Yearly Archives: 2016

2016 Trash Trophies

While a lot of people may be blogging these days about their 2016 recap and the direction/resolutions for 2017, I am proud here to show my special kind of recap : My 2016 Trash Trophies (really, only collected for the last weeks/months).

Did you pick yours today ?

Earlier this year, I wrote about practicing “Negative Trace“. As I’ve been practicing what I try to preach on a regular basis, I went the “extra-mile” and even thought about keeping a picture log of my different findings (I mainly collect all trash on trails/mountains/trailheads). As I pick trash on pretty much all my outings, I thought keeping pictures of it would make me realize the difference it makes when we all participate into leaving any wilderness area better that we found it.
As I had this idea pretty late in the year, I only have a few photos (I even forgot to take a picture of my Holy Grail found at the Grays Peak Trailhead : a car exhaust!!), but still represent a good and inspiring “Trash Trophies”.

Onto 2017 with more Trash Trophies! (it shouldn’t be too hard unfortunately)

Free Spirit 10-Speed

My lastest bike repair project is a: Free Spirit 10-Speed
Not a lot of work was to be done, but mainly a good tune-up as well as some overhauls (wheel hubs, headset hub)

Specs:
Steel frame
Shimano Drive Train
5 (sprockets) x 2 (chainrings) speed
U-Brakes Dia compe
Turkey Levers

As usual, below are the photo comparison between “Before” (left) and “After” (right) the work/tune-ups

Grays/Torreys Peak (via Kelso Ridge)

Last weekend, considering that the snow appears to be late this year, I decided to go “bag” two 14ers (and as of today,  I have 51 to choose from !) as I am sure the snow will arrive soon and it will be too late to go up as high as 14,000 ft. It’s not that those peaks can’t be climbed with snow but more that our van can’t reach the snowy trailheads.

graystorreyskelsoridge
Grays & Torreys Peak via the Kelso Ridge (GPS Track available here : 7.5 miles, +- 3,580 ft elevation gain/loss)

I chose Grays & Torreys Peak. I started running without being completely decided on if I would take the normal route or the alternative “Kelso Ridge” (while it sounded more fun, I was not sure about the snow/ice cover of the ridge). Arriving at the fork, it seemed that the ridge had snow on it but when I saw other hikers near the Knife-edge traverse, I decided to go for it!
Considered a class 3 scramble, I didn’t encounter any real difficulties until I reached the Knife-edge, 200m from the summit. There, the knife edge seemed too icy as well as its north face (I tried!)
Earlier, I had passed two hikers that caught up to me as I was trying to find a way to the summit. We discussed the different possibilities, I explained my attempt on the north face and we continued to look altogether for the best option. Roaming on the south side of the ridge, I lead to what seemed the only option to me: Go down a bit to arrive in a gully where we would climb up until reaching a pass at the base of the last part until the summit. While it seemed feasible to me, I would later learn that it is called the Dead dog couloir and is not recommended unless in winter full of snow.

My GPS track showing that I tried every side to avoid the icy knife-edge

A steep gully offering a mix of snow/ice/dirt, this couloir had a wall on its right side. With this wall,  I had envisioned to climb it by practicing the Dulfer technique. Up I went, while Chuck & Nik were watching me. After about 10min of hard work, I was at the pass and ready for the last slope to the summit !
Chuck & Nik did the same but I could feel their hesitation and was worried I was bringing them outside of their comfort zone.

img_2110-e1479694029910-768x1024
Chuck (in red circle) & Nik following me in the Dead Couloir
img_2131-1024x768
The Dead Dog couloir from the base of Torreys Peak

On top of Torreys, we congratulated our selves (Chuck & Nik made it!) and I went on to Grays Peak for a second summit. A perfect day in the Rockies!!

Mt Audubon & Blue Lake

Last weekend, given that Hwy 34 has been closed since 2 weeks and will be closed until around June 2017, I have decided to go South to explore the Indian Peaks Wilderness (East of the Divide).

After looking at my maps, books and TODO list, I chose to summit Mt Audubon (13,229ft) and go to Blue Lake afterwards.

mtaudubon-bluelake

GPS Track available here (12.5 miles, +- 3,570 ft elevation gain/loss)

Arriving at the base of Mt Audubon, I was quickly welcomed by Pikas but also a strong & cold wind. At the top, the views were beautiful and I could see as far as Longs Peak.
I ended my run with Blue Lake, right below Mt Audubon

Pourquoi je cours – Why I run

But we don’t run for the baubles. We run long distances because in the deep dark recesses of our mind there still resides the instincts of our millions of years as running ape people. It’s in our biological heritage to run distances“.
Don Allison – A Step beyond: A Definitive Guide To Ultrarunning

Lakes and Peaks in Rocky Mountain National Park

Let the exploration begins ! Since we moved to Colorado, I have been to Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) EVERY weekend! After cycling Trail Ridge Road last weekend, my legs were calling for a long run.

Last Saturday, after looking at my maps and books, I decided on several adventures. My first run consisted on reaching Black Lake & Blue Lake.

GPS Track available here (12 miles, +- 2,600 ft elevation gain/loss)

Afterwards, I headed to Hallett Peak.
hallett-peak

GPS Track available here (9.8 miles, +- 3,400 ft elevation gain/loss)

I had a great day being in the mountains, at altitude, with such beautiful views and exposed to the different elements. I realized how lucky I am to be so close to a unique place like RMNP. Good adventures ahead with lots of lakes and peaks!

 

How-to: Pack an Ice Axe for traveling

When we packed our belongings to be moved to Colorado, I had to find a solution to pack my ice axe so that it would not get damaged but mainly not damage anything around it. As I don’t have ice axe protector protector caps, I came up with my own solution to cover the sharp parts.

Below is a “cheap trick” you can use when you need your ice axe to travel. It also works when in a checked-in luggage ! To do this, you will need :
– 3 used cans
– Tape

 

 

Trail Ridge Road

One of the first adventure I went on upon moving into our new home was to go to Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP), my new playground as it is only about 1h from home.

I had heard about Trail Ridge Road when reading a cycling magazine but mainly from my former neighbor Dennis in Portland (who is a born and raised Coloradoan). At that time, he recommended it to me and described it as a beautiful and scenic road but warned me it would be dangerous and intimidating just riding in a car! I was intrigued as it sounded like a perfect challenge…
I attempted to cycle Trail Ridge Road on 09/24 but an unexpected night snowfall forced the Rangers to close the road within 8 miles of the Park entrance. I still rode as far as I could (until there was too much ice to cycle safely) and hoped to return with my bike soon as I knew  would have only a couple of opportunities to do this ride with the snow coming very soon.
As I watched the RMNP webcams during the week, it looked like the snow had melted fast and that another attempt would be possible the following weekend.

A quick call to the Trail Ridge Road status line on Friday night confirmed it was open. Off I was on saturday morning !

My ride on Trail Ridge Road

 I started from the Beaver Meadows entrance (8,200 ft) and rode to Grand Lake, CO. The ride was really nice, offering breathtaking views of the mountains including Long’s Peak. It is never really steep (the average grade is 4.2%) but it is long, sustained (20 miles with 4,400 ft of elevation gain to the alpine center) and at high altitude.
Having only been in CO for 2 weeks, I was still breathing from a straw. To explain better what I was feeling, I made a graph below showing the different % of my VO2Max I was exercising at for the different elevation sections of the ride. According to Tim Noakes’ book, Lore of Running“, one’s VO2Max decreases for every 1,000 meters (3,300ft) above 1,200 meters (about 4,000ft) by about 10 % !!!!!


A very nice ride in one of my favorite local place so far.

Beaver Meadows Entrance to Alpine Center : 2h
Alpine Center to Grand Lake, CO : 1h15

Sorry Dennis, it was not as hard and scary as you depicted but thank you for the recommendation, I enjoyed the ride !

GPS Track available here (42.6 miles, +4,390 ft / –4,120 ft elevation gain/loss)