Monday, July 9, 2012

Hardrock Acclimatization Period: Day 1 to 5

We’ve been in Colorado but off the grid for a few days. We’ve been camping at trail heads and hiking trails since we’ve gotten here. I’ve uploaded photos and videos to a flicker site:

Here’s a summary of what we’ve been up to since we got here:

Hardrock Acclimatization: Day 1, Thursday, July 5, 2012
Summary: Summit Mt Elbert – Highest peak in Colorado
Distance covered: 9 miles (out and back)
Vertical Gain/Loss: 4,326 feet +/-
Started from Elbert Creek TH (10,107’), Turned at Mt Elbert Summit (14,433’)

Notes: We got on the ground in Denver and were picked up by Kim and Eric and drove straight Leadville, hitting Walmart on the way for supplies. It was raining when we arrived in Leadville so we decided to forgo camping and spent the night at Leadville Hostel. We got up early and were at the Mt Elbert trail head by 7:30am. We summited Elbert, the highest point in Colorado, under blue skies.

Hardrock Acclimatization: Day 2, Friday, July 6, 2012
Summary: Summit Mt Massive – Second highest peak in Colorado
Distance covered: 13.5miles  (out and back)
Vertical Gain/Loss: 4,314 feet +/-
Started from Mt Massive TH (10,107’), Turned at Mt Massive Summit (14,421’)

Notes: After sleeping at Elbert Creek campground, we hiked to the summit of Mt Massive. The weather was great early but got sketchy late in the hike. After waiting for some questionable clouds to pass, Eric and I snatched a summit in great weather before heading for the tree line. After our hike we headed south and ended up in Ouray where a local directed us to camp at Jackass Flats (we believe they used this flat area above the town of Ouray). This was the most gorgeous place I’ve ever camped.

Hardrock Acclimatization: Day 3, Saturday, July 7, 2012
Summary: Reviewed Hardrock Course: Ouray to Engineer Pass
Distance covered:  miles (out and back)
Vertical Gain/Loss:  4,430 feet +/-
Started at Bear Creek TH on route 550 near Ouray (8,480’), Turned Engineer Pass (12,910’)

Notes: The day dawned with rain but that didn’t deter us from exploring the section of the HR course from the trail head at RT550 up to Engineers Pass. This was by far the most epic trail I’ve ever been on. The trail is a chiseled shelf cleft into a sheer cliff face.

Hardrock Acclimatization: Day 4, July 8, 2012
Summary: Reviewed Hardrock Course: Governor Basin to Kroger Canteen
Distance covered: 12 miles (out and back, counting a wrong turn up Imogene Basin)
Vertical Gain/Loss: 3,338 feet +/-
Started from Governor Basin AS (12,160), Turned at Kroger Canteen Summit (13,100)

Notes: After a very we evening and a dinner spent huddled around the stoves under a tarp, the morning dawned bright and clear and we drove the van up the epic Camp Bird Road from our campsite area in Thisledown Campground. After a miss fire where we hiked up the wrong trail for an hour, we finally found the correct trail head and climbed up to Governor Basin and the Virginius Mine area. After playing around on the mine remnants for a bit, we climbed to Kroger Canteen in Virginius Pass. Undoubtedly the most epic aid station location of any ultra I’ve ever seen.

Hardrock Acclimatization: Day 5, July 9, 2012 Summary: Reviewed Hardrock Course: Grouse Gulch AS to Handies Summit
Distance covered: 9 miles (out and back)
Vertical Gain/Loss: 3,338 feet +/-
Started from Grouse Gulch TH (10,710), Turned at Handies Mt Summit (14,048’)

Notes: Beautiful day on the course. Ran from the AS at Grouse Gulch to the summit of Handies Mountain and back. After the run, we ate at High-Noon-Hamburgers in Silverton.

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