It’s been a while since I’ve written anything, not for lack of content, but for lack of time. The Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc is rapidly approaching, only 9 days away, so I thought I’d throw a little fun recap out of my ‘training’ for the race, more like playing. Mostly its just a small collection of pretty pictures, hope you enjoy it 🙂
My DNF of 2013 at UTMB still haunts me to this day and I would say it’s been a driving force in keeping myself healthy and strong. Before this year’s UTMB race I’ve taken a little different approach to training, and it hasn’t really been ‘training’. After Miwok I was really struggling to find any sort of fire when it came to races, so decided that this year would not be about training and races, it’d be about adventure and fun. July 1st I ran an unsupported 100km loop around the Yosemite Valley, first known time as far as I can find.
The following week I was fortunate enough to join Andrew Hamilton for Longs Peak as he broke the Colorado 14ers FKT. I then paced a good friend Jason Oliver for 40miles at the Hardrock 100 enroute to his first finish, always an amazing time in the San Juans.
I finished off July with the Pawnee-Buchanan Loop and a successful connection of Capitol Peak, Snowmass Mt and the Maroon Bells in just over 15hours.
This linkup was something I’ve been eyeing for a while and was the last piece of the 14ers puzzle left to connect. I started at 345am at the Capitol Ditch TH and made steady progress up the standard route to Capitol Peak. I then backtracked over K2 and descended the Wandering Dutchman couloir into PierreLakes basin. The key to an efficient linkup is the class 3-4 ascent of the low point of the Capitol-Snowmass ridge, an otherwise foreboding knife-edge ridge guarded by sheer cliffs, pinnacles and nasty scree chutes. Once over the Capitol-Snowmass ridge I scampered up the backside of Snowmass Mt along the West Ridge, descended the standard route and took a high traverse to the trail just below Trail Rider Pass. Once I hit the trail I immediately crossed over and headed up the valley toward the ridge that separates Snowmass Lake from the Bells, taking a direct line across the high tundra toward the back side of the Gunsight Couloir. The climb up North Maroon’s NW ridge went slow and steady, then I did an out and back over to Maroon Peak across the Bells traverse and descended the NE ridge of North Maroon back to the TH. I had originally intended to go for Pyramid as well, but due to poor planning I was running out of food and didn’t have much warm clothing so left that for another day.
August saw more mountain play time including; an extended High Lonesome Loop including Jasper Peak and Mt Neva, a ridge run from Guanella Pass, the Maroon Bells Four Pass Loop and a scramble up Meeker and Longs.
My training volume never peaked over 75miles, I never broke 20,000ft of vertical gain (in the past I’ve hit as much as 30,000ft), but I feel very strong and fit after spending lots of quality mountain time outside and mixing in some solid weight sessions a few times a week. Whether this has adequately prepared me for UTMB remains to be seen, but I can say that it’s been quite a few years since I had this much fun simply playing outdoors; having rediscovered what brought me to the outdoors in the first place, a love of mountains, scrambling and off-trail adventure. With only 10 days until UTMB I’m trying to behave myself and keep the energy expenditure down, but with five days in Iceland coming up we’ll see how that goes. I’m excited and ready for some more mountain play time on the volcanoes of Iceland and in the mountains of the Alps. Thanks to Vfuel for keeping me energized throughout all these crazy fun mountain adventures, Adam Engel at Waldron’s Peak for helping me fix my ailments and get me stronger, and all my adventure buddies who have made this summer so wonderful….off to Europe!