Sunday, August 21, 2016

Pikes Peak Marathon 2016

This story begins six years prior. It was August 3, 2010 that I was hiking Pikes Peak for the first time with my father and my very good friend Matt. We were on the Barr Trail making our ascent and found it to be such an enjoyable and inspiring trail. We were hiking on Pikes Peak after an already busy week of summitting 14ers. We had summitted Mts. Harvard & Columbia as well as the Lincoln-Bross-Democrat combination and even San Luis Peak. After such a busy week we were well acclimated and in great shape for the Barr Trail, and it showed. We pushed up the trail with few stops and were feeling great. In fact, I can still recall reaching the 16 Golden Stairs and being ready to almost jog up them. It was there I also was treated to a new sight: a number of men and women running up and down the trail, there, above 13,500 ft. I was amazed to see people able to move so well, so quickly at such an elevation. I thought I had impressed myself just being able to hike well. This was one of my first experiences with trail-running and it was quickly an eye opener. My Dad was aware of the Pikes Peak Marathon and so we talked with awe at these folks and what they were preparing for in such a few short weeks.

The notion of actually running this myself didn't come for a few more years. I would have success at the Chicago Marathon in 2014 and the North Country Trail Marathon in 2015. I would also develop a growing love of trail-running and so the idea finally came to mind. When I had finished North Country, which itself had 3000 feet of elevation change, I started to think I was wanted to try something even more. It didn't take long for my sights to head towards the Pikes Peak Marathon. With my love and experience for hiking the 14ers and my growing skills for trail-running this looked like the perfect combination.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Mt. Evans from Summit Lake

Route Name: West Ridge via Mt. Spalding
Summit Lake (TH) Elevation: 12,847 ft.
Mt. Spalding Elevation: 13,842 ft.
Summit Elevation: 14,264 ft.
Distance: 2.95 mi.
Elevation Gain: 1,718 ft.
Start Time: 8:45am
Summit Time: 10:35am

Trip Report:

Today was step 2 on my high altitude acclimation tour in preparation for the Pikes Peak Marathon.  Having flown out to Denver and spent my evenings in Dillon, I began my tour with La Plata Peak yesterday as a full-blown acclimation hike.  Today I wanted to look for less mileage, an easier toll on the legs, yet still high altitude time.  Mt. Evans from Summit Lake fit the bill.  Last summer I hiked Evans for the first time on an epic hike from Guanella Pass over Bierstadt and the Sawtooth.  That's the *fun* way to do Evans.  Today was the easy, almost cheating, path.  

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

La Plata Peak Aug 2016

Route Name: Northwest Ridge from La Plata Trailhead
Trailhead Elevation: 10,148 ft.
Summit Elevation: 14,336 ft.
Distance: 9.25 mi.
Elevation Gain: 4,337 ft.
Start Time: 6:40am
Summit Time: 9:27am (35 minutes on top)
End Time: 12:06pm

Trip Report:

I'm not sure exactly what it is, but in recent years I have found myself compelled to consider La Plata with every hiking opportunity that has come along. I don't know if it is the aesthetics of the route, the convenience of its access, or what. I was on La Plata in April with my Father doing a "winter" ascent and when time came for me to head back to acclimate for the Pikes Peak Marathon La Plata flew to the top of the list of peaks to choose.

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