Longs Peak NW Gully Duathlon April Tick

The Narrows on Descent

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Life has become busy, so I haven’t compiled my weekly workout journal in a few weeks – happens. Follow me on Strava for the highlights.

Sunday, I did go up to Longs Peak in an attempt to get an April tick. Somewhat obligatory, as I have a March tick – and I like to see how many months in a row I can string along in my attempt to do a whole year. Being the last day of the month puts a little flame under my bottom to get it done, and any day with snow is usually a slow one.

This day was no different, with more snow than I’ve seen up there in quite a while. Shortcuts below treeline weren’t trenched in, which added to the mileage. I hemmed and hawed about being snowshoes – they’re heavy, awkward, and bulky both on and off the bike, but they were clutch for the day. I didn’t know what conditions were going to be, but penciled in the NW Gully for my attempt.

At the base, it seemed in condition, so I soldiered up. Really full value day with alpine conditions, lots of snow, ice, and even some bare rock to scramble on. The crux slab/chimney was filled in with unconsolidated snow, which made climbing up it seemingly impossible. I had to use my entire body to hug the snow together to make the snow dense enough to stand on top of. First for me.

The crux tunnel was really the easiest part of it all, once i brushed off the holes to find them. Hit my head on a rock inside the tunnel as is usual. Summit was empty – I don’t think anyone else go up that day.

Keyhole going down was in great condition with full snow coverage. Made a hasty retreat so long as I just trusted the snow. Good glissade down most of the Trough, and I cut down to the Ledges a little early, ending up in the NW Gully for the last bit. Boulderfield was a bit more tracked out than in the morning, and below treeline, things were firm enough without snowshoes – just a long time. Got back to the trailhead in plenty of time to make it back before well: May and the bike ride was mostly drama free. Played, “no pedal/no brake down St. Vrain Canyon and made it down quite a bit before tapping the brakes on some of the steeper turns. Made it a few more miles before needing to pedal.

April seems to be one of the rarest months for me to do a duathlon. I’ve only recorded one April summit out of my ~46 in the past via Keplingers Couloir.

The Narrows on Descent
The Narrows on Descent
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