Monday, October 22, 2012

Whackin' 'round

Recently I've been getting back into the mountains and actually exploring the Front Range of Colorado. From out my Front Door, my drive to work, my time in Boulder; the entire time is spent gazing at the mountains right out the Front door. I'm grateful to live in such a uniquely geographic area. Where the plains meet the mountains and rise to the great divide. 

Eldorado Mountain - Monday, October 8
Over the course of 2012, I've tried (with no success) to climb Eldorado Mountain on two occasions. I knew that it was finally time to try again and I knew success was eminent. The first time it was snowy and my partner was a bit out of his comfort zone. The second time was during Sanitarado, where the sun went down and I was up high without a headlamp. And so, Jeremy and I headed out of Eldorado Springs and began our ascent of Eldorado Mountain. We hiked as high as we could on trail before traipsing onto some herd paths. Those paths soon ended and we were left with rock scrambles and all out climbing up what I would describe as a "Stegosaurus Ridge."

Monday, October 15, 2012

The Fat Ass: A History

Courtesy: SKArunner

It was 1974 when Gordy Ainsleigh first stepped to the dirt to run the now infamous Western States 100 Mile Course. He ran along side a herd of horses, competing in the 100 Mile Endurance Ride, an event he had participated in as a rider for a few years prior. After his horse came up lame, he was encouraged to just run the course himself. And so.. he did.

Ainsleigh’s feat was repeated in 1975 by Rob Kelly, and again in 1976 by “Cowman” Ken Shirk.  Counter to today’s numbers, indicative of the popularity of the event, some 16 runners toed the starting line at the very first Western States 100 in 1977. This 1977 running of the event was “low-key,” only offering 3 aid stations, and runners relying on drop bags and whatever skeleton crew they could muster up for support. There was no entry fee, no shirts, no medals, no whining.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Chasing Nolan's 14: Eric Lee

It is not a race, but one of the most definitive displays of personal perseverance and endurance. The goal? To climb as many 14ers as one can, travelling on foot, in 60 hours. No course markings, no water or food stashes in the woods. It is human against 60 hours, and 14 mountains that rise above 14,000’ in elevation.
According to Matt Mahoney’s Website, “Nolan's 14 is a run over the 14 summits over 14,000 ft. in Colorado's Sawatch Range, from Mt. Massive to Mt. Shavano in either direction. You can choose your own route between summits, but the most practical routes have been estimated to be 88 to 106 miles with 44,000 ft. of climb. Cutoff is 60 hours to the last summit.”

Since 1999, only seven people had completed the journey to all 14 peaks in 60 hours. On September 3rd, Eric Lee of Boulder, CO became number eight. This is an event that tends to live under the radar in ultra and trail running circles. It is usually only discussed in passing, and with a true sense of disbelief. Most times, only mentioned in discussions including the Barkley Marathons. It is legendary in peak-bagging and mountaineering circles, where many deem it impossible or deny it even exists.

But then there is Eric Lee