Keystone Aquaduct Race Pace Run

IMG_8182Yesterday I was being a bum and I didn’t go run when I supposed to. So, today I wanted to push myself a bit. I did a race pace run on a relatively flat trail (theres a big hill at the beginning). It was awesome! I felt so good and the weather and leaves were perfect. The Fall breeze was just what I needed to not overheat. I ran three sub 9 minute miles in a row! I am really starting to feel like I definitely can reach my goal of sub 2:30 in the Moab Trail Half in November. Sometimes I can’t believe I actually used to say that I hate running. I love running! Just has to be on a trail 🙂

And I still stopped to take some beautiful photos.




Cecilville Slab Rock Climbing

The Arkansas River Headwaters on Fremont Pass, North of Leadville, CO.

Today Matt and I went to Cecilville Slab on Fremont Pass for some rock climbing. We knew it would rain later so we thought we would just get a couple of routes in, and we did. Matt was still hurting from his run yesterday so he took it easy.

We started out on a 5.8 called Wily Coyote. The first bolt is up there, and you have to do a little bit of careful climbing to get to it. After that its a little bit of an overhang up to some nice slab. There were one or two tricky moves but most of it was super fun!

Then we climbed a 9+ right next to it called Hyena Crack that wasn’t actually a crack but it was a fun slabby route that actually seemed easier then the 8 right next to it.

Our last route before it rained, was one we have climbed before called Zebra Walk (5.8). This is my favorite route at Cecil because there is a lot of variance and you can climb it many different ways.

It was my first time leading at this crag and I felt great today, super strong and my mind was in it. I love days like today when it seems like nothing can stop me or scare me. I wish I spent more time climbing this summer but the time I have spent I have definitely improved. I think I am almost ready to take on my first lead on a 5.10. Maybe next time!

Wiley Coyote (5.8) at Cecilville Slab, Fremont Pass, CO.
Zebra Walk (5.8) at Cecilville Slab, Fremont Pass, CO

Mountain Biking and Rock Climbing, My Birthday Done Right.

Looking out from the S Mountain Trails to Mt. Princeton.

My 24th birthday was this past Sunday, so Matt and I took some time off to go on an adventure. I wanted to go mountain biking on my actual birthday and my cousin Micah lives in Salida, so we drove there on Sunday morning and checked out the S Mountain Trails, (also known as the Arkansas Hills Trails). We met up with Micah when we got into town and took off up the Front Side Trail. It was a rocky start but not too bad on fresh legs.

Matt and Micah at the Trail Intersection.
The Start of Lil’ Rattler Trail.

After Front Side, we went down Lil’ Rattler Trail, which was a nice descent, not too rocky and a lot of fun. We hit Backbone Trail next and continued cruising down that past Sand Dunes and back up and down into a wash. We stayed there for a little bit and chatted and then decided to explore a trail that wasn’t on the map, hoping it would meander back around to the parking area at some point. The trail got really challenging and we ended up going down a wash that may or may not have been an actual trail. But we ended back at the cars and it was a fun adventure.

On Backbone Trail Loving the Descent. Photo Credit to Matt 🙂

After biking, Matt and I went to find a campsite. A friend of ours gave us directions to some free sites down by the river south of town. We drove down and set up our tent, then went back into town to eat some dinner and have a beer with Micah. After dinner we were heading back towards our campsite and made the decision to go climbing at Shelf Road the next day and it made more sense to camp there then to wake up in Salida and get there late in the morning. We broke down the tent very quickly, shoved it in the car and took off.

Shea and the Campsite We Didn’t Stay At in Salida. Photo Credit: Matt
Our Favorite Campsite at Shelf Road.

We arrived at The Bank camping area at Shelf Road around 9pm, snagged our favorite campsite, put the tent back up and went to bed. I’m so glad we made the extra trek that night, because getting up in the morning already at Shelf was awesome. We made coffee and breakfast and headed out to the wall early. We chose to climb over in the Gallery since neither of us had been there before. It is located on the far left of the whole area near the sand gulch camping.

Heading Towards the Gallery on Monday Morning. Photo Credit: Matt

In the Gallery area, there is a wall called the Menses Prow. It actually has a lot of moderate routes concentrated in one area, which is unusual for Shelf. After a long-ish approach we started on a 5.7+ called Period Piece. Matt lead it first and then I lead it too and I got some good practice cleaning. It still freaks me out to untie from the rope when I clean, because I am not used to it yet, so it definitely helped to get some practice. The route was fun, with a couple spicy moves, but everything was there.

Matt Feeling Very Comfortable on Period Piece.
Period Piece (5.7+) Photo Credit: Matt

After Period Piece, we climbed an awesome 5.8 called First Blood. This was such a fun route! I lead it first and loved the different types of moves it offered. The last move was super weird, you are under a roof but you need to move right to the anchors, but the whole thing was well protected and really fun. It looked really scary from the ground but all the moves were there and it was easier than it looked.

View of the Trail Below the Menses Prow Wall.

We climbed two 5.10s next. Well, I only climbed one of them on top rope but Matt lead them both. The first one called Pueblo Gringos, was short and sweet with some pumpy moves. And the second one was called Menses which had been on Matt’s to do list. It definitely kicked his ass and was so fun for me to watch him get his ass kicked for a change. He made it up to the anchors and rappelled back down, and we got out of there fast because we could see some dark clouds coming our way.

Matt on Pueblo Gringos (5.10b/c)
Menses (5.10d) Where Matt Got his Ass Thoroughly Kicked.
Shea and I Moving Quickly to Beat the Storm Back to the Car.

We drove into town to get some snacks and firewood and while we were checking out at City Market we heard someone say there was a tornado warning for Canon City. Back outside, things had started to clear up but the sky was black to the south. Sure enough, a tornado had touched down 10 miles south of Canon City, outside of Florence. Luckily, Shelf Road and our tent was north of Canon City and we were safe. But it was still scary.

The next day, I got up early and it was very gray outside. I made coffee and breakfast and when Matt got up it started raining. We sat it out for a bit and eventually the sun came out and we took off for Cactus Cliff and warmed up on the classic Crynoid Corner. I climbed this route last year on my birthday but I wasn’t leading yet, so I really wanted a lead on this route since it is a classic 5.7. It is such a great route, lots of different moves to be had, stemming, jamming and solid climbing.

On Crynoid Corner (5.7) Looking for my Next Move. Photo Credit: Matt

After Crynoid we moved further down the cliff to the route Too Much Beef and Not Enough Meat which was on my to do list. I knew it would be a little tricky being a Shelf 5.9 but it actually was really fun and had a little bit of fun slab climbing up to a layback which I hate so I hand jammed it instead to the last bolt and then Matt lead it too and we ate some lunch and moved on.

Before Climbing Too Much Beef and Not Enough Meat (5.9) on Cactus Cliff. All Smiles 🙂 Photo credit: Matt
Shea is the Best Rock Climbing Dog. She Just Sleeps the Whole Time.

The last route we climbed was a 5.10a/b called Dihedrus. Matt lead it and took a few falls and I ran up it on top rope before it rained. A lot of the moves were really hard and I was very glad to be on top rope for it. The sky was starting to look threatening to the west after that so we took off and headed home.

Dihedrus (5.10a/b) on Cactus Cliff. Our Last Route on Tuesday.

I had an awesome birthday vacation and I am so glad we ended up a Shelf because I love climbing there. And for August it actually was not as hot as I expected. I feel like my climbing has improved immensely since I started climbing last summer. I am a lot more confident and strong. I can’t wait to come back to Shelf again soon, hopefully with some more people and more ropes so I can get more climbing in. Maybe even lead my first 5.10!

Cholla and the View from Menses Prow.

Hike to the Summit of Ptarmigan Mountain

The Trail Heading up to the Bench

On Monday, Shea and I went on an adventure to Ptarmigan Mountain in Silverthorne. To get to the summit is 12 miles round trip. There is a bench 3 miles in that looks out over the town. I decided when I left the house that I was going to take a leisurely stroll up to the bench with Shea, taking some photos of wildflowers along the way.

I packed my camelbak with about 1.5 liters of water, enough for both of us, 2 clif bars and some trail mix, my camera and a warm layer. So there we went walking up the trail, me taking photos, Shea chasing chipmunks.

We got to the bench and there were 4 or 5 ladies hanging out there with a bunch of dogs, so I thought I’d keep going for awhile and then turn around and come back to the bench. Well, then I looked up on my phone how far the summit was, only another 3 miles but it was going to be steep.

Selfie on the Summit
Selfie on the Summit

I decided to go for it. I put my camera away, checked the clouds and starting picking up my pace a bit. The summit ended up being about 4 miles away but it was totally worth it! Shea and I had the summit to ourselves since it was so late in the day. We took some selfies and I took some cool panoramic shots. It was chilly up there and I was glad I had an extra layer.

Finally I put my camera away and we decided to head down. There was one cloud over the Gore Range that didn’t look so nice, so I decided to run at least to treeline. We got to treeline and I was enjoying the run so, I kept running. Shea and I ran all the way until the last mile. We both got a great workout and a great adventure out of the day!

Snow Patch with Grays and Torrey’s in the Background