Monday, July 16, 2012


Words can't really describe the experience of Hardrock.  I will attempt a worthy race report sometime soon given a little time to process this whole thing.  My "race" ended in the early morning hours Saturday at Grouse Gulch (around Mile 60).  I am doing fine now.  Thank you to everyone who supported me.  Congrats to everyone who endured to kiss that rock at the finish line.  Hopefully, I will get another shot some day.

Getting instruction from my 6-year-old crew boss at Ouray.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Visiting the Lady in the Clouds

A summit of Mount Lady Washington (13281 feet) this morning.  I've run around this summit countless times on my way to Longs Peak and other destinations, so I thought it was time to finally pay the Lady a visit.  I've been told that the views from this summit, especially of Longs Peak, are amazing.  All I could see of Longs today is shown above.  I took the Keyhole route up past Granite Pass and almost to the Boulder Field before hanging a left and scrambling to the summit.  Actually two summits and I wasn't sure which was higher.  I visited both and found the summit register tube on the summit to the east.  Pretty fun up there in the clouds, still warm enough for a t-shirt.  I descended blindly through the fog shooting for the Chasm trail junction.  I ended up hearing waterfalls and navigating a bit of Class 4 downclimbing as I think I was getting closer to the Camel Couloir route to Chasm Lake.  Praying I wasn't going to do something stupid and injure myself five days before Hardrock, I steered to the left and got to some easier downclimbing, coming out on the Chasm Trail only about a quarter mile from the junction.

All systems go for Hardrock.  The dominant piece of advice I have received from several Hardrock veterans (including one I ran into on the trail today) is to GO SLOW.  I know I have gone out too fast on both of my previous 100's, so I am taking this advice to heart.  Besides, there is only one guy I have to beat.  I plan to be very efficient and will spend as little time at aid stations as possible.  Aid station time (or time not moving) has been a killer for me.  Since the conditions in those mountains can change in an instant, I will actually be carrying all of my needed gear with me.  I am only using a few drop bags for restocking my fuel.  No pacers and the only thing I ask of my crew (Deanne, Megan, and Madison) is to let me see their smiling faces a couple times, most importantly the finish line.  That's all the motivation I need.  We're leaving the Fort for Silverton Wednesday morning.  Look forward to seeing many of you there.

Pics from today:

The last time I ran in the San Juan Mountains (June 2009):

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

A Resource Saved

Watching the flames run down the hillside into Lory State Park three weeks ago, I feared for the worst.  While the devastation of the now contained High Park Fire will never be forgotten, at least our wonderful trails within Lory State Park remain.  In fact the Timber Trail served as the fire break with no burn ever crossing it.  Great work firefighters!

For about the mile leading up to the Timber and Kimmons Trail junction, burnt grass and shrubs border the trail.

The burn doesn't hit the trail again until near the top of the climb in the forest approaching the Westridge Trail junction.  Only about a quarter mile section of trail up there.

The fire retardant leaves a nice reddish tint (and odd smell) for now in places, but will only be temporary.  The stuff seemed to work.  While the same can't be said for some 87,000 acres, the landscape within Lory State Park and its neighbor Horsetooth Mountain remain almost entirely the same.

Monday, July 2, 2012

June Summary

The June numbers:
220 miles with 47335 feet of climbing

Trail (12 runs) 143 miles, 45835 feet, 44 hours
Treadmill (5) 44 miles, 1500 feet, 6 hours
Road (3) 21 miles, 3 hours
Track (2) 12 miles, 2 hours
Weight room (4), 3 hours
Rest days (8)

58 total hours

I was a bit shocked to see that I was over 200 miles this month.  Less than half the vertical as Mr. Jaime, but still pretty good.  In a month filled with fires, smoke, trail closures, and a sprained ankle, I think I did about all I could do.  I did spend a lot of time above the timberline, which was the biggest goal of this month.  While it's been triple digit temperatures at home, the weather in the alpine has been spectacular.

Eleven days to Hardrock.  Taper?  I guess since I dropped any real speedwork and the weight room since crunching the ankle, the taper really started in mid-June.  Otherwise, I'll continue with some leisurely trail running and climbing until leaving for Silverton next Wednesday.  Can't wait!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

In Search of Clark's Arrow

Legend has it that sometime in the early years of Rocky Mountain National Park (park opened in 1915) a park ranger by the name of John Clark painted a white arrow enclosed in a circle high on a west-facing rock.  This arrow was to guide climbers to a passageway from the Keplinger Couloir over to the Loft, the expansive saddle between Longs Peak and Mount Meeker.  My task on Saturday morning was to find the historical graffiti.  From the center of the above photo, you can see Clark's Arrow still remains.

I actually came to the arrow from the reverse direction, having already climbed up to the Loft from Chasm Lake and visiting the Meeker summit.  Upon reaching the seldom-used Keplinger route it was a matter of looking back over my shoulder to find the famed rock marking.  Continuing with the history lesson, the Keplinger route was navigated by John Wesley Powell on the first recorded summit of Longs Peak in the 1860s.

Another perfect morning in the high mountains.  I joined the masses after summitting Longs and made a personal descent record for the Keyhole route (now completely free of snow and ice).  I caught up with another runner about 2 miles from the trailhead (don't see too many people running up here).  It turns out I will be running with Eric again in 2 weeks as he will be one of the "lucky" ones toeing the starting line with me at Hardrock.

Photos from the day:

Investigated this route to Loft

Aborted mission near the top

The "easy" Loft route across the glacier

Meeker summit with Longs looming in the background

Pagoda as viewed from Keplinger

Looking west from Keplinger

Keplinger approach to Longs

Another Longs summit