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.      

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Sub Three Timp

 The last time I was on Mount Timpanogos I gave Izzy a ring on the summit. The time before that was a night time solo speed ascent of 2:17 from car to the summit in 2009. Both memorable trips. After sticking mostly to trail for the past couple of years I figured it more than about time to give a time trial another go. Last Friday I dropped off the kiddo at daycare and drove down to AF canyon on my day off work. Everything about the run went perfect, starting out with a no charge canyon entry fee, due to my NP annual pass. I had to park down low due to the Timpanokee TH getting a face lift. I started up the trail with my Hokas, arm sleeves, Nathan water bottle and waist pack, 3 Roctanes, and shades. My start time was 9:30 and my goal was summit by 11:30. I felt fast all the way up. I ran 50% more of the steeper stuff than in the past. The chilly air and colorful fall leaves made for a supreme run. I hit the Basin at about 10:37, gained the Saddle at about 11 and then topped out at the white hut at 11:17. 1 hour and 47 minutes. Sweet. I stopped the watch for 10 minutes and chatted it up with some folks, snapped some pics, and then started down. My plan was to just take it easy on the way down. As I got moving I felt really good and decided to push it. I love taking the steep technical sections really fast. Kind of like stairs that are funny shaped and move… I could not believe what a difference the Hokas made on the decent. I could fly down the talus so flipping fast with little impact on the feet and knees. They were a joy on the way up and a privilege on the way down. Worth every cent doubled. On the flatter stuff I was doing about 7 to 8 minute miles. Not to many hikers on the mountain that time of day, which is nice, and they all stepped out of my way. With a few miles to go I realized I might be able to do the descent in under an hour. I picked it up to as fast as my legs would carry me and finished in 2:48 round trip. 61 minutes for the decent. 1:47 car 2 summit
2:48 c2c
s 4389 ft gain
Splits: 12:55, 13:12, 12:44, 15:31, 16:40, 14:57, 19:16, 13:00, 9:43, 7:46, 7:55, 7:51, 8:43, 6:59.