“I couldn’t catch a ball or do any of that stuff. I could do only what required brute stupidity.” — Warren Harding on mountaineering.
Nice view of Longs.
Back in the day, the Stupid Brutes were pretty active in the ascending of mountains, the scaling of rocks, the talking of smack, and the generation of weird inside jokes. Many an alpine trip was undertaken in good—or at least kindred—company. For a bunch of suburban white guys of we were a colorful and varied bunch from Fabio the gear wizard and sage pundit to Dan(imal) the enthusiastic young rope gun to people like me content to formulate obscure type-II adventures and then tag along as best they could. We had narrow escapes, triumphant victories, and lots of brutal stupidity hauling heavy packs in inclement conditions at ungodly hours of the day and night.
Most frequent for the Brutes were alpine trips in Rocky Mountain National Park since it was the highest concentration of interesting objectives at the closest distance requiring the least alpine of alpine starts. So many memorable trips! We climbed Tyndal Glacier and descended via Flattop Mountain. We climbed Dragonstail with a descent via Flattop. We climbed Taylor Glacier with a descent via Flattop. We climbed James Peak with a… at some point, all descents were de rigueur via Flattop even if we were in a different county altogether.
Over the years, the Brutes have gone dormant as we’ve matured (in some cases), aged (in all cases), and moved on into parenthood, careers, and other pursuits. But the Brutes were only sleeping (albeit pretty soundly). It was time to descend via Flattop again! Continue reading
Posted in retrospective, skiing, winter
Tagged backcountry skiing, banana bowls, bear lake, brian, flattop mountain, RMNP, sastrugi, scott, stupid brutes, telemark, tom, whippet
Sun goes down, astronomers get up.
It’s been a couple of years since I last traveled for work (at least to anyplace interesting). Fortunately, I was recently awarded two half-nights on the 3.5 meter telescope at Apache Point Observatory in the mountains above Alamagordo, New Mexico. The mission: take high-resolution optical spectra of the nucleus of the giant galaxy M87 (as one does). Jaded egghead that I am, I was still pretty excited to put teaching, family, and all the other travails of early 2017 behind me and head for a little focused science (and play) time in south-central New Mexico. It was a great opportunity for science and a little exploration on my own recognizance in approximately equal measure.
Posted in exploration, night, peak, running, solo, travel, winter
Tagged alamagordo, alkali flats, apache point, astronomy, cloudcroft, el paso, las cruces, m87, mammoth rock, organ mountains, ron coleman trail, sdss, south franklin mountain, spectra, sun pillar, sunspot, telescope, tortugas mountain, transmountain highway, tularosa basin, turkeys, white sands
Mile 1111: Dec 31
As the big odometer in the sky prepares to roll over once again, it’s time for a look back on the year of running. Yes, I’ve done lots of other stuff besides run this year, but running is the thing I keep the exhaustive stats on. Bear with me.
It was a good year in terms of raw stats: 1111.1 miles for easily my second biggest year ever and it didn’t even feature any major races to contribute to that. A lot of the initial push of training was in prep for pacing Ben at Bighorn.
Looking through the year, I see a lot of friends, fun, exploration, and adventures to go along with all those miles. Thanks to all my stalwart compadres for doing what you do and here’s to plenty more where that came from in 2017! Continue reading
Posted in retrospective, running
Tagged 1111, 2016, ben, brian, jason, miles, Night Run, peter, retrospective, running
Some pie-filled idiot spoiling another nice view of Spruce Lake.
Turkey trots are all well and good, but what I really need is a post-Thanksgiving bit of exercise to burn off some of the pie. In this case, it was a social run with the “Denver Run Crew” (none of whom were from anywhere near Denver) up in RMNP (also not Denver). No matter. We ran and were a crew, and it was lovely.
We’re the height of alpine fashion!
Normally, winter comes to the Colorado high country like a door slamming. But not this year (or at least not yet this year). It’s early November and highs are still in the 50s in the mountains there’s hardly a hint of white even on the highest peaks. I can sit here and grumble about it being unseasonable or I can take these looking-forward-to-ski-season lemons and turn them into extra-late-season-trail-running lemonade.
Nice aspens on CR68J
Ben has a new cyclecross bike and I spent the summer building my gravel grinder. Instead of the traditional end-of-summer mountain run, why not get out for a little Indian Summer wheeled idiocy? Early this summer we did an all-night run from Boulder to Nederland as ultra training. So we put together a bike version of this, though in the daylight so we could actually enjoy it. Ben #2 joined us for the first half of this on a bluebird Saturday in downtown Boulder.
Posted in biking, exploration
Tagged beer, ben, boulder, cr68, cr68j, Fall, flagstaff, gravel grinder, gross reservoir, magnolia, nederland, pizza, sugarloaf, switzerland trail
The first snow has fallen in the high country and season’s first frost obliterated our tomatoes last night. Summer is officially over and I’m relishing a season well-spent. I’ve always thought I understood the expression “halcyon days of youth”. But now I wonder exactly who’s youth it refers to. Seems I’m having a pretty halcyon time now.
The kids are getting older and tougher. Both of them love camping and I’m pleased that we managed a whole nine “intents” nights this year. I suppose we could maybe cram in another couple, but it’s getting cold at night. Continue reading
Posted in family, peak, retrospective
Tagged adams falls, bierstadt lake, Blue Lake, campfire, colorado river, family camping, glacier basin, hahns peak, meredith, mt. zirkel wilderness, RMNP, steamboat lake, timber campground