Month: June 2012

Elbrus Race 2010

In September 2010 I attended the Elbrus Race [Blogger Posts]. Below is a gallery of images from the race organizers. I was entered at bib number 24.

I was also featured a few times in a promotional video [1:04, 1:13, 1:33] that the event promoters created as a “trailer”.

Elbrus Race 2010 in fact was the driving force and motivation for the best period of serious intense training I have ever endured. I trained twice a day, doing weight and cardio splits that carried me above and beyond all previous training, and got me down to 14% bodyfat (elite for my age according to the charts) from my starting point of 28%.

I really liked the spirit of the competition, and have seriously considered returning, though in 2011 the area was closed for various reasons. This year it’s open again, and the race is going to be held a few weeks earlier, at the end of August. In 2010 I had been given water right out of the drain pipe without being treated by the cook in the hut. I managed to pass the qualification race in spite of having to stop and “use the rocks” because of dysentery. I was too sick to continue and the event physician medicated me and pulled me from the race.

Here is a brief rundown of the articles from that period on my old blog:

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Elbrus is a volcano in Russia, and is considered to be the highest point of Europe.

Horseshoe Basin Training Hike

I am currently in training for my Aconcagua trip in December, part of which will be via fast hiking on rough terrain at altitude. I selected Horseshoe Basin, a fork of the Peru Creek Road between Keystone and Montezuma Colorado. The entire 15 mile semi-loop I hiked ascends from 10,100′ to over 13,000′ and returns by mostly the same route. I managed to hike the entire 15 miles in less than six hours, with about 2 miles in the middle (7 to 9 mile points) being on rugged technical terrain, which wasn’t great in the running shoes I was wearing, and went very slow – like 1 mph.

I was trying to run with poles, which I’ve done before, but never for this prolonged a time. The trail ends at Gray’s Lake, below Gray’s Peak, a Colorado 14’er (14,270′). I did the off-trail rocky traverse to an ill-defined ridgeline trail, and turned around at 3:09, approximately my turnaround target time. Descending on the stacked boulders/talus was fairly sketchy in my Hoka One One Stinson Evo, though they are really a lot more stable than the Bondi.

Once down to the road I picked up speed again, though I was fairly beat by the rocky section and couldn’t get my speed back up for very long. I finished my water (about 3.6 liters) and my gu packs about a half hour from the car, so perfect timing on that. Hikes like this are a great way to figure out your own needs in a relatively safe environment.

I have a Google Earth Embedded in my old blog – See it Here

It was a great day out in beautiful scenery, including rocky slopes, ice-covered ponds, snow-melt fed lakes, and a few rabbits. Excellent training for any mountaineering adventure.


Late Update: I’m including this in my Elbrus Race 2012 training group.

Aconcagua Higher Now

According to a cooperative research project report, Aconcagua is now 6966.4 meters tall, about 2.4 meters more than the 6964 meters measured in 1989. Further research is planned to determine if this is due to plate tectonics or more accurate modern equipment.

Aconcagua 6964 meters or 6966 meters - 2 meters higher
Aconcagua from near the Horcones Trailhead

“We know it is moving, but it is millimetres per year, not two metres,” said Maria Cristina Pacino, a member of the engineering faculty at Rosario National University.
South African Times Live

While I don’t have access to the original Spanish, and it could be a translation error, but this appears to state that Aconcagua is growing by 2 meters per year? 2.4 divided by 24 (approximate years since the 1989 measurement) equals .1 meters – we’re looking at .1 meters per year here, or 100 millimeters. Anyway, ripping on either the math, logic, or translation aside, how long will it be before it’s a 7000 meter peak in our own Western Hemisphere? Are you looking forward to it?

However tall it is, it’s currently on my Winter 2012/2013 list.

Denali Avalanche – Four Presumed Dead

A Japanese group, Miyagi Workers Alpine Federation Expedition, was apparently swept down Motorcycle Hill by an avalanche leaving one survivor who scrambled out of the crevasse he was deposited into and made his way down to Kahiltna Base alone to report the accident.

“One team member survived the event. Hitoshi Ogi, age 69 of Miyagi Prefecture, was swept into a crevasse and subsequently climbed out with minor injuries,” she said in a release. “Ogi was unable to locate his teammates in the avalanche debris. Throughout the day, Ogi descended solo to the Kahiltna Basecamp at 7,200 feet, where he reported the accident shortly after 4 p.m.” — National Parks Traveler

Motorcycle Hill above Kahiltna Pass - path of Denali Avalanche
Motorcycle Hill above Kahiltna Pass

High winds and snowfall have prevented many from hitting the summit in recent weeks, and probably contributed to this incident. McKinley is a very large and dangerous mountain, and careful consideration of the risks involved and the skills necessary to increase your survival is paramount. My heartfelt condolences are extended to the survivors, and I hope the rescue workers are safe in their endeavor to recover the bodies.

Half Dome Ascent via Cables Route

A friend (and fellow Goal Zero athlete) Steve Schrag had some permits to do the Cables Route of Half Dome on June 9 2012, and had asked if anyone wanted to go up with him. I happened to have that day off from other scheduled things, and was in a recovery week from my Steamboat Springs Half Marathon run, with some “miles” available, so I asked to go with.

I flew into Fresno and met him and his family at the curb, and we drove to Curry Village where we stayed in a tent cabin Friday night. Early Saturday we hit the trail and walked from the tents to the trailhead, about a mile. We selected the Mist Trail option, since that was shorter and maybe a bit more scenic. We stopped to filter water and top off our bottles, then proceeded to the cables.

The cables were steep, but especially with the boards every 5 feet or so, quite manageable, and we hit the top in a respectable time of 4:15. I have my Google Maps off my Polar RS800CX above, and since Google has basically banned non-blogger blogs from showing the Earth Plugin, I have the Google Earth version on my old blog at blogger.

We hung out at the top for about a half hour, then went down the cables and reversed the route, including the now extremely scenic, though congested, Mist Trail. We managed to get down to the bus stop in 3:15 in spite of the crowds, with a little bit of running in the last mile, and rode the shuttle to the Village Store, where we hooked up with Steve’s family. They had spent a relaxing day as tourists. We detoured to the Glacier Point overlook, for some great views overlooking most of the route we’d hiked just hours before.

They dropped me off at my airport hotel, and I checked in for a soak in a hot tub, and good, though short, night sleep. I flew out the next day for Denver, so I could spend a couple days recovering in Summit County. I loved the trip to Half Dome, and the exquisite beauty of Yosemite, and wonder what I could do with a year of training and preparation and maybe the assistance of one of my rope-gun friends?

Late Update: I’m including this in Elbrus Race 2012 since my performance here was instrumental in my decision to pursue working up the logistics and training for that goal.

Training for the Seven Summits

Please visit my other blog, where I share some of my training tips, personal achievements, goals and strategies, and workout videos for training like a mountaineer. Links open new tab/window so you don’t lose this list. Thanks …

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