Monday, December 3, 2012


Quick Recap of Holiday weekend adventures.

Wednesday: Got out and enjoyed the warm weather in Little Cottonwood.  Court Pace and I hit up the Ultra Classics Crescent Crack and Mexican Crack.  At M C we met one of our hero climbers, Nic Berry. He is a local that climbs super hard (13+ Trad), BD athlete, and nice guy.  After we pulled our rope from the 10d crack. We chatted for a minute then he soloed up the crack nice and smooth, no rope.  Fun to watch. Worth ditchin work for. 

Thursday: Awesome food and fam time followed by freezing my butt off for 5 hours at Best Buy and successfully obtaining a new teevee and xbox for the cold winter ahead. 

Ma and kiddo


Friday: Family and friends climbing in Zion.  Izzy, Nick, and I got down to the tunnel wall area and cragged at the Confluence while Court, Annie, and Spence rocketed up Smash Mouth (4 pitches 5.11.) Awesome weather and clean beautiful crack.  Then dirt bagged it back on some dirt road on the other side of the river.  Temps not to bad. and Izzy was a great sport spear heading the baby wrangling.  

Saturday: Early rise to begin the main event. Zion Traverse 50 miler (48 to be exact.)  5 of us took off from the East Rim trail-head under crisp frigid air.  11 miles later we jogged into the Grotto.  I came in first at 2 hours.  I tend to fly down the switchbacks more than most.  Gravity is kind.  Izzy and Anna pitted the aid station at the car and then we were all on our way up the Angel Landing trail. Court challenged me to not walk the whole climb up past the Wiggles tell Scout lookout, I paid for it later but I succeed.  And yes, Court I have not forgotten you still owe me dinner.  The rest of the climb up and out of the West Rim area is absolutely spectacular viewage and trail. I was not able to run very much, but Nick and I power hiked it through the dark side of ultra running (ie bonking out mentally, gut wrenching fatigue and ultra euphoria at the same time).  

Best Crew Ever

  We all re-grouped and then pressed on.  I don't think any of us felt 100% and we were not running near as fast as we expected.  Flat stuff I normally cruise was slow going. Spence and I crested a hill and made it to around mile 26, West Rim TH, to another spectacular oasis in the desert, Izzy, Anna, and the 4Runner. 3 finished their journey there, and Spence and I pressed on. It was getting late and by mile 32 we detoured to the road, hitch hiked out, and we all were in Cedar eating greedily by 7.  We could have slogged on through the night, and I really wanted to run the last 16 because it is all trail I have not seen before, but it will have to wait for another day.  (a warmer day with more sunlight) Great Friends and a great capstone to the running/climbing season.        

Friday, November 9, 2012

Quarry Trail 5.6 Miles of Blizzardy Goodness

  After I cleaned the house Izzy said I could go play. So I went target shooting with my CZ .22 Long Rifle till my fingers were numb and I ran out of ammo.  Then drove to LCC to run up the Quarry Trail. Driving on the freeway was quite blizzardly so I was unsure how the conditions would be. My goal was to beat Spence's Fireblade 52:04 he ran the other day.  With the conditions such, I figured I would just try to make it to the top through the snow. Surprisingly, I found the trail to be runnable.  I hit the gate at the top in 31 minutes and flew down for a finish time of 48:25.  I absolutely loved the conditions, 5 inches of soft snowy goodness to cushion the flight.  My watch only showed 5.4 total miles and the sign said 5.6... not sure why.  
Splits went 10:13, 12:09, 10:50, 6:23, 6:35 and 2:16 change.   1090 Vertical Gain.

Most shots in the black. Hard to shoot straight with a numb finger and snow flying in your face. Sweet gun.
Motivation I wrote on my hand the day before

Conditions. Virgin Snow

Las Hokas + Snow= Cloud Running


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Monarch of the Wasatch

summitpost pic I was too busy slogging through snow and mud to care about pics

Thought I would get one more trail summit in before the snow hits.  Ben Lomond has a great 14.6 mile trail that I have been itching to time trial on.  Started run at 3:20 p.m. The first few miles I was stoked that I was able to keep running non-stop all the uphill.... then I hit the mud and snow, and more mud and snow. My mile pace slowed drastically.  By the summit I was post holing through so much crust my ankles began to bleed.  At that point the game changed to make it to the top, not speed. I topped out in 1:53 hrs.  No goats to behold, but enjoyed 60 seconds of an awesome sunset.  Then more heinous post holing off the summit then slogged for miles through slush and mud. Of course I forgot my headlamp and pounded the last 4 miles in the pitch pitch dark. Good confidence builder to finish despite the poor conditions; night running with no light is a great test of mountain instincts. Finished in around 3:20 hrs, didn't really care at that point just glad to be done. Overall great run, but should have done it 3 weeks ago. Fox in Headlights, Wendy's Frosty, Home, Steak, NPR election coverage, bed..

summitpost pic


Monday, October 29, 2012

Grand Canyon Rim to Rim to Rim #2

Colder weather outside means it is time for the desert, and why not a little Grand Canyon action. About a year ago I drove down to the Grand Canyon with Spence dog and his better half Annie for the Rim to Rim to Rim run. The run kicked our butts but we had a blast, all of us finished the traverse in about 13.5 hours. In the past year I have really picked up my training by running more miles, more trails, more vert, and logged a couple of organized Ultras (50 and 100 milers.) This past Friday morn Pete, Court and I headed down to The Canyon for another go, first time for both of them. In camino we paid the mandatory homage to Meadow Hot Springs

 and climbed the always blissful Namaste routes in Kolob Canyon.
Spence and I at South Fork "Namaste" area in 2011

We rolled into a nice camping spot near the North Rim and even had time for a fire and some reading. No
elk bugles keeping us up, just cold air under the stars.

We hit the North shish-Kaibab trail at 5:15 sharp. Pete and Court did not even wait for me to lock the
car and stash the key. It is so cold on the rim you got to get moving fast. I still ended up over dressing
and stashed clothes at the Supai Tunnel, mile 1.5 ish. I sported my Hoka shoes, BD poles, and Court’s
Osprey hydration pack (way to heavy.) While trying to catch those hosers in the dark, I rallied my right
ankle hard, stumbled, winced, screamed, limped, walked, then started running again. Not even a half
mile into the 42 miles run and I am wincing and limping. O well. Caught those dudes. We stuck together
until Phantom Ranch at mile 13.9 by my watch in under 3 hours. We stashed lunch and Dr. Pepper and
headed towards the river. We had not really decided which route to go up yet, either up Bright Angel
(longer, less steep, some water) or South Kaibab ( shorter, steeper, no agua.) The cooler temps and
quick pace thus far, nudged us up the South Kaibab. On the way up we passed a hundred hikers, 10
burros, and one dude flying down the trail in a full Batman costume. Way to carp the diem. Court beat
us up the hill by 5 minutes and was basking in the sun. The poles on the climb really helped my legs. I
did not feel near as tired as last years climb. Time to South Rim 4:55 hrs. Felling good we bombed back
down the trail and past right by all the same folks and beast of burdens again. Court and I made it into
the Ranch around the 6.5 hr mark. I had a 100 oz hydration bladder that lasted up and down the South
Kaibob with-out refilling at the top. I have no idea why people do this run in warmer weather.


It is important to mentally realize the second river crossing as the 2/3 mark if you are starting on the
North Rim. Even though you have gone down, up, and down again, you still have a long 14+ miles to
slog out. Court and I were moving pretty quick (ie not crawling) back up through the “Box” canyons.
I soon lost sight of Court and Pete and continued to eat my gruel of a climb alone. The bean burritos,
fruit, and Energy Blocks were not sitting well in the gut and my stomach was in knots. I was able to
preempt a total bonk by slamming as much water as I could, downing salt tabs, ginger chews, Tums, and
ginger tablets. The Vitamin I’s (ibuprofen) were keeping the ankle pain down to a dull throb. As the
climb got steeper I was wasted but still moving pretty quick. Right before the Supai Tunnel I glimpsed
Court and then joined him at the top soon after. We came in at 11:30 hrs and 11:37 hrs respectively, a
two hour PR for me and an awesome virgin time for Court. He had never even seen the Grand Canyon
before. 2 hours later we heard a loud yeehaww as Pete completed the run. Then 8 hours of driving
intermixed with Pete throwing up, driving through a controlled forest fire, 10 pee breaks, Pizza Hut,
energy drinks, and lastly my pillow at home. Great day-o-fun.

Phantom Ranch

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Autumnal Tetons Loop 34 Miles

Near the Bottom of Death Canyon 
After much fretting over weather reports and talking with buddies, I decided to head up to the Tetons solo.  The weather forecast was 40% chance of rain and snow.  My plan: run all the way around the Tetons.  After a brief stop at Lava Hot Springs and huge steak in Jackson I rolled into my favorite spot to crash at the Lupine Meadow Trail Head.  Then I enjoyed the cold night with billions of stars, a few rain sprinkles, and an elk bugling.  At 7:50 a.m. I was off towards Jenny Lake. My plan was to just complete the 34 miles/8000 ft of vert in one not frost bitten piece.  All of the trail except the last 1.7 miles was virgin trail to me.  I carried more food and warm clothes than I normally take on long runs. Heck I even threw in a compass (and used it.)  The run up past Jenny Lake and Inspiration Point was gorgeous and sunny. I was taking so many pics that some hikers past me. So I quit playing patty-cake and picked up the pace up Cascade Canyon.  The wispy clouds danced all around the high cliffs above, both beautiful and intimidating.  I cruised the long flat sections and said good morning to big bull moose.  After a fork, the climbing started getting steep.  I was not making good time but didn't care. I figured when I got to Hurricane Pass I would decide to turn back or press on.  As I crested the pass I chatted it up with some folks that came up the Idaho side and then pressed on into the clouds. I felt a little disappointed that I could not see the massive Owen, Grand, and Middle Tetons above me but the incredible alpine terrain all around made up for it.  Many times I have looked down from the Grand or from Table Mtn and thought how fun it would be to explore these areas.  The wind and snow flurries picked up during my decent into the Alaska basin.  I kept a steady walk/run going on the amazing single track,  as I again gained altitude past more alpine lakes.  I did not linger for long on the Buck Mtn pass and could not see much due to the thick fog.  The relentless climbing finally ended at the Static Divide, 10,800 ft, and the weather began to clear.  I ate more food, finished off the Gatorade and started to fly down Death Canyon.  This is where the Hoka shoes really shine. Late in a run, pounding downhill.  Luckily Spence dog texted me the night before and reminded me that after the decent down Death Canyon you still have 10 more flippin miles.  So, I was mentally prepared for the slog, but man was it a slog. The climbs up to Taggart Lake and Bradley Lake really slowed me down. The amazing trail among all amazing trails finishes down the start of the traditional Garnett Canyon Grand approach.  I jogged into the parking lot at 5:15 for a total trek time of 9:25  Drank some Dr. Pepper and headed home. I will definitively be back.
A little pre-run Lava time

Sunrise over Jenny Lake

I think Teewanot or just to the right of it

Cascade Canyon 

Bottom of Death Canyon

Taggart Lake


Monday, October 8, 2012

Near Sub-2 Hour c2c Olympus

I cruised down to SLC to enjoy the cooler Temps and great scenery on this fine Dia de Colon.  I did not have much time so I decided to hit up Olympus.  I left the car at 1:10 and summited at 2:33.  For an accent time of  1:23 hrs.  It definitely felt steeper than Mount Timpanogous so I thought I would look up the exact comparison. Olympus is 4,100 feet of vertical gain in 3.75 miles (from Pete's Rock) and Timp is 4,389 vert in 7 miles (From Timpooneke).  Pretty much twice as steep! I could feel it for sure.  My legs were heavy and I was wasted at the top. It is hard on the decent to really pick up the speed due to the technical nature of the trail... oh and did I say steep.  I ate it hard twice, once bashing both knees.  Still a great run and finished in 2:10 hrs.  That includes a little small talk on the summit and not eating lunch first, so I think I could hit my goal of 2 hours car2car next time. Best be hurrying before the snows come.