Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Mountain Weather

Mountain Weather
New snow in the high country
This past weekend on September 17th, 2011 a friend and I had a plan to go up high in the mountains. As Saturday approached, the weather had gone slightly downhill and rain was forecasted. Cool temperatures surely meant snow in the high alpine and thus our plans were changing and in motion. Luckily, our first back up plan suited us both well. The route to be explored potentially had excellent ridge walking, peak bagging, alpine meadows, high plateaus and large scale grandeur.
Perfect weather
A second mountaineering excursion with a good friend, I now knew what to expect: a late start, late summit, and late finish.  Not my normal plan, but I was game and the outing involved some peak bagging and had no significant grades.
Fall in Wyoming
Including the drive, we were on the trail by… 10. I had been up the first portion of the trail a few times and kept a steady pace to gain time on the day. The first 6.5 miles is on a great trail and took us up 3,500 feet. We were met at the alpine saddle by big views, clouds, sun, wind, and cool temperatures. A trace of new snow outlined the shady north faces. The conditions were perfect and we set off across the high expanse above tree line.
Bella: route finding
Surrounded by peaks, we made our way through high alpine meadows and ridges over 10,000 feet. After a few hours of travel we were on the second summit enjoying the views.
Summit views
It was just after and we were off the 11,400+ summit in 5 minutes. The wind was gusting on the ridges and summits and we knew we had best be heading for the car as the day light would soon fade. After a quick look off the summit to find a fast approach to the new trail, we decided to back track. After a few miles, the shadows cast their prominence and the temperatures plunged. We snuck up over the ridge where we had last seen the trail. This trail would loop us back to the car, but neither of us had been on it before. We checked the map one last time and agreed to drop down and merge the trail. We were soon on the trail and now we were racing the remaining light of the day. Alpenglow on the peaks made us stare and stumble down the trail.
Soon, the light was fading and we were quickly making haste to get closer to the trailhead. It was a futile effort as we both knew we would have to circumnavigate a large mountain in the process. Darkness came upon us, we grabbed our headlamps and were off again. Three hours and 15 minutes after dawning the headlamps we stumbled off the trail and into the parking lot at 11:15pm. A long day in the mountains, good company, summits, beautiful terrain, and evening/night stars made for a great Fall hike. Bella dog was strong the entire day and was great company as well.

Friday, September 16, 2011

2011 Summer Race Results

2011 Summer Results

This summer I had a few Hill Climb running races highlighted on the 2011 calendar. Along with the Hill Climbs I entered one ½ Marathon and a Steeplechase race. The race schedule was a good mix of local events as well as a few outside of town races. Training consisted of mountain hiking, mountain walking, mountaineering, climbing, a few flat runs, some trail runs, road bike, and a lot of hill climbs.
Temperatures in Wyoming are starting to drop and the valley will soon be in bloom with the Fall colors on the trees. And not far behind, Winter will be arriving and bringing whiteness to the mountains. Skiing will be here soon. This summer has been preparation for the upcoming ski mountaineering race season.

June 4th        Sun Valley ½ Marathon      9th   Sun Valley, Idaho       13.1 miles   
June 25th      Wrun for Wray  Hilll Climb  4th   Grand Targhee, Wy.    
July 23rd       Snow King Hill Climb        10th  Jackson, Wyoming       
August 6th    Jupiter Peak Steeplechase 10th  Park City, Utah         
August 20th   Pikes Peak  Hill Climb       46th  Manitou Sp., Co.      
August 27th  Rendezvous Mt. Hill Climb  6th   Teton Village, Wy.       

Pike's Peak 1/2 Marathon Ascent

7,815 elevation gain

Approaching 14,000 feet
Sun Valley 1/2 Marathon

First 1/2 Marathon 1:30:44

La Sportiva Mountain Cup Series.  Jupiter Peak Steeplechase