Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Tuesday 10/11 Flatirons Scramble - Freeway x 3, First Flatironette

I had the day off today so I did a rare weekday Flatirons session. 

My first lap today on Freeway on the Second Flatiron was a PR of 15:08, which basically means I didn't stop much and I'm familiar enough with the route that I don't have to think about where to go next. Recorded times on Strava for this route range between a blistering 6:03 and 2+ hours.

The second lap was more exploratory, trying out different lines in my quest to climb the center of this first pitch. Until now, I've been scrambling up the easy rock on the right side, then veering left to gain the Freeway ridge at the top of this photo. FYI this is about 1/4 of the 800-foot route. The rest is at a slightly lower angle and has lots of good holds. Of course there's a jump, and two slightly steeper slabs at the very end ;)

On the third lap -- after 10 times doing this climb -- I guess I had reached the point where I didn't see anything here that I didn't think I could free climb, said "what the heck", and just headed straight up. And it went fairly easily. Like many visitors here, I've stared up in awe while seemingly crazy people climbed these slabs without ropes using some sort of voodoo that I didn't understand. I mean, I've spent years watching that. 

Well, I guess I've become one of those crazy people. A fun day.

Distance was 4.81 miles, time 2:47:59 (moving 1:44:17), avg. pace 34:55, moving pace 21:40, max pace 8:30 min/mi, elevation gain/loss 3,037 feet.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Saturday 10/8 Flatirons Scramble - Freeway x 2, Front Porch

A Saturday of Flatiron scrambling. I revisited Front Porch's northwest ridge, which is a descent route for east face routes. This time I avoided the dirt-filled gully and climbed up solid rock starting on the far right of the formation. It's a bit slower, but more fun and better than slipping on steep dirt and scree.

This slanted overhang on the ridge stopped me my first time here. This photo was taken pointing upwards, so realize that the rock slopes both up and down to the left, down a steep gully. A 20-foot or so drop is to the right. I found the position awkward and since I didn't know the difficulty beyond that, I turned around. 

As it turns out, after this overhang the terrain eases a bit and is more flat. I find that once you've climbed up to near the tree on the right, it's easiest to walk along the sunlit section on all fours. 

Looking down on the overhanging slab from higher up:

The ridge has several ledges on it, so it's part hiking and part scrambling. Holds are good and the climbs are brief and above ledges, so it's probably high 3rd class. I think this is the next-to-last slab before the top:

Below is the east face. I climbed up part of the East Face Center route, which is roughly in the middle ground, but without a good bailout option before the top, I didn't attempt the full route. Some day.

After Front Porch I traveled north and did a couple of laps on Freeway on the Second Flatiron.

On the first lap, while I still had some energy, I tried to see if I could lower my PR, and did, down to 16:04. I kept having to stop to catch my breath, so I know I can do better.

On lap two, I wanted to see if I could get closer to going straight up from the bottom, instead of using the easier far right rock rib. Also heading up was a group of 4 free climbers in rock shoes, one of them leading and giving advice. I quickly climbed up to the the pine tree on the right and then stepped left out onto the main slab, partly looking for my own new route, partly listening to the climbers to my left. But I soon found good holds above me, and took off straight upwards and over a bulge/ledge (with a pine tree, about 200 feet up) and then I was on familiar terrain, moving easily upwards on the ridge proper. Getting closer.

Front Porch: Distance was 2.56 miles, time 2:20:37 (moving 54:26:00), avg. pace 54:51, moving pace 21:15, max pace 11:55 min/mi, elevation gain/loss 895 feet.

Second Flatiron: Distance was 4.37 miles, time 2:38:48 (moving 1:32:59), avg. pace 36:22, moving pace 21:17, max pace 5:20 min/mi, elevation gain/loss 2,597 feet.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Sunday 10/2 Tanglewood Trail Run

On Sunday I ran near Mt. Evans on the Tanglewood Trail. Not much trail traffic, and a few remaining aspen leaves. Most of the rest had fallen.

My legs had no energy after my Flatiron outing the prior day, so I hiked the uphill and was totally happy not to beat myself up running. Last time I ran more of this trail, and yet this time was only slower by 11 minutes. Not sure what that means, really.

It was breezy and cool near treeline; I was close to needing gloves.

Distance was 8.33 miles, time 3:02:01 (moving 2:48:15), avg. pace 21:52, moving pace 20:13, max pace 8:30 min/mi, elevation gain/loss 2,656 feet.