Monthly Archives: August 2013

2013 14er Trip – Day One

Due to a shorter than normal vacation in early July, I ended up with the opportunity to take three days off work later in the month and head up to the high country.  My son and I quickly threw some plans together and decided to keep home base in Leadville and venture out to some different peaks each day.  This meant 4:45 wakeups each morning to get to the trailhead and hopefully beat the storms which usually show up later in the day.

On the way up after work on Tuesday I set the Copper to Leadville knee-driving FKT (the burrito needed two hands).  If there ever is a knee-driving world championship, I’m in.  #medalcontender


We spent the first evening high above town looking to capture the sun setting over Turquoise Lake.  The sunset didn’t pan out, but I happened to catch some great Crepuscular Rays with one of the beams shining directly on the city.


Day one objective was Mt. of the Holy Cross.  We would be taking the Halo Ridge route, which is a much longer (at least time-wise) approach to the summit.  It traverses 2.5 miles of the ridge and without any trail.  Almost all boulder-hopping.

The climb up Notch Mountain looked bad on the map, but turned out to be very nice with many switchbacks and a good trail.  We paused for a bit to watch pika, marmots, and the camoflaged ptarmigans.





The columbine were in their full glory.  This particular variation (there are over 70) is the Colorado state flower.  Blue for the sky, white represents snow, and yellow represents gold mining.


Our first view of Holy Cross (named for the gullies that make a cross shape, especially evident when filled with snow) was magnificent.  From this spot we could see the entire route to the summit.  Kind of hard to tell in this shot, but the peak is actually over a mile away and 1,000′ higher than our location.


The scale of the entire area was amazing.  I let Malcolm get a few minutes ahead of me and he turned into a tiny yellow spec on the ridge.


Even helicopters look microscopic from up here.


I snapped this panorama before I took off to catch up.  The lake is called the Bowl of Tears. I probably shed a few later in the hike…


Hop.  Hop. Hop.  Long way from help.  Don’t break an ankle…



We finally reached the summit after spending nearly 4 hours (stops and photos included) to travel the 2.5 miles along the ridge.



Thankfully the sketchy-looking clouds that began showing up at 8:30 never really amounted to anything. The descent was no picnic, but at least we were on a trail now.


It was great to get back to some vegetation after being on the rocks so long.


Normally with 14ers, once you summit it’s all downhill back the car. Holy Cross has a nasty little surprise with the 1,000′ climb over Half Moon Pass standing in your way. Malcolm absolutely crushed this climb and I barely held on. We were so glad to get to the top! After receiving some feedback from the home front that we were looking too serious in our summit photo, we risked cracking our faces and smiled for this one.


The trail back to the parking lot was a little slice of heaven.


2013 Leadville Night Run

Here we are again, deep into Leadville 100 territory.  Attending the night run has been a ritual of mine for 5 years now.  I truly look forward to it as it is a great way to cap off a summer’s worth of training and stoke the 100 mile vibe by hanging out with some like-minded folks.  The run starts at 8pm and travels 21 miles along the race course.  We usually end up back at Brandon’s around midnight.


Half of the fun is hanging out before and after the run, catching up with friends old and new.  Brandon does a fantastic job of hosting all 30+ runners and making us feel right at home.  What a great tradition!  Rob was roving around with the camera capturing some great images of the gathering.


Credit: Robert Timko Photography

I love this shot.  The group is all smiles before taking off into the night.  Leadville is visible in the distance behind us, we would be taking the long way to get there.


Credit: Robert Timko Photography

Lots of Pearl Izumi shoes on the run.  JY and I demonstrate good synchronization technique while cornering in our matching blue/lime kicks.


Credit: Robert Timko Photography

The run went really well for me.  I had been up in Leadville since Tuesday night climbing 14ers every day with my son.  The 8-10 hours a day of climbing and descending steep trails had tired me out, but toughened me up also.  I enjoyed the feeling of being able to dig deeper when I needed to and actually finding something there.

GZ and Rob set up an awesome aid station at the halfway point and had all the trail runner bases covered with water, beer, chips, brownies, and doughnuts.  The Prince music blasting through the air topped off the experience and left me smiling.


Credit: Robert Timko Photography

Party like it’s 1999.


Credit: Robert Timko Photography

One of my favorite parts of the run was when a few of us hit the boat ramp and sat down for a few minutes with our lights off gazing at the amazing sky.


Credit: Robert Timko Photography

Well, two weeks to race day.  I can’t believe it’s that time again.  I’ve been training really hard for the past couple of months trying to dig myself out of the hole I’ve been in for the last year or so.  Finally making some progress and feeling stronger.  Still need to shed a few more pounds, but I’m getting there.

Thanks to all involved with the run and for making it such a great time.  Here we go again!