Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Getting High In CO

     This past weekend I went out to Leadville, CO to get high with Gina!  We didn't get as high as we wanted, only about 13,200 ft or so, but we did some exploration.  We were checking out the the Nolan's 14 course.  This is a route of 14 - 14,000ft peaks in the Sawatch Range in CO. You can watch the movie here.  My buddy Will asked me if I wanted to give this a go this year, and jumped at the chance. I checked out Jared Campbell's blog post and downloaded some maps, drew the course on them, and left for the airport on Thursday.
     Jared is the man in UltraRunning.  You don't see him in too many flashy videos or advertisements in magazines, or web pages.  He's what I consider the ultimate amature (if that is even fair) old school style UltraRunner in the vein of Blake Wood, and many others.  I look up to these guys and of course Joe P.  I have been lucky enough to run on the same course as these folks a few times at Hardrock and they really typify the essence of old school ultrarunners.
     We arrived early AM in Pb and visited with Bill Dooper (watch this film). Bill is really just a great guy and I always like to chat with him when I can.  Then we headed over to see Donna @ Leadville Outdoor.  She is the greatest and we chatted it up for while. Head on in to the store and pick up some stuff, tell 'em I sent you.
     After killing time, we headed over to Fish Hatchery to check out the start trails, which is pretty simple. Then up to Halfmoon road to check out the route on the back side of Mt. Massive.  We wanted to make it over to the back side of Mt. Elbert, but the creek was too high because of all the snow melt.  Later, we went to Hwy 82, stopping at the general store in Twin Lakes.  They had a sweet map with better trails so I grabbed that and a few beers.  We spent some time looking for the trail off of Elbert where it meets Hwy 82 and also the La Plata Peak trail head.  That was all successful.
     It was cool to drive over to Winfield.  I'd never been there in a car, just twice in '09 and '10 when I ran the Leadville 100 where I DNF both @ Halfmoon In.  We checked the other side of La Plata and the road up to Mt Huron.  Once this was complete, we headed back to Pb for Mexican food at the new joint they opened up. It was pretty good. And also over to Scarlet Bar for 1$ PBR draft that was now 1.50$.
     We ended up staying at The Delaware Hotel. It is a historic hotel and I'd never stayed, so we gave it a whirl.  On Saturday, we headed up the trail via the back side of Massive.  It was a nice climb, but I was pretty winded.  We got started late because I had a headache all night.  I wasn't drinking enough water on Friday.  To many margaritas. The snow was pretty soft so we didn't fool around crossing the snow fields to the summit, mostly because it was almost noon.
     In the late afternoon we headed down to Buena Vista to check out the backside of Mt. Yale where the CDT crosses the hwy.  Stopped at a local brewery and ate pizza.  We met up with Greg and Cassie at the rodeo arena which is in the shadow of Mt. Princeton.  Pretty badass.  I was able to explain some stuff about each event, showcasing my rodeo "knowledge" .  Hahaha.  After we arrived back in Pb we went over to The Manhattan and did some slummin. 
     On Sunday we went over to give La Plata Peak a try, from the Hwy 82 access.  On the way there, we saw like 5 bighorn sheep on the side of the road. Impressive animals.  I might get a bighorn sheep tattoo one day. We got another late start.  The altitude was killing me this trip. I was pretty bummed. However we started up.  Weather was okay.  We didn't summit, but did some bouldering traversing under the ridge. I was scared shitless.
     Once we came off the ridge, we stopped again in Twin Lakes @ The Twin Lakes Inn Restaurant and had the best appetizers evarh! Plus the Moscow Mules were pretty damm tasty as well. Heading back into Denver, we discusses strategies for training and also for Gina's Leadville 100 attempt.
     I've got quite a bit of work to do.  I'm kinda scared of heights, so exposed ridges suck for me.  Plus I didn't feel good in the altitude, however that should get better.  Once I finalize my updated plan for preparing myself, I might put that out here.  It will entail lots of core work. :) 

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