I was planning to hike Mt. Powell up in the Gore Range this weekend, but once I got up there I had kind of a bad vibe about it, and I couldn’t find a camp site, so after driving all the way past Vail, I called it off and rushed over to Mt. Elbert. It’s not the most exciting hike, but I was pretty sure I’d get a campsite, and I hadn’t done a 14er in like 4 or 5 weeks.
It was pretty close finding a campsite. I think I got the last one in the entire area, but I DID get one, so it worked out.
The hike itself was a lot of fun. It was crowded, but could have been a lot worse. Since this was a repeat and it was crowded, I didn’t waste much time or take many pictures. Basically just some random summit pics, and this panorama:
The 9.35 mile round trip took 3:09, including 15 minutes to eat lunch and take pics at the summit. So far it’s my fastest time on a 14er, but I think I could do better if I had brought my running shoes and a smaller pack. Maybe next time…
In anycase, here’s the GPS track.
It took a month, but I finally ran South Boulder and Bear Peaks in under 1:45. Got back to the car in exactly 1:45, with 2:20 stopped time.
Great timing because next weekend I’m going to start on the 14ers again, and I’m planning to do that every weekend till the end of October, so I wouldn’t have much time for these two.
Yesterday Rob and I rode the first section of the Colorado trail on our bikes. What was supposed to be an ordinary 5-6 hour ride turned into an 8 hour adventure. Writing out the whole story would take too long, but it suffices to say the second half of the trip was a train wreck. Regardless, we both had a lot of fun, and we know a few things not to do next time.
Today I ran South Boulder and Bear Peaks again. I love how convenient these mountains are. I can sleep in and lounge around the house for half the day, then at 3:00 say to myself, “Crap, I’m wasting a nice day,” so I go run South Boulder and Bear Peaks. Afterwards it always feels like like I’ve had an epic day in the mountains.
This time I made it up and down in 1:53, beating my previous best time by over 2 minutes. I’m starting to think 1:45 won’t be as hard as I expected. Just need to keep building my stamina for climbing.
My only complaint is that it’s getting crowded as the weather warms up. I spent a lot of time getting out of people’s way, or waiting for them to get out of mine. Next weekend I’ll start later and hopefully avoid the crowd.
My original plan was to hike a 14er today, but I went to bed late, and I wasn’t sure of the weather, so I just ran up South Boulder and Bear peaks again. I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve hiked up these two mountains, but this was at least the 4th time this year.
I made good progress from last week. Got my time down to exactly 2 hours from 2:17, and my stopped time to 2 minutes from 6. Only 15 minutes to go to reach my goal for the summer.
Unfortunately, further improvement is going to be tough. Besides a few short snowy sections on South Boulder, I got down about as fast as I safely can. I just wouldn’t comfortable going much faster. That means I need to climb faster, and that won’t be easy.
I don’t run on the way up – it’s more like “speed hiking”. I ran some of the flatter sections today, but once the trail got steep I had to slow down. I have a long way to go before I can run the whole thing. Before I can, I need to drastically increase my endurance. I slow down quite a bit on steep sections, and it gets worse further into the hike. Fortunately, I should get better with more practice, and I plan on practicing a lot this summer.
Yesterday I went on my first trail run of the year, up South Boulder and Bear peaks. It was more like a very fast hike up, and a run down, but I’m still pretty happy with my time of 2:16, which beats my best time from last year by 15 minutes.
My goal is to get under 1:45 by the end of the summer, and I think I have a good chance. Not only was this only my first try of the year, but I was slowed down by a heavier than necessary pack. I was a little uncertain about the weather and trail conditions, so I ended up packing a jacket I never wore, an apple I didn’t eat, and microspikes I probably didn’t need. I did end up wearing the microspikes from the summit of South Boulder down to the saddle because there were a few icy and snow packed sections, but I really would have been okay without them – mostly just put them on so it wasn’t a complete waste bringing them.
My other running goal for the summer is to run up and down Quandry Peak. The “standard” route on Quandry is 6.8 miles with 3450 feet of elevation gain, while the run I did yesterday is 7.5 miles and 3300 feet. Of course the real challenge on Quandry will be the decreased oxygen at the higher altitude.