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:

Me on the first peak, La Sal (12,001')

Me on the first peak, La Sal (12,001′)

Stunning view and contrasting colors looking down into Castle Valley.

Stunning view and contrasting colors looking down into Castle Valley.

Mount Waas (12,331') (left)

Mount Waas (12,331′) (left)

Another view down into Castle Valley.  Note Porcupine Rim

Another view down into Castle Valley. Note Porcupine Rim

The final three 12ers group to the south.  Mellenthin, Peale, and Tukuhnikivatz

The final three 12ers group to the south. Mellenthin, Peale, and Tukuhnikivatz

Gotta love talus fields!  This is the climb up to Mount Peale (12,721')

Gotta love talus fields! This is the climb up to Mount Peale (12,721′)

The "almost so beautiful it must be fake" view towards Castle Valley as seen from Mount Peale.

The “almost so beautiful it must be fake” view towards Castle Valley as seen from Mount Peale.

Ridgeline to Mount Tukuhnikivatz (12,482')

Ridgeline to Mount Tukuhnikivatz (12,482′)

My very steep & loose descent off Mount Tuk into Gold Basin.  This section is not for everyone.  If you're uneasy on this type of terrain you should probably consider an alternate route!

My very steep & loose descent off Mount Tuk into Gold Basin. This section is not for everyone. If you’re uneasy on this type of terrain you should probably consider an alternate route.  The upper part is steep enough that it doesn’t hold talus! Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Beautiful trails and aspens make up the majority of the return run.

Beautiful trails and aspens make up the majority of the return run.

Oowah Lake

Oowah Lake

My view the next morning as I left Castle Valley.   The uber-classic Castleton Tower and the Rectory.

My view the next morning as I left Castle Valley. The uber-classic Castleton Tower and the Rectory.

Elevation Profile - Actual

 

Posted by: runuphill | May 11, 2014

South Creek Circumnavigation and Tabernacle Dome

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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.

Overview:

  • 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

Brilliantly complex train of Watchman ridge

Brilliantly complex train of Watchman ridge

Sheep Horns hidden in the Zion backcountry

Sheep Horns hidden in the Zion backcountry

Stunning southeast ridge of G2

Stunning southeast ridge of G2

Raging river at the entrance to Pine Creek canyon

Raging river at the entrance to Pine Creek canyon

Me and Phoebe in Many Pools

Me and Phoebe in Many Pools

Mindy and Phoebe in Many Pools

Mindy and Phoebe in Many Pools

 

Beautiful Falls

Beautiful Falls

MandP

Me and Phoebs heading up the West Rim Trail

Me and Phoebs heading up the West Rim Trail

Happy to be running again.

Happy to be running again.

Our family on the West Rim

Our family on the West Rim

They don't come any cuter than this!

They don’t come any cuter than this!

Mindy : super-mom

Mindy : super-mom

Me after a quick scramble up Lady Mountain.  One of my favorite short workouts in the world.

Me after a quick scramble up Lady Mountain. One of my favorite short workouts in the world.

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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Posted by: runuphill | February 16, 2014

RUFA – 2014 Intentions

2013-Graphic-500px

2/28/2014 Update

  • Despite the sub-optimal weather, we’re still on for tomorrow.  When has a little rain/snow stopped RUFA?  That’s right, never!
  • You can track my whereabouts via SPOT and this spreadsheet which will be updated throughout Sat & Sun.

Some things just seem impossible don’t they?  One such thing is solving the unhealthy air pollution problem that plagues the Salt Lake Valley during winter thermal inversions.   (See The Air We Breathe video, which aired on KUED).  Thankfully, most people finally “get it” and are now asking “how can I help”?  The best resource available comes from a local non-profit group called Breathe Utah.  Check out their “Air Info” website to come up to speed on the science, the health effects, and to learn what you can do to help.  Breathe Utah is a group of talented, passionate, and dedicated individuals who work tirelessly and selflessly to improve the situation for all of us.

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Posted by: runuphill | January 11, 2014

2014 – Grandeur – Running Up For Air

Salt Lake City on a clear night shot from part-way up Grandeur Peak.  January 2014, Jared Campbell

Salt Lake City on a clear night as seen from part-way up Grandeur Peak. January 4th, 2014, Jared Campbell

Mark your calendars for the 2014 Grandeur Peak Running Up For Air challenge!  This year’s challenge will take place on March 1st, 2014.

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Posted by: runuphill | January 3, 2014

2013 – A ReCap of an Incredible Year

WOW, what a year!  While I wasn’t very good at maintaining the blog, behind the scenes I was having a fantastic year.  In fact, 2013 was hands-down the most amazing year of my life.  There were great runs, grand adventures, international travel, an incredible Fall in the Wasatch, trips to the Tetons, clean energy work, a handful of fun design/home projects, etc.  But the climax came at the end of December when our baby Phoebe was born.  This write-up is meant to be a quick summary of the highlights of 2013.

January

Most of the month was spent working and and trying to get ready for this year’s Running Up For Air challenge (which took place in March).

One January highlight was a big dump of snow SLC received at low elevations which led to some unique skiing on the peaks immediately adjacent to the city, including Mount Wire, which Mindy, Ryan and I simply couldn’t miss.  Photos

Mt. Wire with Mindy and Ryan - Jan 12, 2013

Mt. Wire with Mindy and Ryan – Jan 12, 2013

February

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