Week Summary: July 30 – Aug 508/07/2012
Mon-AM: 3:20, 6200′ ~ Middle Teton (12,804′)
Started from Lupine Meadows. I was planning on summiting the Grand Teton but at the Meadows backcountry campsites I mistakenly climbed to the pass between the South and Middle Teton instead of to the Lower Saddle of the Grand. Climbed over the snow field and then up the last 1500′ or so to the summit via the SW couloir, mostly easy Class 3. Awesome view of the Grand from the top, and a satisfying consolation summit. Descended the same way, glissading a significant and steep snowfield back down to the Meadows. Ran into Kilian and Seb heading up to the Grand, just before I got back to the Lupine Meadows TH. Funnily enough, they ended up taking the same wrong turn as me (but didn’t climb as high) even after I told them to stay right of Spaulding Falls.
Tue-AM: 3:23, 7000′ ~ Grand Teton (13,770′)
Finally got up this most iconic and worthy of peaks. Man, it’s a beauty. Kilian and I kept a solid pace up; we decided to not take any water-carrying options, so I was excited that there was still a decent trickle coming down the route between the Lower and Upper Saddles. Seemed like there were quite a few people on the mountain, which made route-finding a bit easier in the gully and on the Owen Spalding itself. The O-S felt quite a bit less technical and exposed than I was led to believe in reading trip reports, and the downclimbing was quite simple, too, with just a couple slow moves in the chimneys. On the way down, Kiki and I kept a steady pace but weren’t killing it by any means. Did a short glissade from the headwall down to the Moraine, but it seemed hardly worth it in terms of time–there’s just not much snow left up there right now. We took the climber’s trail both up and down and didn’t count the ~5min we spent on the summit in our running time. Awesome peak that I’d love to come back and hit a few days in a row in order to really get the route dialed.
Valley Trail junction – 16:55
Boulders (Platform) – 42:25
Meadows sign – 48:40?
Moraine – 1:13
Lower Saddle – 1:28
Upper Saddle – 1:54
Belly Roll – 1:55:30
Summit – 2:05:10
Upper Saddle – 2:16
Lower Saddle – 2:32
Meadows – 2:52
Boulders (Platform) – 2:57:45
Valley Trail – 3:11:40
Lupine Meadows – 3:23:05
Kilian can do this fast, for sure. He was thinking maybe 1:50 up and 1:10 down. That seems reasonable to me (for him), but I think he could probably descend even a bit faster (even w/o snow) and take the thing into the exciting sub-3hr realm. Rested, focused, and with a few more times up and down the mountain, I think I could take my uphill under 2hr and be in the 1:10-12 range on an all-out descent, which would put me within reach of Bryce Thatcher’s 3:07 record (during which he had a 1:53 ascent, which is extremely impressive to me). But, seriously, who cares when it’s pretty obvious Kilian can go far faster? Personal challenges are always still fun, I suppose.
Wed-AM: 2:00, 3500′ ~ 2xSnow King, Jackson WY
After some sunrise film and photo shooting with Seb and Kilian, we drove into town (because some electrical storms were moving through the mountains) and I did a couple of laps on the ski hill–one kilometer straight up the face under the main chairlift with 1600′ climbing: 19:55 lap 1 and 19:50 lap 2. Really fun with the super direct line and the solid footing. Contemplated a third lap, but finished up with 17min barefoot on a grass field instead, that included 8xstrides. Good to get the legs turning over a little.
PM: 2:51, 4500′ ~ West Slabs Mt. Olympus Traverse, SLC, UT
Holy moly, what carnage. After driving back to SLC all day we finally left the TH for the West Slabs at 8pm. Anna drove around to the true Olympus TH in order to summit from that side, the trail I expected to descend. Scrambled the Slabs and was surprised to find that they were easier than pretty much anything in the Flatirons. Really fun line w/ a bunch of exposure but I’m not sure it ever exceeds 4th Class.
Once on the ridge I was a bit disheartened at how far away the true summit of Olympus looked–and that there was a lot of scrambly, choppy terrain between me and it, and that the light was rapidly disappearing (but the sunset over the lake was incredible)–but I just kept moving quickly, tagged the North Summit and then spent a lot of time on what was definitely the technical crux of the route–a short section of downclimb to the saddle between the North and South summits. As I made the final scramble up to the South summit I was psyched because even with the low light I thought it would be easy to just follow the standard Olympus trail back down to Wasatch Blvd.
Well, of course, I couldn’t find the trail off of the summit. I ended up dropping off of the peak too far east and was soon bushwhacking down a choked, steep couloir/drainage with zero trail in near total darkness w/o a headlamp. Stupid. A few hundred feet below the summit, I heard some yells from up and to my left (I was descending down/south) and the shouting voice asked if I was Search and Rescue. Haha, no. Then he asked if I was lost, too. I replied, not yet, really, and that I was just going to descend this drainage to the bottom of the canyon and walk my way out the canyon west back towards the city and that I could call someone to come find him when I got out if he liked. He said he’d tried to do that but had came to a cliff and hiked back up to the top and that he’d already called S&R and a helicopter was on the way. Holy cow, I didn’t want to be part of that mess. Then he asked where I was going to sleep that night. I replied, um, my bed? Definitely not on the mountain. Then I kept ‘schwacking down through the dark thicket.
It took a long-ass time, but eventually I was close to the bottom and started contouring my way west through even thicker ‘schwacking. After much cursing and frustration and bruised/scraped shins I finally popped out onto a ridge that seemed to offer a more clear path at ~7000’. I also found a cairn and could just maybe make out what seemed to be a faint trail heading down the ridge. Just then I heard shouts from above for “Scott” and saw a couple of headlamps flashing about. I shouted up that I wasn’t Scott, but was wondering if these guys were on the trail. It turned out to be three S&R folks looking for the lost hiker (he’d been out since 5am!). I chatted with them for about 15min about my interaction with the lost dude and where I thought he’d been when he was shouting at me. One of the guys was kind enough to let me borrow a headlamp to run the primitive Hughes Canyon trail back down to the neighborhoods with, which took me about 15min when I finally got going. Way way way easier than thrashing around in that canyon in the dark for what probably would’ve been another hour. Back at the TH, I had to have a little final debriefing with S&R (they’d located Scott high on the mountain) before Frosty and I were allowed to go on our way. Odd evening on the mountain, that’s for sure.
Thu-AM: 1:36, 4500′ ~ Mt. Olympus (9026′)
Up and down the standard trail from Wasatch Blvd. 1:01:05 to the summit; it’d be fun to take this one under an hour. Good solid grunt. A bit tired from the late night last night.
Fri-AM: 2:07, 5000′ ~ West Slabs Mt. Olympus Traverse
Parked at the TH on Wasatch Blvd, ran the 3mi of streets over to the West Slabs TH, and did the loop that I’d planned to do Wednesday evening. Lots of fun in the daylight, it took me 41min to get from the cul de sac TH to the summit of the Slabs, another 28min to tag both the North and South Summits, and then 34min to run down the trail back to the Roost. Nice to do this awesome loop in a quick, clean fashion.
PM: 1:05, 1500′ ~ Treadmill Uphill Challenge+barefootin’
Did an 11min warm-up jog before hopping on the treadmill for 15min at a 15% grade vs. Luke Nelson. Ended up with 1.50mi to his 1.51mi. Had a hard time finding any will to really hurt, but basically I saved too much for the end in order to surpass him. Afterwards, ran up to the Capitol building for a couple of barefoot laps on the nice grass there–2mi/16min total sans-shoe running.
Sat-AM: 2:34, 5700′ ~ Twin Peaks (11,330′ & 11,328′), SLC
Parked at the Broads Fork TH at 6200′ in Big Cottonwood Cyn and went up. I got a little confused around the pond area at ~8200′ before deciding to just keep heading up the valley and then climbed directly to the summit of the East Twin (1:32 from the TH) over some disappointingly chossy 3rd and 4th Class terrain (the standard route goes to the saddle further to the east before climbing to the summit). Made the quick 3min bop over to the West Twin before coming back and descending back to the trailhead via the slightly less steep standard route. Pretty cool to have such big vert so close to an urban center. Back to CO in the evening.
Sun-AM: 1:09, 1000′ ~ Mack Ridge (McInnis Canyon), Fruita CO
Ran from the start of the Desert Rats races (where we slept last night) and did an easy run up and back on Mack Ridge to shake out the legs before driving all day.
PM: 1:57, 4500′ ~ Cameron Cone (10,707′)
Really great run up this convenient peak in Manitou. Some clouds rolled in to cool things off a bit and my legs felt really good on this grunt of a climb. Never felt stressed; so much fun to have my legs back. Ended up doing 1:01 from Hydro St to the summit–this can definitely go under an hour pretty easily with a little focus. Really fun :35 descent back to Hydro before jogging back down to the car at Memorial Park.
A really busy, dis-jointed week with lots of travel and lots of glad-handing, but I still managed to get in some good summits, I think. Today (Monday) I did my last long run before Leadville, and it was a classic–the Pikes Peak Marathon course down in Manitou. My climbing legs were disappointing on the way up despite feeling so good on Camerons Cone last night (I probably left a lot of this morning’s run on the Cone last night, but so it goes), so I stumped to the top in an uninspired 2:32:58 from the starting line. After stopping the watch and wading through the masses of tourists on the summit to get a drink of water, I set off back down the hill with more intention than usual as I was casually racing Frosty back to the bottom (who was planning on hitching down after her run up). Ended up descending back to the finish line in 1:20:50, which was a total surprise to me as I think I’ve run harder down Longs Peak a few times earlier this summer chasing Kieners FKTs and I know I ran way harder down the last 5mi of Speedgoat last weekend. As luck would have it, I jogged back into Memorial Park just as Anna’s ride was dropping her off. Good timing. For some reason I almost never feel very good running up Pikes Peak–the very shallow grade just doesn’t seem to suit me and I probably need to do some focused hillwork to improve on it–but today’s downhill gives me confidence that hopefully sometime in the next year or two I could still remain relatively competitive when I give the Marathon a go.
|Middle Teton, with the prominent black dike.|
|The Grand from the summit of Middle Teton.|
|Doesn’t get much better than the Grand Teton and a double rainbow. Photo: Seb Montaz.|
|Looking down the West Slabs of Mt. Olympus, SLC.|
|Twin Peaks, SLC.|