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.

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