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First Person: The Five Peaks Race

April 27, 2010 Run, Ski No Comments

Beautiful views helped ease the pain of a punishing course. Photo by Kate Lapides

Randonee racer Bryan Wickenhauser reports on the first Five Peaks ski mountaineering race in the Ten Mile Range above Breckenridge—a monster course that gained 10,000 vertical feet. Thirty-five teams of two braved the challenge on April 10; see the Five Peaks website for full results and links to photos. Here’s Wick’s report:

The inaugural Five Peaks race lived up to its hype as North America’s longest ski mountaineering race, with 10,000 feet of vertical and five separate ascents behind and in the Breckenridge ski resort. My teammate for the race was my fellow Team Crested Butte member Jon Brown. We’ve both been racing in the COSMIC Series for the last four years, and we train all the time together—perfect partners!

The weather going into Friday night called for temps bottoming out at 20°F with light winds for Saturday and sunny skies. Really a perfect forecast for an April ski mountaineering event. The start was classic Alpine at 6 a.m., so we awoke at 4:30 a.m. to get our breakfast on and have time for a brief warm up at gear check.

The start was at the base of Peak 9 at about 9,600 feet, and our first summit would be Peak 10, about 4,000 feet higher! We skinned our way up some mellow groomed runs to the top of the ski area, where we continued though a backcountry gate. Now we began to get into more technical skinning, as we were above tree line and the winds had taken most of the loose snow and deposited it elsewhere (like hopefully on the descents). … Continue Reading

New Ultra Slated for Grand Mesa

March 16, 2010 Run No Comments

Grand Canyon Rim-to-Rim? Nope. It's the course profile for the new Grand Mesa 100.

The Grand Mesa 100 is a brand-new trail ultra-marathon set for July 24-25,  with 37.5, 50, and 100-mile distances. The races will start at Grand Mesa Lodge, a few miles north of Cedaredge, and will loop around the gorgeous high-altitude plateau. Actually, the 100-mile course will dive off the plateau in mid-race, with a unique and challenging 4,100-foot plunge down the Kannah Creek Trail and return climb along the brutal Switchback Trail, gaining over 4,000 feet in 5.5 miles. … Continue Reading

Beaver Creek Snowshoe Results

March 9, 2010 Run 1 Comment

Josiah Middaugh and Keri Nelson won the men’s and women’s 10K at the Jeremy Wright North American Snowshoe Championships in Beaver Creek on Sunday. Middaugh, who won the U.S. championships in New York the day before (yes, it’s confusing), smoked the 10K course in 47:45. Simon Escorcia and Kelly Escorcia took the 5K titles. More than 300 people entered the various races.

Video courtesy of RunColo.com.

More results after the jump. … Continue Reading

20 Laps Wins Sunlight Endurance Test

March 2, 2010 Run, Ski No Comments

1,500 vertical feet X 20 laps = ouch.

Michael Hagen completed an even 20 laps of the one-mile, 1,500-vertical-foot course at the Endurance Challenge at Sunlight Mountain, a  12-hour suffer-fest at the ski resort near Glenwood Springs. Hagen needed 11 hours 43 minutes to wrap up his 30,000-vertical-foot workout on February 28.

Meanwhile, Eva Hagen won the women’s solo division with 15 laps, or ca. 22,500 vertical feet. Not a bad day out for the husband and wife from Colorado Springs, each of whom won $2,000 for their victories. Competing as a team, the Hagens placed third in the duo category at the 24 Hours of Sunlight in 2009. … Continue Reading

Middaugh, Ortiz Win Vail Winter Uphill

February 26, 2010 Run No Comments

Courtesy of Vail Athletic Club

Josiah Middaugh of Edwards won the Vail Winter Uphill race, posting a time of 37:42 for the two-mile, 2,000-vertical-foot course. Middaugh, a top-ranked off-road triathlon racer and past national champion in snowshoeing, had knee surgery in early November and obviously is doing well in recovery. Anita Ortiz, a multi-time national mountain running champion, was the fastest woman up the course, finishing in fourth overall with a time of 42:30. Ortiz was last year’s USATF ultra runner of the year in the master’s division.

Click here to see all the results (box in lower left of the page) and photos from the Vail Winter Uphill.

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  • Jamie Jones: The secret chute was only a secret top all you easterners....
  • Jeff: Awesome!!!! Are they ever going to be published in book form! These stories need to be made into a movie!!!!...
  • Karen D McCall: What a story, I read every word, absolutely enthralled. As an aging outdoor enthusiast headed for hip replacement, I can...
  • Kirk Miller: New rats in the Platte. Well done sir....
  • Dale: I met Clerin Zumwalt hiking on the Long's Peak trail back in the 1990's. He was with his family and was wearing his RMNP...
  • Ben Collett: Dougald, I miss the updates on this site. Anyway, there is a great route on the 4th Flatiron (see MP.com for details) th...
  • Tim: Thanks for the great writeup. We just did this loop yesterday and had a blast. Do you know if anyone has skied the coulo...
  • 14er Sports: Awesome accomplishment!...
  • Kailas: Yes Wick there are that many people. And they are all from back east or Texass... booooo. I've skied up here for ove...
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A Fine Line on Arrowhead

March 26, 2010

A Fine Line on Arrowhead

Climbers Scotty Nelson and Gil Weiss have discovered (or maybe rediscovered) a great-looking moderate mixed route in Rocky Mountain National Park that might take pressure off overcrowded climbs like Dream Weaver or Martha. The line, which they called Deborah, splits the south face of Arrowhead above the high bench to the west of Black Lake […]

Shelf Road’s Hardest Route Climbed

March 10, 2010

Shelf Road’s Hardest Route Climbed

Colorado’s Shelf Road , a network of vertical limestone cliffs near Cañon City best known for sunny moderates, has a new 5.13d pitch and may soon get its first 5.14. On Sunday, March 7, Mark Anderson redpointed a striking, super-technical arête at Cactus Cliff that was bolted in the early 1990s but apparently never free-climbed. […]

New Route Likely Platte’s Hardest

February 14, 2010

New Route Likely Platte’s Hardest

Jason Haas, who’s working on a new guidebook to South Platte rock climbs, has just redpointed what’s likely the Platte’s hardest pitch, a roof seam that’s protected with removable pro and might be 5.14a. The new route, Comprometido, took about a year and a half to complete. Here, Haas tells the story. While researching routes […]

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Brain Freeze on Mt. Otis

March 18, 2010

Brain Freeze on Mt. Otis

In the heart of Rocky Mountain National Park, a granite spindle called Zowie protrudes from the convoluted south face of Mt. Otis. Just to Zowie’s left is a zigzagging chimney and gully system that holds an unlikely mixed-climbing gem. Brain Freeze was discovered very recently (early 2008) by Andy Grauch and Chris Sheridan. Several parties […]

Lake Agnes–Seven Utes Loop

February 19, 2010

Lake Agnes–Seven Utes Loop

Kevin Landolt is a skier/climber/student, based in Fort Collins, who writes the fun Alpine Ambition blog for the Mountain Shop. Here, Kevin describes a favorite midwinter ski tour near Cameron Pass offering a little of everything. Trailhead: Lake Agnes Road, 2.5 miles west of Cameron Pass Tour Distance: 7.3 miles Total Vert: ca. 2,900′ Season: […]

Mr. and Mrs. Mesa

January 28, 2010

Mr. and Mrs. Mesa

Two of the wildest and most difficult water-ice pitches in the state are in plain view from Highway 50, en route to Ouray and Telluride from points north, plunging down the sheer face of Grand Mesa. Yet few people notice them, and far fewer have climbed them. The routes are tough, to be sure, but […]

East Ridge of Mt. Bancroft

December 28, 2009

East Ridge of Mt. Bancroft

Mt. Bancroft’s rocky east ridge is a terrific mountaineering adventure for Front Range climbers, beginning less than an hour from Denver. The 13,250-foot peak is relatively close to the road, and avalanche danger can be easily managed, making this perhaps the most accessible technical winter summit on the entire Front Range. The east ridge offers […]


Rarities: Wolf Moon, Arapaho Peaks

February 5, 2010

Rarities: Wolf Moon, Arapaho Peaks

Photographer James Beissel sent us this fantastic dawn-patrol shot of the full moon setting over South and North Arapaho in the Indian Peaks, shot from Flagstaff Mountain. Said Beissel: “The first full moon of the New Year is often called the Wolf Moon. The name comes from Native American culture, in which it was associated with […]

New Deal for Great Sand Dunes

January 20, 2010

New Deal for Great Sand Dunes

By Bob Berwyn Stakeholders in the San Luis Valley have taken a giant step toward protecting Great Sand Dunes National Park from mining, energy development, and water exports. Lexam Explorations has agreed to sell its mineral rights if a $9.7 million deal can be finalized by May. Great Sand Dunes National Park was created by […]

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