Monthly Archives: July 2013

24hours of 14ers, “Do or do not, there is no try”

14ers Summmited: Nine (Evans, Bierstadt, Torreys, Grays, Quandary, Democrat, Lincoln, Bross, Sherman)

Total Time: 18hours 37min (splits below)

Total Distance on Foot: 50.9miles

Total Elevation Gain/Loss: 18500ft

Previous 24h Record: To my knowledge Zachary Dong, nine peaks in 23hours using the 3000ft rule.

5am on the Mt Evans Rd, its go time!

5am on the Mt Evans Rd, its go time!

It was a dark and stormy night, no really it was. I met my friend Reese in Frisco, CO Thursday evening as the rain pounded the surrounding mountains and lightning and thunder crackled all around us. How was I going to run for 24hours tomorrow, let alone do so all above 11000ft in elevation? I was prepped, somewhat rested, and just had to trust that in the weather report that Friday 7/26/13 was going to be more stable and hopefully less stormy. The idea of trying to climb as many 14ers in 24h had been hatched over a year ago when talking with a former coworker he relayed that he had once climbed nine 14000ft peaks in under 24hours using the 3000ft rule. In searching the internet and asking around I was unable to find any record other than what my coworker had relayed. I felt that someone needed to set out and put down a faster time (or more peaks), why not me?

The final summit push to Mt Evans in the early morning light.

The final summit push to Mt Evans in the early morning light.

Descending toward the Sawtooth and Mt Bierstadt amidst fresh snow.

Descending toward the Sawtooth and Mt Bierstadt amidst fresh snow.

My alarm blared at 4:15am, and Reese and I quickly set to work assembling gear for the day. Then at 5:00am I set out from 11200ft on the Mt Evans Rd to begin my journey to see how many 14ers I could climb in the next 24hours. As the shining moonlight gave way to the warm pink glow of sunrise, I climbed the last 1000ft to the summit of Mt Evans at 6:50am. I was greeted by a thin crust of snow atop Mt Evans and across the Sawtooth over to Mt Bierstadt. After carefully scrambling my way across the Sawtooth and around the patches of snow and ice I topped out on Mt Bierstadt at 7:48am. I snapped a photo, and quickly bombed down the trail toward Guanella Pass, hitting the road and finally finding my crew at 11000ft at 8:32am. I hopped in the car and we sped off toward Georgetown, next destination Stevens Gulch.

Looking up at Torreys Peak, #3.

Looking up at Torreys Peak, #3.


Ascending Cristo Couloir toward Quandary Peak.

Ascending Cristo Couloir toward Quandary Peak.

I hit the trail to Torrey’s Peak at 9:17am, headed toward one of my favorite 14ers, with its aesthetic shape and plethora of lines I always seem to enjoy climbing it. I ran into a few friends on the climb up, summiting Torrey’s at 10:37am and Gray’s not long after at 10:57am. The run down was just bliss; clear skies, clean air, endless views, good trail, wild flowers blooming and trail crews hard at work (much appreciated). I once again jumped right into the vehicle this time for the long ride to Quandary. I stretched out, rehydrated and refueled as Reese cruised down I-70 toward Frisco. After a quick nap I guided Reese onto Blue Lake Rd where at 11200ft we pulled over, I hopped out and began jogging on up the road toward Cristo Couloir at 12:46pm. Dark clouds loomed overhead as I climbed up Cristo, 2400ft in just over a mile. As I pushed toward the summit the clouds broke, summitting at 2:15pm with blue skies overhead and clouds billowing around on all sides. I scrambled my way back down the couloir reaching the car at 2:55pm, so far so good.

Looking back at Kite Lake enroute to Democrat.

Looking back at Kite Lake enroute to Democrat.


Mt goat hanging out on Mt Democrat.

Mt goat hanging out on Mt Democrat.

Next up Democrat, Lincoln, Cameron (unofficial) and Bross, know as the DeCaLiBron. As I jogged up Kite Lake Rd the afternoon light was softly filtering through the clouds overhead. KiteLake was surrounded by tents, but the trail was quiet as most people were settling in for the afternoon. As I began my hike up toward Democrat I could tell the previous five peaks had taken a toll on my legs and lungs. At 13000ft my pace slowed to a trudge, and I finally summitted Democrat at 5:05pm. I descended back to the saddle where I paused for 15-20min as I watched a dark cloud slowly roll over Mt Cameron,nothing came to pass so on I went to Mt Lincoln (6:05pm) and Mt Bross (6:34pm). As I hopped down the rocky slopes of Mt Bross I could tell the fatigue was building and my pace was slowly slipping. I finally reached Kari (crew #2) and the car at 7:19pm, almost an hour later than I’d hoped for.

Sunset over the Leavick mining site near Sherman.

Sunset over the Leavick mining site near Sherman.

As we drove toward Fourmile Creek I caught Kari up on the day’s adventure, the good weather, the smooth running and now the labored movement above 13k. At 8:02pm she dropped me off at 11000ft on the Fourmile Creek Rd and off I went, again jogging the flattish uphill this time toward Mt Sherman. As I passed the old Leavick mine site the setting sun illuminated the passing clouds a bright pink color, forcing me to pause for a photo and to absorb the beauty surrounding me. After all, that’s why I’d come out here in the first place instead of just running mountains around Boulder. As I pushed up the ever steepening road into the darkness a cold wind began to blow and my pace again began to suffer because of the altitude. I slowly ascended the rocky ridge toward the top of Mt Sherman, plopping down on the summit at 10:06pm in the silence of the dark night. Since my SPOT had long ago died, I shot out a text to a few friends to let them know I was ok and about to head down into Iowa Gulch.

Summit of Mt Sherman, 9th and final 14er for the day.

Summit of Mt Sherman, 9th and final 14er for the day.

The descent was rough and rocky, just how I’d remembered Sherman. I slowly trotted my way back to the saddle, then struggled for a bit trying to find the descent trail into Iowa Gulch, finally giving up and just heading downhill into the basin. Eventually I crossed right onto the trail, which consisted of steep hard pack dirt with a fine layer of gravel on top, yuck. I slowly picked my way over to the Iowa Gulch Rd where my friend Shad was parked to make sure I was ok. It felt soooo nice to be on the dirt road and to let the legs just turn over and run downhill, but the 3miles of dirt road seemed to take forever. During the descent my mind had moved on to whether or not I’d continue for another peak, time was running short and with the UTMB 100mile looming 5weeks away I was worried about a major setback. I reached Kari and the 11000ft point on the Iowa Gulch Rd at 10:37pm at which point I sadly informed them that was it for me.

I wasn’t injured, I wasn’t sick, I wasn’t too tired to continue, I’d just had enough and decided it was time to live to fight another day. While I had not completed the 11-12 14ers I’d initially hoped to, I’d finished nine in 18hours 37min and had felt pretty strong (other than altitude issues) all day. The weather had cooperated after the torrential downpour on Thursday night; my crew had been phenomenal in getting me where I needed to go, keeping me fueled up and being great company. So the current number of 14ers in 24hours still stands at nine, but now with a time of 18hours 37min. Definitely a soft number that can be bested by one of the faster elite mountain runners or someone a little more rested and a little better acclimated than I was on Friday 7/26, either by climbing more peaks in 24hours (>10) or running nine peaks faster than I did. I invite some of you out there to test yourself and see what you can accomplish. Because until you push yourself beyond the perceived limits, you may never know what your ultimate potential might be. Next up for me is to finish the CO 14ers in the coming weeks, to pace my friend Nick at Leadville (yes there will be a costume), and on August 30th the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc in Chamonix, France. A special thanks to Hind outerwear for supporting my adventures and VFuel Endurance gel for keeping me energized throughout the long days. Full Photo album here.


Point of Interest

Actual Leg Time

Actual Total Time

11200ft Mt Evans Rd



Mt Evans Summit



Sawtooth to Bierstadt Summit



Guanella Pass Rd 11000ft



Drive to Stevens Gulch TH



Torreys Summit



Grays Summit



Stevens Gulch TH



Drive to Blue Lake Rd 11200ft



Cristo Col to Quandary Summit



Cristo Col to Blue Lake Rd



Drive to Kite Lake Rd 11100ft



Kite Lake to Democrat



Lincoln via Cameron



Bross Summit



To 11100ft on Kite Lake Rd



Drive to Four Mile Crk Rd 11000ft



Mt Sherman Summit



Iowa Gulch Rd 11000ft




Taking Control and Moving On

Well, for the past several months the big question has been, will I get in to Hardrock? As of yesterday 7/4/13 I finally put that to rest with a definitive “No”. With only 8days until the race start I sat in the precarious spot of being 1st on the newbies waitlist, next in line, but still no guarantee of getting in. After much stress and racking my brain, I’ve decided to let Hardrock go and head out east to share in the once in a lifetime moment and be there to see my friends Ben and Amanda get married.

I think I made this decision about two weeks ago, but its been hard for me to let go of Hardrock after  6 years of failed entries (after this year). But, ultimately, Hardrock will be there next year, and I’ll have 64 tickets being a 6 time loser. What this means is I can get back to running around in the mountains, working on my 14ers projects and preparing myself to have a kickass time at UTMB in August. I’m excited and looking forward to all the great things the summer still holds for me. Best of luck to all those participating, crewing, pacing the 2013 Hardrock 100 and don’t have too much fun without me.

Jessie cruising down the North Longs Pk trail on the Granite Pass-Storm Pass loop. The official end to my taper.

Jessie cruising down the North Longs Pk trail on the Granite Pass-Storm Pass loop in RMNP with Longs Peak in the background. The official end to my taper.