Vanishing Point

"Stuck in the Middle" Peak

Pinned. In front of me, like plated back spikes of a malevolent dragon, was a sheer tower of rock twelve feet high, overhanging on all sides, 300-foot drops to the west and east, and no obvious way to climb up, over, then down to the next spire. How many more of these I would have to surmount was uncertain, but I’d already climbed over three of them. I told myself – perhaps in an attempt to keep calm, that it’s good I’m continuing to go forward, because there’s just no way I was going to be able to reverse the moves previous to get back down to the safer ground I left behind.

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Milner/Berthoud Pass Continental Divide Ridge Traverse – Vanishing Point

Pauite's North Ridge, one of the crux's of the route

Milner Pass, Wednesday August 12th, midnight
Milner Pass, Wednesday August 12th, midnight

Update: Trip Narrative is up.

The mountains along the Continental Divide provide the backdrop to the city I live in: Boulder, CO. From town, nothing can be seen beyond their sheer, rocky, glacier-choked east faces and the ridgeline itself invites one to come explore their craggy features, beacoup exposure, and long expanses of carpeted-in-tundra plateaus.

From Milner Pass located in Rocky Mountain National Park, and Berthoud Pass closer to I-70, one will find over 50 named points and peaks. These passes are about 45 miles apart as the crow flies. No other paved roads are found between these two passes and no other roads – paved or otherwise, can be crossed via motor vehicles. The rest is mostly National Park and Designated Wilderness. The wandering ridge, if followed exactly at its apex, is around 75-80 miles long.

Continental Divide, between Milner Pass and Berthoud Pass
Continental Divide, between Milner Pass and Berthoud Pass

I was surprised to find in my research that there hasn’t been a recorded report of anyone traversing this section of ridge proper by foot. This seems extremely hard to believe, as the concentration of runners, backpackers, mountaineers, and world-class climbers in the area is very high, and the line itself is obvious. It takes a special blend of ultra-running fitness and technical climbing skill to be able to safely traverse the ridge.

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The Loveland Pass to Guanella Pass Over Mountain Route

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.

It was also… difficult.

Full story still to come.

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Bikepacking Longs Peak Chapter has been Released

I’ve released the first draft chapter of what is hopefully going to be a full-fledged guidebook on bikepacking to the Colorado 14ers. It’s about my favorite mountain to ride bikes to: Longs Peak.

Check it out, and share your feedback. I’ll be moving forward with other mountains in the Front Range, as well as chapters on topics brought up from the survey.

I’ve decided to write this book in small pieces and share drafts of the chapters publicly. I’m doing so for a lot of reasons which I’ll expound upon in a separate post.

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A Beautiful Nolans 14 Failure

Summit of Tabeguache, as the sun was rising

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:

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