Sunday, June 24, 2012

Indian Peaks, Fires, and 14:46

Took the classic tour of the Indian Peaks Wilderness this morning via the Buchanan Pass/Pawnee Pass loop.  This run is certainly deserving of a blog post on its own, but it seemed to fade in comparison to all the wild events of the weekend.

Congrats to Timothy Olsen (14:46) and Ellie Greenwood (16:47) on their record-breaking perfomances Saturday at Western States.  It is truly unbelievable how the level of competition in this sport has exploded over the last couple of years.  Top 10 men 16:18 or better?!  These guys and gals are freakin' athletes!  Is there some way we can make mountain ultrarunning an Olympic sport?  I don't know if anyone in the world could have beaten Tim or Ellie yesterday.

While it was cool at Western States yesterday, it's been far from that here in Colorado.  The whole darn state seems to be burning up now.  As I was running through the gorgeous old-growth forests around the Indian Peaks today I couldn't help but think how quickly it can all change.  We did get rain from a thunderstorm here in Fort Collins tonight.  I hope some of that rain made it over the burn area.

I picked a terrible day to forget my camera, but I was able to capture some of the awesomeness of this loop with my cell phone.  Felt pretty good today until getting done and realizing this was only about equivalent to running from Silverton to Telluride at Hardrock.  D'oh!

Buchanan/Pawnee Loop GPS data here
26.33 miles with 7295 feet of climbing

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Catching Air on Mount Meeker

I didn't know I could fly until today.  The winds were literally lifting me off the ground at times.  After having my fill of Longs Peak and the Keyhole Route already (it did land me a nice new blog header pic courtesy of a recent RMNP trail condition report), I decided to take on Longs sister peak, Mount Meeker.  From Chasm Lake, I headed up through the Iron Gates to Meekers northeast ridge.

The "Iron Gates"
The Iron Gates were like a wind tunnel with gusts unlike any I have ever experienced up there before.  After gaining the ridge I made the quarter mile or so scramble up to Meeker's eastern summit which can't sit more than 10 or 20 feet lower than the true summit (13,911 feet) to the west.  My plan was to hike the knive's edge between the two summits and then return via the Loft.  There was no way I was crossing through that exposure today.  I probably would have been launched somewhere across the Wild Basin.  So I just returned back down the Iron Gates, picking the trail back up by Chasm Lake.  Running down from Chasm Lake, now with an incredible tailwind, I got airborne several times.  It was kind of fun except I didn't always land very well.  I haven't got this bloody from a run in quite a while.  Really rolled my left ankle hard once and it's sort of looking like a watermelon now.  Oh well, almost 4 weeks until Hardrock.  It will be fine.  I would say all of the routes around the Longs Peak Massif are up for the taking now.  Let the fun begin.

The High Park Fire isn't going away any time soon.  Thanks to all the firefighters who are working their butts off under the toughest conditions imaginable.  Today's 95 degrees and wind ain't helping.

Here are some assorted pics from the day:

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Here we go again

The view from our neighborhood (Horsetooth Rock on the left side).  The High Park Fire is the fire that we all knew could happen, and unfortunately is happening.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Longs Peak Spring Summit

Yeah, I know it is almost summer but for the many times I have summitted our local 14er, I've never been to the top before mid-July (or after mid-September).  The Keyhole Route is actually all clear up to the Keyhole with some ice and snow to navigate on the last mile to the summit.  The Trough being the worst of it.

The "Trough"
The mountain is certainly climbable without ice climbing gear.  I did talk with a ranger up scouting the conditions and he said he wouldn't attempt the Loft Route yet without crampons and an axe.

So I ended up making a decent push up to the Keyhole (exactly 2 hours), but was well over 2 hours round-trip from there to the summit and back, including some time up there soaking it all in on a beautiful morning.  Almost 6 hours total for the trip.  I took it pretty conservative up and down the Trough so not to end up a pancake some 2000 feet below.

Some summit photos:

As I was slogging up the Boulder Field, I happened to glance up and made a Krupicka sighting.  Tony must have been testing some New Balance hover shoe prototype because I swear he was floating over the boulders.  He was making it look way too easy.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

2012 Nick Seaman 5K

Congrats to Madison for running her first 5K!  We had a great turnout this morning at the Nick Seaman 5K benefitting RamStrength.  This was the 3rd running and 2nd since Nick lost his battle to testicular cancer last spring.  I'm sure Nick was smiling down on the event today seeing so many kids out being active on a beautiful morning.  Over $8000 raised for a great cause.  Also congrats to Rocky Mountain High School for sporting the most runners and bringing home the Stanley Cup-ish Nick Seaman trophy to display at their school for the next year.

I had the pleasure of pacing my wonderful daughter Madison to the finish of her first 5K race.  She ran a 10 minute mile at school recently and was raring to go for it.  We brought it to the finish in just over 40 minutes even with our casual, almost "ultra-like", aid station stops.