Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day Weekend Part 2

After our awesome hike on Saturday, Sunday we took it easy. Dan and I both went for easy runs Saturday morning as a last prep for Monday's race. We cleaned the house (very exciting) and waited for my parents to arrive from Florida.

On Monday Dan and I got up early for the Bolder Boulder. We jogged down to the start (less than a mile from our house), and got in our waves. The race was as exciting as last year with 50,000 runners and walkers and probably that many people lining the race course. There were 29 bands playing on different street corners (including the Blues Brothers and Elvis), not to mention the belly dancers and people with slip 'n slides on their front lawns. There were even two houses handing out bacon. We both had PRs for the race, Dan at 48:40 and me at 55:32. Mom and Dad made their way to the stadium and we hung out a while with them and Ann watching the runners finish. We stayed around for the professional race and the Memorial Day ceremonies. I even got to see some of the kids that were in the BBRacers Club that I trained the last two months. They did great!

Later in the afternoon we took Mom and Dad to the Boulder Creek Festival and then we went out to dinner with Tim and Jill for birthday spaghetti and garlic knots. Yum!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Mount Sherman

Laurel wanted to hike Mount Sherman for her birthday -- the closest 14er she hasn't summited yet.

We got up at 4am, packed up the Xterra, and hit the road. By 7am we reached the trailhead at the end of the 4x4 road. Amazingly, there were only a handful of vehicles up there.

Every other 14er we've hiked has been a parade up an obvious trail. When we started up Sherman though, the trail was mostly buried in snow and there was only one other group of hikers who chose a different route.

Two Ptarmigan followed us at the start of the trail.

We decided to aim for the saddle between Sherman and White Ridge. Once atop that saddle, Gemini Peak to the north caught our attention. Instead of heading right up Sherman we adjusted course for Gemini.

The twin peaks of Gemini look similar from a distance, but each has its own character. The first we summited was not very steep-sided, and there were actually two smaller sub-peaks nearby that we also hiked up. The view was fantastic from these summits.

The main Gemini Peak is taller and fairly steep. We decided not to hike the steep southeast rock slope right in front of us or the equally steep south snow slope. Instead we hiked around to the east side of the peak and went up from there. On the topo it doesn't look any less steep, but it seemed to be in the field.

We took a short break on the summit of Gemini. At 13,951' elevation, it is almost a 14er itself. Our next stop was Mount Sherman.

The most remarkable thing about Mt. Sherman was that we were the only people on the summit for 20 minutes! That's a first for us on a 14er.

We hiked down the southwest ridge of Sherman. This was a nice part of the hike -- good exposure on either side of the ridge, but flat enough on the top that it was a hike and not a scramble. It was neat to look off to the distance and see a distinct line cutting across the Sawatch range.

As we were hiking down Sherman and towards Sheridan (another 13er), we crossed paths with two CMC folks hiking the other way. The girl had just finished WTS and the guy was an assistant this year to the instructor we had for WTS last spring. Small world in the mountains.

The summit of Sheridan was spectacular in its own way. From there you could see clear across the trough containing Leadville and the Arkansas Headwaters to the Sawatch 14ers.

We were getting tired, so after a short break atop our third real summit of the day, we headed down Sheridan's south ridge. This slippery slope of scree required careful footing. From the bottom of that slope we followed an old 4x4 road and some snow slopes back to the car. The snow was soft enough in the afternoon that we had to get out the snowshoes.

At the end of the day we had covered just over 7 miles. Since it was mostly off trail it took us 8.5 hours. We were above 13,000' elevation for over 6 hours.

View Mount Sherman in a larger map

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

May Hail

Denver got some weather today -- hail between golf-ball and baseball size!

Here in Boulder we just got a minute or two of very small hail. After it seemed to be over we went for a walk and took pictures of the clouds out East.

As giant as that cloud looks in the picture above, it was probably 50% taller when we first set out! We had to walk a ways to get a good look at it. You can see the same cloud deflated a bit more in the left side of this panorama:

Later in the evening I saw this monster outside our front door:

It was getting dark out but the cloud was high enough to still get lit up by the sun.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Sugarloaf MTB

This is Sugarloaf Mountain, as seen from the Betasso Preserve:

We put the bikes on the Xterra and drove up to the Sugarloaf Mountain trailhead. Laurel went for an hour-long run down Glacier Lake Road. I had run 7 miles the day before, so I hiked up Sugarloaf Mountain instead. The mountain is very visible from Boulder, and from its summit there are fantastic 360 degree views.

I took a bunch of pictures from the summit to make panoramas. The wind was intense! At least 50 MPH.

Laurel arrived back at the car about the same time I did. We took the bikes down and headed out the same road she had just run on. It's a pretty tame road for mountain bikes but it was a fun ride -- about 6 miles west to the Peak-to-Peak highway, then back.

The ride back home took us right by the turn off for the Betasso Preserve, so we parked there and hiked for a short while.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Fourth Flatiron

Today we climbed part of the Fourth Flatiron. The rock is split into three pieces separated by gullies. We climbed the first piece in 5 pitches (about 700' over 5 hours).

This was our first climb anywhere near the Fourth, so we weren't even sure where the rock was or what it looked like. Typically we waste a lot of time trying to find the right starting point, but this rock was easy to locate and identify -- right off the trail with a big cave 200' up.

The routefinding was surprisingly easy. The landmarks we were aiming for (cave, ledge, face, ridge) were all oversized and obvious, so there was no question we were on route. The climbing itself was enjoyable too -- mostly friction work (typical for east face routes) but there were occasional sections that were more vertical and definitely felt harder than 5.4.

The climb isn't far from the Royal Arch. It was neat seeing it from afar -- when you hike to it you don't get a good look until it's right in front of your face. To the north we could see the Third Flatiron and to the East was NCAR.

Once we get our climbing chops back we'll have to return to do the entire East Face of the Fourth. From the rock's summit it isn't a far hike to the summit of Green Mountain, which sounds like a very fun hike!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Bike, Hike, and Climb

It was another good weekend in Boulder. On Saturday, we biked 17 miles to the Hall Ranch in Lyons. We hiked 9 or 10 miles and then biked all the way back. The ride back is rough -- basically all the elevation gain (over 400') occurs over 3 miles.

Today we climbed a route on the First Flatironette. Lots of fun!

At the top of the climb there were huecos which had collected rainwater. Surprisingly there was something swimming around in there!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Bird Update

The damn bird is still flying into the window. Who needs an alarm clock, or a clock at all for that matter, when the bird wakes you up at 5:30am and flies into the window at dinner time.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Morning robin

Yesterday afternoon there was a nice robin cheeping outside our window. This is the robin:

This morning at 6am there was an aggressive robin thwocking into our window. This is the robin:

The robin apparently isn't afraid of the big owls that live across the street, so it's no surprise that it isn't afraid of the 8.5 x 11 owl I printed out and taped to the outside of the window either.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Teller Lake trail run

We were going to bike to Chautauqua today to run the Mesa trail, but once we got on our bikes and started heading West we noticed it was misting in the mountains. So instead we drove East and ran the trails around Teller Lake. Despite the advancing clouds it never rained, lucky us!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Boulder day

We stayed local today. First we headed out on our bikes to Wonderland Lake. We saw the hang glider from last week, but this time he was actually up in the air. After parking our bikes at the trailhead we hiked the Kiln loop trail. The kiln was kinda neat, there were some strange black and white rocks along the way, and we got to see a hummingbird very close up.

Next we biked down to the library and then the farmers' market for lunch. While downtown I got my new free Newton Running shoes. It's a neat store -- they let you take the shoes outside to test drive.

From there we headed home. I biked to the Bolder Boulder store to pick up my race packet. Back at home I tried out my new shoes on a 1-mile run. They'll take a little getting used to but I think I like them.

Later in the evening Laurel and I headed out for a walk and ended up at the Ethiopian restaurant for dinner. Good food. It was a bit chilly walking home.