Sunday, May 31, 2009

Graduation Day!

We finally finished WTS (Wilderness Trekking School). After five lectures and five long all day field trips, we are finally equipped to explore the wilderness... or something like that. Actually, we can now officially go on level C hikes through the CMC and sign up for Basic Mountaineering School next spring, if we so choose.

So, you might ask, what was entailed in graduation day. Well, we had to get up at 5am, meet our classmates at 5:30 and drive to Stoney Pass near Bailey to start hiking by 8:30. Without following a single trail, we were able to follow a 13-leg route that we mapped out using topographic maps and features, compasses, and some newly-mastered skills. Aside from the thunder, lightening, and brief rain in the afternoon, it was a fun, 8-hour hike. Over the course of this class, we've bonded with some neat people and managed to survive our over-zealous instructor. After dinner and drinks it was really nice to get home just before it was totally dark.

Check out the whole album -- nice bear-claw marks on the trees in the first two pictures!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Our first Bolder Boulder

We did good! We both finished under the time needed to get into a qualifying wave for next year's race (62 minutes).
Check out our results and mile splits: Laurel, Dan.
Check out photos taken at the race: Laurel, Dan.

The race was a zoo -- something like 54,000 people. I think we ran 10 kilometers in the forward direction and 1 km side to side trying to get around people. The race is started in waves that are released a few minutes apart to provide some spacing along the course. How many waves? About 50 waves of runners and 30 waves of joggers. This video shows just one wave starting:

There was live music all along the course, people on the sidelines cheering and giving high fives, two troupes of belly dancers, Elvis, the Blues Brothers, people handing out beer and food (chicken, bacon, chips, grapes), people with hoses and squirt guns, a slip-n-slide, a guy holding a hula-hoop for people to run through (which I did after grabbing a few grapes)... and then some of the runners: in gorilla suits, a few kids dressed up as bananas, a guy in a solar panel costume, a guy in a "riding an ostrich" costume, a "gorilla holding a guy in a cage" costume, a guy strung up like a marionette, a French maid, a bride with her team of bridesmaids, some graduates, etc.

There was a lot of energy in this race. I haven't run a race in 15 years and now I'm pretty psyched to get back into it.

After the race we met our friends Ann and Sean in the stadium and hung out for a while. We got great snack packs and got to drink free Michelob Ultra at 9 AM. We stayed to watch runners finishing the race for an hour and a half. On our walk back home we stopped to watch the professionals race -- their fastest times were less than half of ours. Very impressive.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Rain, Rain, Go Away

Once again, Boulder hosted another rainy weekend. This spring has been abnormally wet, which is good for water levels, but bad for rock climbing. We did manage to get out a bit, though, despite the cloudy skies.

On Saturday we hopped on our bikes and headed for the north of town. We got to the Anne. U White trail head and went for a little hike. We rode back home and managed to have lunch before it started drizzling. We tried to go out again in the evening to do some mountain biking, but we turned about after hearing some thunder.

Sunday morning the skies seemed to be clearing a bit. After the pouring rain Saturday night we didn't think the clearing would have dried up our local crags so we hoped on our bikes and headed for the canyon. We got to Sugarloaf Road and went up to Betasso and biked the loop. On our way back we hit the Boulder Creek Festival. There were hundreds of vendors and entertainers. We walked around for a while until once again, we heard thunder and headed home.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Cheyenne Buffalo Ranch

On Monday Laurel and her parents headed up to Cheyenne to check out some Buffalo.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

WTS Survival Day

Today was our 4th WTS field trip -- Survival Day. The highlight was shelter construction. We paired up and had 30 minutes to construct an emergency shelter out of whatever material was in our packs or could be gathered from the surrounding area. That's not much time but we were all able to get some pretty decent shelters started. To get a sense of what we were making, read this (pdf).

This has sorta become our team motto so we made up T-shirts.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

South Park

Saturday we went to South Park with Laurel's parents.

Actually, we went to Fairplay, home of South Park City -- an outdoor museum of recreated and restored buildings. It was neat seeing some of the history of the West. Click on Mr. Hanky for more pictures.

After Fairplay we stopped in Brekenridge -- huge ski resort. Even thought it's not ski season anymore there was a lot to do and see.

On the way back to Boulder we had a nice drive through the mountains. Oh, can't forget to mention that we had a huge New Orleans breakfast at Lucile's to start the day.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Three peaks

Laurel and I did a 12 mile hike on Saturday, hitting the three main peaks west of Boulder -- Bear Peak, South Boulder Peak, and Green Mountain -- as well as the First Flatiron. We gained (and lost) over 5000' elevation over the course of the hike.

(see big map)

We also got to see Saddle Rock without the fog (compare with this pic):

Sunday, May 3, 2009

WTS Snow Day

We spent 11 hours on St. Mary's Glacier, needless to say this was a long, long day. We met in Idaho Springs at 7:15 and then traveled on to the trailhead. At 10,000 it was cold and VERY windy. We bundled up and headed up the glacier practicing self-arrests without ice axes and cutting in steps up the snow. Due to the 40mph winds and the slushy snow conditions our instructor decided we should go to another spot for the rest of the day's activities.

After lunch and descending to a wooded area, we headed up towards a steep section of the mountain. Here we practiced self arresting with ice axes many, many times. Then after learning about rope handling techniques we practiced roped travel and passing pro on snow.

After glissading we mapped our bearing directly to the parking lot and postholed cross-country to the cars.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Wet weekend

Saturday we took a hike to find Saddle Rock. It was wet.

Sunday we had our 3rd WTS field trip -- Snow Day at St. Mary's Glacier. We practiced kick-stepping with mountaineering axes. We did a lot of self-arrest practice with the axes (feet-first, head-first, head-first belly-up, and head-first belly-up with-packs). We also did some rope-team practice. At the end of the day we glissaded down our practice slope and hiked out cross-country through the woods back to the parking lot.

Sunday was pretty wet and cold too.