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.
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.
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.
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!!
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
“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
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.
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!
On our way from Portland,OR to our new home in Colorado, we stopped 2 days in Park City, UT.
I too the opportunity to do a RRR (Ride, Run Ride). I rode to the Deer Valley Resort and, from there, ran to Bald Mountain where I enjoyed beautiful views and recalled the terrain I ran on during the Wasatch 100 1 year ago.
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
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.
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 !