June 30 – July 1307/17/2014
Phew! It’s been a busy few weeks, but I finally got a two-week update here:
Mon – Venice, IT (0:34)
After the 1h15min boat ride from the airport to the city center, I found a hotel room for the night and changed to head out for my first run since the race. It was an out-n-back along the waterfront on cobbles—with lots of small up/downs on the bridges spanning the frequent canals—and I was pleased to find that the only thing sore was my bone-bruised right knee. But, damn, it was really sore. Afterwards, I promptly got lost and spent three hours wandering the corridors and canals of Venice. If I’d just gone left from my hotel door instead of right…Venice is an incredibly beautiful city, though.
Tue – Venice, IT (0:43)
Ran the exact same thing as yesterday except with a loop through the Piazza di San Marco, too. Got out nice and early—was running by 6:30am—which meant cooler temps and no crowds but my knee was especially sore and stiff. Got a coffee and croissant afterwards and began the 30hr trip back to Colorado, starting with a boat ride back to the airport.
Wed – SoBo Creek Trail (0:50)
Phew, made it back to Boulder. I got off the bus at Table Mesa, so went for a run on the South Boulder Creek Trail near there; headed north, towards the golf course. Flat, mostly dirt, and the knee seemed to be significantly improved. Still hurt a bunch, but I think I was limping less. Some ice should help heal things up a lot more quickly. Starting to get some pep back in the ol’ pins, too.
Thu – 1st Flatiron+Green Mt. (1:54, 3000′)
Ah, always good to be back. Since the run up to Chautauqua is mostly uphill, the knee got a nice warm-up and ended up being mostly cooperative for the whole outing. Just took it easy, which is difficult/rare for me, but obviously appropriate this week.
Fri-AM: Longs Peak (2:48, 5000′)
Up Kieners, down the Cables. I wasn’t sure my knee was going to be up for this outing, but it turned out fine. Kieners is in great shape! There seems to be about a 7-10 day window each summer where it’s in the perfect condition, i.e. Lambs Slide is soft enough to just kick across in running shoes, but there isn’t any significant snow left on Broadway. That’s where it’s at right now and today was an absolute pleasure. The Cables downclimb was running with a good bit of water, but it wasn’t frozen so no problems. Great run.
PM: 1st Flatiron+Green Mt. (1:11, 3000′)
Pretty standard run and scramble, but because my sleeping schedule seems to be a bit thrown off (I woke up at 4am, so was back from Longs this morning by 10am) I ran in the early afternoon when it was quite hot.
Sat-AM: Longs Peak (2:52, 5000′)
Up Keyhole Ridge, down the Cables. Really fun route. Not to be confused with the uber-popular standard Keyhole route which is technically the easiest line up the mountain (Class 3), but in order to find that ease takes a contrived spiraling ascent to the summit. The Keyhole Ridge instead is the knifelike northwest ridge on the mountain that leads directly from the Keyhole itself to the summit of the mountain. It’s a 5.6 alpine climbing route that negotiates a couple of big towers and in some spots really offers a fantastic position with fun moves on solid rock. I first climbed it last year with Joe when we brought along a short cord and a couple cams to protect the crux moves. It was a funny outing, though, as I ended up soloing the section that I still think is probably the technical crux of the route (a short, steep corner that leads to the summit of the second tower on the ridge), but today I definitely benefited from last year’s experience. I felt a bit tired on the run up to the Keyhole but then on the ridge scramble itself I felt totally focused and competent and really enjoyed it. Coming down the North Face was still a bit of a pain, but no problems.
PM: 1st Flatiron+Green Mt. (1:11, 3000′)
Same exact outing as yesterday.
Sun-AM: Longs Peak (2:40, 5000′)
Up Keyhole Ridge, down Cables. Same exact run as yesterday except that I was substantially faster—1:43 to the summit (1:13 to the Keyhole itself) and a 0:57 descent. I did the ridge itself 4min faster than yesterday basically because I didn’t have to do as much route-finding/hemming ‘n hawing as yesterday. On the downhill, it seemed by knee was noticeably more cooperative and my footwork was finally feeling coordinated whereas I’ve felt a bit clunky and bumbly the last couple days. Still on the jet-lag sleep schedule so I was back down at the trailhead well before 9am.
PM: 1st Flatiron+Green Mt+2nd Pinnacle (1:17, 3500′)
Same run as the last couple of afternoons except today I was feeling really on-point with the scrambling, so at the end I tacked on a bonus bop up the 2nd Pinnacle in the Amphitheater. The South Ridge route starts right off the Amphitheater trail itself and though only a 4min or so scramble to the top, it offers a surprisingly nice summit view down onto the Chautauqua meadow. Lovely evening; wrapped up 16hr and 27,500′ vert for the week, basically all of that coming in the last four days.
Mon – Longs Peak (2:56, 5000′)
Up Kieners, down Cables. Wow, tired today, which I suppose should be expected, given my last three days of big vert. By time I got to Chasm Junction, I could tell that today was going to be a bit of a slog, so I just settled in and took my time on the technical stuff—getting around Chasm Lake, scrambling up the Glacier Rib, and then going up Kieners itself. On the final Class 3/4 section of upper Kieners I felt absolutely punted and just crawled along, content to take in the beauty of my surroundings and the unique position on the mountain. After a few minutes on the summit, though, I was able to muster the energy for a safe and efficient cruise down the North Face and back to the trailhead.
Tue-AM: Flatiron Quinfecta+Royal Arch+Green Mt (2:39, 6000′)
Awesome morning out on the hill. Yesterday’s +100F temps gave way to torrential rain overnight, which left low, misty clouds shrouding the Flatirons this morning. It was lovely. I was inspired by a cool link-up of the Regency, the Royal Arch, and the Fifth that some of my friends did last week, so in between my pair of laps on the Fifth Flatiron (the Third is still closed for falcon nesting) I decided to check out the crux of that link-up—the downclimb of the Royal Arch’s 5.6 West Ridge. This excursion added a couple hundred feet of vert to my day and less than 10min, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that, though steep (basically vertical), this downclimb is mostly on jugs, which made it more reasonable than I expected.
PM: 1st Flatiron+Green Mt. (1:08, 3000′)
From Chat. The usual thing, but the cooler temps and/or damp, tacky trail surfaces made me feel great and I had a wonderful evening on the hill. Was totally surprised to bump into Austin Siadak at the base of the First—I met him when he was helping Fitz from Duct Tape Then Beer film Joe the week before Hardrock last year. Austin is quite an accomplished climber himself, having just spent his second winter in Patagonia and then just a couple weeks completing the Eastern Sierra’s iconic Evolution Traverse in 24hrs car-to-car. I waited for a few minutes on the summit, hoping he’d show up, but got antsy soon enough with a few more errands to tie up before I leave town for the San Juans tomorrow and took off for the top of Green. Great evening.
Wed – Highline Trail, Leadville (1:04, 1300′)
Had to back off a bit today. Got up early and drove up to the Fish Hatchery for a run up Mt. Massive, but I could tell my right shin was a bit tight and after I got to the Colorado Trail on the approach I decided it wasn’t worth it to push it. Jogged and walked back down to the car, hoping I caught this soon enough to avert disaster. I’m particularly wary of medial pain in my right shin considering the posterior tibialis is what effectively sidelined me for 18 months from early 2011 to mid-2012. Gotta be vigilant. Drove to Silverton in the afternoon for the week-long Hardrock 100 social-fest and race.
Thu – Kendall Mt (1:31, 4000′)
I slept in this morning and lingered over the jav and Updike, uncertain about what my shin might reasonably allow in terms of mountain activity. Since I’ve dealt with this particular twinge for a long time now, I’m pretty familiar with what it can and can’t handle. And it generally responds favorably to very steep ups and downs. More conventional running on more conventional grades are the typical antagonists, which makes sense, because I’ve been doing a lot of that the last couple of months as preparation for Lavaredo. Luckily, Silverton boasts one of the absolute best venues for steepness, right from town—the avy chute on the face of Kendall Mt. This route offers nearly 4k’ vert up to 13,000′ in a scant 1.3 miles! Hiking every step while ‘shwhacking up is a necessity, and on the way down the scree, snow, tundra, and soft, loamy forest duff all provide a relatively forgiving ride. Other than the nettles at the bottom, it was a great outing, with minimal protestation from my shin and views aplenty. The San Juans never disappoint.
Fri – Kendall Mt (1:29, 4000′)
After seeing the Hardrock runners off in the morning, it was back to Kendall for a quick lap before jetting over to Telluride for the first crewing opportunity. I was spurred on by the desire to not miss the runners in T-ride, so from the road to the summit and back I clocked a sprightly :58 ascent and :28 descent. Shin was noticeably improved, responding favorably to the respite from proper running. Of course, the highlights of the day’s events have been covered thoroughly elsewhere, so I’ll only say that I was as inspired as ever by every aspect of this event.
Sat – Kendall Mt (1:38, 4000′)
Joe’s injury woes meant I was snoozing in the Roost shortly after midnight last night, but Kilian’s next-level performance meant I was also awake only 4hrs later to watch him finish. I thought I’d grab a couple more hours sleep afterwards, but with the sun rising that wasn’t going to happen, so instead I brewed some jav and hit the avy chute again. After a pain-free lap on the hill, I tested out the shin with a few minutes of flatter running at the end and it never hurt, which was a huge relief.
Sun – U.S. Grant Peak (13,767′) & V4 (13,520′) (2:14, 4500′)
Parked at the South Mineral Creek TH for Ice Lake and ran up to Grant-Swamp Pass on the Hardrock Course. These two summits are the two prominent peaks in the compact Island Lake basin (a sub-amphitheater of the greater Ice Lakes Basin), so they make for a logical loop/traverse before descending back down to Mineral Creek. Typical of the San Juans in general, they’re also technical choss, requiring 3rd and 4th Class scrambling and a few moves of 5th on piles of loose blocks and flakes. Fun stuff! Couldn’t be a more spectacular setting, though. My task was further complicated by the fact that many of the chimneys and ledges were still slick/wet and even holding graupel from an overnight storm. Either way, I made it around the circuit with no mishaps and enjoyed a perfect glissade back down to the lake before running the trail back down to the Roost. It really doesn’t get much better than the Ice Lakes Basin.
Ended up with 14hr, 31,300′ vert in no more than 60mi on the week. That dense enough for ya, Mr. Hone?