Monday, December 23, 2013

Dec 16 - 22

Mon-AM: 1:31, 1300' ~ Collinsville out and back
Ran the roads from Joel's Dad's house in Connecticut. Really enjoyed this run for some reason even though it was cold and 100% on pavement. Nice climbs in and out of the Farmington River valley.

Tue-AM: 0:31, 200' ~ Avon, CT
About +10F and snowing. Just a quick road spin in the morning before we drove down to NYC for the film screening that evening.

Wed-PM: 1:55, 4300' ~ Bear & Green
Had an early morning flight back from NYC, so when I got back to Boulder I immediately headed to Chautauqua with Joe to revel in the stunning +60F weather. So good to be back in the mountains, grunting up steep hills, in the evening light.

Thu-AM: 2:15, 4500' ~ Bear & Green
From my apartment, then the usual loop up Fern, down the West Ridge, and then up and over Green. Still nice and warm in the morning.

Fri-AM: 2:18, 4500' ~ Bear & Green
Same exact run as yesterday except that I finished by descending Flagstaff. Also, there was an awesome inversion layer of clouds that I climbed out of at approximately the Nebelhorn in Fern Canyon and then descended back into while coming back down Flagstaff Mt. Flew to Seattle in the afternoon.

Sat-AM: 3:07, 5600' ~ Mt. Teneriffe & Mt. Si
With Martin. Parked at the schoolbus turnaround (I think) and ran up to the Kamikaze Waterfalls and then marched up the super-aesthetic SW ridge of Teneriffe on a fantastic goat path. Such a perfect line. The last couple thousand feet of vert had snow on it with some real postholing near the ~4800' summit. I was surprised at how sweet the summit was; big drops in all directions. Descended pretty blindly down through the snow and trees and fog trying to hit a certain logging road. Eventually found it and commenced the shin-deep snow slog over towards Si. We ended up missing a turn and descending the logging road an extra 500' of vert (and 25min or so) but eventually realized our mistake and made our way back up and over to Si, another surprisingly aesthetic summit, but not much to see in all the clouds. The descent down the super-popular Mt. Si trail back to the road was a total shred-fest, so smooth and a perfect grade for running hard. Ran the extra mile+ on the road back to our car to finish off the outing. Longest run I've done since UTMB and I came away with a much greater appreciation for the Seattle area's mountain offerings.

Sun-AM: 2:08, 1500' ~ Seattle urban trails
Group run from the Fleet Feet store. Went all over the city, connecting all sorts of great little pieces of trail and hitting Pioneer Park, Volunteer Park, and the Arboretum. I think. Classic foggy/misty weather. I had an extra 30min or so of running getting to and from the store from my hotel.

Hours: 13h45min
Vert: 21,900'

Really solid week, especially considering all the traveling. I'm still just trying to find a rhythm in my training again, but it's great feeling that at least the energy is there to do it. I'll admit, I ended up being a bit surprised by Seattle. I was treated to the classic misty/foggy gloom of winter there, but I was very impressed with the mountains that are available not unreasonably far from the city center. Back when I was first inspired by ultras (the late 90s and early 2000s), Seattle was this almost mythical place in my mind where it seemed all the sport's best lived and trained. Jurker, Hal, Torrence, McCoubrey, Uli, Kochik, the whole Seattle Running Company scene, etc., etc., etc….in high school I would read about Scott doing repeats on Mt. Si or traversing the summits of Tiger in preparation for Western States and it would fuel my curiosity for the sport. What could it be like to do a 35mi/10,000' training run? As such, it was pretty cool to finally get out there and see some of the hills and paths myself. It seems like the Cascades themselves really deserve some attention during the summer season as well, at some point.

Heublein Tower on Talcott Mt in Connecticut from last weekend. Photo: Joel Wolpert.
Metacomet Trail on Talcott Mt in Connecticut. Photo: Joel Wolpert.
NYC Subway. Photo: Joel Wolpert.
Martin postholing just below the summit of Mt. Teneriffe.
Martin on the summit of Teneriffe.
The "haystack" that makes up the summit of Mt. Si.
Descending the idyllic standard Mt. Si trail.
Martin super-psyched to be at the trailhead after suffering an epic bonk.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Dec 9 - 15

Mon-AM: 2:04, 4300' ~ Bear & Green
Ran from Chat with Joe. Up Fern, down the West Ridge of Bear, and then up and over Green before completing the loop. Great day out in perfectly-packed snow conditions.

Tue-AM: 2:07, 4300' ~ Bear & Green
Same exact run as yesterday with Joe again, but today the wind had blown in all the trails making for pretty miserable footing the whole way. Warm enough to be out in shorts, though, which was a treat given the past week-plus of frigid temps.

Wed - 0
Ended up being a day off after an early flight and long day of travel. I was okay with that as my achilles has been a little tight.

Thu-AM: 1:06, 1200' ~ Trapp Family Lodge, Stowe VT
Parked at the lodge and did an out and back on pretty deserted dirt/snow roads. +8F temps. Slippery snow was tough on the achilles and soleus.

Fri-AM: 1:16, 1000' ~ Blue Hills, Boston MA
Met up with Mike, Seamus, Josh, Eric, and Sam for a spin around this trail system near the city. Snow, cold, and icy but lots of fun with enthusiastic tour guides.

Sat-AM: 1:24, 1300' ~ Avon, Connecticut
Ran some streets and snowy trails with Joel. Achilles seems to be feeling a bit better, which is nice. Cold and snowing.

Sun-AM: 1:49, 1300' ~ Talcott Mt, Connecticut
Out and back on the Metacomet trail starting from Reservoir #6 and going past the Heublein Tower on the way to Highway 185, and back. With Joel. Plowing/postholing through ~8" of fresh, crusty snow. Fun outing.

Hours: 9h46min
Vert: 13,400'

Decent week, considering being on the road. My body seems to be re-adjusting to being a runner again---various familiar aches and pains are working their way through---and all this time away from home has me more motivated than ever to get back and get into a fitness-building routine. I'm really really excited about 2014. Having said that, I'm almost always pleasantly surprised by the running options I'm offered when I'm on the road, and this past week I enjoyed getting a small taste of what the northeast has to offer. After this trip, my interest in the Mt. Washington Road Race and a Presidential Range Traverse in New Hampshire is certainly piqued.

Before I can really get into a consistent routine, however, there are two more stops I need to make: Tuesday evening at the Symphony Space in Manhattan, and next Saturday and Sunday at Fleet Feet in Seattle. Should be good.

Finally, I need to mention a congratulations to Dan Kraft for a break-out 4th-place run on a big stage at the TNF50 Championships last weekend. Dan is the latest promising MUT runner to come out of Colorado College (my alma mater) in the last few years, following on the heels of Alex Nichols and Stevie Kremer. Alex and Dan have both paced/crewed for me at the Leadville 100, and Stevie was the same year as me at CC. Dan had previously had impressive runs at the Imogene Pass Run (17mi) and Bridger Ridge Run (20mi) in both 2012 and 2013, so it was super cool to see him flawlessly step up to the 50mi distance. It looks like XC Coach Ted Castaneda's Monday mountain runs have had a lasting impact on more than one runner.

Descending Green Mt on Monday with Joe. Photo: Joe Grant.
Boston jaunt in the Blue Hills Friday morning. Photo: Sam Jurek. 
Top of the run with the full crew: Mike, Josh, Eric, and Sam (and Seamus behind the camera).
Headed back to the car. Photo: Sam Jurek.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Dec 2 - 8

Mon-AM: 0:32, 500' ~ Sunshine Canyon
Out and back on the basically flat trail that goes up the Canyon. Still clearing some congestion out of my sinuses and still mostly deaf (ear infection that caused blisters on my ear drums), but I could tell that the run wasn't doing any harm.

Tue-AM: 0:44, 1200' ~ Sunshine-Red Rocks
Just a loop up the canyon and back up over the hill. First foray into some vert felt good. I love running.

Wed-AM: 1:34, 1800' ~ Sanitas
Took the back way up Sanitas in the -5F temps and fresh snow and then finished up with a big loop on the streets to extend the time. I forgot how much I love running in winter.

Thu-AM: 1:31, 3000' ~ Green
Ran to Chat and then up and down the mountain. More cold weather and snow, tons of fun.

Fri-AM: 1:34, 3000' ~ Green
Another lap on Green, pretty much exactly the same as yesterday except the route was a little more packed.

Sat-AM: 1:58, 3200' ~ Green
Up the mountain and then down Bear Canyon and back to Chat before running home. But these inversion layers make it super cold after descending the mountain.

Sun-AM: 1:58, 3200' ~ Green
Exact same run as yesterday but it was noticeably warmer than the last few days at +12F. Funny how 15 degrees can make things feel so much more comfortable.

Hours: 9h51min
Vert: 15,900'

Such a relief to start back running this week and finally feel that my legs are back under me for the first time since UTMB. Running is so much fun.

The Hardrock lottery on Saturday was, of course, a disappointment for me---I'd be so psyched to join that field at the front---but so it goes. As such, my 2014 plans have solidified a little more. I'm planning on heading out to Moab in February for the early season classic Red Hot 55K as a tune-up before the 125K Transgrancanaria on March 1st. I haven't decided about April yet, but I very much expect to race Transvulcania in May, maybe Zegama, and then probably another crack at Nolans 14 in June before Speedgoat and UTMB in July and August. TGC, Nolans, and UTMB will be the focus efforts for the year.

This next week, I'm heading out to the northeast with Joel Wolpert for a trio of "In The High Country" film screenings in:
Burlington, VT (11th)
Boston (13th)
New York City (17th)
Click the links for ticket information.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Looking Back, Looking Ahead

What a weird summer. After spending the last month of summer in Europe, the night I returned was the beginning of the torrential rains here in Boulder and the next night I was evacuated from my apartment. Honestly, other than losing electricity in my apartment for over a week, I was personally essentially unaffected by the deluge that tore apart the northern Front Range of Colorado. Many people's lives were---if not completely torn apart---at least massively disrupted. I feel fortunate, especially considering the location of my home on the west side of town at the mouth of Boulder Canyon only a few dozen yards from the creek.

In the wake of the destruction and subsequent closure of all of Boulder's iconic open space, I escaped north last week to visit my sister in Wyoming. She and her husband (and my three week old nephew!) live only a 1hr20 drive from the Lupine Meadows Trailhead, so any time I'm up there it feels like a crime if I don't drive over for some fun in Teton National Park.

As I drove into the valley I was treated to a spectacular display of alpenglow on the high peaks, but they were also shrouded in thick clouds and a fresh coat of snow reaching all the way down to 8500' or so. Scrambling the perpetually iced-up chimneys of the Grand Teton's Owen-Spalding route is tenuous enough in splitter conditions, so I quickly changed my plans to instead run maybe the most classic trail loop in the park---a link-up of Cascade Canyon and Paintbrush Canyon via the Paintbrush Divide. From my parking spot at Lupine Meadows, this ~25mi outing on buffed trails would hopefully test my compromised achilles and hamstring but not hurt them.

Fall colors in Cascade Canyon.
The first time I ran this loop was seven years ago, July 2006. I had yet to run an ultra of any kind, but I was in the midst of a six-week gap between the end of college classes and the beginning of a new job so had lots of time to run in the mountains. A friend was driving to Montana to visit family, so I tagged along, sharing the driving and having her drop me in the park for a few days of running and camping, to be picked up again on her return to Colorado.

I'd visited the Tetons with my family 10 or 12 years earlier, but this was my first time as a runner.  On my first foray up Paintbrush Canyon, I was surprised and a bit dismayed to encounter significant snowfields still covering the trail high up in the canyon. Back home in Colorado, I'd been running to 14,000' without snow for almost a month, what was this? Despite this, I completed the loop the next day as well, in the opposite direction, and came away from the week with a couple conclusions: 1) I really enjoyed really long runs in the mountains (these outings were only the third or fourth times I'd run for more than 4hr), and 2) the Tetons were not your typical Colorado talus heaps. They held snow a lot longer and featured an abundance of dramatic granite faces, spires and ridges. It would be a puzzling six years before I made it back to the Tetons, but in that time I had made good on my resolution to try out this whole mountain ultra running thing. It's funny how much things can change in a relatively short amount of time.

A ray of sunlight breaks through the low clouds in the North Fork of Cascade Canyon.
As it would turn out, last week's run of Cascade and Paintbrush Canyons in the Tetons was a nice trip down memory lane, but it wasn't very good on the physical side of things. I had no energy on the long, gradual uphill into the clouds and snow on the Paintbrush Divide, and once I headed downhill, it became obvious that my hamstring was nowhere near being able to comfortably handle an outing of this length, with that much continuous running. And the next morning, my achilles was frustratingly tight, clearly upset with the longer effort. The injuries that caused my drop at UTMB were still lingering and my energy levels had also seemed to descend into the end-of-summer malaise that I predictably experience every September/October. The only sensible thing to do was to take more time off, so I did.

Despite not being ready to race at UROC this past weekend, it was still a lot of fun chasing the leaders from aid station to aid station and watching the action unfold. I found the men's podium performances to be particularly inspiring and I can't wait to get back out there. While the mountains will always be my primary motivation, racing is an aspect of running that I really enjoy---I simply love competing, laying it all out there, and going as hard as I can, and you never get as much out of yourself as you do when you're amongst it, being pushed by your fellow competitors.  This summer has left me quite unsatisfied on the competitive front, so I'm pretty motivated to pursue that next year.

Today marked one full month since UTMB, and in that month I only ran 10 times, taking two weeks completely off after the race. An hour jog this morning revealed some exciting pep in my legs, though, and with the First Flatiron finally being re-opened over the weekend (oddly, all trails and climbing was closed due to flood damage), I couldn't resist summiting this afternoon in the magnificent fall weather.

Downclimb on the backside of the First Flatiron. Photo: Joe Grant.
Before I begin training in earnest, however, later this week I'll be hitting the road for a spate of screenings of In The High Country.  I'll jog my way through that, but when I return it will have been six weeks since UTMB and I know I'll be super excited to begin ramping the training back up in earnest and hopefully start re-building some fitness. 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Aug 12 - 25

Mon - 1:52, 3000' ~ First Flatiron+Green Mt.
Got up early enough that I had to wait about 5min at the base of the First for it to get light enough to climb it. Pretty slow ascent, then, but good to get it in before getting on a plane to France. Descended over Flagstaff back to my apartment.

Tue - off.
Wanted to go for a jog in Les Houches in the afternoon/evening to shake off the jet-lag, but I was suffering temporary semi-blindness from unknowingly putting hydrogen peroxide in my eyes. Don't do that.

Wed - 2:07, 5000' ~ Brevent, Chamonix
Cruised up and down the local hill with Joe. The last 1000' or so were in a cloud, so it was quite chilly and the big views across the valley to the Mt. Blanc massif were obscured. Thankfully, my eyes seem to have recovered despite waking with them crusted shut.

Thu-AM: 8:25, 14,000' ~ Les Houches to Courmayeur, UTMB course
The BUFF house is just outside of Les Houches, 2mi from the base of the Voza climb on the UTMB course, so Joe and I started our tour around the mountain from there.  Overall, the day went really well---there were a few navigational errors on the descent into St. Gervais, but otherwise it was just a great day in the mountains, ~45mi or so. I was more than a little surprised at the smooth, gradual nature of almost the entire track, however. This is definitely a running race.

Fri - 5:00, 9000' ~ Courmayeur to Champex-Lac, UTMB course
Met Seb Chaigneau, Timmy and Krista outside the bus station in Courmayeur for our 29mi run over to Champex. Seb and I ran together all day, enjoying epic views of the backside of the Mt. Blanc massif much of the way. Got another room in a hostel in Champex that night. Pretty cush way to do a multi-day outing.

Sat - 4:29, 6000' ~ Champex-Lac to Chamonix, UTMB course
I woke up today with a gimpy hamstring, so just jogged easily back to Chamonix. Ended up taking the wrong climb out of Trient (went up to La Balme instead of Catogne), which meant I missed the final climb up to Flegere as well. Interestingly, I found this final 29mi of the course to be the most to my liking out of the whole loop. More steep, direct climbs and descents with less gradual terrain in between than earlier in the course.

Sun - off. 
Left achilles and right hamstring were pretty dinged up, so decided to just take a day and make sure I recover.

Hours: 37,000'
Vert: 21h53min


Mon - off.

Tue - :31, 250' ~ Les Houches
Just jogged into Les Houches to test out my legs. Things are loosening up.

Wed - 2:16, 5100' ~ Brevent
Up and down this 8300' peak on the north side of the Chamonix valley. Took it easy just testing out my legs and dabbled in a little via feratta on the way up, nothing too interesting, though. It was a gorgeous day, however, and I was granted spectacular views over to the Mont Blanc massif that were obscured when Joe and I ran up here last week.

Thu - 6:08, 13,000' ~ Mont Blanc
Up and down the Gouter route, starting at the bottom of the Glacier du Bionassy/Bellivue Telepherique in Les Houches at 3300'. With a 15,781' summit and a few rollers along the way, it was a big vert day. The route involves very nice trail all the way up to the Grand Couloir at ~10,000' where the route crosses a gully prone to rockfall before ascending the 3rd Class ridge on it's climber's righthand side. After scrambling nearly 1000m of vert up this one gets to the Gouter hut at 12,600', whence begins the long trudge up flat to 35 degree snow slopes and ridges. I put on my Kahtoola KTS Steel crampons at about 13,500' as the snow was still fairly frozen at 10am, and trudged my way to the summit happy for the extra security these offered. After reaching the top in 3:54 from Les Houches I spent nearly a full hour on top enjoying the view and pristine weather. I was eventually joined by Seb Chaigneau and Joe and we soon descended. After a few hundred feet of descent along the bootpack track I could tell the snow was much softer than during the climb, so took off the crampons and enjoyed an unencumbered descent back down the mountain, dropping the nearly 13k' of vert in 2h14. Really rewarding summit.

Fri - 2:24, 5400' ~ La Jonction
This is a run from the valley floor up a spectacular ridge of forest and rock that splits two impressive glaciers--Bosson on the left and Taconnaz on the right. The summit of the ridge (8600') is where the two glaciers meet, thus the name. It is also the route of the first ascent of Mont Blanc, way back in 1786. Near the top of the ridge there is a plaque on a giant boulder under which the pioneering duo of Balmat and Paccard bivied during their first ascent. I love this kind of history. The run up was on fantastic trail and the views of the glaciers were breathtaking. We just don't have stuff like this in Colorado. Not to mention the vertical mile of climbing with thousands of feet of relief still above you.

Sat - 2:44, 5500' ~ Gornergrat
Last night Joe and I drove to Switzerland and hopped the mandatory train to Zermatt to spectate at the Matterhorn Ultraks 46K Skyrace, a first-year event. The course looked to be quite spectacular, so I opted to run to its highest point, the Gornergrat Observatory at 3100m (10,400'), getting in the standard vertical mile of relief. The course took a less-than-direct route to the summit, and the same with the descent back to town, but the views of Monte Rosa, the Matterhorn, Dent Blanche, and the Weisshorn were all stunning.

Sun - 2:03, 3500' ~ Vallorcine to Chamonix
Joe dropped me off in Vallorcine (~ mile 92 of the 104mi loop) and I ran the UTMB course back to Cham via Col des Montets, La Flegere, and La Floria. Steep climb with somewhat techy footing at times and the same on the descent to Flegere. Should be fun after nearly 20hrs on the legs. It was a misty, foggy, drizzly morning, as the last few days have been. After two weeks of bluebird days, the Chamonix valley is taking its usual late-August turn toward gloomy weather for race week.

Hours: 16h06min
Vert: 32,750'

It's been a great couple of weeks, but I'm ready to just race this thing already. Resting before a big race always feels that way, though. I've had the usual little niggle here and there, but nothing really worth mentioning. I'm primed and ready to go, feeling like I've prepared pretty much the absolute best that I can. I'm really excited to race 100 miles against such a deep, international field on what I think is a very fair course. The track is overwhelmingly smooth and fast and not at high altitude, but the ~32k' of climbing should allow me to be competitive. In the past there has always been a lot of talk about how "the Alps are not like North American mountains". That is patently true. The vertical relief and the miles of glaciers and granite spires here is like nothing in the US. But the UTMB course never engages any of that. At all. It tends to roll through grassy hills instead. The Hardrock course is magnitudes more rugged and remote than anything the TMB covers. Nevertheless, I'm really looking forward to the extra energy that the runners are sure to receive any time we pass through the many villages on the route.

My first run in Chamonix--descending from Le Brevent. Photo: Joe Grant.
Panorama of the Mt. Blanc massif from Grand Col Ferret (99km) before crossing from Italy into Switzerland.. 
Aiguille Verte (behind) and the Dru, just up-valley from Chamonix.
Businessman Seb on the summit of Mont Blanc.
Nearly to the top of the Gornergrat, high above Zermatt with the Weisshorn behind. Photo: Laurent Court.
At the Casa de BUFF outside of Les Houches. Photo: Jordi Saragossa.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Aug 5 - 11

Mon-AM: 2:36, 5000' ~ Mt. Almagre (12,400')
Parked at the lot above Helen Hunt Falls again (7500') and ran up 7 Bridges to the N. Cheyenne Creek trail, which becomes a proper goat path after you leave Pipeline and stay next to the creek. Made it to the dam at 12k' in 1:23 and then continued on to the north summit, reaching it at 1:37. Kind of a cool hint in the air that felt ever-so-slightly like fall is on the way. Descended the exact same way I came up.

Tue-AM: 7:35, 13,000' ~ Pikes Peak-Intemann-Sect. 16-666-Buckhorn-High Drive-Sect. 16-Intemman
Decided to take advantage of the smooth, runnable Springs trails to get in a proper running long run in preparation for UTMB (most of my longer efforts the last couple of years have included large chunks of hiking and/or scrambling that don't provide quite the same sustained training effect of running every step, in my opinion). Parked at Memorial Park in Manitou Springs and started off the day with a Pikes Peak Marathon in 4:09, 2:34 ascent and 1:35 descent. Running up Ruxton, I bumped into Peter Maksimow and we ran to Barr Camp together in 1:19 from the starting line (68min from Hydro), chatting all the way. I appreciated the early company on what was otherwise going to be a long, solo outing. The upper half of the mountain wasn't as casual as I would've liked---I always seem to struggle on this mountain---and I was only able to manage a desultory 43min split for the last 3mi. I would've thought my deep acclimation would've allowed me to go 40min or so. Ah well. I didn't even stop to go inside the tourist-mobbed summit house because I didn't have a shirt with me, and just turned at the marathon turnaround and started the descent, knowing I had a long day ahead of me still. Took it casual on the way down, keeping a steady groove, but never pushing. After hitting the finish at the bottom of Ruxton I continued back over to my truck at Memorial for a re-stock on gels (I'd eaten 3 on Pikes) to fuel the second half of the run. From the Roost, I ran up Crystal Park Road to catch the rolling Intemann Trail over to the Section 16 climb. From Manitou to the top of the Section 16 loop is approximately a 2k' climb, and it went really well despite the 90F heat and the 8k' of vert already in my legs. No problem running the whole way; I suppose the extra oxygen helps. From the top of Sect 16 it's a super cruisy 1k' descent to High Drive and then another 2k' climb in ~3mi up the 666 trail. I felt strong on this, but by time I got to the top I was super dehydrated---enough so that I drank from Bear Creek at the top; probably not a great idea. The water helped a ton, though, and the rest of the run I felt quite strong---down High Drive, and then another 1000' climb back up around Section 16 before finishing the run back to Manitou on the Intemann Trail. Great run.

Wed-AM: 2:14, 5300' ~ 1st-3rd-5th Flatirons+Green+1st Flatiron
Biked to Chat. Awesome morning on the flatties...nice and cool and overcast, so scrambling was a real pleasure. After various creaks and crinks had loosened up my body and energy was actually really good considering yesterday's big outing and I just generally had a blast. Got me really excited about the fall scrambling/climbing season post-UROC.

Thu-AM: 2:38, 5200' ~ Longs Peak
Up Loft/Skyline Traverse, down Cables. With Joe. Easy effort on tired legs, but a morning on Longs is always a blast. Showed Joe the downclimb into the Notch, which is fun, and then took the Stepladder to the summit. Cool, foggy, cloudy weather lower down on the Front Range, but a really nice day up high.

Fri-AM: 2:29, 5000' ~ Longs Peak
Up NW Gully, down Cables. Great run, energy is back after Tuesday's long effort. After passing through the Keyhole I left the crowds and scrambled up the NW Gully, which is mostly 4th Class but has maybe 50' of easy, but wet, 5th Class. After the crux, it mellows to Class 3 and joins the spectacular  finish to the Keyhole Ridge. 1h35 to the summit, and then I took it pretty easy on the way down, scouting different options below treeline.

Sat-AM: 2:05, 5000' ~ Longs Peak
Up and down the Cables. Decided it was time to really take a shot at going fast on Longs, establish a legit PR for myself. Ended up tagging the summit in 1:21:29 and descending in 44:24 for a roundtrip of 2:05:53. A little surprisingly, there were bits of fresh snow on the north face and the usual wet spots were all ice. This wasn't really an issue on the way up, but it probably slowed my descent by a minute or so as I had to be careful in the shady spots, and of course on the Cables downclimb itself. All in all, pretty happy with the effort. Chris Reveley ran 2:04:27 way back in 1979 (a couple weeks after he ran 3:39 to win the Pikes Peak Marathon), and Andy Anderson went 2:02:54 in 2011 and 1:56:46 almost exactly a year ago to establish, what is, to me, a pretty notable FKT (consider that he then went and set the Grand Teton FKT a couple weeks later, besting Kilian's effort--obviously he was in fantastic form after a summer of rangering on Longs Peak). I'm not the best pure hill climber so I knew I'd never approach his 1:14 ascent, but I was hoping to sneak under 1:20. Alas, running fast uphill at altitude is hard work.

Sun-AM: 2:39, 5000' ~ Longs Peak
Up Kieners, down Cables. Woke up an hour late, which meant that I ended up running into a bit of weather that could've otherwise been avoided. As I was working my way up the Glacier Rib (scrambling next to Lambs Slide) a pretty dark-looking cloud was building just off to the north despite it only being 9:30am or so, but there were enough gaps in the sky to keep me confident. Once I entered Broadway, though, I started getting pretty nervous. Even though I hadn't heard any thunder or seen any lightning, the east face of Longs is just a very exposed-feeling place, so I suppose that was affecting my confidence. As such, I scampered up to the summit (1:44) as quick as I could and barely paused before heading down the north face over rock that was slick from the night's rain. There were plenty of other people standing around nonchalantly on the summit, but I don't like lightning, or even the prospect of it. As it would turn out, I didn't hear any thunder until I was literally 2min from the car, and then it started raining quite hard.

Hours: 22h16min
Vert: 43,500'

Really good week of running before heading over to Europe tomorrow for the next month.. Quality long effort on Tuesday,  and a good, hard sustained bit of up-tempo running yesterday, so I feel like I have all my bases covered. This morning was my 25th Longs Peak summit this year, and 40th lifetime. Part of me doubts that I'll see the 50 summits I was initially hoping for this year, but so far I've definitely gotten to know a lot of different routes on the mountain.

Downclimbing into the Notch on Longs Peak on Thursday. Photo: Joe Grant.
Stepladder: the pitch of 5.5 leading to the skyline and summit of Longs Peak after exiting the Notch.
  More Montreal action.

Friday, August 9, 2013

July 29 - Aug 4

Mon-AM: 3:44, 7100' ~ Grand Teton
Up and down via Owen-Spalding. Still pretty tired from Speedgoat, duh. Lazy 2:16 up, 1:28 down. Nasty weather was lingering to the west all the way up, so I spent very little time on the summit, fearing electricity in the clouds. Just as I got past the Belly Crawl and back to the Upper Saddle it started snowing quite hard, which was interesting, and then it was raining on me the last 20min before the parking lot. Always good to get up this mountain, though.

Tue-AM: 3:50, 5600' ~ Teewinot
Jodee wanted to go up a mountain, and I needed an easy day, so we decided on Teewinot. Strong hiking on the climber's trail (only a few minutes slower than when I'd done it on Sunday) but then the last 1500' of mostly 4th Class terrain (understandably) slowed Jodee down. Tagged the summit in 2:15 and then took our time getting back down through the techy stuff before jogging back down to the cars. Weather didn't move in as quickly today, which was fortunate.

Wed-AM: 3:27, 7100' ~ Grand Teton
Up and down the O-S again. I had to be back in SLC in the evening, so decided I needed another lap on the Grand before the drive. Yesterday's easy outing definitely helped and I felt quite a bit better today, going up in 2:07 and descending in 1:20. I lost a bunch of time on the descent, though, as it took me several tries to find the correct chimneys to complete the O-S downclimb. Legs felt much better on the descent than they did two days ago, though.

Thu-AM: 2:51, 6000' ~ Twin Peaks, SLC
Up Stairs Gulch and down Broad Forks with Joel. I didn't pull into SLC until late last night, so I was pretty groggy this morning. Stairs Gulch is a pretty great line, ascending a vertical mile in ~3mi to the 11,300' Twin Peaks. Lots of Class 2 and 3 terrain marching up low-angled slabs of slate and schist with a few moves of Class 4 thrown in. We opted to make it a loop and descend the trail, where I nearly stepped on a groggy rattlesnake. Finished with a fast mile+ running the road back down to the car. Always fun getting out for a scrunble with Joel.

Fri-AM: 2:20, 5300' ~ Twin Peaks, SLC
I was really indecisive about what I was going to do this morning, so ended up just tagging Twin Peaks again, this time just running up and down the Broad Forks trail. 1:26 to the summit of the East Twin. Ran into two moose on the trail in the upper basin, above the lake.

Sat-AM: 2:20, 5000' ~ N+S Olympus via West Slabs, SLC
Parked at the junior high school at Oakview Dr just off Wasatch Blvd and ran the streets up to the West Slabs TH. Scramble up the Slabs was a ton of fun, and then lots of scrambling up the ridge to reach Olympus' North summit. The downclimb from there into the saddle below the South summit is definitely the crux of this whole run. Tagged the South summit, and ran the trail easy back down to Wasatch Blvd where I then took the contouring use trail until having to run the road the final mile or so back to the school. Great loop.

Sun-AM: 2:15, 4500' ~ Mt. Rosa (11,500')
Down in Colorado Springs. Parked at the upper Gold Camp lot (above Helen Hunt Falls), and ran up 7 Bridges to Pipeline to Frosty's Park to the summit of Rosa. Descended Buffalo Canyon to St. Mary's Falls and back to the car. Awesome loop. The trails in the COS are so smooth and runnable, it's really a lot of fun after spending all summer on off-trail, techy terrain. Tagged the summit of Rosa in 1:27 before enjoying one of the funnest, most flowy 4000' descents that I know. Really great trails back there with no one on them.

Hours: 20h47min
Vert: 40,500'

Really fun, varied week of running. Ended up being too tired in the Tetons---and the weather ended up being too uncooperative---to really get in any long days and do any scouting of the Traverse. No worries, though, those mountains are so incredible it's really hard to go wrong.

Also, finally got my Speedgoat 50K race report posted. The 10 days post-Speedgoat were pretty busy for me (Tetons. Outdoor Retailer, visiting family), so I apologize for it probably feeling like old news.

The complicated terrain between Teewinot (in pic) and the Grand Teton (standing on it). Mt. Owen isn't even visible.
A tip from a comment on last week's post turned me on to these guys. Good ol' Montreal, getting things done in the music scene.
Parlovr - 3 songs in a tunnel - A Take Away Show from La Blogotheque on Vimeo.

Parlovr - Hell Heaven - A Take Away Show from La Blogotheque on Vimeo.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

July 22 - 28

Mon-AM: 2:33, 5200' ~ Longs Peak
Up the Loft/Beaver/Notch/Stepladder, down Cables. After yesterday's scoping of the downclimb into the Notch with Joel I decided to do the full Skyline Traverse from the Loft and give it a shot. Headed up the ridge from the Loft to the summit of the Beaver is just simple Class 2+ to Class 3 boulder scrambling, but then you get to the summit and the Notch's abrupt and breathtaking abyss. From there, I headed down to the left searching out the descent chimney--it was easy and obvious. After a relatively low-angle 4th Class-ish chimney, the descent eventually cliffs out and there seem to be many options for getting down into the base of the couloir. However, the best looking to me was a traverse to descender's right across a steep, exposed face, but with really solid holds. I think this is the so-called "Gorrell's Traverse". It went fine, and then it was just the Stepladder to summit ridge. Really fun route.

Tue-AM: 2:38, 5000' ~ Longs Peak
Up Kieners, down Cables. Took it easy today but was still moving well on the mountain. Made the summit at 1:46 (traversing around the top of the Lambs Slide ice to get to Broadway takes an extra 10min more than if I could just kick across the couloir) and then after downclimbing the Cables just cruised easily back down the hill.

Wed-AM: 2:43, 5000' ~ Longs Peak
Up the Notch Couloir, down Cables. Yesterday I considered climbing the Notch Couloir instead of Kieners, just for a change of scenery, so today I did. While this is typically a snow climb (and would be better as such), it was a fun scramble, too, if a bit loose/gravelly in spots. Once I got to the actual Notch I just took the usual Stepladder finish to the summit. I was a on a hot base to the base of the Notch on Broadway, but then going up the couloir took longer than Kieners normally would. 21st summit of Longs for the year.

Thu-AM: 1:10, 3000' ~ First Flatiron+Green Mt.
Biked to Chat, cruised a mellow 12:45 scramble on the way to the summit, and ran back down via the front. Cool, humid/drizzly morning, but the rock was dry.

Fri-AM: 1:02, 1000' ~ Skyline Drive Manti-La Sal Nat'l Forest
Drove to within 90min or so of Salt Lake City yesterday, and then slept in a surprisingly nice spot next to a stream just off the highway. This was an easy out-n-back shake-out jog up a dirt road with a gradual climb on the way out.

Sat-AM: 5:09, 11,000' ~ Speedgoat 50K
Solid day overall, 2nd place. Didn't quite have enough race course left at the end to catch up to Sage, but was generally happy with my race-day execution and effort. No real low patches (a little bit from mile 15-21), and I thought I closed the last 10mi pretty strongly.

Sun-AM: 2:41, 5800' ~ Teewinot
Up and down the east face, from Lupine Meadows. Teewinot is the furthest north peak in the Grand Teton massif and the climber's access route provides a very direct grunt to the summit, capped with over 1500' of 4th Class scrambling at the end. I went mellow today, mostly to just get out and get the legs moving. A few hundred feet below the summit I was trending way too far left, but didn't realize my mistake until I ran out of mountain. Ended up having to downclimb ~300' or so to get back on track, but all in all an awesome outing to a super proud summit.

Hours: 18h06min
Vert: 36,000'

Quality week. Lots of fun on Longs Peak earlier in the week, a solid race, and a new Teton summit for me. I should have a report on Speedgoat later in the week.

East face of Teewinot. An inspiring, in-your-face route from the parking lot.
Electric guitar, epic horns, and doo-wopping lady-hipsters. Hard to beat.

Monday, July 22, 2013

July 15 - 21

Mon-AM: 7:58, 12,000' ~ Chicago Basin 14ers (Eolus, N. Eolus, Sunlight, Windom)
Started from the Purgatory TH. Animas River bridge - :37; Needle Creek bridge - 1:26; New York Creek bridge - 1:47; turn to Twin Lakes - 2:36:30; Eolus summit - 3:45:30; N. Eolus summit - 3:55:30; Twin Lakes - 4:12; Sunlight summit - 4:45; Windom summit - 5:11; turn back on to Needle Creek trail - 5:46; New York Creek bridge - 6:15:30; Needle Creek bridge - 6:28:30; Animas River bridge - 7:14:30; back at trailhead - 7:58:34
It'd been a really stormy few days in the San Juans, but I fortunately awoke to clear skies. After waiting for it to get light enough to run sans headlamp, I took off down the Purgatory trail toward the Animas. This trail descends ~1000' down to the river, but rolls up and down along the way, so it takes a minute. The next 50min of running were flat and quick along perfect, groomed path until I crossed Needle Creek and started heading up that drainage into the Chicago Basin. It was surprisingly wet back in there--moss dripping off of trees, humidity in the air--and the creek itself was exceptionally scenic with lots of water flowing over slabs and down drops. Finally turned on to the trail up to Twin Lakes and decided that I would take the southeast ridge up to the summit of Eolus to make a cleaner loop of the 14ers. Roach calls the south ridge "Discovery Ridge", and it is good fun with lots of 4th Class scrambling, maybe a few 5th-Class moves if you don't take the time for judicious route-finding, and a couple of significant notches that were a little tricky. Tagged the summit under sunny skies (but with clouds building) and scurried down and over the famed Catwalk to the summit of N. Eolus. I took a direct descent off this down into a steep scree couloir that deposited me right at Twin Lakes and then it was lots of slab scrambling to get up to the summit of Sunlight. Dark clouds were building and moving in at that point, so I didn't linger long there before heading over to Windom. I took the most direct line possible up Windom's jumbly northwest face and was slightly relieved when I'd hit the summit and begun descending back to treeline. The clouds never rumbled or really threatened, but after the long run back down to the Animas the skies eventually started rumbling and the final 20min or so of slogging back up to the Purgatory TH I enjoyed a welcome, cooling drizzle. I pushed this last climb hard to sneak in under 8hr, so I was happy it wasn't any hotter than it was. Apparently this whole outing is ~42mi and about 30-32 of that are 100% trail running, so it was nice to get that kind of effort in the legs.

Tue-AM: 2:05, 3700' ~ Mt. Sneffels
Started from the Imogene Pass Rd turn-off on Camp Bird to make it a little longer run. Up the SW ridge and down the south slopes. It was a really foggy/cloudy/cool morning, so there were no views from the summit and the rocks on the 3rd Class ridge were quite slick. On the descent I was taking a narrow/steep side-couloir to access the standard descent couloir when a microwave-sized block came tumbling down from above. The gully was quite narrow, so I had nowhere to go and just hugged the wall as closely as I could with my hands covering my head. Luckily, it exploded on a small ledge just above me and my neck/shoulder was hit by only a softball-sized rock along with a bunch of smaller stuff. Afterward (and days later) my shoulder was super sore, but the whole thing could've been a lot worse.

Wed-AM: 4:44, 7500' ~ Little Bear-Blanca-Ellingwood Pt Traverse
Parked the Roost at ~8000' on the Lake Como Rd (~2mi in from the paved road) and ran from there. The run up the 4wd road was pleasant and I reached the east end of Lake Como (where the stream comes in) at 1:14. Continued on up the road and decided on-the-fly that the NW Face of Little Bear looked more appealing/direct than the standard Hourglass route. Crossed the stream higher up at 1:22 and reached the "black hand" at the base of the NW Face route in 1:35. The crux of the whole thing was definitely surmounting the headwall right at the base. The line I picked was probably no more than 4th Class but it was very exposed---there would certainly be a lot more of that later on! After the initial bits of 4th Class the route moved back left into the broad/shallow gully and eased to 3rd Class before kicking back up to 4th Class before gaining the ridge and hitting the summit of Little Bear (2:06). Now for the mile-long low-5th Class traverse over to Blanca. This ridge is super aesthetic and classic and I was excited to get to it. Some 4th Class slabs led down to what I felt was essentially the crux of the route--traversing around Capt Bivwacko tower. I knew to go on the left side of it but was a little shocked at just how narrow, steep, and exposed the ledge was. It made Broadway on Longs look like the comfy superhighway it is. Hands were mandatory on this traverse and I was uncharacteristically gripped. Somewhat surprisingly, the whole first half of the traverse pretty much lived up to the hype with innumerable knife edges (all way more airy than Capitol's much-vaunted Knife Edge) and a couple more hyper-exposed north/west side traverses. It all required way more focus and attention than I had expected. I didn't feel like I was moving very quickly or smoothly, and definitely wasn't getting into the nice flow that I usually enjoy about scrambling. Eventually, though, the large gendarmes on the second half of the ridge showed up and I reached the short talus/scree traverse at 2:46. After this, things seemed considerably more moderate (or at least less exposed) and I moved a lot more efficiently, soon reaching the summit of Blanca at 3:03. Some wispy, swirly clouds had moved in and with the abundant and brilliant sunshine the whole scene was pretty magical. The rest of the day was much less gripping with a fun traverse over to Ellingwood Pt (3:23) and then a descent of its SW ridge (more Class 3) before dropping down a talus chute to the extremely well-maintained trail down in the lake basin. I reached the end of the 4wd road at 3:53, was back at the east end of Lake Como at 3:59, and then it was just a casual run down Como Rd back to the Roost. Awesome morning.

Thu-AM: 3:21, 6000' ~ Harvard & Columbia (Rabbit Ridge traverse)
Started from the N. Cottonwood TH and had a lot of fun on the long running approach up the Horn Fork Basin. Unlike last summer, I feel like I've been able to get in some longer runs with a lot of true running this year, which is nice. Hit the summit of Harvard at 1:34 and noticed that there were actually already a few clouds building, in the east, oddly enough. I felt on-point for the ridge and it felt like it went quite quickly. I did some investigating around the short 5.7 downclimb notch, but I think the beta I gathered the first time is still the best and it actually goes quite easily. On the second half of the ridge I started bonking really hard, so the hump up to Columbia was a bit of a slog, but I made the traverse in :58, hitting the summit at 2:32. The summit was crazy crowded and clouds were moving in quick so I hustled down Columbia's south ridge, taking the most direct line I could. I spent some time frustratingly 'shwhacking around through young aspens in an avy gulch, but still made the Cottonwood Creek bridge in :37 from Columbia's summit and then just cruised the trail back out to the cars, under increasingly dark/thunderous skies. Glad I was off the peaks/ridge when I was.

Fri-AM: 2:17, 4000' ~ Flatiron Quartet (1-2-4-5)
Ran from Chat w/ Joel, going 1st, 2nd, 5th, 4th before descending back to Chautauqua. I would've liked to have scurried to the summit of Green, too, but didn't have the time. Super hot morning on the slabs, but, thankfully, some clouds and a cool breeze rolled in toward the end making things tolerable.

Sat-AM: 2:33, 5200' ~ Longs Peak
Up Kieners, down Cables. Within about a minute or two of the trailhead, my legs felt great and I charged up to Chasm Lake having one of those lovely days where the footing is spot on and nearly any grade seems runnable. However, once I started scrambling up the Glacier Rib, it became obvious that all the hot weather in the past month had shrunk Lambs Slide to a chunk of hard, blue ice and I had definitely missed the "tent peg" window on Kieners for the year. Ah, so it goes. I still got to the Broadway level on PR pace for me, but had to spend an extra 10min climbing up a couple hundred extra feet, traversing across the couloir, and then downclimbing back to Broadway before I could continue on my usual path. Broadway itself was in exceptional shape--dry with only a couple convenient rivulets of water and absolutely bursting with wildflowers. What a place. The scrambling up Kieners went smoothly and was only occasionally damp. I emerged onto the summit to find a veritable mob up there enjoying the perfect day, so only lingered long enough to tally my 17th signature in the summit log before scampering down to the Cables. They turned out to be wet but not icy, so the downclimb was simple, and then it was a fun run back down to the trailhead. I decided to dial in the descending skills heading through Jim's Grove and had a blast plummeting through the forest to finish off the day feeling great and with a descent just under 48min. These are the days I live for.
PM: 1:08, 3000' ~ 1st Flatiron+Green Mt.
Did the customary evening lap. There was a whole bunch of people on the summit of the First, so I didn't even pause and just moved right into the downclimb before heading to the top of the hill. Hot and humid (compared to the high country).

Sun-AM: 2:53, 5000' ~ Longs Peak
Up Loft/Clark's Arrow/Notch/Stepladder, down Cables. Ran easy with Joel. Clark's Arrow is always a little frustrating because you drop a couple hundred feet from the Loft to get into Keplinger's Couloir, but I think we scoped out Gorrell's Traverse (the downclimb into the Notch from the summit of the Beaver), so I'll try that tomorrow and get the full Skyline Traverse. The Stepladder was a really fun pitch up to the skyline finish leading to the summit; wish it was longer. On the way down, the Cables downclimb seemed to be even more dry than yesterday, and then we just cruised mellow back down to the trailhead.

Hours: 27h04min
Vert: 46,400'

Really fun week. Ticked a couple significant summer objectives, especially the Chicago Basin 14ers and the Little Bear-Blanca Traverse.

Heading up to the summit of Eolus via the south ridge. The Catwalk leads to N. Eolus in the distance.
Summit of Eolus.
Looking back to my orange descent couloir (and N. Eolus) from Twin Lakes. 
Sunglight, Sunlight Spire, and Windom as seen from Eolus.
Jagged Mt and the Grenadiers from the summit of Sunlight.
Eolus and N. Eolus (and Pigeon and Turret) as seen from Sunlight.
Base of Little Bear's NW Face. The route goes up the talus slope and engages the rock just right of the "black hand". 
Summit of Little Bear with the mile-long connecting ridge leading to Blanca behind me. 
Looking back to Little Bear from the summit of Blanca.
The traverse to Ellingwood Pt as seen from Blanca.
Blanca and Little Bear from Ellingwood Pt.
Rabbit Ridge---the connecting traverse from Mt. Harvard to Columbia.
Looking back at the crux downclimb crack halfway across Rabbit Ridge.
Wildflowers on Broadway.
The direct line through the Loft headwall. Photo: George Barnes.
Joel downclimbing the Cables on Longs' North Face.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

July 8 - 14

Mon-AM: 1:48, 3500' ~ Mt. Sneffels
Up the SW ridge and down the standard south slopes route, from a little bit below the Governor Basin aid station location on Camp Bird road.

Tue-AM: 7:38, 12,000' ~ Hardrock Course - Grouse Gulch to Silverton clockwise
Handies summit - 1:16; Burrows - 1:51:30; Sherman - 2:21:30; Pole Creek - 3:53; Maggies - 4:44:30; Stony Pass - 5:18; Cunningham - 5:55; Little Giant summit - 6:43.
Started at Grouse Gulch (mile 58) and ran the 42mi back to Silverton. Kept a steady pace all day and was able to feel really strong and push quite hard on the final 2700' climb up Little Giant. The course is surprisingly rolling/runnable from the top of Cataract Gulch (out of Sherman) through Pole Creek and over to Maggies. The final mining road descent down Arastra Gulch was a bit of a bummer, though, and seemed to drag on forever.

Wed-AM: 2:44, 5000' ~ Vermilion Peak (13,894') & Golden Horn (13,780')
I knew I wanted to run up and scramble something in the Ice Lakes Basin, but I didn't decide on these two striking peaks until I got up there. The ridge descending from Vermilion to the north seemed to cliff out so I ended up going down a nasty scree chute before climbing Golden Horn. Really fun run even if my legs were tired. Wished I had the energy to do the full ridge scramble over to Grant-Swamp Pass.

Thu-AM: 4:19, 8500' ~ Ice Lakes Basin Traverse - US Grant Peak (13,767'), V4 (13,502'), Pilot Knob (13,738'), Golden Horn (13,780'), Vermilion Peak (13,894'), Fuller Peak (13,761')
From the South Mineral Creek TH. Grant-Swamp Pass, 0:54; US Grant Peak, 1:13:30; V4, 1:33; Pilot Knob, 2:27; Golden Horn, 2:52; Vermillion Peak, 3:15:30; Fuller Peak, 3:27; Ice Lake, 3:51.
Really fun morning in the mountains. After yesterday's run I was thinking it would be nice to do the full traverse of these high-13ers, but I wasn't planning on that this morning. However, once I got up in the high basin it was pretty tough to not be inspired, so I just went for it. Grant wasn't too bad--maybe one short section of 4th Class--but then there was some delicate 5th Class choss negotiation going on to get to the summit of V4. Definitely the most technical bit of the whole traverse and not something that I would've enjoyed downclimbing. From there it was a long traverse on heinous scree/talus slopes to get to the climb up to Pilot Knob. Again, some mellow 4th Class stuff to tag that one and then a pretty straightforward ascent up Golden Horn. From Golden Horn I wanted to take the ridge up to Vermilion instead of the nasty scree chute I descended yesterday and it actually worked out quite well. I was able to find a reasonable enough weakness in the cliff band that turned me around yesterday and I was soon on top. From Vermilion it's easy talus over to Fuller and then some pretty crazy scree/talus surfing to get back down into the basin. Awesome day, but a gel and a little water would've made the second half a little more enjoyable.

Fri- off, crewing for Joe at the Hardrock 100. Unfortunately, we didn't get to do the planned long march through the night.

Sat-AM: 1:55, 4500' ~ Handies Peak
After sleeping in, went up and down the mountain from Grouse Gulch. Pushed the uphill pretty hard to tag a 1:06 ascent and then jogged the downhill. Lots of monsoony swirling clouds and sprinkles.

Sun-AM: 2:18, 4500' ~ US Grant Peak & V4
From South Mineral Creek TH. One last run up in one of the most beautiful basins in the state. After running up to Grant-Swamp Pass I scrambled over the two mountains and then took the Kamm Traverse for a little longer descent back to the car.

Hours: 21h04min
Vert: 38,000'

A great week down in the San Juans. There is a ton of super high quality stuff down here, but a lot of it requires long running approaches, which is fine. I've gotten to do a lot---notably the Grenadier traverse, the Chicago Basin 14ers, and the Ice Lakes Basin traverse---but I'm excited to head back north and get out of this perpetually rainy/damp monsoon weather cycle.

This Friday and Saturday are the Boulder premieres of Joel Wolpert's new film In The High Country, at the Dairy Center. Friday night is sold out, but there are still tickets available for the Saturday screening, which you can purchase here. I, of course, will be at both screenings along with Joel himself.

Golden Horn.
Left to right: Fuller Peak, Vermilion Peak, and Golden Horn.
The trail leading up to Grant-Swamp Pass and US Grant Peak.
Island Lake with Fuller Peak, Vermilion Peak, and Golden Horn in the distance.
Standing on the summit of V4, there's still a lot of ridge to go.
Summit of Pilot Knob with Golden Horn, Vermilion and Fuller coming up.
From the summit of Pilot Knob, looking back to V4 and US Grant.
Vermilion and Fuller from the summit of Golden Horn...almost done.
Looking back at the full ridge: Vermilion, Golden Horn, Pilot Knob, V4, US Grant and Grant-Swamp Pass on the extreme right.