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off_the_hook last won the day on January 25 2019

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  • Birthday 05/11/1984


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  1. Trip: High Sierra Trail FKT - Whitney Portal to Crescent Meadows Date: 9/2/2012 Trip Report: Last Sunday I ran the 72 mile High Sierra Trail from Whitney Portal to Crescent Meadow in 15h46m starting at 3:19 am and finishing at 7:05 pm, a new FKT (previous mark was 18h39m). It was a great experience on an immensely scenic region of the High Sierra. A special thanks goes to Joel Lanz who helped with the car shuttle and made the whole adventure possible. The High Sierra Trail is a masterpiece of Sequoia National Park traveling from the iconic giant sequoias to the highest point in the lower 48, passing through some of the most stunning scenery in the Sierra Nevada Mountains en route. The trail stretches 61 miles from Crescent Meadows to the summit of Mount Whitney. As a practical matter, the trail is 72 miles since it takes another 11 miles to reach the Whitney Portal trailhead from the summit. The High Sierra Trail shares the same trail as the John Muir Trail from Wallace Creek to the summit of Mount Whitney leading some to speculate that the High Sierra Trail ends at the Wallace Creek junction, but the summit plaque on Whitney and the High Sierra Trail sign at Crescent Meadows prove that the High Sierra Trail indeed ends at Whitney's summit. While the trail is traditionally done from west to east, for adventure running, the preferred direction is east to west due to a net loss of around 1,600 feet, and more importantly, the biggest climb of the day up Mount Whitney (6,200ft+ elevation gain) is completed first thing on fresh legs. I was lucky to snag two day use permits for the Whitney zone on Friday afternoon so on Saturday Joel and I drove down to Lone Pine and picked them up. In the afternoon we did a short hike to the Cottonwood Lakes (~11,000 ft) below Mount Langley for helpful (albeit brief) acclimatization. It was gorgeous up there and I look forward to returning to explore more of the lakes and summit Mt. Langley. Sunday I woke up at 2:35 a.m. and departed Whitney Portal at 3:19 a.m. I got into a decent rhythm working the switchbacks all the way to Trail Crest. I reached the summit at 6:20 a.m. just as the sun was rising and it was amazing to watch the peaks and cliffs illuminate in orange - Sierra light at its best. After a few photos and congratulating a couple who had just become engaged, I descended the slopes back to the junction. Oddly, I felt the altitude much more on the descent to Crabtree meadow, but the spectacular scenery was a good distraction. Fortunately, on the stretch between Crabtree and Wallace Creek I was able dial into my nutrition and hydration plan so I started feeling better. I got into a nice rhythm descending into Kern Canyon and then running the 9.5 miles of awesome rolling single track down the canyon. I saw several bears in the canyon, including a mother bear and two cubs that literally jumped right in front of me. This caused momentary panic, especially when momma bear gave me a little grunt and stare, but I made some noise and she calmly directed her cubs up the hill away from the trail. The steepest part of the route, and the crux in my opinion, is the long climb out of lower Kern Canyon to the Chagoopa Plateau below the Kaweah Range. All told, this climb entails nearly 4,500 ft of cumulative elevation gain and the first part is quite steep on a hot south facing slope. The black diamond ultra light z-poles were extremely helpful on this section and I soon found myself on the plateau with a pleasant breeze. Most of Chagoopa is uninteresting terrain with open forest and no views. It is only until one essentially reaches the top of the plateau does the Great Western Divide and Kaweahs come into view. The scenery becomes more impressive and inspiring on the descent into the Big Arroyo Valley. Upper Big Arroyo is amazing with a wide open tundra setting in the valley juxtaposed with sharp granite cliffs and peaks in the background. I met Jim Castleberry on this stretch and he was kind enough to take the photo of me immediately below. After Jim's trip, he sent me a message: "This past Sunday I was hiking on the High Sierra Trail and took your picture on the east side of Kaweah Gap. Because of the remote location, when I heard the sound of feet running on the gravel surface behind me, it was a true WTF? moment. I was too shocked at the time to give you proper encouragement. Hope the rest of your run went well. You seemed to be in good condition when I saw you." The panoramic views continue up to 10,700 ft Kaweah Gap, the top of the last major climb of the route. I soaked in the views from Kaweah Gap and then continued down familiar territory to stunning Precipice Lake and Hamilton Lakes. This section is also one of the most scenic in the entire High Sierra and I couldn't resist making several stops to take photos. While taking over 100 photos certainly cost me some time, photography is a big part of my enjoyment both during and after the adventure run. I felt there was no need to run "head down" the whole way at this stage of the trail's FKT evolution. I heard that legendary rock climber Peter Croft was staying at Hamilton Lakes to scope out a new route on the Angel Wings, the biggest rock wall in Sequoia National Park. As I passed by his party's campsite, they asked me where I was coming from and gave words of encouragement. I wish I got his autograph! While the last 16 miles of the route is not without some climbing, there is also a lot of runnable terrain. I felt decent and was able to run a good chunk of the way from Kaweah Gap covering the last 20 miles in about 3:45 minutes. This was my first run over 50 miles ever and all things considered I felt good at the finish. It was great to see Joel at Crescent Meadows and give the High Sierra Trail sign a hug! Splits: Whitney Portal 0:00:00 (3:19 a.m.) Outpost Camp 0:53:06 Trail Crest 2:21:54 Whitney Summit 3:01:15 Depart Summit 3:06:23 Crabtree Meadow 4:45:58 Wallace Creek 5:36:57 Junction Meadow 6:18:50 Kern Hot Springs 7:33:08 Lower Kern Canyon 7:56:42 Junction in Arroyo 10:53:22 Kaweah Gap 11:45:53 Bearpaw Meadow 13:41:30 Crescent Meadows 15:46:22 (7:05 pm) Nutrition: Pre-run: 680 calories (2x bars, 1 banana) En route: 3,200 calories (7x150cal First Endurance EFS drink mix, bars, shot bloks, gels) Post-run: First Endurance Ultragen cappuccino Gear Notes: La Sportiva C-Lite 2.0 Ultimate Direction Wasp pack and Fastdraw plus hand holder Black Diamond Ultra Distance pole Petzl Tikka XP 2 headlamp Rudy Project Rydon II Sunglasses North Face Better Than Naked jacket Injinji socks Canon Powershot elph 100 hs
  2. Piggybacking off my post from three years ago, I did the same "Suiattle Crest 50 Mile" adventure run last week in 11h44m (1h53m faster) starting from Little Giant TH. While no summits were climbed, this complete loop covers most of the highlights in this region of the Glacier Peak Wilderness including a breathtaking view from Little Giant Pass, a tour through wild Napeequa Valley, 360 vistas from the High Pass area, verdant wildflower meadows, stunning Lyman Lakes, and Spider Gap. It's quintessential cascades scenery - well worth a revisit after three years. With GPS, I found that total elevation gain is actually higher (near 14,000 ft), but distance is a couple miles short of 50 miles. The route/trails are in essentially the same condition as three years ago: Napeequa valley is still quite brushy (and wet in the morning) and the climb up to High Pass is nicely hidden - the use path starts at the far end of the meadow near the cascading stream and it's worth spending the time to find it since the slide alder is unsavory in this area. It’s sad to note the recession of the Lyman Glacier, which is essentially now a remnant ice patch. Despite relatively healthy snowpacks the last couple years, the glacier has continued to lose thickness appearing noticeably smaller than my visit in 2009 with the terminus even starting to recede from the last glacial lake. It seems only a matter of time before Lyman's permanent ice vanishes entirely. This is one stark example of how global warming is changing the North Cascades. For those who are interested, some video, photos, and time splits from the August 2012 version of the adventure run are located below. Simplified route on aerial image [video:youtube] Location (Elevation): Time Elapsed / Split / Real Time (difference 2012 vs. 2009) Little Giant TH (2,600 ft) : 0 / 0 / 06:40 Little Giant Pass (6,409 ft) : 1:18:36 / 1:18:36 / 07:59 (-17) High Pass (6,876 ft) : 4:30:18 / 3:11:41 / 11:10 (-1:05) Buck Creek Pass (5,796 ft) : 5:39:01 / 1:08:46 / 12:19 (-1:04) Cloudy Pass (6,420 ft) : 8:10:20 / 2:31:19 / 14:50 (-1:08) Spider Gap (7,040 ft) : 9:32:11 / 1:21:50 / 16:12 (-1:28) Phelps Creek TH (3,500 ft) : 11:01:50 / 1:29:38 / 17:42 (-1:41) Little Giant TH (2,600 ft) : 11:44:19 / 42:29 / 18:24 (-1:53)
  3. Rob, I do bring some first aid provisions... scrapes and cuts happen. The Injinji toesocks take some getting used to, but once you do they are fantastic - dry, cool, comfortable, and most importantly, prevent hot spots around the toes. Thanks Verticolorful!
  4. Thanks all! John, Uli mentioned you and that climb of Mt. Daniel. His list of running accomplishments speaks for itself. His versatility is astounding and it was an honor to do the traverse with him. I have enjoyed many summits in the North Cascades, but in my opinion, summiting something is not always a prerequisite to having a fulfilling climbing experience in the mountains. The Ptarmigan is one such example. Nater, Uli rolls with shorties so we had to match! That said, they allow for unencumbered strides... my preferred running garment. Rob, here is what I carried: Ultimate Direction Wasp Pack Ultimate Direction Fastdraw Plus Hand Hold Water Bottle Petzl Snow Racer Ice Axe Black Diamond Neve Crampons Injinji performance socks First Endurance EFS Drink Mix and Liquid Shot Assortment of bars and gels Camera Rudy Project Sunglasses Sunscreen/Chapstick
  5. This ski is "known", but (1) skiing is not compared to travel on foot and (2) the ski route is substantially different in sections (i.e. direct to Cascade Pass, cut across from Spire Col to Bachelor Creek).
  6. Trip: Ptarmigan Traverse FKT - Date: 8/16/2012 Trip Report: Uli Steidl and I completed the Ptarmigan Traverse in 12:17, a new FKT (fastest known time). It has been three years since I last enjoyed the Ptarmigan Traverse so it was time to come back to see some of the most beautiful scenery in the Cascades and refresh the prior FKT, which was set by Colin Abercrombie and me on July 28, 2009 (14:36) . This time I was joined by distance running legend Uli Steidl who has innumerable running victories and accolades to his name from road marathons to mountain running to ultras. Conditions were very similar to 2009 with nearly identical weather (hottest days of the summer). Prior to this run I figured somewhere in the 12 hour range was possible and we were able to hit that target finishing the traverse in 12:17. We started at the Cascade Pass trailhead at 4:49 am and finished at Downey Creek Bridge at 5:06 pm. Overall, the 2 hr, 19 min improvement from the 2009 time was due to a consistently faster effort throughout the traverse (see comparison below). I attribute this to more route experience and dialing in on nutrition and hydration, which helped keep energy levels high especially in the second half of the traverse. Bachlor Creek was as lovely (brushy) as ever although we avoided making any time consuming errors in the brush and the Downey Creek Trail felt as long as I had remembered. The 8.5 mile jog along the Suiattle River Road seemed especially needless because there were five forest service vehicles parked at the Downey Creek Bridge. In fact, the closed portion of the road is in better shape than the open part! It seemed like they were prepping the road, perhaps for opening? [video:youtube] Comparison: 2012 vs. 2009 vs. 2008 (difference 2012 to 2009) Cascade Pass TH (3,600 ft) : 0 / 0 / 0 Cascade Pass (5,392 ft) : 43 / 48 / 55 (- 5) Cache Col (6,920 ft) : 1:39 / 1:50 / 2:13 (- 11) Spider-Formidable Col (7,320 ft+) : 3:26 / 3:40 / 5:00 (- 14) Yang Yang Lakes (5,830 ft) : 4:10 / 4:26 / 6:20 (- 16) White Rock Lakes (6,194 ft) : 6:25 / 7:11 / 9:51 (- 46) Spire Col (7,760 ft+) : 7:52 / 8:54 / 11:55 (- 1:02) Cub Pass (6,000 ft+) : 8:55 / 10:16 / 13:42 (- 1:21) Bottom of Bachelor Creek (2,440 ft) : 10:51 / 12:48 / 16:30 (- 1:57) Downey Creek TH (1,415 ft) : 12:17 / 14:36 / 18:10 (- 2:19) Location (Elevation): Time Elapsed / Split / Real Time Cascade Pass TH (3,600 ft) : 0 / 0 / 04:49 Cascade Pass (5,392 ft) : 43:10 / 43:10 / 05:32 Cache Col (6,920 ft) : 1:38:34 / 55:24 / 06:27 Spider-Formidable Col (7,320 ft+) : 3:25:37 / 1:47:02 / 08:14 Yang Yang Lakes (5,830 ft) : 4:10:17 / 44:40 / 08:59 White Rock Lakes (6,194 ft) : 6:24:54 / 2:14:36 / 11:14 Spire Col (7,760 ft+) : 7:52:01 / 1:27:07 / 12:41 Cub Pass (6,000 ft+) : 8:54:49 / 1:02:47 / 13:44 Bottom of Bachelor Creek (2,440 ft) : 10:51:23 / 1:56:34 / 15:40 Downey Creek TH (1,415 ft) : 12:17:15 / 1:25:51 / 17:06 Gear Notes: Axe and crampons Footwear: La Sportiva Nutrition: First Endurance EFS and Ultragen, energy bars Approach Notes: Typical Bachelor Creek brush
  7. Trip: Mount McDuffie - via Ladder Lake & Bishop Pass Date: 10/30/2011 Trip Report: With an impending change in the weather pattern to more winter-like conditions, I decided to take full advantage of the remaining nice days with an adventure run deep into Kings Canyon NP along the Black Divide. The objective was Mount McDuffie via Ladder Lake, a route that entails around 35 miles roundtrip and nearly 11,000 ft of vertical gain, with 5,000+ ft of that climbing off-trail and often arduous. None of the route is very technical, but the traverse along the crest of the Black Divide to the summit to McDuffie features much loose rock on steep slopes requiring caution and a painstaking amount of time. Ladder Lake along the way is one of the most rugged and wild corners of the High Sierra I have seen. A rarely visited cirque with breathtaking scenery makes this spot a real gem. While the ascent of Mount McDuffie might not be the most aesthetic, the summit provides a commanding vantage of most of the Palisades, the Ionian Basin, and Le Conte Canyon. Total roundtrip time out of the South Lake Trailhead (outside Bishop) was just over 14.5 hrs starting at 4:40 am and finishing at 7:15 pm. I reached the summit in 6:37 and enjoyed the view for nearly 30 minutes. On the way back I spent quite a bit of time at Ladder Lake for photography and to take in the amazing setting as much as possible considering how short the days are this time of year. Many more photos coming soon, but here are some of my favorites! Click for larger annotated image! -
  8. Trip: Mount Conness - via Young Lakes Date: 10/23/2011 Trip Report: October 23rd was another spectacular fall day in the Sierras with an extremely scenic and pleasant climb of Mount Conness via Young Lakes. The route we took is one of the longer approaches to the mountain, but the views of Tuolumne Meadows and gorgeous Young Lakes along the way more than compensated. I did not have any expectations for Young Lakes but they turned out to be one of the highlights of the day and we spent considerable time at the main lower lake both on the trek in and on the way out. New snow on the surrounding cliffs of the Young Lakes cirque added to the beauty and this is a place I will definitely be returning to explore. Mount Conness provides a commanding view of virtually all of the Yosemite high country including a great overlook of Half Dome and Tenaya Lake. My favorite angle from the summit was looking up Lyell Canyon to Mount Lyell and Mount Maclure. Gear Notes: Camera! Approach Notes: Trail to Young Lakes via Lembert Dome parking at Tuolumne Meadows.
  9. Trip: Vogelsang Peak - via Vogelsang Lake Date: 10/16/2011 Trip Report: After climbing Mount Dana in the morning, we drove to Tuolumne Meadows and set out for Vogelsang Peak. It was a gorgeous afternoon with beautiful cloud formations and comfortable temperatures for running. The trail up to Tuolumne Pass is great for running with few impediments and a gradual ascent. From Tuolumne Pass we encountered some snow along the trail up to the Vogelsang High Sierra Camp which was closed for the season although a ranger was still present. From the High Sierra Camp we continued up over slabs to picturesque Vogelsang Lake. Just above the lake the off-trail portion of the climb to the summit of Vogelsang Peak commences. This climb is typically very straightforward but considerable snow from the storm a couple weeks ago made some sections more interesting. Vogelsang is in a unique position to the west of the Cathedral Range crest so there is a great view of Mount Maclure, Mount Lyell, and Florence Peak. In addition, the Clark Range to the southwest can viewed in its entirety and Half Dome looms large to the northwest. Round trip was just over 5 hours. Approach Notes: About 7.5 miles to Vogelsang Lake and then scrambling up slabs and talus to the summit.
  10. Trip: Mount Dana - via Tioga Pass Date: 10/16/2011 Trip Report: Joel and I climbed Mount Dana with the intent to view early morning light from the summit with the high country of Yosemite coasted in fresh snow. A chilly breeze at Tioga Pass caused us to take the prudent course of action and dress in several layers right from the parking lot. It turns out all the layers were needed as subfreezing temperatures coupled with a stiff wind produced frigid conditions. However, the brisk weather produced magnificent clarity with phenomenal photography of the Cathederal Range in the early morning light. We made the roundtrip trek in a little over 2.5 hours and drove down from Tioga Pass to Toulumne Meadows where we would begin the adventure run to Vogelsang Lake and Peak in the afternoon. \ Gear Notes: Warm clothing for the cold temps and wind. Approach Notes: Use trail via Tioga Pass
  11. That is Angel Wings, an 1,800+ foot granite wall at the entrance to the Valhalla Cirque, which has impressive granite domes and faces everywhere. Galen Rowell called Angel Wings an "an alpine El Capitan" and the sheer south face pictured above is the biggest rock wall in Sequoia National Park. There are several routes on the face with lots of potential for new routes, but it's 16 miles from the trailhead so it sees few ascents.
  12. Trip: Eagle Scout Peak - Hamilton Lakes/Kaweah Gap Date: 9/25/2011 Trip Report: An adventure run to Eagle Scout Peak via Kaweah Gap in 9:38 roundtrip from Crescent Meadows. Eagle Scout Peak is located just south of Kaweah Gap along the Great Western Divide in a remote region of Sequoia National Park. The climb of the 12,000 ft peak entails over 45 miles roundtrip and 8,000+ ft of elevation gain. While it's a long way just to Kaweah Gap along the High Sierra Trail (21 miles from Crescent Meadow), the scenery is phenomenal and well worth the effort. The sapphire blue of Hamilton Lakes and the towering granite walls of Angel Wings and the Valhallas are truly magnificent. Last year on the same weekend I pursued a speed objective on the Rae Lakes Loop, and having already experienced the spectacular scenery of the High Sierra Trail to Kaweah Gap on a climb of Mount Stewart in July 2010, I figured this would be a great one to do for time this year. I was hoping to go around 11 hours roundtrip and started at 4:20 a.m. from Crescent Meadows with Joel, whose objective was Kaweah Gap. The High Sierra Trail is an excellent trail for running all the way to the crossing of Lone Pine Creek (~13 miles in). It was perfect weather for a night run with temperatures in the mid 40s. I felt good reaching Kaweah Gap in just over 4 hours. It took nearly 2 hours to complete the roundtrip from Kaweah Gap to the summit of Eagle Scout Peak. The climb itself is straightforward with a nice perspective on the Hamilton Lakes area and Precipice Lake directly below. The run down to Hamilton Lakes from the Gap was gorgeous and at that point I knew sub 10 hours would be possible. The anomalously cool weather on Sunday helped on the return trip along the trail (which is typically hot on the exposed south slopes) and I was able to complete the adventure run in 9:38 finishing up just before 2 pm. Time details for those who are interested: Location: Real Time / Elapsed Time / Split Start Crescent Meadow: 4:20 / 0 / 0 Junction with Seven Mile Hill Trail (6 miles): 5:19 / 58:33 / 58:33 Bearpaw Meadows (11.3 miles): 6:15 / 1:55:05 / 56:32 Big Hamilton Lake (16.5 miles): 7:09 / 2:49:28 / 54:23 Kaweah Gap (21 miles): 8:23 / 4:03:28 / 1:14:00 Arrive summit of Eagle Scout Peak: 9:17 / 4:56:44 / 53:16 Depart summit of Eagle Scout Peak: 9:32 / 5:11:43 / 14:59 Kaweah Gap (24 miles): 10:19 / 5:58:37 / 46:54 Big Hamilton Lake (28.5 miles): 11:10 / 6:50:14 / 51:37 Bearpaw Meadows (33.7 miles): 12:00 / 7:40:08 / 49:54 Junction with Seven Mile Hill Trail (39 mile): 12:56 / 8:36:09 / 56:01 Finish Crescent Meadow (45 miles): 13:58 / 9:38:35 / 1:02:25 All photos below are by Joel Lanz: Gear Notes: La Sportiva Fireblade, First Endurance EFS drink mix, First Endurance Ultragen, Ultimate Direction Wasp Pack Approach Notes: High Sierra Trail from Crescent Meadows to the east side of Kaweah Gap (21 miles). Cross country travel over boulders to the east slope of the mountain.
  13. Sweet!! The Pickets deliver awesome terrain and the Himmelhorn looks wicked! Congrats and I hope to see the complete S to N come to fruition next year.
  14. Trip: TRT-Flume 27 Mile Loop - Run via Spooner Summit Date: 9/10/2011 Trip Report: This is not a climb, but there are some nice photos to share in a filmstrip format. The original plan was to climb in the High Sierra, but the entire range to the south was enveloped in numerous thunderstorms all weekend (even some snow at the highest peaks). That provided a great opportunity to check out this 27+ mile loop on the east shore of Lake Tahoe on Saturday morning. Highlights include Snow Valley Peak, Marlette Peak, Christopher's Loop vista point, and the famous Flume Trail. I was impressed by sizable snow patches (none on trail) remaining on the high ridge near Snow Valley Peak. More photos coming soon... Approach Notes: Tahoe Rim Trail out and Flume Trail/North Canyon return to Spooner Lake and Spooner Summit.
  15. Since when has driving been a component of my adventure runs? It's all about aesthetics for me, even with the trail races I select to run.
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