Sunday, September 8, 2013
Friday morning, 5:03 AM, August 30th, 2013,Nolan’s 14). Why south to north, especially if there has been more success for people going north to south? Well, after having spent parts of the last 2 summers trying to figure the course out, it seems to me like there are more steep climbs from north to south, and it’s a shorter distance to the 1st summit going from south to north. For example, going north to south it’s something like 8 miles to the summit of Mt. Massive as compared to the 4.85 miles up to Mt. Shavano. From north to south, the really nasty uphill climbs are the west face of Mt. Elbert, the north face of Mt. Harvard, the avalanche gully on Mt. Yale, Maxwell Gulch on Mt.Princeton, and up to Tabagauche Peak from Brown’s Creek (5 pretty stout, steep, and loose climbs, except for Mt. Harvard, which is mostly on grassy slopes). From south to north, the really nasty uphill climbs are Mt. Princeton from Grouse Canyon, up to the Oxford/Belford Saddle from Pine Creek, the east face of Huron Peak from Clohesy Lake, and the southwest ridge of Mt. Elbert (4 as opposed to 5 going from north to south). Of course there are other steep climbs I have not mentioned, but the climbs above are the ones which are mainly off-trail and sometimes over extremely technical and loose terrain. So, that is what influenced my choice of direction. Perhaps someone will try to convince me otherwise or I may try north to south myself, but that is why I did what I did, when everyone else this summer tried north to south. OK; after leaving Lisa at the Shavano/Tabagauche trail head, everything went really well over the 1st 3 peaks (Shavano, Tabaguache, and Antero). Coming down the gully from Tabagauche to Brown’s Creek, it seems like there has been quite a bit of erosion since I was through there last year. I wonder if staying a little to the west of the gully would not be a little easier in the future. Last year I made a terrible choice in descending Mt. Antero directly north in an attempt to reach Grouse Canyon, only to encounter extremely loose terrain that funneled itself into a gully that ended in a waterfall going over a cliff, which I had to down-climb in a rainstorm. This year I took the use trail from the saddle between Mt. Antero and Point 13,800. It was a pretty direct, steep descent with which I was able to bisect most of the switchbacks on the Baldwin Gulch jeep road too, which got me back down to tree line rather quickly and with little fuss. I combined running and walking down to the town of Alpine and the Grouse Canyon trail head to meet Lisa at 1:45 PM, almost 1 ½ hours ahead of my schedule. At Grouse Canyon trail head I met Lisa and my 1st pacer, Shelby Berg. I immediately lost almost all of the time I had gained coming down from Antero while waiting out a thunderstorm at the trailhead, but it was nice to see Lisa and get some grub and rest too.
Sunday, August 18, 2013
Had originally intended to pace a friend at the Leaville Traill 100 this weekend, but things don’t always work out as planned. After injuring herself at work and not being able to race in Leadville, I suddenly had some free time, and decided to give “Operation Dark Snake” a go. Let me interject a little explanation here; “Operation Dark Snake” refers to the act of poaching an ascent of Culebra Peak, which lies on private lands in southern Colorado. According to 14ers.com, normally folks will pay a $100 fee to the owners of the Cielo Vista Ranch near St. Luis, CO for the pleasure of climbing this peak. However, directions are also available on the Internet for how to approach the peak from the N. Purgatory Creek TH, near Stonewall, CO; via an arduous ridge traversing journey that covers some 12+ miles one way.
Sunday, August 11, 2013
As Lisa and I said goodbye to each other at 9:15 PM Friday night in Winfield, I was trying to stay focused and not find a reason to get back in the truck to head back to town for drinks and the hotel. After watching her leave, I turned into the darkness and up the road toward West Winfield and Southwest Ridge of La Plata Peak. Midnight was when I finally reached the summit of La Plata; it had been snowing for the past couple of hours. That the clouds were now beginning to settle onto the summit, further reducing the already poor visibility, was a little unsettling to say the least. I was having some trouble locating my descent, down the Northwest Ridge towards Lake Creek TH. As some of you may recall from mountaineering and alpine climbing, that from the summit of a mountain, the way down can sometimes be very unobvious, much more so than when looking up at the mountain from its bottom. So, I started to descend in a downward, counter clockwise spiral from the summit and finally crossed the well trodden donkey path that serves as the normal route up the peak.
Sunday, August 4, 2013
Saturday brought another day of rehearsing and research on the Nolan’s 14 course. After the storms of last weekend, and forecast for even more intense monsoonal moisture flow for this weekend, I was more than a little apprehensive about the weather forecast. That left me reconsidering my original plans of traversing Missouri Mtn. to Mt. Huron, and then across La Plata Peak, so I decided to leave off La Plata, thinking that taking another look at the ascent from Chlohesy Lake to Mt. Huron might be the most important research I could gain from the day. This was important to me because I am planning on doing this part of the course at night, and it is confusing enough during the day, so that was where I was going to place an emphasis on for whatever time the weather was going to allow. The east face of Missouri Mtn.
Sunday, July 28, 2013
After a 3-week break from research and rehearsal on the Nolan’s course I was back at it again Saturday. Between then and now, those weeks were filled with an ascent of Pikes Peak from the Cripple Creek Reservoirs, a second finish at Hard Rock,
Saturday, July 6, 2013
Last training day up in the mountains before Hardrock week begins; decided to traverse Pikes Peak from Highway 67 near Cripple Creek, up past the Cripple Creek Reservoirs and then back down the cog railway and the old historic Cree’s Toll Road (about 22 miles).
Thursday, July 4, 2013
Great training in the Sawatch today; traversed Mt. Yale from South to North up via the east ridge from Avalanche Trailhead and back down the avalanche gully1956 crash site of a C-47 in the avalanche gully.
Saturday, June 29, 2013
Lisa dropped me off at the Grouse Gulch trail head early this morning to have a look at climbing Mt. Princeton from Grouse Gulch. Boy howdy, that thing is steep; gaining over 5,000' in around 3 miles. Gerry Roach very much downplays the complexity and length of Princeton's South Ridge,
Friday, June 28, 2013
This marks the beginning of a grand adventure; hopeful completion of Nolan's 14 during the summer of 2013. Hang in there while I get this blog started. My intentions are to blog about my research and training runs in the Sawatch Mountains along with my 2nd Hardrock 100, which is coming up in just a couple of weeks now. Tomorrow morning Lisa and I head out to Buena Vista for a traverse of Mt. Princeton (S to N). That is all I think I will be able to get done before the afternoon thunderstorms show up. Check back with you later!