12 Glory Laps in 12 Hours

12 Glory Laps in 12 Hours
Last February 20th, I hiked and skied 12 laps on Mt. Glory. 19,638 feet climbed with skis on my back and 19,638 feet skied to raise money for Camp To Belong. It's snowing again and I'm ready for the 2nd edition! Click the logo for more info and ways to support camp!

Camp To Belong - Elk Mountain Grand Traverse

Camp To Belong - Elk Mountain Grand Traverse
We're racing the Elk Mtn Grand Traverse this March, a 40 mile ski race across the roof of Colorado in the middle of the night! Click for updates on our training and fundraising progress!

Peaked Sports

Peaked Sports
Driggs, ID

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Table Mtn / Alaska Basin Loop

Here are a few photos from the run today

This has quickly become one of my favorite routes (in case you haven't noticed) as it gives me just about everything I look for in a big mountain run that I can knock off in an afternoon (less than 5 hrs). It's a ten minute drive from Driggs (to the winter TH where I start), I can get above 10,000ft relatively quickly, and the scenery is breathtakingly spectacular. Now maybe I ought to go spend more time in some other mountains for a while because I know there are countless other beautiful places out there, but I gotta admit, right now, this lizard is having as much fun as he's ever had leaping through the Tetons. And I feel better than ever too... As evidenced by how I felt today and a new personal best up Table: 1:14:30. (Why do I get so much satisfaction out of this?! I love it!) And even after the climb, I wasn't completely wiped. I still finished the run well after five hours. 1:10:00 to the summit seems achieveable, but it's gonna have to be a huge effort and there's probably not too much room to improve after that. ( My main concern at that point is cracking an ankle over on all the blocky scree or just plain tripping.) Nonetheless, I simply love being up there.

See it? About 10 minutes out from the TH, I encountered a mama moose and her calf. Couldn't get a good shot cause, you know, didn't feel like getting trampled today, but it's always (well, usually) a treat to see these magnificent animals out there and especially cases like this where I got to watch as the calf fed off it's mama. Who needs a zoo?!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Local Wildlife

OK, so it's time I did a non-running-related post.

Here's a question instead:

What is this?!?!

I found this thing out on my porch railing one morning this week and was pretty impressed with not only its large size, but also its ability to be comfortable as I macro-photo'd it from varying angles. (or if it wasn't comfortable, it never gave me any indication)

From what I found through a session of intense and extremely thorough research, this is a Pachysphinx Modesta moth. Here's a link if you want to know more. Pachysphinx Modesta

I happened to give it my own name. The Behe Moth. You know, cause it's so big, right?

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Teton Crest Trail

The Teton Crest Trail. Arguably one of the country's most scenic, yet relatively lesser-known (and less-traveled) trails. I'm always a bit surprised when I encounter people who are completely unfamiliar with our mountains here. I guess I've become more accustomed to it over the years as I've realized that many people even have trouble placing Wyoming geographically and while they may have heard of this place called Yellowstone Nat'l Park, it's exact whereabouts remain a mystery and it's proximity to Jackson Hole, Grand Teton Nat'l Park, and especially where I live in Victor, ID are particularly puzzling. And yet, this region receives over 2.5 million visitors a year so clearly there are many out there who know! But...

...The Crest Trail. It's beauty is enhanced by it's peaceful solidarity. Tucked away far from where the masses congregate and in some places, particularly on the southern portions away from the main peaks, tucked away from just about everyone.

It may not have the grandeur of the Grand Canyon's Rim to Rim to Rim. It may not have the mystique of Rainier's Wonderland trail or the length of the John Muir Trail and the Colorado Trail. But I have found myself drawn to it more and more every year since I first ran it in 2006 and I'm sure it has become even more special to me during that time for no other fact than it's pretty much my backyard. How sweet is that?!

Up on Phillips Pass looking north over Moose Creek Valley after 50 minutes of climbing 1,300ft in the first 4 miles to 9,000ft elevation.

It was chilly start with temps in the 40s (and was that frost on the ground?!)

Fossil Mtn (left) and Mt. Bannon (right) way off in the distance at mile 5. 1:00hr

Marion Lake at mile 10. 2:30

Up on Fox Creek Divide just past Marion Lake at mile 10.5 and 9,500ft. Fossil Mtn is on the left and thar's them Tetons way out there. 2:45

Cruising along the Death Canyon Shelf at mile 14 looking down into Death Canyon from one of the many super scenic campsites. 3:30

Preparing to descend the Sheep Steps into Alaska Basin near mile 17. That's Table Mtn way out there on the left. It sure seems alot closer to the Grand when you're standing on top! 4:00

From the top of Hurricane Pass at mile 20 and 10,500ft looking at the South Teton. 5:00

Lake Solitude. Mile 28. 7:15
The looooong gradual 5 mile, 2,700ft descent down the south fork of Cascade Canyon was stunningly beautiful, but deceptively dangerous. The running was easy and relaxed, but it was midday now and getting warmer as I dropped lower and I should have been pounding the fluids to keep topped off. I was still feeling great and didn't really see anything wrong with anything. At all. After five miles, there's a junction to go right, out the canyon six miles to Jenny Lake or left, 3 miles up to Lake Solitude. I hit the junction in just under an hour and ran to just about halfway up the 1,200ft climb to the lake before I ran out of steam. Too little water. And the 1,600ft climb up to Paintbrush Divide was looming over my right shoulder to the north. I refilled my bottles, ate some food and was surprised at how quickly I had gone from feeling great to feeling generally pretty bad, but was still optimistic I could turn things around. I began the climb and, more than anything, was simply awe-struck at how amazingly beautiful it was as the trail climbed higher and higher.

Pika. (not to be confused with Pikey) There has been talk about how these resiliant little guys are becoming more and more in danger while their high-alpine homes gradually melt away. It's often hard for me to believe that global warming could still be a very real possibility since I just find it difficult to comprehend that a colder environment exists outside of the Teton Range, but this region has seen just as big a reduction in its glacier systems as any other. And according to some wildlife biologists, these little pikas are feeling the pinch.

Looking back south down the north fork of Cascade Canyon and back up the south fork. Hurricane Pass is just on the other side (south) of Table Mtn on the right of the photo.

Paintbrush Divide looking down into Jackson Hole. 10,600ft. Mile 31. 8:15

At the high point with Mt. Moran in the background. From here, it's a 3,800ft scamper in eight miles down Paintbrush Canyon to the end at String Lake.

The end. 9:45
Wanna know a funny story? I'll tell you.
My decision to run the Crest Trail was fairly last-minute and with Jay busy with work and unable to join me, I was prepared to do the run solo and just hitch a ride back to Jackson where there would be a work bar-b-que happening at one of the parks in town with a bunch of my co-workers. Then I'd just need to find a ride up to my car sill parked up on Teton Pass. No big deal, right? String Lake gets packed on warm Saturday afternoons so I didn't have any concerns about being able to get a ride from someone. Once I got to the lake, I was feeling pretty well hammered so I sauntered into the water for a just a couple of minutes to refresh and clean up a bit just as this couple in a canoe paddles by. I took the above photo of them specifically to use as the final finishing photo of this post. Perfect. Canoe. Lake. Mountains. Trees. Classic. And then I shuffled my way over to the exit road and got my thumb out. Five, maybe ten minutes later, a Subaru pulls up with a canoe on top and wouldn't you know it... that very couple is in it and gives me a lift into Jackson!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Table Mtn/Alaska Basin Loop Part II

Thursday, after work, I was at it again, racing up Table Mtn, then cutting over to Alaska Basin and out South Teton Canyon. It's the same loop I did two weekends ago, but I knew this time there would be much less snow which would make for a much faster trip. So after parking at the winter trailhead and cruising the 4 miles to the base of the climb in 30 min, I tore into the ascent and ended up arriving at the summit in 1:17:30. A full five minutes faster than my previous best. I was also pleased with how much less snow there was compared to two weeks ago. These were all very important details that not only would help me cover more ground quickly on this particular outing, but it also confirmed that a full-length Teton Crest Trail journey was ready to be prepared. I decided fairly quickly that Saturday would be the day.

My marmot friends were out to say hello as usual.

Catching the late sun on a warm rock is apparently a popular evening marmot activity.

A horse group above Hurricane Pass at 10,500ft.

Sunset Lake. At sunset.

Teton Crest Trail just north of Alaska Basin with Buck Mountian standing watch.

This huge tent group ended up with a decent camp site.

Alaska Basin's unique geologic features

Monday, July 19, 2010

Tin Cup

It sure looked like another highly successful Tin Cup event this year as the Driggs city park was once again swarming with hundreds (dare I say thousands?) of community-minded townspeople. Runners, joggers, walkers, lookers, doers, young, old, and everything in between... Everyone seemed to be really enjoying themselves and the festival atmosphere. Time will tell just how successful the event was as the totals are tallied and we find out just how many participants there were in the running and walking events and each of the participating non-profits find out how much donation funds were graciously passed their way.
The kids' hula-hoop competition
Dawn, assisting all the young artists create their masks at the Teton Arts Council booth
One of the highlights for the kids
Petting bunnies, goats, ponies, and pigs are always a highlight
And I had to go check out the karaoke booth. Here we have "Girls just wanna have fun!"
Anyone who stopped by the Teton Arts Council booth could design their own mask...
...any artistic way they wanted to.
I can't estimate anything as I am not involved in the organizing or operating of this event, but I will say that I love seeing so many members of our valley communities come together and create such a wonderful experience for so many people to enjoy. I wish our valley had more events like this during other parts of the year. Maybe a February winter festival should be in the works? Same place in the Driggs city park? Warm clothes? Warm drinks? Fun snow games? Ice skating? Oh! Or maybe it could be held at the new ice rink in Victor?! Yeah! Perfect. I dunno. We'll all have to think about that. I really think that these free events managed by so many willing volunteers can offer our community so many great things: Fun, awareness, healthy and vibrant social activities, and above all, a greater sense of community cohesiveness which I've come to believe is something far more important in small, rural communites such as ours. It feels good to be a part of it.

I ran the marathon again this year after running it for the inagural event in 2008, then sitting last year out due to my work schedule. Two years ago, I was shooting for a 3:15:00. I ran a 3:14:45. This year, I was shooting for a 3:10:00. I ran a 3:11:23. Close, not quite, but close, and I can think about a number of areas where I could have picked up a minute or two on this course: The slight side-ache between miles 4-8, the short, steep hills between miles 5-9, the pit-stop in the field grass at mile 15, the head-wind from mile 19-22, and I could have kicked it up a notch at mile 20 I think instead of waiting until mile 22, but, you know... looking back, I couldn't have taken much more than a minute or two off that time and I feel like I really ran a smart race (for not being much of a marathoner as this is only my fourth marathon). Many things during an event just can't be changed. It's just how things happen. If it's not one thing, it could be another. My split halfway was about 1:35:00 so I was pretty evenly split and I finished with four 6:30ish miles (on a slight downhill, but still!) so yeah, pretty happy with that. I think on a flatter, true road course (without being 2/3rds gravel/dirt), without five turn-around points on the out-and-back sections, and at lower elevations (Portland, perhaps?), and I could maybe maybe m-a-y-b-e be looking at going sub 3:00:00. But boy, putting together a string of 6:52 minute miles sure sounds daunting. More than daunting. But possible? Sure, why not?

Sunday, I ended up on the road bike riding up to Grand Targhee with MikeE. Legs definitely were heavy, but not sore. Felt surprisingly good to be out pedalling circles.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Tin Cup Marathon This Saturday!

It's that time again! The 3rd annual Tin Cup Challenge occurs this Saturday and after having to miss last year's event because of my work schedule, I'm back at it this year and excited for another opportunity to run the marathon!

This is a unique event and a very special one to many of the residents of Teton Valley as it has become one of the most popular and successful events of the year and arguably one of the top fundraising opportunities for forty of the valley's non-profit groups.

This year is particularly special for me as I will be running in support of the Teton Arts Council to help "garner" some much needed funds which will help support the popular ceramics department as well as be able to continue and expand the hugely successful Kids Art Class program. These programs have not only been extremely popular and fun for the participating children, but it also provides them with a great opportunity to learn about a variety of artistic styles. And the parents have also recognized what a value these summer classes are. At $30/week for 3 hours/day from 1-4pm, it's a deal better than any childcare service and the only way to make this possible and continue to offer this amazing program for the community is through the ongoing support of donors!

If you are interested in making a donation of any kind to support the Teton Arts Council, click here!

Remember, any donation made to the Teton Arts Council through the Tin Cup Challenge website through 5pm, Monday, July 26th, will go 100% to the Teton Arts Council and will also include matching funds from the Community Foundation of Teton Valley which makes your support go even further!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Fossil Mountain

Sunday morning began slowly enough as I woke up feeling the effects of the previous day's jaunt. No muscle soreness, just heavy and tired feeling legs and the left kneecap was just as stiff, sore, and swollen as I expected it to be after pounding it directly onto that rock the day before. Yep, it was causing me a pretty decent limp, but I knew it would be something that could be taken care of relatively quickly (a couple of days) and not slow me up too much. Of course not.

So after breakfast and witnessing the fall(s) of Lance during stage 8 of the Tour, I did some light cleaning up of the place, took the pooches out for a walk, caught the first half of the World Cup Final, and gathered myself together for a run up Darby Canyon to my main destination: the summit of Fossil Mountain.

For some reason, I have not stood on top of this peak during my entire (almost) ten years in the region and I actually feel sorta ashamed that it took me this long to do it. It's very accessible as the summit is only about 6 miles and 4,000ft up from the trailhead. The approach goes right past Wind Cave and the amazing waterfalls that are usually present. And it offers just about the most incredible views of many of the Teton peaks as it sits near the geographic center of the 40 mile long range.

Wind Cave with large amounts of runoff means access to the cave entrance is difficult and dangerous. Luckily, I was heading further upcanyon.

The entire Darby Canyon is riddled with limestone from top to bottom like all the rock you see here. This is the only canyon I know of in the Teton Range where limestone is so prevalent. Ain't it just a geological oddity... This mountain range has been known to keep geologists guessing.

It looks close, but it would take 45 minutes and 1,500ft of climbing to get to the top.

The final push to the top up the SW ridge. Again, it looks quite close, but would take 30 minutes of delicate clambering on a 45 degree slope consisting of loose, shifty rubble that seemed more interested in letting loose from its resting place and making friends with gravity rather than staying put and holding up a skinny guy.

This thing's just a big pile of garbage really. The entire peak seemed to be crumbling away. It really wasn't all that dangerous. Just kinda annoying and... shifty... and... sharp... and unpredictable. But I took my time. Safety first.

The major Teton Peaks from Fossil Mtn

Top of the tram at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort (JHMR). If you look closely, you can see a tram car descending below the dark cliffs (Corbett's Couloir) on the left side of the peak.

Looking south over Fox Creek Pass and the Teton Crest Trail.
Soon... very soon. It will be runnable. Oh yes.

The tinyest heartiest most fragile little flowers living out their existence at 10,900ft.