A good trip to Longs Neníisótoyóú’u on Columbus Indigenous Peoples Day. Left around 3:30am feeling fairly languid, but psyched enough to push up James Canyon/Overland Rd. (St. Vrain is essentially closed to bikes for construction). It’s a steeper route with more elevation gain, but it’s also actually shorter by a few miles. It’s also quieter – and there’s a few miles of well-sealed gravel at the top, what’s not to like?
Summiting both Mt. Elbert and Mount Massive – the highest and second highest peak in Colorado, in the same day is usually a big but doable day out. Trailheads for the easiest routes up are practically across the road; the trails are both rated as an easy Class 1.
I’ve done it a few times myself by making it a loop by taking the SE Slopes up Massive, down the SW Sloops down and link Elbert’s steep West Ridge route up to finally descend it’s standard NE ridge. A righteous day out. This is mostly on smooth Class 1 trail – the only time off trail is the mile you’ll be on the west ridge of Elbert for a mile.
I’ve even gone up the route to Massive from the Fish Hatchery, down SW slopes, up the West Ridge, then kept going south to Indy Pass Road and taken the Colorado Trail back to the Fish Hatchery from Twin Lakes! This adds a ton of trail miles on the Colorado trail, but just a little bit more off-trail time getting from Elbert to Bull Hill and down the road at the Golden Fleece mine.
Since I’m wild for ridgelines these days, I’m always looking to see if I can’t link disparate peaks via one – and wouldn’t you know, you can with Elbert and Massive. This route would have the majority of travel be off-trail with a ton of loose, Class 3 traverses to cross. Lots of unknowns, including a bunch of new peaks for me. It would come to around 27 miles of terrain to cross – perfect! As I’ve got a 50km race coming up, and I haven’t done one of those in about five years, so I need some long days on my feet!
I had the immense privilege of personally wishing the best of luck to @maximiliantm and @userbeau in the predawn morning at the Boulder City Limits as they start off on their own Tour of the Colorado 14ers. They’re optimizing the trip for adventure and fun.
For months only a whimsical idea, the Loveland Pass to Guanella Pass Over Mountain Route has been fully realized. Starting in Georgetown, one pedals to Loveland Pass, breaks down their bike and portages over a string of high mountains on the Continental Divide, dropping down to Guanella Pass where the bike is reassembled to ride back down to Georgetown. A most absurd, postmodern “cycling” challenge, it felt also perfectly fitting in the social distancing Covid-19 zeitgeist to visit the mountains with all you need on your back; forgoing the usual car shuttle needed for two disparate starting points.
With the early season snow coming to Colorado, some of my bikepacking plans have had to be delayed for a few weeks. Even though I’m ready and my bike’s ready, I’ll have to wait for the weather and roads to clear up.
I HAD SO MUCH FUN on my “failed” Nolans run. “Failed” in quotes, as I believe I set my intention on trying to do the best I could do to get through summiting 14 14ers in a row in less than 60 hours. But I came up short – only summiting 7. Cutting it short felt the best thing to do at the time.
Here’s how my 33 hours on the Nolans Line went down: