Friday, August 8, 2014

Part 2: Miles 1000-2000

Monday July 21, 2014

Not feeling well today.  Super scenic day driving north via Hoback.  Don’t Frack The Hoback!  

Frank is happy to be here.

Up the Snake River and arrival at Grand Teton.

The Tetons.
Lodging at the American Alpine Club Climber’s Ranch within the park.  I am always stoked when my membership pays off.  There’s just something about these mountains.  Some of my favorite.  No run today.

Tuesday July 22, 2014

Nice morning at the ranch.  The library is useful!  The mountains thunder over the ranch.  I can’t help myself.  Being only the third day since Speedgoat I decide to put off going up the Grand Teton and decide to go for the Middle.  Legs felt sluggish but came around. 

Approach to The Middle Teton from The Meadows.
From the South-Middle saddle.

Lots of route finding and snow fields.  Insanely fun, fast, and a bit wild skiing back to the meadows.  

Summit selfie with tomorrows task behind me (The Grand).

14 miles, 6,000’ ascent.  Glad to be back on it so soon after the race.  Back to the ranch.  Lots of good people.

Wednesday July 23, 2014

Slept in.  Awake with a giant bowl of oats.  Feeling a bit worked from yesterday but decide to go for the summit of Grand Teton.  What a climb.  The free soloing aspects of the Owens Spalding route had gotten into my head a bit before arrival at the actual ‘climbing’ parts.  Turned out they were the funnest and most enjoyable parts. Highly exposed and super solid.  Lots of fun.  Up and down relatively quick with all the skiing on the way down.

Obligatory summit shot.  Ive been itching to be up there for about 6 years, the last time I was here.

A view.

14 miles, 7,000’ ascent.  High point of the trip so far at 13,770’.  Left the ranch this evening and opted for the free camping across the Teton valley at Shadow Mountain.  Not sure what the next bit of time looks like.  I received an email today from Rainshadow Running the Angels Staircase (my next race) is cancelled due to the fires in the Cascades in Washington.  That puts 3 ½ weeks until the Squamish 50/50.  Gives me a pretty big window to work with.  May have to hang around here a bit longer and run up some more peaks.  Frank is the man.

Thursday July 24, 2014

Left camp set up.  The spot will do although could use a bit more privacy.  Decide to head to Dornan’s for a big meaty, greasy, gravy-y breakfast.  Mornings have been blowing by lately.  Its all I can do to be with the day by noon it seems.  Hung about all morning.  Chatted with two climbers who saw me running the Grand yesterday.  Was almost 3pm before we cut our conversation and moved on.  Ran into the guys I met on the summit.  One is a photographer, Nick Roush.  We plan on a shoot with the bike and the mountains tomorrow evening.   Some groceries and back to the climbers ranch for use of there library.  A couple hours spent looking up routes on Teewinot, Owens Peak.  Met back up with Nick and Rachel in the commons area.  Nick is preparing to solo the bottom of the O/S route and Upper Exum, a bit more technical and more of a climbers route up the Grand.  About ten minutes into conversation and we decide to climb the full, lower and upper, Exum route.  A different approach to yesterday.  Full gear.  All day.  I head to the gear shop for a few things and back to camp.  Dinner and retire early, yet unsuccessfully.  Up late, spotty and distracted.  Quick nap before our alpine start.

Friday July 25, 2014

1:30am.  Cold.  Up quick and on the bike.  So cold.  Shit there’s buffalo all over the road.  Swerve around and through.  So cold.  Eyes frozen.  Frank is confused.  Arrival at the ranch to meet Nick and we are off quickly for the trail.  2:30am start.  Not bad.  Hiking is quick and steady.  Nick and I chat, each asking questions that hint at each other’s experience, both nervous about climbing with an unknown partner.  A couple hours in we arrive at the meadows, about 4 miles in and 9,000’.  As we start the switchbacks up the north fork of Garnett Canyon towards the lower saddle, the sun starts to light up the mountains and the lower valleys.  Morning twilights are always a magical scene in the mountains on these early starts.  Through the moraine and by the time we hit the ice field the sun is up.  A fun ascent up to the lower saddle where we were greeted with the winds which would torment us the rest of our climb.  Some route finding, over the black dike, down to the east and a 4th class scramble up to the first chimney and our first pitch of the lower Exum.  A solid 1000ft of climbing, followed by the upper Exum which would be another 800ft of easy 5.5/5.6 simo-climbing.  Roped up, Nick leads the first pitch, up and out of sight by 8:00am.  We alternate leads up the six pitches, linking 3 & 4.  I felt a little guilty taking 5th classic pitch from Nick but felt better after following the 6th and realizing it was just as good.  Super exposed face, solid, high at 13,000ft in the mountains.  Great climb.  Finishing the lower Exum, we begin the simo-climbing on the upper Exum.  

Finishing the lower Exum.

We stray from the route once or twice, climbing a harder more direct line, but make sure to hit all the classic parts of the climb, including the boulder problem in the sky and the V-pitch.  The wind and cold have been relentless the entire climb.  We drop our bags in a protected (from the wind) spot in the sun and finish to the summit.  A quick couple of photos, some lounging, and back down to our bags for a break.

Windy summit shot.

Found a descent lounger out of the wind.

1 peach, a double espresso GU shot, 2 brats, GU chews.  Down climb the O/S route, same as my previous descent down the mountain.  Back down at the lower saddle, Nick went to get his axe which he had stashed for the day while we climbed only to find it taken.  He ran into a friend of his and he said he saw a group of teenagers walk off with an ice axe.  With that, the chase was on. It apparently doesn’t take much to ignite an ultra runner in the mountains if you give him something to hunt.  Much to no avail, the scoundrels got away, even after I dropped my pack with Nick and sprinted down the last 3 ½ miles to the parking lot.

Chasing the scoundrels.

 Turn around and back up to meet Nick.  Finally back to the ranch around 6pm.  Long day and super tired.  We all head to Dornans where I help myself to an entire BBQ chicken pizza.  Back to camp and crash.  Nick and Rachel accompany me back to Shadow Mountain.  The shoot with Nick postponed for tomorrow.  18 miles, 8000’ ascent.  MORE PHOTOS STILL TO COME!!

Saturday July 26, 2014

Tossed and turned, for how exhausted I am, I sure did seep poorly.  Time to leave this campground.  Camping is not a social activity, I don’t know why people crowd themselves into campgrounds.  I see Nick and Rachel off to Yellowstone, and pack up.  I mill about most of the day, relaxing, riding through the park, exploring dirt roads.  Frank was feeling ignored so I had to take him our a bit.  

Frank getting some attention.

 Some errands.  Had to hunt down a dry bag that dropped off the bike on the highway which included the title to Frank and my passport.  Met with Nick around 7:30.  We chased good lighting around for a while and got some great riding and running shots.  PHOTOS SOON TOO COME!!

Megan arrives this evening for a visit from down south.  I wait to meet her and we head up Shadow mountain and find a better camp out in the woods with unbeatable views of the range.

Sunday July 27, 2014

Quickly off for Idaho Falls and a visit with the VerSteeg clan.  Megan stays behind with the mountains, and Frank and I head for the valley.  Great ride over.  Arrived just in time for a Sunday feast and all the relatives.  Great day, great visit.  I must have thrown down 5,000 calories today.  In the morning, back to the Tetons.

Monday July 28, 2014

Breakfast with Granny, back to the mountains.  Great ride again.  We try to find some good hiking and swimming but cover rolls in.  I get an hour run in, about 7 miles, 1500’.  Easy but I am feeling super low on energy.  Unmotivated.  The storm rolls in and I am back to the trailhead just in time.  All day the park has been crowded.  For the first time, I’m feeling an urge to move on.  The whole amusement park aspect of our national parks is getting a bit tiresome. The driving.  God the driving.  I know a lot of things have been said about the absurdness of drivers in national parks.  And I agree with them all.  Slamming on your breaks because you think you saw a god damned skunk is not appropriate anywhere.  Yellowstone here we come.

Tuesday July 29, 2014

Nice big breakfast and coffee.  Slow morning.  One final refueling at Dornans and some supplies.  Bittersweet leaving.  I suppose I’ll be back in September.  North into Yellowstone.  I try not to let the crowds bother me and enjoy the place for what it is.  The real Yellowstone is just a mile or two off the highway in any direction.  That expansive wilderness is right there.  Huge.  I don’t have the energy for it.  Its too big and I don’t know where to go.  Yellowstone could take a lifetime.  I try to imagine being out backpacking and just stumbling upon this place, with all the geysers and hot springs.  No people.  No roads.  No RVs.  No visitor’s center.

A day spent being a tourist and exit via West Yellowstone and into Montana.  Camp found at beautiful Beaver Creek somewhere beyond the reservoir and geological scenic way.  Earthquakes?  More rain.  Relaxing, calm evening.  Fire.

Wednesday July 30, 2014

Falling into a routine.  Moving on north.  Good mountain dirt roads.

Frank on his way.

Arrival at Anaconda, Mt.  A familiar place.  Camp outside of Philipsburg.  A place of good and not so good memories.  Evening at the Station, back to the river for camp.  Pass 2,000 miles on the way to camp.  Lots of climbing and Glacier National Park on the immediate horizon.

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