|Moving Time||1 hr 50 min|
|Summit Elevation||14,036 feet|
|Elevation Gain||2,583 feet|
I was much more pumped up about back to back 14ers yesterday as opposed to when my alarm went off. I didn’t get in bed until 1:30 AM or so after the concert. Then I decided to sleep in just a little and get up at 5:30 instead of 4. So I got up and was pretty alert. I don’t even drink coffee. I hit the road and set out on the 2 hour drive to Fairplay, CO. From there, you took a non-paved road about 11 miles to the trailhead. Its times like those I love my H2. I can go about 50 miles an hour and just zoom over the bumps. When I arrived at the trailhead, there wasn’t a single car there. Huh? I was in the right spot. I rechecked the map and it turns out that the road is the trail. Ok. But where is everybody. Turns out you can drive the next 2.5 miles up the trail until a gate block the road. They must be up there. Given nobody was at this trailhead and it was a 4WD challenge, I figured I might as well drive up. Well, the 4WD wasn’t anything tough and I parked the H2 a 1/2 mile shy of the gate and suited up. I always like to take pictures of the trailhead sign. None here! At first I thought that tall peak straight out might be the summit but it wasn’t. It is over out of the frame to the right. I wasn’t dialed in yet. But you can get an idea of the 4WD road in the picture.
Mount Sherman is the Eastern border of the Leadville valley. My 50 mile ultra-marathon was just on the other side of this. Lots of mining debris all over this side too. Its weird when you start so high up. Never walked past a single tree given I started at nearly 12,000 feet according to the GPS.
I kept trying to get my run on but wasn’t doing so hot in the steep sections. My feet were all blistered from yesterday. Running on rocks seems to batter your feet inside your shoes. Gotta get a handle on that.
It is kind of a windy mess going up. The “roads” or paths kinda diverge and you have to figure out which way to go. The best bet is usually to look for people ahead of you. Once I was alone and ran a couple hundred feet up the wrong way. Then saw people over in the distance. Damn it. Back down and over. Turned around and shot back down towards the car. You can see some of the zig zagging paths.
Now, the “law” says you have to ascend 3,000 feet to count a successful summit bid. F that for this mountain. I ran +12,000 feet weeks ago on the other side. So when I get an opportunity to get close and quickly bag a summit, I am going to take it and count it. Plus, the extra 400+ feet would have been walking up a damn road. Boring. Guess I could have chosen one of the other routes. Would be cool to hike up this from the west from Leadville sometime. Got a great deal on some mountain property there today too!
Hit a small flat spot and then trouble…snow. In boots, its not so bad. In trail shoes, its kinda slippery. I kept digging my heals in with each step. Made it across. No worries. Once across, it was up and to the right. I still thought I was going to turn back left at this point. I really wasn’t sure where the summit was.
After getting up to a nice ridge, you could see where the summit was going to be. But that’s not it at the top. Its about 100 yards over on a pretty flat plain.
Then I got a good view to the west and noticed a lot of familar landmarks! Of course, that’s Mount Massive in the distance. Turquoise Lake in the mid upper right. City of Leadville in the center. But there are the powerlines just down below! That was the big 10 mile out section of the 50 mile course. And see the thick road running to the bottom right, that’s the painful “road I wanted to die on” that was so long at the end of the race. I took a zoomed in picture of the actual turn at the end. Its in the slideshow. So we were right at the base of Mount Sherman at that point in the race. Cool.
Up until this point, the trail had been pretty boring. But then it went to some fun class 2 ridge stuff. Nothing scary but if it was your first time and you didn’t mind heights, this is what its all about.
To the east from the summit…that dude was on his phone. Picking up cell signal from Fairplay down below. You can get signal on a few summits that are near cities.
To the north from the summit…
To the west from the summit, overlooking my favorite mountain town, Leadville!
The sat map looked kind of boring so I put today’s route on with the 50 mile route. You can see how they were right next to each other.
Final time was 76 minutes up and 40 minutes down. Pretty happy with that ratio!
Even though it was a short run, my quads were feeling it at the bottom when I got to the car. This was only 2,500 feet down. I can’t imagine how its going to feel after I have to descend 7,800 feet down Pikes straight shot. That’s going to be brutal! Hope these last 2 days of training helped. Seems like a pretty good way to train for a 14er race is to run 14ers.
My SPOT did better but not up to what I wanted. I pushed the OK several times on the way up to send my coords. I put it on my arm via an armband I had for my walkie-talkies. Worked better I think because it got a view of the sky vs. on the belt. However, it never did the tracking action the whole time. Then on the way down, it never sent a signal. I think I was moving too fast? This thing is picky!
View all photos from this event.