Monday, January 28, 2013

Monday Gym Report

For some reason I started out toproping today and just never stopped. It's very unusual for me, but maybe it was because my right toe was hurting so badly. It was quite painful to put it into a climbing shoe and then I had to be very careful with it. But I don't mind toproping so much. Tom did a few as warm-up as well.

I started on 5.8 and worked my way up. The funny thing is that each one felt pretty hard for me. I'm starting to get a cold as well and was feeling pretty weak and rundown, but I kept up with grades. I climbed a 5.8, 5.9, 10a, 10b, 10c, 10d, and 11a all clean on my first go. The 10b seemed the hardest for me, as it had some tricky moves.

I ended with an attempt on a very cool 11b route. It has few holds on it and goes up a corner that is slightly less than vertical. You climb with a series of high steps and high hands that you shoulder roll into a mantle. It was pretty shoulder intensive and flexibility would have helped a lot. I fell off the lower crux move and after hanging, solved it in a bizarre, awkward manner, but I didn't have the flexibility (super wide stem) to solve it in the more elegant manner. After doing that move I was able to climb to the stop cleanly, though a number of the sections were quite tough. I'll give that another go on Wednesday.

Eight routes: 8, 9, 10a, 10b, 10c, 10d, 11a, 11b (one fall/hang). All TRs.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Backside Loop via Bison Drive

Backside Loop via Bison Drive by billwright510 at Garmin Connect - Details

I met Mark for this long run. We both wore our Nathan packs and carried about 40 ounces of liquid and some snacks. I ran with my iPhone and am loving the MotionX-GPS app on my phone. It talks to me every x minutes or x distance and tells me my total mileage, elevation, and average pace. I love stuff like that. You can also download tracks to display on the free topos you can download to the phone. Recommended.

Man, this run killed me. I'm fine getting to Eldo, but then I'm just done. My hips and knees just seem to seize up. I'm not bonking. I'm drinking and eating and my energy is good, but from the waist down, I feel 70 years old at that point. I'd been doing ten-mile runs and feeling quite good at the end, so I figured, at a slower pace, I should feel pretty good until maybe 15 miles. Not so. Hurting at around 11. Oh well. More training I guess.

We saw a number of friends out enjoying the trails as well. We stopped to chat each time. I was thankful for the rest, but didn't want to stop for too long, fearing I'd have trouble getting moving again. My feet were in bad shape at the start because of my frost damage I did last weekend in the Bells. It was quite painful to run downhill for the entire run, but what limited me the most was my groin and my knees. I just don't seem to have the connective tissue for long distance trail running. But it was great to get out with Mark and our conversation flowed nicely the entire time, as usual.

Friday, January 25, 2013

More Struggles on 5.10

My right big toe is still massively messed up from our second attempt on the Bells. My feet froze and didn't fully warm up until we had got clear back to the car (11 miles away) and drove an hour to Glenwood Springs. I hope to see some improvement soon. This pain had me pulling my shoes off after each 40-foot route.

I did only 5.10 routes today, but I had my troubles. I started fine with a 10a, 10b, 10b, and then a 10d. All clean, but I was pushed to my very limits on the last two. I then tried a harder 10d and hung four times at two different locations.

I then moved to another location and did a 10b and then hung on another 10b before finishing. Ugh. I'll keep working on it and hope for some gradual improvement.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Solidifying 5.10 in the Gym

I finally got to the gym early and even beat Tom, so that is solid improvement this week. Climbing? Oh, yeah, that is improving also, but as quickly as my arrival time...

I climbed with just Tom, as Kate showed up and paired with Kirk. I warmed up on a 5.9 and a 10a and then onsighted a 10b. That's depressing that I have to say "insight". :-) It is, what it is. I then went to my 10b project, which is really more like 10d. I failed on my first try, on the same crux move. I screwed up the approach a bit and wasted a bit of energy. I got it clean, just barely, on my second try.

I then did a new 10c and had a lot of trouble on the final clip, but I got it and finished clean. I moved on  to a new 10d and screwed it up a couple of times, hanging both times. I have no endurance to recover from reading the route incorrectly. I tried it again and got it down to one hang. On my third go, with a little better clipping strategy, I just barely got it clean.

I'm building my base of 5.10 routes. I think I've now done all the 5.10's that are not in "Gray Land", the  massively overhanging area. Today I did: 5.9, 10a, 10b, 10b, 10c, 10d, 10d, 10d, eight routes.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Monday Gym Report

I got there late again. I've been so lazy lately... Climbed with Tom and Kirk.

I started with a 5.9, then a 10a, then sent the 10b that I fell off of, last week. It still felt pretty hard at the crux. This route gently overhangs the entire way, so the pump was building, but the crux is off two pretty bad holds.

Next I went to the brown 10b that crushed me early last week. I think it is harder than the 10d's that I've done. I did better this time, getting the clip at the lip of the roof, but not able to pull the crux move.

Next I did a 10b/c onsight. It had two very big reaches in it, but I was able to make the reach, somewhat dynamically. Then I did a 10a with a very overhanging, shouldery start. This pushed my right shoulder quite a bit, but I turned the lip and then was fine to the top.

I finished with one more go on the brown 10b route. I took a fall reaching for the crux hold, but figured out better feet for next time. I'm going to keep my feet a bit lower, under the overhang, until I make the crux move. Kirk was telling me to do this before, but it is not always obvious when to keep the feet low and when to move them up. He was right though. At least I think so. I'll find out Wednesday when I try to send this sucker.

So, just seven routes, but that's what you get for coming late: 5.9, 10a, 10b, 10b (one fall), 10b/c, 10a, 10b (one fall).

Friday, January 11, 2013

Gym Workout - got my 10d project

Took Thursday off as recovery from the Wednesday outing and today I went to the gym. I got there late and did one toprope (5.9) with Kate and Craig before I teamed up with Kirk for the rest of the morning. I then led a 10a, 10c, 10d (my project route, sad though it is), 10d (made it just barely), 10b, and I finished with another 10b but fell off once. Either that route was pretty hard or I was pumped. I don't have much strength or endurance just yet, so I guess I was just done. I'll clean it up on Monday.

The goal is to be back on 5.11's by the end of January. I've done a couple on TR already, but I'm hoping to be back onsighting 5.11a by then. We'll see.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Maroon Bells Attempt

Maroon Bells Attempt by billwright510 at Garmin Connect - Details
Strava Link

Homie is really close to climbing all the 14ers in winter. I think he only needs the Bells, Snowmass, and the Chicago Basin four. He's a master of climbing these peaks, but even he can still make mistakes. Inviting me along could have been one of those mistakes, but I held up reasonably well, though probably that was only because we didn't get very far.

We drove out to Glenwood Springs on Tuesday night to attempt a one-day ascent of both Bells. This was a very audacious plan and Homie figured it would be around 20 hours. We packed accordingly and started at 3:40 the next morning. We both went in on skis, up the closed road for 6.2 miles and then another 2.5 miles to just past Crater Lake. Here we ditched the skis and switched to climbing boots, crampons, ice axe, harness, and helmets. With the 120+ ounces of liquid and tons of food, that made for a heavy load on our backs and I was glad to be leaving a lot of weight behind.

The weather was stellar, which was the main reason for this attempt. That and the Aspen area hadn't received snow in over a week. We hoped for nicely consolidated snow conditions. We didn't get them. We had to break trail for the last 1.5 miles and the snow we went through, while not deep, was so light and it could have fallen last night. The temperatures up here had just been too cold and the snow hadn't melted and consolidated at all. It was just pure sugary, all the way down to the group. Now when the snow isn't deep, that's okay, though it does make for tricky footing, but when it is deep, it is impassable.

Homie had a route planned for us, one he had done in the summer when he linked Pyramid to the Bells. I worried about the long traverse in the sugary snow and convinced him to try a more direct route up what I thought looked like reasonable terrain because of the snow it held. It was not. After we climbed up a few hundred feet and could see that my proposed route was a bust, Homie spied an enticing break in the first cliff band that was completely dry, in the sun, and looked eminently climbable with lots of blocky holds. It was. The problem was that we could only see 100 feet of our proposed new route to the summit 3000 feet above us. With all the vertical cliff bands on the Bells, this didn't work so well.

Once above the first band, which we belayed. We saw a much more daunting band above us. I thought we were blocked, but Homie swum upwards through the sugary snow and found a climbable break. Later he would say that he thought about just continuing up it, scrambling it while simul-climbing. Instead, he brought me up. Upon closer examination, it was a lot tougher than he originally thought. Still, it had some cracks offering up protection possibilities and I decided to give it a go. What else did we have to do? We figured it was too late to retreat and try another route.

The difficulties started immediately and it took me a big stretch to place a small cam in a crack atop a block. Getting over the block was the problem. I tried to tackle it directly and took a short fall. Thankfully the piece was solid. I went left and after much deliberation, mostly about the opportunities for protection higher up, I committed to the moves. I didn't want to get injured ten miles from the car in January.

Slowly, methodically, timidly I advanced up the cliff band, emptying my rack into the increasingly rare cracks. I ran out the rope and arrived on a ledge that cut across the face below yet another, much less climbable cliff band. Homie had the decency to take a fall of his own, though I didn't even notice it so great was my effort to keep the slack out of the rope, and the good manners to take nearly as long to follow it.

We spent about an hour climbing a hundred vertical feet. And where did it get us? Trapped again. We traversed for a bit, but didn't find a break. We would have eventually got around it, but then just into steep sugar snow. Reluctantly, we turned around, giving up while still with perfect weather and still under 11,000 feet. Homie would say later that he was surprised not to be more disappointed, but felt that was due to us not even getting remotely close to the summit.

Getting down from that cliff was a bit of trick by itself, considering we only had the 100-foot rope with us. Homie did a single rope rappel down and found it was 80 feet to the base of the cliff. I then tied our three long slings together, downclimbed while clipping into each sling and then did a rappel from a loop in the last sling. We retreated back to the skis.

Before heading out we skied further up the valley to check out Homie's proposed route. It looked way more reasonable now, though I still dreaded any sustained movement in that sugary snow. Doing a one-day winter ascent of mountains this difficult requires not only perfect weather, but perfect snow conditions. At least for me. Stronger, better men can pull it off in worse conditions, but I'd be at my limit under ideal conditions.

We skied back out to the road, had a couple of hot chocolates at the shack maintained by the snowmobiles that come up the road and then glided back to the car. We were out 11.5 hours and did 19 miles and about 3500 vertical feet. It turned into a pretty nice ski tour, but would have been a lot nicer without all that weight.

Monday, January 07, 2013

Gym Workout

My shoulder work in the gym continues slowly. I got to the gym late, 6:30 a.m., as I was up until past 1 a.m. working on a project. Tom almost left before I got there. I did a 5.8 (hard! overhanging, tough warm-up), 5.6, 10a, 10c (TR, clean, barely), 10c, 10d (TR, clean, barely), and a 10a.

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Old Mesa Loop

Old Mesa Loop

This is rapidly becoming one of my favorite loops. Runnable for almost the entire way. I do have to walk for 5-10 minutes going up the Old Mesa Trail, though. Went without any traction and was fine, but it was a bit dicey going downhill in spots. Went pretty hard, as I had a goal of averaging under 10 minutes/mile. That sounds funny that such a pace was a challenge, but that's all I got these days. Really nice weather.

Saturday, January 05, 2013

Bierstadt Ascent w/Homie by billwright510 at Garmin Connect - Details

Bierstadt Ascent w/Homie by billwright510 at Garmin Connect - Details

Fun morning with Homie. Clear, blue skies the entire time and hardly any wind, which was a good thing because it was quite cold (below zero at the summit, I'm sure). Trail packed out pretty much the entire way. We were the first guys up, but we passed a guy with dog. We didn't pass close by him on the way up, but did on our way down. In weather that cold, this was a short-haired dog with no booties or anything to protect its paws...its three paws! That dog only had one back leg and you had to look closely to notice this, the dog was doing so well. I felt like quite the wimp, dressed head-to-toe in multiple layers of hi-tech gear with chemical heaters in my boots and mittens, next to this bad-ass dog.

We made it up in 2:29 (Homie a minute or two faster) and the roundtrip in 4:31, with nearly 20 minutes on the summit. We used no floatation of any kind, but skis might have been nice, as you have to go 1.8 miles up the road before you get to the summer trailhead.

Friday, January 04, 2013

Gym Report

Today and yesterday I was at Movement Climbing gym with +Tom Karpeichik . The shoulder is still really weak and I think I'll be stuck working 5.10 routes for most of January. Thursday I did a 5.8, 5.9, 10a, 10b, then a really hard 10b where I had to hang twice. Then I did another 10b clean and then tried one over a big roof and had to hang once. I ended by trying a vertical 10d and hung on it a couple of times.

Friday I did a 5.8, 5.9, 10b and then cleaned up a 10c that I had fallen at the top on the week before. I then tried the 10d vertical route and made all the clips, but couldn't quite finish it. I gave it another go, but there is a committing section lower down, with a tricky clip. If you blow the click, it would be a longish fall (for the gym). I didn't have the confidence and downclimbed to hang on the third bolt. I finished from there, though. This will be my project next week. I finished the morning with a 10a. Only 7 routes, but they were a bit taxing.

Tom is climbing super strong and already has 20+ 5.12's clean and a 12c clean. He's working a couple of 12d's now. I'm two number grades (8 letter grades) behind. Normally, I'm about 3 letter grades behind him. I've got some work to do.