Boulder Skyline Traverse (14.18 mi)

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JV proposed something longer for today. We are in a bit of a warm weather streak in Colorado this week. So I said let’s do it and took the day off work so there were no time constraints. The obvious choice was the full traverse. I attempted a partial version of this last summer under my own round trip powers. Interestingly, that distance and today’s were nearly the same. So here is the route — left to right. Pins on summits of South Boulder Peak, Bear Peak, Green Mountain, Flagstaff Mountain, and Mount Sanitas.

Boulder Skyline Traverse 1

Today, we would be doing car shuttles. We met at the Sanitas TH and dropped a car and then made the ~8 mile drive out to the South Mesa Trailhead. We got going and immediately I started getting warm. Stripped out of my long sleeve. It was a tech shirt and shorts kind of day. The run itself was pretty uneventful. No slips, trips or falls. So here are the numbers:

Start to SoBo: 63:37

SoBo to Bear: 11:09

Bear to Green: 40:48

Green to Flag: 22:31

Flag to Sanitas TH: 33:15

Sanitas TH to Sanitas: 28:27

Sanitas to End: 21:47

Jeff likes to track total time from the start to the Sanitas pole. That was about 3:19 MOVING TIME. We took about 5 minutes on each summit for video, fuel, etc. I stopped my watch during those. But I think it basically tacked on a half hour. So under 4 hours for the whole thing.

I see each of these 3+ hour mountain runs as a Leadville test. Test myself. Test equipment. Test strategy. Test something! I wore my TNF hydration pack. Today was pretty successful. I enjoyed having my hands free with the hydration pack but it was full when we started and it was definitely a lot of weight I am not used to after running sans water since fall. It slowed me on the descents and applied extra weight to my back. It did allow me to drink frequently but I had to put the food into the zipper on the back so I had to take it off to get at it. That small barrier caused me to not go for it as much as I should have. When I have my Nathan vest on, I fill the front pockets with stuff and munch all the time. A better strategy. Probably will try my vest and hand bottle on the next outing.

For fuel, I stayed on a gel and beans and a Red Bull Shot. If nothing else, that shot tasted really good and went down super easy. I felt like it did kick in over on Flag as I was zoned out chasing Jeff downhill with that out of body experience.

Red Bull Energy Shots :: Red Bull Home Products :: Red Bull

I felt like I put in a solid effort. I power hiked up SoBo once we got into the canyon. Its just not runnable for me yet. I couldn’t find a good PR on this so this may have been it at 63 minutes. Not sure. From there I kept on the run pretty good. A few walks on steeper stuff ultra-style. I wasn’t totally fresh today but I wasn’t dead either. Just a good midweek level of fatigue.

It had been a long time since I had been to Sanitas. Jeff was whimpering about it all day. Its like the last thing you do and it is the LAST THING you want to do. He charged ahead of me at Red Rocks and hit his car in the parking lot for some gear change. I kept moving in order to gain some ground on him — but more giving him something to chase. Plus, I didn’t want to stop till it was over. That whole — don’t sit or you won’t get up thing. So I cruised up the lower part of Sanitas but then petered out towards the top and lost any chance of a good ascent time there. The traverse was in the bag and there was no magic time coming up on the clock so I just hiked it in and enjoyed the warm conditions. We sat for a few minutes in the shade and hydrated then marched back downhill to the car to call it a day.

With such a fun adventure, I had plans for some epic video montage. But frankly, my head was much more into the run. How I have changed! I did brief spots on all the summits but forgot Sanitas. We were done and it just wasn’t on my mind anymore.

Afterward, Jeff shuttled me back and I went to Larkburger to refuel with purpose. Then headed over to REI and picked up a ton of stuff. Nothing like shopping for gear right after a run. Got some GU and other fuel products since I am about out. Picked up some La Sportiva Crosslites that I had my eye on. I wanted a not so minimal shoe to trade into the trail rotation with the NB100s when the snow is gone. And yes, I bought some VFFs. They were right there just looking at me wanting me to buy them! I don’t plan on putting big miles in these things but I figured I might as well have a pair. At least then I sound like I know what I am talking about vs. just saying “I know people who have those”. Plus, after that last BTR talk I am thinking wearing my Crocs around town aren’t doing me any good.


Thanks for the invite, Jeff. It was a great day. Hope I didn’t hold you up too much. But its only [insert month] and you need to be taking it easy or something…

FYI, SportTracks reconciled the elevation gain at 5,642 feet.

I went 14.18 miles with an elevation gain of 6,354 feet in 03:41:37, which is an average pace of 15:37. Heart rate average was 141. View my GPS data on Garmin Connect.