MattB is a guy you want to have around. A few phrases to describe him:
- Excellent Photographer
- Music connoisseur
- Computer nerd
Yup, when you’re stranded in the great outdoors MattB will stump you with music trivia, fix your broken digital camera and, after snapping a shot of your dumbfound expression, post it to every social networking site. Look, you’re on the front page of Reddit!
MattB was partially responsible for getting me on my first 14er (Wetterhorn Peak, 14,016′). Our families took a trip together after a great 4th of July celebration a few years back. It got me hooked.
He also introduced me to sardines as trail food. I was skeptical at first, but damn, a nice tin of fish, some mini bagels and a packet of mustard really hits the spot at 13,000′.
MattB’s not old, but he has seen me grow up in our small community. Here he is gettin’ rad back in the day:
What a punk kid.
He shreds on tele skis and a bike. Powder days are heaven, whether they’re white or brown.
Thanks for the help training, MattB. Let’s hit some more 14ers when I get back!
Really, though, MattB takes the most amazing pictures. Be sure to check out his site.
I know I’ve said it before, but we’ve got it made.
On Friday afternoon, MattB and I headed up Cottonwood pass with our sites set on camping high and attacking Mt. Harvard (14,420′) and Mt. Columbia (14,077′) in the morning. We knew there was a chance we’d be meeting up with JCarr at some point, who had ridden his bike over from Gunnison (he’d been training for the Colorado Trail Race).
We picked JCarr up on his way back up Cottonwood pass. “I’m thinking I’ll just ride back to Gunni,” he said. We looked at him like he was crazy and convinced him to come camp with us. “You can ride back in the morning if you’re feeling that bad,” we offered. I knew if we got him to the camp site he wouldn’t be able to pass up the hike.
A little plug for Hennessy Hammocks: these things are awesome. I’ve borrowed one from a friend several times and can’t get over how great they sleep. I don’t own my own, but it’s on my short list of gear to purchase. They pack well, are simple and provide a perfect nest. Get yourself one.
We awoke after a great nights sleep and hit the trail at a leisurely 8:30am. We made great time up Mt. Harvard and JCarr committed for the full circuit. After talking with a couple guys who had just made the class 3/4 traverse along the ridge between Harvard and Columbia, we decided that dropping down to the valley would be a wise option. Unfortunately, we picked the wrong gully to bring us to the valley floor. As the trail dissipated into loose, moving scree, graupel began to fall from the sky. Our ears were perked for any sign of thunder and we set a brisk pace down the slip and slide path. We arrived safely in the boulder field below.
The next section really took it out of JCarr and MattB. For about an hour we played connect the dots with Volkswagon-sized boulders, some of which rocked and rolled, some of which were steady as a, *ahem*, rock.
We reached a nice meadow where I refilled my water from a mountain stream. The rest of the ascent to Mt. Columbia’s summit was relatively smooth and the weather held out. We reached the top and enjoyed some of the whisky MattB had schlepped along.
Columbia’s decent was awful. Loose. Steep. Poor trail. For each step, you would slide four feet. I had to put my head down and just let the mountain take me. There was no right way to get down this face and was one of the more frustrating sections of the mountain. But that’s climbing fourteeners, I suppose.
Our PBRs were still waiting in the stream where we stashed them the previous day. We made it to the truck after a long day and cracked the beer open, ate some chips and oatmeal cream pies and let our feet rest. It was a great couple of days in the mountains.
All photo credit to MattB.
I’ve got a little hiking trip planned this weekend. If you’re interested, shoot me an email and we’ll connect.
Mattb and I plan on heading out of Gunni on Friday asap after work. We’ll start from the North Cottonwood Creek trail head off of CR 365 and hike to treeline. After camping for the night, we’ll make an attempt on Mt. Harvard (14,420′) and Mt. Columbia (14,073′). These two mountains proximity to one another makes the double header a no-brainer.
EDIT: JCarr might be joining us, but he’s thinking about bikepacking over there to meet up. He’ll put in his second attempt on the Colorado Trail Race this year and needs to dial in the gear.
The past three days have been structured training. I’ve been doing plyometrics, hill sprints, mountain bike rides and early morning runs. I’ll add in some weight training this afternoon.
Yesterday before my ride I met with Dr. Scott Drumm, a great mentor of mine. (Drumm has put an attempt into Denali (North America’s tallest point), summitted plenty of mountains throughout the states and abroad and is a super strong endurance runner. In addition to being a great Exercise and Sport Science professor, I’m sure I’m missing a lot of his other accolades.) I picked his brain on training and nutrition and he offered a lot of great insight. Drumm helped me devise a rigorous training schedule that should help me summit Kili and still feel good.
Basically: get as high as possible as often as possible. Sleep high. Train high.
Of course, there are only so many possibilities for this type of training when one has a full time job five days of the week. So…
My weekends just got taken over by 14ers.
Before leaving for this expedition, I’d like to complete the following:
- Trip 1
- Mt. Harvard- 14,420′
- Mt. Columbia- 14,073′
- Trip 2
- Mt. Oxford- 14,153′
- Mt. Belford- 14,197
- Missouri Mountain- 14,067′
- Trip 3- DeCaLiBron
- Mt. Democrat- 14,148′
- Mt. Cameron- 14,238′
- Mt. Lincoln- 14,286′
- Mt. Bross- 14,172′
Ideally, the night before each of these trips I’ll sleep high at the trail head.
Ambitious? Maybe. So’s climbing the tallest mountain in Africa after surviving cancer twice.
As long as I listen to my body and don’t push it too far out of my comfort zone, I should be fine. Right? Right.
And obviously, I’ll be looking for training partners. Anyone want to climb some mountains?