Monday, July 8, 2013

Week Ending July 7

Mon - Off

Tues - Off

Weds - Off

Thurs - 8 miles (2,600') hiking to Emmaline Lake from Pingree, then up to Comanche/Fall Mtn Ridge & back to camp with the Liddles and The Erskine. All hiking, no running. Legs felt pretty good, except for some of the steeper descending off the ridge.
A bit of impromptu camping with the Liddle Clan at Emmaline Lake in the Pingree area. 
Fri - AM: 5 miles hiking. Hiked out with Erskine.
PM: 3 miles easy. Bench loop. With the family in Michigan, I was at a bit of a loose end, so figured I'd go out and grab a Horsetooth summit. Bagged that idea on the half mile run down to the park as the pins were feeling a little grouchy still. Felt good to be running, but three miles was enough.

Sat - 6.5 miles (4,500') mainly hiking. Up in the Never Summers with Mike and Rob to see if we couldn't tag the high point of the range, The Baron von Richthofen (12,945'), from Lake Agnes which is a gloriously scenic alpine lake just west of Cameron Pass sitting at a touch over 10,600'. Ended up with a Double Baron after getting cliffed out trying to get down from the Static/Richthofen ridge. Also bagged a summit of Mt. Mahler (12,464') off the bat (I hear his seventh is particularly good), but had to do some creative work to get from Mahler to Richthofen as Mike & Rob weren't liking the look of the rotten ridge over to Richtho. The rock on Richthofen was much better, but the connecting ridge was some of the worst I've seen. Got stupidly cliffed out trying to descend to Lake Agnes from The Baron's north ridge, so had to put our tails between our legs and hump the kilo back up to Richtho before backtracking to near the Richtho/Mahler saddle to descend that way. The Never Summers are stunning to look at, but up close and personal, they're pretty much slag heaps of jagged and rapidly decaying volcanic rock. Nonetheless, the stunning south - north traverse from Baker to Nokhu Crags is still very much on the bucket list for an outing some time in the next couple of years. Out way longer than expected given the navigational mishaps; felt it in the quads as a consequence. #Not Being Smart. Rob looks to be in great shape; expecting big things at Hardrock. #Low30s.

The picturesque Lake Agnes with the Nokhu Crags slag heap behind. Photo: Erskine. 
Mainly hiking. Erskine.
With a little token running.
Rotten Mahler/Richthofen Ridge. Erskine
Soon to be cliffed out and begrudgingly forced to reascend Richthofen.  Correct & disciplined call.  Erskine.
Erskine on the alternate down/up route around to Richthofen from Mahler. 
Descending to Richtho/Static Saddle.
Part of the Never Summer line, with Lead, Cirrus and Howard. Mahler/Richthofen connecting ridge in foreground. The full line goes from Baker on the south end to Nokhu Crags on the north. Gorgeous mountains to look at, and an appealing route, but very sketchy summer terrain that demands respect.  
Valley off the west side of the Richthofen, Teepee, Lead ridge. 
Sun - 5.5 miles (2,900') mainly hiking. With Dana and the kids back from Michigan next week, I decided to make the most of the open weekend by bagging a couple more peaks, even if it wasn't the best option in terms of overall recovery / getting ready for Vermont; but sometimes you gotta throw caution to the wind and get out to feed the soul. These would be my first unique ranked Larimer County peaks of 2013 and numbers 101 & 102 out of the 255 I hope to collect by the time this project is all said and done. The peaks on the agenda for today were 'Thunder' (10,134') and 'Lightning' (10,567'), both in the general Estes Park area and directly to the north of Estes Cone. I parked up at the end of Hwy 66 by the reservoir for the East Portal of the Adams Tunnel and hooked into the Wind River Trail, one of the many backdoor entries into RMNP. I didn't linger on trail too long and was soon hoofing it directly for what I thought was Thunder's summit. Wrong, just a cool looking sub-summit to the northwest. Another 500 feet and I was on the true summit soaking in the magnificent views of the Glacier Gorge peaks, and the always inspiring Mummy Mountains. The whole Mummy Mania Traverse was on show, so I did a bit of visualizing for my planned annual run at that one coming up on August 3.

Incidentally, if anyone wants to join, a group of us are going to take a run at the traverse that day in an 'each man for himself' FKT 'race.' It'll be a ton of fun and with a few us in tow we can do car shuttles rather than have to hitch at the end.

Anyway, the drop down to the Thunder/Lightning saddle was hugely fun as it was wide open and essentially all sand. At the saddle, it was a head down 1,000 foot grunter up to the top of Lightning in a race to beat the weather. It hailed on me a bit at the top, but the skies otherwise looked stable. Great views again, and then it was off down to the drainage east of the Wind River until things opened up and I could cross over to the dividing ridge to get back on trail. Legs felt really good today on all the steep stuff but somewhat fatigued for the mile of two of actual trail running at the end.

Meeker/Longs from Lightning.

Chapin, Chiquita, Ypsilon, Fairchild, Hagues, Mummy. That's the lineup for Aug 3. 

Lightning & Estes Cone with Meeker and Longs in background. 
Total 28 miles (10,000')

So not a whole lot of running this week, but still a good number of hours 'on my feet.' The legs have felt pretty good for the most part, but I need to get back into a running rhythm as I hear there's a good bit to be done at Vermont and not much in the way of mountains.


  1. There's a good chance I'll be interested in that Mummy action, as long as I can make the drive back from SLC in time.

    1. Good deal, Tony. Get Frogger / other Boulder-area'ites out too!

    2. Anyone done this one on Ypsilon?

      Not to be missed, if you like Colorado chossbomb ridge dueling. Great exposed position and a few nice climbing pitches.

    3. Jeremy - never done it, but often admired it from above and below. There was an unfortunate accident and death there this past winter. Both parties involved in the accident know the park intimately; Lisa Foster in fact wrote the book on it, so lessons there I am sure:

      You should come out to Colorado the weekend of Aug 3 and get in on the Mummy Mania action. Always room at my house. N

    4. Ouch, sorry for the sandbag. Still, a reasonable summer scramble.

      Planning to race in CO sometime this year- maybe RRR100. A visit beforehand would be good. Is your pacing squared away for Leadville?

    5. Nah, no sandbagging, Blitzen is by all accounts an RMNP classic and one I'd love to do. Just mentioned the Lisa Foster incident because I've long been a fan of hers and it caught me massively off guard when I heard about it.

      Anyway, on Pb, yup I'm all squared away: home-state turf and everything. Keep me updated on your CO plans.

  2. Can't believe you included hashtags in your blog post!


  3. It looks like there are a lot of mountains in Vermont if you plot the elevation on the right scale ;-)

    Hashtags in a blog post...I'm not sure what to say about that.

  4. #thenewshorthand.

    Nick - don't be making mountains out of mole hills, now!

  5. Two summits and two H's for the Baron. Yeah, didn't want to mess with les formidables gendarmes.

  6. Danke schön von Hinterberg.

  7. #sub48 #kisstherock #Low30sandabigpartybackattheFort

  8. It's probably easier to go from Richthofen to Mahler, but I remember there were still some nasty loose and exposed sections. Wish I got up there more while living in the Fort. My friend wrote up a report for when we did it back in the day:

    1. Hey Steph - good to hear from you and thanks for the TR link. I'll have to go back and revisit the traverse when more inclined to deal with it. Between the three of us, we were either recovering from or imminently running a 100 miler, so really couldn't be bothered with the stress of that hideous rock.

      Would be fun if you could make it up for Mummy Mania Aug 3? We need a female FKT to bandy around. And how about the NS traverse next summer; I know we talked about it when on Ida, Cracktop?


    2. Unfortunately I will be heading to Michigan on the 3rd. With better vacation planning on my part, hopefully I can get up there next year. Until then I can work on some San Juan female FKTs.

      Good luck at VT!

  9. Nick... Just wanted to let you know I gain a great amount of inspiration and motivation from this blog and look forward to each update.

    Keep them coming.

    Best of luck.

    1. CW - thanks very much for the note, and glad to hear that I can offer a bit of inspiration here and there.

  10. Thank you for providing so much detail in your posts. I am very impressed- keep it coming :)

    David | Plumber Deerfield