13,7xx'), Mt. Edwards (13,850'), Grays Peak (14,270'), Torreys Peak (14,267') & Grizzly Peak (13427'). It's an obvious line that I'd never thought of (indeed, I'd never even been to Guanella Pass before), and was motivated to get out by Ben Clark, who had clearly had this on his tick-list for a while and was interested in getting some footage.  We woke on Guanella Pass to sub-freezing temps and fresh snow on the surrounding peaks.  I very nearly wore tights and would've been a bit more comfortable all day if I had. Ended up in shorts, a long-sleeve, jacket, and gloves.  The summit of Square Top was completely enshrouded in clouds and we had no views to the extent that we first tried descending to the west-southwest and encountered incredibly high cliffs.  Soon enough we found the correct northerly ridge and made a treacherous snow-slick talus descent before climbing to Argentine. Somewhere around Argentine Pass the clouds finally lifted a couple hundred feet and we were able to enjoy some of the incredibly big views up there. Edwards was an easy slog with some nice ridge running between there and Grays.  I waited a long time on Grays for Ben and hunkered down in the talus as a squall of graupel/sleet blew through.  Shortly after that I decided it was time to get warm and I blitzed Torreys and Grizzly before rolling on the CDT back down to our shuttle car at Loveland Pass.  Fun day and some new peaks.

Square Top - ~:58
Argentine Peak - ?? (fog)
Argentine Pass - 1:40
Edwards - 1:59:45
Grays - 2:30:45
Torreys - 2:44:45
Grizzly - 3:12:15 

Sat-AM: 3:07, 5200' ~ Maroon Bells Traverse (14,156' & 14,014')
Slept at the Maroon Lake parking lot/TH and started from there in the morning.  Headed up West Maroon Creek first, meeting up with Joel at Crater Lake, and we took the South Ridge route up Maroon Peak. The 2800' of ascent from the valley to the ridge was some of the most enjoyable trail I've been on all summer--perfect footing, lovely grassy meadow, and a wonderfully steep hiking grade. There was some route-finding issues now and then on the technical stuff leading to the summit, but all in all it wasn't a very complicated mountain.  There was a mountain goat w/ a baby on top, though, and that was awesome.  Joel did some filming on this ascent that took some extra time (and that I didn't include in the running time).  The traverse from Maroon over to North Maroon definitely got my attention, though. The descent down to the saddle between the two (top of the Bell Cord Couloir) was quick but sketchy with loose choss on top of slabs.  From there, the route stays either right on the ridge or makes short traverses on ledges to the left, but more than once I wasted time attempting to traverse on sketchy ledges to the right because I wasn't sure what line was most efficient.  There were maybe two short dihedral/chimneys that required a couple of 5th Class moves, but overall it was pretty straightforward.  I will say I was glad to be traversing from south to north, as downclimbing a couple of those moves would've been slightly tricky. The north summit was a party, so I got out of there pretty quick and began the loose descent down the mountain's north ridge/east face.  Eventually the route turned into a pretty defined path and it was awesome cruising down the mountain on such a direct route.  Hooked back into the Buckskin Pass trail, took it down to Crater Lake and ran back to the Maroon Lake TH for a time of 3:07:58, not including the filming with Joel on the first peak.  Would love to come back and make a clean, no-stops run of this loop, it's a gem despite the loose rock.  With a more focused effort and now with some route-finding knowledge, I think it could definitely go under 3hr.

Crater Lake - 18:55
East Slope turn-off - 39:25
South Ridge - 1:22:00
Maroon summit - 1:44:50
Saddle - 1:50:55
N. Maroon summit - 2:10:45
Rock glacier exit - 2:39:15
Buckskin Pass Tr - 2:49:00
Crater Lake - 2:55:25
Parking Lot - 3:07:58

Sun-AM: 3:38, 5400' ~ Capitol Peak (14,130')
Slept at the Capitol Creek TH and started from there. Legs were a bit weak/tired this morning, but the Capitol Ditch trail is enjoyably flat for quite some time so I was able to slowly find a rhythm after a bit. Things were straightforward up to Capitol Lake at 11,500, but I was psyched to finally start gaining some elevation with the grunt up to the Daly saddle at 12,500'.  From here the route crosses over to the east side of the ridge and I stayed quite a bit higher than what is probably generally recommended, traversing through some brief, loose 4th Class terrain as I angled up towards K2, the small summit that signals the start of the ridge to Capitol itself.  The ridge over to Capitol ended up being more engaging and fun than scary, and with surprisingly solid rock given the crappy stuff that exists all around it. Route-finding from K2 back to the Daly saddle was easier on the way back and then it was just a matter of keeping a solid pace on the flats and rollers on the way back to the TH.  Incredible weather this weekend in the Elk Range, with plenty of leaves changing, too.  CO autumn at its finest.

Capitol Creek crossing - 30:30
Fence - 41:xx
Capitol Lake - 1:08
Daly saddle - 1:22:50
K2 - 1:49:20
Capitol summit - 2:08:40
K2 - 2:26
Daly saddle - 2:47:50
Capitol Lake - 2:53:30
Fence - 3:09
Capitol Creek - 3:16:20
Trailhead - 3:38:22

Hours: 22h41min
Vert: 44,300'

Kind of a weird week. My energy has been all over the place, probably from getting after it too quickly after Leadville, but it's really difficult when the mountains are right there, the weather is perfect, and snow is coming soon.  Some days I feel really fit, and other days I feel burnt out and needing a bit of a break.  We'll see.  I was really happy with my weekend in the Elks, though.  The rock there is pretty scary bad, but the scenery is off-the-charts.  I'd like to get back some time and link-up the Bells with Pyramid...I could've made that happen with some planning on Saturday, but I didn't know how difficult the Bells would or wouldn't be, so didn't want to bite off more than I could chew.  A more likely ambition would be to tackle the never (?) repeated traverse of the Elk 14ers that Neal Beidleman and partner put down back in the 1990s.  Nothing wrong with leaving some projects for the future...

Fresh snow on Bierdstadt and Evans Friday morning, from Guanella Pass.
Ridge traverse over to N. Maroon Peak as seen from Maroon Peak.
Looking back down to Maroon Lake. Photo: Joel Wolpert.
Capitol Peak sunset on Saturday evening.
Summit ridge of Capitol, including the knife edge.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Week Summary: Aug 27 - Sept 2

Mon-AM: 2:12, 3500' ~ 3rd Flatiron+Green Mt.
Up the Third and down Bear Canyon from the creek. Nice easy run. Easy scramble of the Third in 11min w/ a 10min downclimb and then coming down the canyon was a blast after not running that trail in a long while.  Nice to get in some sustained running. Legs feeling good.
PM: 1:00 ~ Creek Path+Kitt barefoot
Ran down to Kitt, did 2.5mi of barefoot and ran back. Legs felt good.

Tue-AM: 2:15, 4500' ~ Flatiron Trifecta+Green Mt.
Really solid morning for me with PRs on the climbs and downclimbs of each Flattie.  16:30 up the First, 3:50 downclimb; 11:20 up the Second (downclimb is trivial); 7:20 up the Third, 5:50 downclimb. Some days the shoes just seem to stick better than others, haha.  Started at finished at Eben G. Fine Park.
PM: 1:28, 3000' ~ Fourth Flatiron+Green Mt.
Ran from Chat and up the Royal Arch Trail to scope the Fourth with Joel. At first we got on the wrong rock, but after we found the right start, it was a lot of fun.  The Fourth is really three separate pieces of rock. The first section was my favorite--solid conglomerate, spicy angle with significant exposure, just enough techiness to keep one's attention. The second piece was a little dicy as we didn't get into the gash soon enough and ended up sweating through an exposed hand traverse.  Route-finding mistake. The final chunk mostly required negotiating an off-width crack and lots of trees/shrubbery.  Stepping off the top was also a touch trickier than I imagined.  This Flatiron lacks the clean aesthetic of the First and Third, but the summit is very close to the actual summit of Green Mt, so we ran up there quick to catch an incredible pink/blue sunset before making it back down to Chat just as the light really ran out.

Wed-AM: 2:04, 4500' ~ Torreys (14,267') & Grays (14,270') Peaks
Slept at the trailhead last night and then headed up this morning after giving Joel a headstart.  He met me on the Kelso Ridge, where we had to negotiate quite a queue on the very short section of knife-edge ridge.  Weather this morning was very fall-like--overcast and cool. Legs felt good.
PM: 1:00, 500' ~ Mineral Belt+barefoot
Cruised around on Leadville's bike path before doing a couple miles of barefoot. Crazy good sunset.

Thu-AM: 2:33, 5500' ~ Missouri Mt. & Mt. Belford (14,067' & 14,197')
Got an early start so that Joel would have good light for filming up on the ridge. First time I've approached Missouri from the Missouri Gulch TH, and it's a nice climb up to the ridge. Took my now-standard traverse on the southerly side of the East ridge to reach Elkhead Pass, but by staying as high as possible and actually getting back on the East ridge well before the pass, I was able to move more quickly than usual. Almost little bits of use trail in there, even.  Only 18min from the Missouri summit to the pass and then another 19min to the Belford summit.  Really fun descent from Belford back down to the TH in 32min. Really enjoying the transition of seasons; with pockets of golden aspen and the crisper mornings, it's beginning to feel a lot like fall.
PM: 1:02, 500' ~ Boulevard out 'n back (Leadville)
Tired legs felt better at the end. Raining.

Fri-AM: 1:51, 3500' ~ Quandary Peak (14,265')
Tired, so took it easy up and down after a 17min flattish warm-up on the road.
PM: 1:05, 3000' ~ First Flatiron+Green Mt.
Really fun evening on the mountain.  My legs were bricks this morning but had some solid pep this evening and I set a PR to the top of the First Flatiron (23:24) before downclimbing the SW face and continuing on to the summit of Green Mt. On the way back down the hill I passed by the base of the First downclimb so I could get a split from there back down to Chautauqua and ended up with a 9:16 descent.  Adding together the 11:20 it took me to get to the base (no warm-up), the 12:04 scramble of the East Face and the 3:10 downclimb, that would equate to a 35:50 car-to-car on the First.  I'll have to try it soon with a warm-up (so I can run faster on the approach) and get a true car-to-car time.

Sat-AM: 6:17, 12,000' ~ Glacier Gorge Traverse, RMNP
One of the most fun days I've had in the mountains this summer.

Sun-AM: 2:13, 4000' ~ 2nd+3rd Flatirons+Green Mt.
Started from Chautauqua and ran to the base of the Second, climbed it, stumbled down the boulder field over to the east bench of the Third, climbed it, and then continued on to the summit of Green before running back to Chat via Bear Canyon and the Mesa trail .  Legs were obviously pretty worked from yesterday, so I just jogged along most of the morning, trying not to catch a toe and face-plant.
PM: 1:05 ~ Creek Path+barefoot
Jogged over to Kitt Field, did some barefoot, and jogged back.

Hours: 26h05
Vert: 44,200'

The legs seemed to have mostly recovered from Leadville, so I was able to get some good mountain time this week.  The seasons are gradually changing in the mountains, though, with crisper mornings and yellower leaves all acting as reminders that summer doesn't last forever and soon enough getting into the high country will become a much more complicated endeavor.  I was very excited to have snuck in the Glacier Gorge Traverse still this season, though, and am already looking forward to hitting it again next year.

Left to Right: Pagoda, Spearhead, Arrowhead/McHenry's, Powell on the rim of the Glacier Gorge.