Posted by: runuphill | January 30, 2015

Running Up For Air (RUFA) 2015

Above the Inversion

Above the pollution looking south from the summit of Grandeur Peak.

At 6AM on February 28th, 2015 I intend to begin another 24 hour challenge on the west side of Grandeur Peak.   I encourage anyone to come join me for what is guaranteed to be a memorable day.  Your quads will remind you of it for days (if not weeks)! This is not a race, nor is it an organized event in any fashion.  Come and go as you please.  Obviously come prepared to take care of yourself just as you would on any other day in the mountains.

The Route I’ll be following the route as shown on the Salt Lake County map located at the west side trailhead, which can be found here.

Shelter Bob Palais has graciously offered to open his doors to those who come to participate.  And, his house could not possibly be in a more ideal location, less than 100 feet from than trail!  We’ll have a large pot of soup and basic hot drinks in his garage.  If you ask nicely, I’m sure he’d let you store a “drop-bag” there filled with whatever clothing, food, and equipment you decide you need.  Food contributions will gladly be set out for other runners/hikers to enjoy.  See the map below (red line) to find Bob’s house.

Parking So as to not overwhelm the tiny parking lot at the trail-head, I strongly suggest that you park at Eastwood Elementary and walk the 0.5 miles to the trailhead or Bob’s house to drop off anything.

Trailhead and Parking (suggested)

Trailhead and Parking (suggested)

Trailhead relative to Bob's House

Trailhead relative to Bob’s House

Pollution buildup over just a 5 hr window.

Pollution buildup over just a 5 hr window.

Posted by: runuphill | January 2, 2015

2014 – ReCap of the Best Year Ever

If being new parents wasn’t enough to make this the most memorable year of our lives, we threw in a handful of superb adventures, races, and trips to easily secure 2014 year the title of BEST YEAR EVER.  Below are some of the highlights:


  • Pretty clear focus on learning how to raise a newborn.  Mindy proves, yet again, how broad her amazingness is with her seamless adaptation to the role of mother.  Truly incredible, it’s an honor to be along for the ride.
  • Phoebe summits Grandeur at 4 weeks old.
The Campbell family on Grandeur Peak.

Our Campbell family on Grandeur Peak.


  • I was a judge at the Madeleine Choir School Science Fair and was blown away by the maturity of the students and the sophistication of their projects.  Ranking them was difficult as they were all so good.
  • A regimented training protocol, mostly involving running at night.  The view of the city from the top of any of our amazing adjacent peaks never gets old.

    SLC just after sunet

    Salt Lake City as seen from part way up the west side of Grandeur.

  • Family trip to Zion with Becky and Kil. Phoebe hit some classics : Angels Landing and Observation Point.
Angels Landing

Our family on the summit of Angels Landing

Kai, Kil, and Becky

Kai, Kil, and Becky


  • Running Up For Air – Another great year.  Tough conditions with high winds early on, a bit of rain/snow up high through mid-day, and then a very cold night.   Unusually dry conditions below 6,500′.  53 different folks showed up for 89 combined total summits.  I pulled off 12 laps again.  Story and applicable links here.
Kyle Markisich checks off another summit during the 2014 Running Up for Air

Kyle Markisich checks off another summit during the 2014 Running Up for Air

  • 2-day Zion trip with Buzz – Attempted the Temple Throne Traverse.  Ended up linking Mt. Spry, Twin Brother, Mountain of the Sun, and Deertrap.  Also ran Johnson Mountain and The Watchman, two superb peaks.  Buzz’s storyMy storyPictures
Buzz performing the wet downclimb above a pool in Spry Canyon

Buzz navigates the wet handcrack downclimb above a pool in Spry Canyon.  Classic!

Jared stemming en-route to the Watchman.

Me stemming en-route to the Watchman.

Laz, Jared, Raw Dog at the finish some 58 hrs after the start.

Laz, Jared, Raw Dog at the finish some 58 hrs after the start.


  • BoSho – Mindy runs the classic BoSho marathon, the first in an impressive line-up of races to get into shape for the Bear 100 later in the year.  Pump stops and all she gracefully made her way to the finish – story & pics
Our little family at mile 21 of the BoSho

Our little family at mile 21 of the BoSho

  • Family Zion Trip – Stellar solo linkup (Springdale -> Johnson -> Watchman -> No Mans -> Stevens -> Hepworth); Beautiful family hike up Many Pools canyon during a rainstorm.  West Rim family hike, followed by an always-classic run up Lady Mountain. Story
Mindy and Phoebe in an alcove - Many Pools Canyon

Mindy and Phoebe in an alcove – Many Pools Canyon


  • Zion with Ryan and Buzz – We pulled off an excellent route in a new (for us) area starting in the park, crossing over the East Fork of the  Virgin, continuing south to Squirrel and Water Canyons (near Colorado City), and then back to Springdale via Transview Mtn and the Eagle Crags.  21.5 hrs of fun.   Ran/climbed/scrambled Tabernacle Dome the following day.  Story/photos
Buzz, embracing the moment.

Buzz, embracing the morning light


  • Scout Mountain Ultra Trail – Mindy ran the 60km race in fine style
  • La Sal Linkup –  Finally made it down for this treasure.   Linked together the nine 12,000′ peaks in the La Sal Mtns of south-eastern Utah.  The views are stunning.  Red-rock beauty far below and in all directions.  Story
Looking down towards Castle Valley from the top of the La Sals.

Looking down towards Castle Valley from the top of the La Sals.


  • San Juan Trip
    • Run up Arrow and Vestal peaks with Brendan Trimboli, Paul Hamilton, and Scott Simmons.  Strong dudes, great route.
    • Hardrock 100 #9.  This was likely the most fun I’ve ever had at Hardrock.  A very emotional mother nature made everything feel much more alive.  Rainbows, lightning, intense rain, running with good friends/family (Matt Hart, Ty Draney, Luke Nelson, Brad Knoles).  Mindy’s family came to support, making it extra special.
Looking up at Vestal Peak

Looking up at Vestal Peak

Hoofing it up Grant Swamp Pass.

Hoofing it up Grant Swamp Pass in the 2014 Hardrock 100

  • Speedgoat 50km – Mindy ran and I helped Karl with the timing again.  A fun and long day.
Mindy, Emily, Jen

Mindy, Emily, Jen just prior to the start

  • Millcreek 50km night-run – Super quiet and super fun, a true gem of the Wasatch Mtns.


  • Rocky Mountain Power works to put in place a new Solar Tax, which pro-solar folks obviously retaliate against.  Utah Clean Energy asked me to get involved, which I gladly did speaking at a downtown (SLC) rally, and discussing the issue with Brian Maffly from the Salt Lake Tribune.  I learned a great deal as I listened to both sides of the issue and my perspective and opinions have been shaped in ways you might not suspect.  This warrants it’s own blog entry…
Me next to my solar array .  Photo Credit : Salt Lake Tribune

Me next to our solar array . Photo Credit : Salt Lake Tribune

  • Standhope 60km – Mindy ran this new, beautiful, and challenging course.  Dubbed “Hardrock Lite”, it’s only a matter of time before this gem is discovered by the masses.  Ben Blessing puts on a great show in the Pioneer Mountains of Idaho.
Mindy finishing the Standhope 60km

Mindy finishing the Standhope 60km

Donaldson as seen from Breitenbach.

Donaldson as seen from Breitenbach.


  • A series of fun presentations:
    • Davis High Cross Country Team – Beyond Limits : Life lessons through ultra-adventures
    • Rowland Hall – Solar Savings : A practical approach to net-zero homes
    • University of Utah – Solar – Solar Savings : A practical approach to net-zero homes
    • Presentation at work – Lessons learned from 3 years in our experimental net-zero home.
  • Wasatch 100 – Paced Ryan McDermott to his 10th (and fastest) finish.  Ryan completely inspired me with how hard he pushed the final 10 miles and a near out-of-body sprint to the finish.
Ryan and I - 100 yards from the finish

Ryan and I – 100 yards from the finish

  • Ran the Plain 100 – This had been on the list of events I wanted to experience for quite some time, mainly because it has a very unique ethic.  It’s simple in principle : run a challenging 60 mile loop ending up back to your car/tent; get whatever you need from your car/tent; head out for another almost equally difficult 45 mile loop.  Beautiful, low-key, challenging.  Every step was new for me and I was fortunate to share most of the run with Gennadii Tertychnyi until he ran into struggles in the later stages.  A burly alternative for those not into the “hoopla” of mainstream events.
Finish of the Plain 100, 2014

Finish of the Plain 100, 2014

  • The day following the Plain 100 I flew back east for work.  Presented at a Technology Exchange Conference and was completely honored to have won the “Best Paper” award.
  • Bear 100 – 9 months after giving birth Mindy completes the Bear 100.  It wasn’t easy, but she found the strength needed to push through.  Totally inspiring.
Mindy at the finish of the Bear 100

Mindy at the finish of the Bear 100


  • Lowest to Highest route (Death Valley) reconnaissance trip.  I’ve always loved the idea of running from Badwater to Mt. Whitney using a completely off-trail and interesting (i.e. minimal road) route.  I was on the tail end of a 2-week sickness and was operating at about -4dB.   Despite my situation I thoroughly enjoyed this magical route with friend and hero Ben Lewis.  Massive thanks to Mindy, Bethany, Aida, and Phoebe for embarking on this epic journey (and drive) with us.  Ben’s write-up (a must read).  Pictures here
Ben on the summit of Telescope Peak, some 11,325' above our starting point - Badwater.

Ben on the summit of Telescope Peak, some 11,325′ of elevation above our starting point – Badwater.

Ben and I near the summit of Mount Whitney

Ben and I near the summit of Mount Whitney


  • Zion – Talked a sizeable group of good friend into following me around the Zion back country.
Lemmings en-route to S. Guardian Angel

Lemmings en-route to S. Guardian Angel

Friends in the subway

Friends in the subway

  • Presented to Jacobsen Construction – Beyond Limits : Life lessons through ultra-adventures


  • Climbing!  We hung up the running shoes and crammed our feet into some good ol’ sticky rubber. Mindy and Phoebe go head to head.  The challenge : Could Mindy redpoint twelve new 5.12s before Pheobe could make a controlled walk.  Mindy won by 1 day!

2014 Home Energy Summary

In 2011 Mindy and I built our “net-zero” home with the goal of creating as much energy as we use, including the “fuel” for our electric car.  In 2012 we met our goal and were net-zero.  2013 we had to buy a small amount of energy and subsequently added a few additional solar panels to make up the difference.  In 2014 we were back to net-zero.  In the fall we added a ductless air-source heat-pump to our house in an effort to accommodate the increased heating needs (it has a much higher COP than a resistive in-floor radiant heater) now that Phoebe sleeps in a basement room.  The device also provides on-demand back-up cooling for summer days over 95°F where our earth-cooled ventilation air doesn’t quite cut it.  Below is a breakdown of our energy consumption and production.

  • Total Energy Consumed : 10,154 kWh (roughly $914 retail value at Utah rates)
    • 2,750 kWh – Home Heat (27% of total)
    • 1,579 kWh – Hot Water (16% of total)
    • 3,550 kWh – Electric Car (11,000 total miles; 3.1 mi/kWh) (35% of total)
    • 2,275 kWh – Everything else (25% of total)
  • Total Energy Produced : 10,329 kWh (roughly $930 retail value at Utah rates)
    • 6,749 kWh – House Solar Array
    • 3,580 kWh – Garage Solar Array
Posted by: runuphill | August 22, 2014

Idaho 12ers

Luke and Jared on the summit of Mount Breitenbach.

Luke and Jared on the summit of Mount Breitenbach.

This write-up is meant to be supplemental to the very thorough post by Luke Nelson.

Short version : On August 16th and 17th, 2014, Luke Nelson and I ran, climbed, and crawled our way to the summits of the nine 12,000’+ peaks in Idaho in a time of 28 hrs 18 min.

Long version:

Oftentimes big adventures are more about who you’re with than what you’re actually trying to accomplish.  When Luke asked me to be part of his Idaho 12ers FKT assault I immediately said yes, partly because it sounded like a cool adventure, but more just because I wanted to get to know Luke better.  We were due to tackle something big together.

The objective is obscure, which added to the allure.  Off the radar of most trail runners because of the sketchy terrain and logistics involved, and off the radar of most climbers because of the rotten rock and length of time required. Fortunately, Luke and I have climbing in our roots and have both spent inordinate amounts of time shuffling around the mountains.  Thus, we seemed well-suited for such an adventure.  By the numbers, the record seemed well within reach barring any major errors.  Our daily lives prevented us from getting out for much recon, other than an ascent of Hyndman, which I snuck in the day after my wife ran the Standhope 60km the prior weekend.  This meant that much of our planning would be via maps, Google Earth, beta from several key locals, and scoping the route while we drove up Highway 93….  This lack of more optimal preparation added a fun element of improbability, stacking the odds against us to some extent.

LRR as seen from High 93 on the western side of the range.

Lost River Range as seen from Highway 93 on the western side of the Lost River Range.

binoculars and iPhone scoping...

Scoping the Lost River Range with binoculars and an iPhone camera…  We would refer to these images during the LRR traverse

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Posted by: runuphill | June 23, 2014

LaSal Linkup Loop

As I drove out of Moab the scratchy FM signal began to fade.  It was time to change the station and settle down for the 4hr drive home, back to Salt Lake City after a quick but fulfilling adventure.  An ad on the radio reminded listeners why they should come to this part of Utah.  “Moab’s unique combination of beautiful redrock scenery, two national parks, and the allure of the Colorado River has made it one of the top adventure destinations in the West.”  Interestingly, no mention of the utterly fantastic mountain range less than 15 miles to the east, the La Sal Mountains!

Getting to know the La Sals better has long been a goal of mine.  A linkup of the 12 thousand foot peaks (“12ers”), of which there are 9 with 300′ or more of prominence, seemed like a great excuse.  I had mapped the route out several years ago, but the project had remained on the shelf.  When Jason Dorais and an army of other strong skimo dudes strung together a south-north route on skis in March my mind started scheming.  On Friday (6/20/2014) when Bryon Powell responded to an email telling me that the conditions looked perfect, the decision was made as to what I would be doing on the solstice.

This would be a solo trip, which meant that a shuttle would be tricky.  So, I modified the mostly north-to-south linkup and made it a loop, returning via a series of lower trails on the western side of the range to get back to my car.  Other than operating at about -1.5dB (i.e. a bit sick) due to a week-long illness, the adventure could not have been more perfect.  If you’re into endless talus fields, stunning views, frolicking through aspen trees, and a bit of route finding, I highly recommend this route.  It’s ~36 mile and 15kft of up:

LaSal Linkup Loop - overview map

LaSal Linkup Loop – overview map

For an aerial perspective (via Google Earth), click on the image below:

Google Earth "aerial" view of the route

Google Earth “aerial” view of the route

And, below are some highlight photos from the trip:

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Posted by: runuphill | May 11, 2014

South Creek Circumnavigation and Tabernacle Dome


Buzz, Ryan, Jared – Canaan Mountain at sunset.  5/9/2014

“History does repeat itself” explained Buzz, “and it’s not a bad thing!  Take for example organized sports like the NFL, NHL, NCAA, etc. Some people today are fanatical about organized sports and fiercely dedicated to ‘their’ teams.  It’s the ancient tribe mentality on display” declared Buzz, “a pre-programmed DNA trait some people have where they need to belong to something; the need to defend their tribe.  This instinct developed many thousands of years ago, long before our current air-conditioned lifestyles, and manifests itself today in the form of organized sports.  This is history repeating itself.  As for me, I simply don’t have the tribe gene.  I’m genetically different.”

The above is my attempt at capturing a snippet from one of the blurry conversations during the drive home this past Saturday with Ryan and Buzz after another action packed 1.5 day trip to Zion NP.  As Buzz continued with his story about our DNA and historical repetition, the reasons for our many trips to Zion started to gel in my mind.  Why was it that Buzz never flinched at flying to Utah, renting cars, spending hundreds of dollars on gear and logistical details, and cramming as much as possible into weekends only to go home with scratched up legs, blood stained clothes, and holes in nearly every piece of gear?  I estimate he’s done this 3-4 times per year for at least the past 5 years and probably only slightly less frequently for the preceding 35 years.  He is either a tremendously committed friend, possessed, a masochist, or a true lover of the desert.  Could he be all of these things?  Wait, this also sounds like Ryan!

Buzz also explained that we are drawn to people with similar values and motivations…  Apparently it wasn’t just Buzz with this strange genetic condition, Ryan and I had it as well…  Did we all independently have it beforehand or had the mutation worsening after years of adventure?  Why had we all moved things around in our busy lives, yet again, to venture out on another crazy route through the sand, manzanita, cactus, and crumbling sandstone in and around Zion?  Why did the thought of seeing a glowing sunrise on the extreme topology make us all giddy?  Why did hearing an orchestra of singing desert frogs in a hidden pool seem so special?  Why did the hundreds of cuts from prickly desert plants actually make me smile, knowing that I’d feel the trip under the business attire of Monday?  Rather than trying to make sense of it all, I’ll share some photos from the trip and hope that one of my faithful blog readers can help answer these questions.

  • Friday : The South Creek Circumnavigation.  A fantastic route with a bunch of new terrain.  Jenny Ridge, East Fork of the Virgin, Transview Mountain, Second Creek, South Mountain, Squirrel Creek, Water Canyon, Canaan Mountain, Sawmill Springs, Eagle Crags.  21.5 hrs of adventure
  • Saturday : Tabernacle Dome.  Arguably one of the best short scrambles in the Park.


Ryan on Jenny ridge in the glorious morning light

Ryan on Jenny Ridge in the glorious morning light

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Posted by: runuphill | April 27, 2014

Zion, with a tiny bit of creativity

Our ritual anniversary trip had finally arrived and Thursday evening we left SLC bound for Zion National Park, our home away from home.  The weather forecast looked incredible: Friday – partly cloudy, ~70s, and breezy; Saturday – rain down low and snow up high; Sunday – sunny and sure to be “alive” after the rain.  After years of building a relationship with the Park you can’t help but be drawn to experience it when mother-nature is in all her different moods.  After-all, Zion is what it IS only because of the mighty power of wind and water.  To visit the park only during clear and sunny conditions would be like only talking to your friends only when they are happy. which would be a fairly shallow relationship.  Meaningful relationships involve a deeper understanding and connection.


  • Friday : Mindy/Phoebe/Catherine had a nice hike on the Chinle Trail while I did a super linkup from Springdale to Gifford Canyon via Johnson ridge, the Watchman, No Mans Mountain, Stevens Wash and Hepworth Wash.  Complicated terrain!
  • Saturday : Our family did an awesome hike in the rain up Many Pools canyon.  Mindy then ran from the east entrance to Weeping Rock, and I got in an evening run in the rain/snow up Lady Mountain.
  • Sunday : Family hike up the West Rim Trail, then I snuck in another jaunt up the Lady before the drive home.

I’ll let the pictures do the talking

Slab running terrain on the east face of  Watchman ridge

Slab running terrain on the east face of Watchman ridge

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Posted by: runuphill | April 12, 2014

BoSho 2014

What a beautiful day it was for the classic Bonneville Shoreline Trail Marathon.  Pictures from the event here.  Mindy had a solid run and was all smiles as usual.  I was on daddy duty and did some nice hikin’ and photo shootin’.  Always a treat to get to see the local trail running crew.

Christian Johnson in the early miles of the BoSho 2014

BoSho legend Christian Johnson in the early miles of the 2014 event

The incredible Emily Sullivan, cranking uphill about halfway through the course.

Athlete extraordinaire Emily Sullivan, cranking uphill about halfway through the course.

Our little family at mile 21 of the BoSho

Our little family at mile 21 of the BoSho

Posted by: runuphill | April 11, 2014

Barkley 2014

The handshake with Laz I worked 57 hrs and 50 minutes for

Handshake with Laz, some 57 hrs and 50 minutes after we started

Another soul shaping adventure at the Barkley Marathons.  It’s impossible to capture the true essence of the experience in written form.  Suffice it to say, it was magical!  In the nearly 58 hrs it took me to finish 5 laps we had nearly every type of weather (torrential rain, crazy wind, snow, ice, sunshine, AND heat!) and I experienced the full spectrum of physical and emotional states.  I definitely got my $1.60 worth.  :)

Huge thanks to Laz for creating one of the most unique events on the planet.

Related Links

Posted by: runuphill | March 23, 2014

Zioneering – March 2014

Buzz and I in Zion - March, 2014

Jared and Buzz : Zion – March, 2014

Buzz and I snuck down to Zion for a quick 2 day trip over the March 15th weekend.   Our first objective was the “TTT” Temple Throne Traverse.  An objective simply can’t stand on its own without a good acronym to reference it.  The “TTT”, as Buzz called it, is in reference to the fact that it starts by tagging the summit of East Temple and finishes on Great White Throne with a few peaks (Mt. Spry, Twin Brother, Mountain of the Sun, Deertrap) in-between.  Whether the route is actually a “Traverse” can be argued….  We descended Hidden Canyon.  Buzz has already done a great write-up so I’ll simply add a topo map, and note that the route is ~17.5 miles long, and a caution that it is a serious route with high-consequence scrambling!

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Posted by: runuphill | March 2, 2014

RUFA 2014 – The Power of People

Action Photo

Climbing up Grandeur on Lap 2

Another Running Up For Air Challenge (RUFA) in the books!  Once again I am reminded of the incredible community of outdoor enthusiasts, trail runners, and clean air advocates we have here in Salt Lake City.  Experiencing such positive energy all the way from the parking lot to the summit of Grandeur Peak makes this a very special day.

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