Friday, October 26, 2012

Week Ending October 21

Mon - Off

Tues - 8.5 miles track. 3(4x400) - 200 jog between intervals, 600 between sets: (78, 75, 74, 73) (74, 75, 75, 75) (75, 74, 76, 75). Met Mike at the track and then followed him around it 12 times. Goal was 75s, but as usual I felt like I was working harder for them than I would have liked.

Weds - 6 miles (1,600') easy. Horsetooth south summit up a ramp on the southwest side

Thurs - 6.5 miles (1,600') easy. Horsetooth south summit w/Wesir. Took a look at the west side of the rock, which has a surprisingly big face. Apparently there is a bolted 5.11 line in there somewhere; we didn't see that, but we did see a couple of good looking cracks and other potential routes. We tooled around a bit looking for an easy free-climb route, but ended up backtracking a couple of times before we found a way up onto the southwest ridge. Got a little nervy on the one exposed crux move.

Fri - 6.5 miles (1,700') easy. Horsetooth north summit. Standard route.

Sat - 13.5 miles (3,500') peakbaggery. Pole Hill (8,683'), Sugarloaf Mtn (8,980'), 9,075', Panorama Peak (9,284'). Met Nikolai and Wesir early at the Hwy 34 gas station, then jetted up Rattlesnake Hill (18E) for a fun little loop in the Pole Hill area, west of Pinewood Reservoir. After a couple of wrong turns trying to find the pull-off for the National Forest (just before the gate where Pole Hill Rd turns private), we parked up in the dark and followed a fence line north for a while, and then again west at the perimeter of the private property before charting a generally northwest course on an old forest road (marked 320 on the topo map). The summit of Pole Hill, which sits in open forest, was pretty unremarkable, but does offer awesome views. From Pole Hill we could see unranked Sugarloaf Mtn across a small gulley to the west. We headed for the saddle between the two and then hoofed it up to the large rock outcrop that forms the true summit of Sugarloaf (different from the GPS coordinates for a lower outcrop listed on List of John). Some fun scrambling to get on top and awesome views of the Estes skyline, before continuing our westerly trajectory in search of ranked, but unnamed, peak 9,075'. This was very straightforward. The summit had a register, so we signed in and then picked up the jeep trail just below the summit, which would take us south down to the Pole Hill valley. We crossed Pole Hill Rd and continued across a meadow in the direction of the northern ridge of Panorama Peak. The original plan was to pick up the 4x4 tracks that lead all the way up to Panorama Peak, but we ended up bushwhacking the whole thing on a more direct line. The summit of Panorama Peak has a private lookout tower (the land is leased from the NF), and if one were to scale it, the views - I am sure - would be absolutely stunning, perhaps the best of any lower summit east of Estes. The actual summit itself, though, is treed in. After a decent repose on the summit, we charted a northeasterly course through reasonably open forest before picking up Pole Hill road for the 3-4 mile run back to the car. This route comes highly recommended - the bushwhacking is very light (as bushwhacking goes), most of the route is on public land, and the views are mind-blowingly good.      

Sun - AM: 3 miles (1,400') hiking. Mt. Olympus (8,808') with Alistair and Stella. Mum wanted us out of the house, so we drove up to Estes for a quick summit of Olympus. Mount Olympus is one of the more iconic lower peaks that ring the Estes Valley. It sits right on the east side of town, just south and west of Hwy 34 and the Big Thompson Canyon. Given its location and rocky summit, the views - I knew - would be huge. I just needed to keep Alistair motivated enough to complete the steep, off-trail ascent. From the pull-off by the National Forest sign, we charted a steep, slabby southerly course up a gulley before plateauing on the western shoulder of the mountain at about 8,000'. The summit grunt to the east was easily viewed from here, and it was all I could do to convince Alistair that it would be worth it. Eventually, we got our heads down and went for it. Nearing the top, there is some fun scrambling and I let Alistair pick the line through the rocks. We ended up on a sub-summit, so descended and hit the true summit a quarter mile to the east. The views from the top were as big and sensational as predicted, with the Continental Divide, Mummies, Dunraven/Buckhorn area, Panorama Peak, Pole Hill, etc all clearly visible. We hung out for a good long while, enjoying a picnic and more scrambling. On the way down, we picked up a series of cairns, which guided us on a more direct northerly route down the mountain. Alistair had a ton of fun running from cairn to cairn and then erecting cairns where he saw fit. Ultimately, we funneled into a drainage that led us directly down to the Big T and our pull-off. Awesome peak.

Stella, Alistair on Olympus summit.
Lake Estes, RMNP fire, Continental Divide.
 PM: 6.5 miles (1,600') easy. Horsetooth south summit w/Joe U.

Total: 50.5 miles (11,400')

Four Horsetooth summits and five new Larimer summits made for a fun week. The goal of getting fit for the T-Day four miler is kind of slipping, but that's okay. 

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