Vertical Logic

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Waiting for Winter

After some early October storms we've had extended high pressure here in Utah. I've contented myself with time trialing local foothills and building fitness for when the snow does fly. Last weekend Jason and I had grand ideas for stringing together local peaks. Unfortunately there was enough snow up high to make travel difficult and ultimately force us to bail on original plans.

A bull moose had us bushwacking for 20 minutes on Timp

Nonetheless on Saturday we climbed Timp via Aspen Grove to Emerald Lake and bagged Lone Peak's South Summit. Later that evening I tacked on some vert on Grandeur with Garrett who had also been doing a bunch of vertical. By days end we had both racked up over 4,200 meters (13,800 ft) of elevation gain.

Lone S Summit via the Hamongogs in 1:52

I had a 10 mile and 4,000 ft climbing group run planned on Sunday and with another Grandeur lap in the evening rounded out about 21,000 ft of climbing for the weekend.

It was quite pleasant at 11k feet
As you may have noticed from my blog widget, I use Strava. I had signed up for a vertical challenge the previous week which was starting on Saturday. I expected it to give me some extra motivation to go big. I also expected, given it is a world wide challenge, that to win would require something like 10k feet/day for the 10 day duration. Maybe the high country is becoming increasingly snow covered or weekend ultras started on Friday or not many people use Strava -- but by the end of the weekend I found myself in the lead!

Monday and Tuesday I have done two Grandeur laps each day. It happens to be some of the most efficient vertical anywhere and with the recent storm it hasn't received much snow. Also the trailhead being only mile from home makes it convenient!

I'm sure there is someone who hasn't uploaded yet and might come over the top at the last minute, but it has been good fun so far.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Baldy Main Chute - October Skiing

It felt great to put on skis and go for a walk today. Andy and I went up to Alta to see for ourselves what the first storms of the season had left behind. We weren't the only ones -- a number of skiers had similar thoughts.

As we ascended, the skin track became gradually less and less travelled. On the Baldy shoulder we passed the last of the people ahead of us. Andy and I traded turns breaking trail for the final ~700 vertical. The sensations of skinning and kick turns made the outing worthwhile by themselves.

High on the Baldy Shoulder (photo by AD)

We reached our objective, Baldy Main Chute, to find a rocky entrance but otherwise looked pretty filled in.

Andy consulting the Instagram oracle

The rest was way better than expected!

Photo by AD

Andy deep in Main Chute

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Mount Timpanogos

Jason, Lars and I met up Saturday morning to get some vertical. We had the whole morning and not having been up Timpanogos it was an easy choice.

We stepped out of the car at the Timpooneke trailhead in winter conditions -- 20s F with a skim of snow and ice at 7500ft. At that point I took the liberty of mocking Lars' and Jason's choice of half tights, but really I was worried about keeping warm myself. Fortunately as we began moving the calm morning became continuously more pleasant.

A nice morning

After a nice social hour we were around 10,000 feet taking in the views and snapping some photos. From there the snow started getting deeper and our jogging pretty much ended at the saddle. We traded turns breaking trail through new snow drifts.

The slow travel had us thinking about how nice it will be to trade shoes for skis -- hopefully very soon.

Mt Timpanogos Summit
We all had plans for later in the day so we didn't linger at the summit. For me I went to support Dominique in her quest to swim a marathon -- over 42,000 meters for those metric types. In the process, I ended up swimming 6k myself.

Making waves in Lane 2

Friday, October 4, 2013

Seasons Change

It seems only a week ago that summer ended and now it feels like autumn has wrapped up as well with the second cold front bringing snow to the Wasatch. It's a welcome change.

The summer was plagued by a frustrating running injury. Like most overuse injuries it could have been easily avoided -- too much too soon. And so a summer filled with trail running and off road triathlon goals came up short. It was a good time to work on mountain biking skills and use the bike to get above the valley heat. With what fitness I could put together I raced some local events including Park City Point to Point and Xterra Nationals.

Nearly recovered now, I've hung up the bike for the fall and have been getting out into the foothills and mountains on foot.

Today I had a nice trip up Mt Olympus with JD. With the snow overnight the ambience was excellent. We gained the saddle pretty quickly despite the snow, but the scramble up to the top was nice and slick. Fortunately any concern about going fast was quickly abandoned when we came across two mountain goats. They were already on the summit ridge and let us get quite close.

Photo by JD

There were several inches at 9000 feet, I'm sure a few people got out for the first desperate turns of the season today.

Here is an obligatory "Pano" shot using the new IOS 7 feature.