Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Zion Maximization

I hoofed it up to Willard Falls and watched Jack be nimble on the first pitch of fat ice.  We swapped pitches twice more ending the route with a sweet easy WI3/4 section on great ice.  Even placed a BD goldilocks (#2) cam on pitch 2 and found my slings from last winter on a tree belay….

Took off on the Chinle Trail from Springdale with Pete, Court, and Spence dog. Destination Kinesava then West Temple summits. Super rare summits for anyone to attempt and not really any trail. After .5 miles we left the Chinle and headed up a random wash, then up a ridge with a some what navigable trail. Once up we cut towards the Cowboy Ridge and scrambled up on the blocks. The ridge continues up up up on narrow blocks and cliffs, past a few short class 5 sections, including a sweet 30 foot hand crack. Court and Spence soloed everything and I hauled up Pete on belay. Once on top of the ridge we ran over and up Kinesava. Great views, Great Summit. Next we continued the link-up by dropping down off the east side in a gully for 1000 feet then back up onto the SW Ridge of West Temple. Summited the 7800 ft peak (Tallest in Zion) in about 5.5 hours 6000 vert. Great Views. We then reversed the ridge using the rope at one spot to assist descent. Made in down off the ridge and ran a view miles across the desert back to the car. I beat Spence to the car by .0045 seconds. Something like 8.5 Hours 14 miles and 7000' of Vert

Got charged at Church in Springdale, both cell phone and soul.  Ate a monster hoagie in the parking lot then drove out to Wildcat Ridge. Tagged Pine Valley Peak then meandered down to the start of the Subway.  Really enjoyed going slow and taking in the brisk air. 

Started up the Overlook Trail after the tunnels towards East Temple peak.  A rare desert gem that few ever summit. We ran up left across sweet red slabs.  Then followed the herds of desert sheep higher and higher.  The route then drops down a huge gully then climbs a sketchy crappy gram cracker rock surface for 1000 feet.  Pete decided he had had enough of the steep bad rock. Spence and I pressed higher past some airy scary traverses to a ramp 200 ft below the summit.   3 pitches of bolted slab halted our climb.  I will cruise up easy class 5 but definitely not down climbable for us.  We headed back down. Smart move. With lots of sun left we went up to Keyhole slot canyon and did a fast lap through the icey slot.  18 minutes of out of control awesomeness. Breaking through ice, swimming in freezing water, running, and flying down cliffs. I enjoyed it so much I did it again with a cool dude that stopped on the road to see what we were up to.  15:30 the second time through.


Sunday, January 12, 2014

Are These Times Contagious.

Collective Soul's "I've never been this bored before, I've got a long way to run" have to be the most hilarious lyrics to first hit my ears at the start of any run.  With my tunes on shuffle at the start of the News Years Revolution Run, I chuckled out loud from the coincidence.  The gist of the event is to run around a 440 meter indoor track for 5 hours with 400 other people... and rack up as many laps as you can. Three days ago I had never heard of such an event around here.  Also having recently been mega-inspired by Zach Bitter's amazing 100 mile record on a track, I convinced my wife Izzy to join me for the torturous fun. 
Going into the run my entire mindset centered on how good of a training it would be, especially because my legs were trashed from running everyday during the week.  Including 4 summit climbs (9850 ft of vert) and some quad screaming powder turns the night before. 
The mundane nature of running in a circle for 5 hrs actually really intrigued me.  I like numbers, splits, and pace charts.  That said, the only goal in my head was to run the whole 5 hours.  At times swerving through traffic on the track annoyed me a little, but not too much. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting other people, chatting with my wife, and watching other folks running their guts out. At the 1 hour mark my total laps hit 25 then I walked a little and ate fruit and energy gels.  I could tell lots of other folks were running faster than me but I was not paying that much attention, yet.  I did not really count laps till the end nor did I have a watch on.  If you asked a volunteer your laps they would write it on a white board the next time you came around.  The board also listed the top 3 runners, my race bib number never appeared.  Running in a loop makes it real easy to hydrate and eat. I grabbed a water bottle for a lap here and there or grabbed things from my duffle on the bleachers once or twice. 
 Mid way through, my legs started dragging, but after eating and walking a bit I sped back up. At the two hour mark my total laps hit 50 and then 75 laps at the 3 hour mark. I am learning all this in hind site.  (I knew I was at 91 3.5 hours in but other than that I just ran.) At the 4 hour mark I hit 100 and then hit 126 (34 miles) as time expired. Crazy how consistent it ended up.  A lot of the fast dudes at the first slowed down towards the end and for some reason my legs felt great the whole way. I learned as we gathered up our stuff that I was first for the Men and second overall.  A super talented lady did 127 laps!  Speaking of ladies, Izzy ran hard for 50 laps then walked the rest. For a total of around 19 miles! Double the distance she has ever run before! 
I am super glad to see my body hold up through the week and feel extra confident I can knock off some goals for the year. Namely, sub 8 hours at  the Buffalo 50 Miler, sub 3:10 marathon, complete another 100 Miler, and summit 100 mountains in 2014.  Oh and one more thing I won a pair of Altra shoes for taking first. 
Hmm is there room in the closet next to my Sportiva, Nike, Motrail, Hokas, and Peral Izumis.  I am curious to see how they compare and which ones to get??


Sunday, January 5, 2014

Just another Saturday in the Mountains

Stumbling and crawling through icy water in my ski boots was not exactly how I envisioned my Saturday to go.  I wanted to get lots of miles in, either on skis or on foot, or both.  My running/ski buddies all got up super early and I missed out on a Little Dell  to Big Mtn run and a Kessler East Couloir ski tour.  So around 10 am I was on my way up the Great Western Trail from Fernwood in Layton with my skis on my back.  I figured it would be tracked out a lot of the way and then I would throw the skis on.  A fresh dusting of snow made the crusty trail a lot nicer. It also allowed for visibility of all all the night time creatures. (Small rabbit, larger rabbit, and a cat print a lot bigger than the rabbit prints...)

 The last boot holes ended, with a smiley face drawn in the snow, at around 7500 feet where I doffed the Sportiva Evo hiking boots and donned the Scarpa Maestrale ski boots and BD skis.  It was fun cruising up the fresh powder.  Right near the top a storm moved in and visibility went to 20 yards.  I somehow managed to make my way to the Chinscraper bowl by sensing the feel of the land. I felt like I was in a haunted winter wonderland as I moved through the snow crusted pines.  The cornice at the top was tricky, but with a little sweat I pulled on to the ridge.  I continued south hugging the ridge in the white-out conditions.  Several times I found myself on false summits overlooking monster cliffs, before I crested onto a hill and saw the Thurston summit plaque.  

The wind was blowing so hard that my hands instantly froze as I snapped some photos and pulled out some icy jerky to gnaw on. I started to ski down and south but got snarled in a maze of boulders, I cliffed out and finally said screw it and headed west while I still had some concept of which way west was.  I got some decent ski turns in, but mostly the snow was crusty ice. I never even took my skins off I felt so insecure with all the boulders and ice. The slope choked into a gully with thick scrub oak and an icy stream.  I figured I must be in the Adams drainage so I climbed up to where I thought the cabin and trail should be. I even recognized the cliffs above the cabin. Then I let doubt sucker me.  I could hear gun shots from the Wasatch shooting range so I reckoned that I must be one more drainage south.  I headed back down to the stream and stopped looking for the cabin/trail. The swacking got so bad that I could hardly move.  The slopes and scrub oak choked all movement down to the stream.  After a real short conversation in my head I came to the only logical conclusion.  With my skis under my arms I jumped into the stream.  The ski boots had been rubbing bad for miles and I had monster blisters on each arch. The icy water penetrated instantly and stung the raw blisters.  My snow pants quickly shredded on sharp ice and branches and one foot turned into a 15 pound slushy ice mass.  I crawled stumbled and clawed on for over a mile! At times I could get out of the stream for a some waist deep post holing but soon the slopes would choke me right back into the stream.  Several times I fell head first into the stream and once nearly slipped under an ice bridge and off a small falls.  My body became completely sapped of energy but I stumbled on. I knew I had to follow the stream out. Luckily I spied some tracks and followed them up and over a cliff. A trail!!  My spirits instantly soared as I reconnected to humanity and out of the icy glacial hell. The trail soon crested another steep cliff and down a slotted gully.  I'll take steep cliffs over ice water any day.  I climbed down and down, tossing my skis as I dropped bigger sections.  Near the bottom I saw this awesome huge water fall.  I literally thought I had discovered this new awesome waterfall for a total of 9 seconds before I realized where I was. In Adams Drainage all along.  I stripped down to my sort of dry shorts and and threw on my hiking boots and took off down the trail.  With skis back on my back I cruised the extremely familiar trail for another 1.5 miles before reaching the Bonneville shoreline.  Another 1.5 miles and I was at the car as the last light of the day disappeared into total blackness. It is funny to think how much worse the swacking would have been if I was in a different drainage with out an eventual trailing leading out. Crazy.  Next time I will bite the bullet and get up early and go with friends.