Mount Harvard (14,423′) & Mount Columbia (14,078′)

Adventures2 Comments

Distance 15.9 miles
Moving Time 8 hr 33 min
Summit Elevation 14,423 & 14,078 feet
Elevation Gain 5,988 feet
Route Cottonwood TH
GPS Analysis Strava

I just needed these two in order to round out the Collegiate Peaks. I had been putting them off because of the negative reviews of Columbia. Seemed like the mountain was a big piece of shit. And I wasn’t getting good beta about the traverse and whether it sucked or really sucked. But whatever. The dogs and I had a good weather day so we opted to just get after it. A couple miles in, we see Harvard poke out ahead in the distance.  The summit is to the left of center.  High point on the ridge.  Harvard is the 3rd highest in Colorado.  Already have the other two higher.

Mount Harvard & Columbia

I decided to hit Harvard then traverse to Columbia. Roach says go the opposite order. I still don’t know if that is the best route after completing it. Depends on how you want to deal with Columbia’s south slope I guess. More on that later.  As I started reaching the base of Harvard, I turned back to see where I came from.  All the way back down the center of this valley and back to the left around the curve.  You can also see Bear Lake to the right in this picture.  It was the only real left turn option up this whole route you could get confused on.

Mount Harvard & ColumbiaBack to business.  Nearing Harvard again.  The route goes up the left shoulder there.  Dogs were having a great time and enjoying the scenery.

Mount Harvard & Columbia

Until the nasty mountain goat showed up!  I saw him before they saw him so I hitched the dogs up to avoid any confrontation from either party.  He just kind of moved along the ridge watching us.

Mount Harvard & Columbia

“But Dad we would be nice and surely make friends!”

Mount Harvard & Columbia

There is a final little pitch up to the top of Harvard and we were done.  With one peak at least!  Cute little embossed rock there for my summit selfie.

Mount Harvard & ColumbiaBig views from all around.  Could see up to Leadville and down to Salida.

Mount Harvard & Columbia

Ozzy was happy to nail down another 14er.  I may have to go back and retrace some old 14ers that I have and he doesn’t so we can share the count together.  Maybe.

Mount Harvard & ColumbiaLizzy loves it to.  I guess I always think my boy is the mountain man but this girl doesn’t stop either.  She actually broke off a nail on the next section of the route and was bleeding everywhere.  Those dog nails do not stop.  So her paw was bloody but didn’t see to hurt her.  She was leaving a blood trail wherever she went.  I was more worried that she would lose some interesting amount of blood after a while and get weak.  She ended up moving well on it all day.  I was fortunate not to have to attempt to carry a dog off the mountain.

Mount Harvard & Columbia

Ozzy finds snow on every mountain.  This snow was super soft and Ozzy fell straight down into it.  So it was kind of like he “high centered” himself in 4WD terms.

Mount Harvard & Columbia

The start of the path over to Columbia was awesome.  It is great just to hike up high and follow some singletrack.  But that was where the fun ended.

Mount Harvard & Columbia

I had done my reading and thought I knew where I was supposed to go.  Unfortunately, my GPS elevation was off and I didn’t find the part of the route that said “don’t go lower than 13,600 ft”.  We dropped far below that.  Then I got worried I was too far off, so we climbed all the way back up to the ridge.  Only to find some shit that I couldn’t traverse.  Spent a lot of effort there.  Finally saw some folks and dropped all the way back down to nearly where I was before to link up with them.  They didn’t know the route well enough either but they were staying low and had found a few cairns which is always a good sign.

Mount Harvard & ColumbiaOnce we had cleared the gully, I decided to make for the high line again.  Ended up going up to the ridge again and finding that I couldn’t proceed without equipment.  Fuck me.  I just did it again.  That was one of those dumb mistakes that you shouldn’t repeat in the same hour but I did.  I was bonking.  I needed a clear minded pacer.  Finally, we gave up and dropped back down again only to find that same group meandering along.  I stayed with them for 20 minutes out to get my senses back then left them once I finally cleared all the obstacles and saw a straight path to the summit of Columbia.

Mount Harvard & Columbia

After wasting probably 90-120 minutes on that crossing, I was at the top of Columbia.  I felt pretty spent.  Like ultra race tired and bonky.

Mount Harvard & Columbia

Looking back at Harvard, I felt some accomplishment.  I was happy to have that checked off the list so that I don’t have to repeat that one.

Mount Harvard & Columbia

Lizzy didn’t care.  I know she was tired and hungry by this point.  These dogs follow you through your mistakes and don’t complain one bit.  The best partners you can have.

Mount Harvard & Columbia

We stopped at K’s back in Buena Vista for refueling.  The dogs ate some hot dogs and got their complementary doggie cones to help them bounce back from their own bonk.  They were starving.  I misjudged the timing and amount of food I brought for them.  Sorry guys.

Mount Harvard & Columbia

I have no pictures of the descent down Columbia because my phone was about dead and it was raining.  We had seen the clouds coming for us and they delivered.  But there wasn’t any thunder or lightening attached so we just made due and took our time down the steep slope.  If you have been on the Leadville-side of Sherman, this is worse.  Like straight dirt down a 50 foot section with no rock to break on.  Then repeat. It sucked.  And you can see the bottom and it is way the hell down there.  We just kept moving, falling, laughing, and maybe cursing.  You can see some of it in my video below.

All in all, it wasn’t my best day in the mountains. Made a few mistakes on that traverse. But we made it and I will be wiser for that. Glad to get this monster off my back. Nearly out of peaks nearby. Gotta start heading further west to continue the mission of getting all 55!

View all photos from this event

Bros For Life

FriendsLeave a Comment

Once upon a time, I sat in a cubicle at Intel during my summer internship. I overheard the guy in the cubicle next to me talking about a subject that I was familiar with. Turns out he was an intern from Purdue as well! While I was just a freshman, this guy was pursuing his master’s degree. Such wisdom. We went on to become friends, roommates, co-workers, etc. Basically we kick maximum ass when we are together. James Hetfield told us that, in person.

Burke Visit

We both permanently relocated to California in the 1990s but then somehow both split paths when we went to Colorado and he to Michigan later on. And we spawned a whole lot of people along the way.

Burke Visit

The whole crew came to visit us this past week in Colorado for a bit of vacation. We introduced them to some great Colorado adventures! Had a great time hitting the high hills of Leadville on the ATVs.

Burke Visit 2015

Nate and Reagan really hit it off too. Often off riding the motorcycles or ATVs together. Cute to watch.

Burke Visit 2015

Thanks for the visit Burkes. Come back again! Or Nate might cry.

Swim WOD #2

A Day in the LifeLeave a Comment

CrossFit Longmont hit the pool again this weekend for our 2nd swim WOD (Workout Of the Day) of the summer. Great to get in the pool after a tough week at the gym. Sarge let me program the workout so I was stressing for a few weeks thinking about how to change it up but keep it interesting for all levels. So this is what we did:

20 Burpees
250m Freestyle swim
20 Hand release push ups
250m Flutter kick w/ kickboards
20 Burpees

Turns out the 20 burpees to start really got you moving then when you jumped in the pool it was a bit disorienting for a minute. The swim was 10 lengths of the pool so that broke out the swimmers from the not-so-swimmers. The push ups were a nice break but then it was back in the pool all wobbly for the kickboard. I figured that 10 lengths would really wear on the legs for most. But it would have you breathing well with your head out of water. Plus, you could taunt the fellow competitor in the next lane. The final burpees were a mad rush for everyone who was trying to squeak out a fast time. Ended up with most folks in the 15 to 20 minute range.

Swim WOD

Sydney held her own again and took down a few adults. Kim and the rest of the kids came by and got to watch her do her work. I think they were impressed!

Smaller crowd this time around but summer weekends are always tough to get a critical mass. Thanks to everyone for coming out and getting wet!

Lizzy Turns Two

AnimalsLeave a Comment

My baby girl is growing up so fast. To celebrate her special day, we took her to the dog beach at Union Reservoir. Pretty much from the moment she got out of the car, she was a spaz. Running up and down the beach. Chasing dogs. Swimming out and back. I am not sure where these dogs get the energy.

Beach

Beach

Beach

Beach

Beach

Time for her favorite treat! Yum.

Ice Cream

Of course, Ozzy got to celebrate too!

Ice Cream

Lizzy has been a handful this year with some behavioral issues. But she pretty much is the first lifeform to greet me every morning no matter what the mood. Dogs. Loyal partners.

Meghan Trainor @ Fillmore

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Kayla gets to see Dad and Sydney go to shows all the time. “When is my first concert?”, she would ask! I knew taking her to a metal show wouldn’t exactly be a great night. The kid is going to get tired half way through. So I had been on the lookout for a show that would be more to her tastes. So when Meghan was coming to town, I knew that would be a good choice. All the kids like her and know the songs. Win!

Meghan Trainor Concert

Check out the hair. She was ready to party!

Meghan Trainor Concert

We arrived to a record long line. I think everybody shows up on time for these pop shows versus my shows where you stroll in late to be cool. Line wrapped around the block and back on itself. We made due.

Meghan Trainor Concert

We moved around during the entire night. From the balcony, to the floor, to the front, to the back. Just giving the kids different spaces. Up front was good but it is hard on little people. The whole place is standing only so they can’t see crap unless you hold them up. Which Kim and I did! We traded between Reagan and Kayla the whole time. Exhausting.

Meghan Trainor Concert

The show was good. Live band. Decent crowd. I liked it. I even knew a few songs by osmosis so I wasn’t lost the whole time. I enjoy the concert atmosphere and production so as long as your music doesn’t suck, I can enjoy myself. However, Kayla was about done come the encore. She was ready to go. It is a long time for a 5 year old without a seat. But she had a great time and I am glad we all got to see a show as a family.

Meghan Trainor

A little “All About The Bass” from the balcony…

Snakes on a Trail

A Day in the LifeLeave a Comment

With my big race of the year in September, it feels like I have time on my side this summer for training. However, the days are ticking away. The family is starting to talk about school preparation. Summer will be over before you know it. I actually believe that may really help me clamp down in those final weeks of training as we are on a more firm schedule. But we will see.

Boulder Peaks

The dogs and I headed out for a loop around our three favorite Boulder Peaks this weekend: Green, Bear, SoBo. Just a leisurely pace to see how things were shaking out. Felt pretty good. The dogs were slowing me down truth be told. The ascent of Bear on leashes in the heat was killing them. They even stopped in the shade a few times to take a rest. Lots of panting.

Boulder Peaks

We caught a rainstorm as we descended Shadow Canyon. I slipped too many times. Bad shoes. Wet rock. Lost motivation. But we got down. Out on the connector to the Mesa trail I was alert. I don’t like the tall grass there. I don’t like the southern trails. Snakes! And there was one. Came around a bend and a snake was fully extended across the trail. Couldn’t see the head or tail. The dogs were behind me so I grabbed them and held them back. They didn’t even notice it. The tail made its way out of the grass. Rattles. 6 distinct bands. No sounds. He was just moving calmly. We paused. A guy came from the other direction and I alerted him. Gave it some time and when I thought the coast was clear, I leashed up the dogs and took some big steps and ran by. Phew.

Boulder Peaks

The rain storm returned with vengeance. People were cowering under trees. We just kept moving on. No sense in trying to stay dry.

Boulder Peaks

I needed wind shield wipers on my face by the time we got close to the end. Nice epic trail down pour. Felt refreshing by that point. Cooled the dogs off for sure.

Boulder Peaks

Finished up in about 4 hours. Not fast. But not real stressful either. Felt good to get some time on my feet back here in the heat.

Boulder Peaks

Corey Taylor @ Summit Music Hall

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I was probably more excited about this show than any other so far this year. Corey Taylor is the lead singer of two amazing bands: Slipknot and Stone Sour. He is always a treat to see with those bands. So when he came to Denver to promote his new book and do a live acoustic show, I was in.

Corey Taylor

He started off with some conversation with the crowd which then turned to Q and A. Maybe a half hour but everyone was quiet and seemed to enjoy the lively banter. A few super fans got to ask questions and they were literally shaking trying to get the words out. I have a man crush on this dude too but I was able to keep it together.

Corey Taylor

From there, Corey played 2 hours of music. Accompanied at times by this best friend, Jason. Fun to just see these buddies jamming together. Corey played stuff from Stone Sour and Slipknot. But just a few. The rest of the set were covers of great songs to sing along to. Everything from Green Day, to Pink Floyd, to Prince, to Alice in Chains, to Live. It was the best sing-a-long show I have been to! He closed with a now classic rendition of Spit It Out from Slipknot. Done in such a way that any Slipknot concert would get a laugh out of it by the way Corey conducts the song. Here is a long video of lots of the songs together. I am sure I will enjoy watching this for years to come!

Thanks for coming back to Denver, Corey!

Marilyn Manson / Smashing Pumpkins @ Red Rocks

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Red Rocks continues to be the venue I love to hate but hey. It only added when it was raining upon arrival. This dulled the crowds in the early hours so we didn’t have the usual lines to get in. That was a relief. But the rains parted as the shitty opener was finishing up. I found some boys in the crowd to say hi to.

Manson / Pumpkins

However, I wasn’t with them. Red Rocks FINALLY is fixing their shit and has GA seats down low now. I wondered how this would go. It ended up being pretty tame — to my disappointment. People getting their early and camping for seats then being pissy when you crowded in. But being one small guy, I made friends and made my way to a resting place in about row 5, then later 4.

Manson / Pumpkins

Manson was up first. Apparently, they switch from show to show. I was there to see the self-proclaimed anti-christ do his thing. I knew he would bring it. I expected blood and smeared make-up and some rolling around on the stage. Frankly, I think he killed it and the Smashing Pumpkins fans were left thinking — man, that was pretty good!

Manson / Pumpkins

Manson would constantly waive fans over from the crowd to take selfies or sing along with him. When the fan boys tried to do something stupid, he would scold them. Like stealing the mic or his hat. One dude took his hat and Manson went off on him off mic and the guy gave it back. I think the kid was scared.

Manson / Pumpkins

Some folks (like the next act) just come out and play. OK, fine. But man I love performance and that is what this guy does! Here he got out these monster stilts and walked around singing on the wet stage. Weird? Yep. But I dug it.

Setlist:

  • Deep Six
  • Disposable Teens
  • mOBSCENE
  • No Reflection
  • Third Day of a Seven Day Binge
  • Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)
  • Angel With the Scabbed Wings
  • Personal Jesus
  • The Dope Show
  • Rock Is Dead
  • Lunchbox
  • Antichrist Superstar
  • The Beautiful People
  • Coma White

Manson / Pumpkins

So then with little into, Billy and crew walked on stage. Plugged in their instruments and started in. No smoke? No flames? No burning crosses? Lame. Frankly, I wouldn’t want to follow Manson. You just sort of bring down the spirits no matter who you are. But the music is solid and Billy still sounds like he did in the 90s.

Manson / Pumpkins

Billy was a little bigger in the middle at this age. More to love? And he had this hangnail that he kept going after all night. Funny to watch down low. Wasn’t sure if you were in row 40 that you would have noticed. Anyway, I would post more photos but they all look the same. The band just plays.

Manson / Pumpkins

While Smashing Pumpkins has some of the most solid songs of an era, I am not that into their obscure shit. And they basically closed the show with it. I wasn’t digging much of it after they played 1979. Sorry…

Setlist:

  • Cherub Rock
  • Bullet With Butterfly Wings
  • Tonight, Tonight
  • Ava Adore
  • Drum + Fife
  • One and All (We Are)
  • Zero
  • The Everlasting Gaze
  • The Crying Tree of Mercury
  • Mayonaise
  • Disarm
  • Landslide
  • 1979
  • Run2Me
  • Thru the Eyes of Ruby
  • Stand Inside Your Love
  • United States
  • Today

Here is some combined video of both acts.

Swim WOD

A Day in the LifeLeave a Comment

CrossFit gets wet! This weekend, my gym moved all workouts to the pool. Instead of our normal Saturday morning WOD schedule, willing participants were to meet at Sunset pool in Longmont for a swim WOD. I competitively swam through high school so this was right up my alley. I still feel at home in the water but don’t get there as often as I should.

Swim WOD

The workout was a 500 meter swim with 55 push ups and 55 air squats. But it was done as an inversion. So swim 1 lap, get out, do 1 push-up, swim back, do 10 air squats, swim again, do 2 push-ups, etc. So the push-ups went up and the air squats went down. I swear that getting in and out of the pool was the hardest part. People were losing a lot of time on that. And you could not dive into the water because of pool restrictions so that took some getting used to.

Swim WOD

Sydney has been doing the CrossFit kids program this summer so she was one of 2 kids in her class that came. The kids usually do some modified workout but today they had the same task as we did. She went in a later heat that I did so I got to cheer her own. She was steady through the whole thing and even beat some adults finishing in under 20 minutes!

Swim WOD

I had fun doing this workout so I was trying to keep a good pace. Ended up finishing in 14:02 which was the fastest for the group on the day. Not too shabby for an old swim team veteran. 2 more of these to come later in the summer.

Leadville Heavy Half Marathon 2015

A Day in the Life3 Comments

Distance 15.1 mi
Time 3:08:27
Rank 93 of 549
GPS Analysis Strava

Previously, Previously.

Leadville Heavy Half Marathon 2015

With summer underway, I relocated up to Leadville to kick off summer training. I had planned to hit a lot of peaks but the extra snow pack kind of crushed my motivation. Plus, it was cool and rainy. However, as the days went on, the weather turned the corner. I had a few good runs and started feeling better. My family decided to come up and stay that weekend so I registered for the race just 3 days prior. It is one of my favorite’s so I figured I should get out there if not just to run with friends.

The race staff got Denver news coverage on the snow prep too!

I still remember the day when I got 8th in this race. Probably my best mountain run of all time. Not in that shape today but that was OK. We headed out at 8 AM and I took the climb easily. Even with the time at elevation, my lungs were not happy. I purposely did not medicate on this stay in Leadville to get a clean test. And it showed. Hacking on the ascent while running.

Once we hit the incline of the pass, I was able to start making up ground as the runners turned to hiking and my paces was greater than theirs. I was on the top of the pass in no time mentally. Said hi to Ken and turned tail back to town. The downhill is always glorious — if you train there.

marathon

With all the snow, the race staff had dug tunnels through the snow for us so it made things cozy but really fun. Made up lots of ground on that downhill picking off the folks that weren’t ready to downhill the big rocks. Was having fun. Started seeing my marathon buds and saying hi as they had a long way to go.

The roll back into town is always a grind. 4 miles of road downhill. The Hokas did well. Concentrated on keeping the knees up and the pace came in nicely. Got passed by one guy on the road but he had me easy. Wasn’t able to break 3 hours today but I was content with the finish.

Such a fun race. Start in town and run to the top of the mountain in the back of this photo, then return. How simple.

Leadville Heavy Half Marathon 2015

While I am not racing the Leadville 100 this year, the races there remain near and dear to me. I hope to return to the series one day.