month 7 of the Long's Peak Project
For a change of pace to our Leadville training, Homie and I went up one morning before work to see how fast we could do the roundtrip on Longs Peak. As it turned out, pretty fast.
We met early, probably around 4:00 a.m. and started running/power hiking around 6 a.m. Homie set the pace and picked all the shortcuts. I stayed on him as best I could, but heÕd open a gap on me periodically and IÕd have to shut it down. He was running more than I was. Most of the time I could power hike and stay with him, but sometimes I had to throw in some running to make up the gap. When we got to the flatter boulder field section below the flanks of Mt. Lady Washington, Homie opened up a bigger gap on me. I was forced to do more running than I would have liked, but I was determined to say with him.
As we headed up the steep talus to the base of the one technical pitch on the North Face, I pulled in front for the first time and started to open up a gap. I knew I was slightly faster climbing the technical portion and tried to pour it on there, but I couldnÕt do much. I was redlined as it was. The last time we did this Homie put two or more minutes on me above the technical pitch, on the steep 3rd class terrain to the summit. I was running scared, thinking heÕd catch me. I looked down frequently to see that I was maintaining my gap. I held him off and topped out in 1h56m42s. This might be a PR for me, but Homie has down 1h46m before!
Homie joined me on top a couple minutes later and we probably spent three more minutes signing the summit register and taking a short breather. We headed down with me leading the way. I have this descent wired, as IÕve done it probably 30 times. I was considerably faster than Homie on the downclimb and once down I just kept moving at a tempo pace, waiting for Homie to catch up to me. We took slightly different routes down to the JimÕs Grove/Longs Peak Trail junction with Homie staying a bit higher on the Mt. Lady Washington slopes. We converged at the JimÕs Grove trail and I followed Homie downwards. He was setting a fast pace, but we seemed to be committed to staying together now.
We hammered down the trail, knowing a good time was in order. On the final shortcut, I made a mistake and got separated from Homie. He finished 30 seconds or so ahead of me, but both of us were 3h09m??s for the roundtrip. This was the best time for both of us and we started dreaming of a sub-3-hour roundtrip. Homie can definitely do it with his 1h46m ascent time. I think I could also do it. I spent 5 minutes on the summit. If I just tagged the summit and didnÕt bother to sign in, I could take off 5 minutes. I need just 5 more minutes of fitness to get under 3 hours. I might go for that next yearÉ
And so it goesÉ