Thursday, July 17, 2014

Camp Hardrock: Course Clearing

I woke up around 3am and hung out at the Silverton Gym waiting for Gombu to finish.  Which was four hours too early.  After Gombu and Robert finished, and Amanda Grimes, last runner, ran in, it was time to do some work-aka course clearing.

Course clearing means picking up the metal markers and any ribbons  and trash along the course.
Our plan was to start from Grouse Gulch and clean up from there until Maggie Gulch, 27 miles of trail.  This route also takes one over Handies Peak, 14,048 feet.

Most people who are looking to summit Handies start from American Basin, but we start down on the County Road 2, where the Grouse Gulch Aid Station was located. It's a steep climb up from this direction.

Me and the trail out of Grouse Gulch do not seem to get along.

I have exactly the same symptoms as I had when Cam, Slim, and Eric hiked this in 2012.  It was a cool morning, at about 730 am.  I had my breathing mask with me, that I also wore overnight while pacing Gombu.

Same symptoms.  I immediately start the climb, hard to breathe, pulse rate elevated.  The group gets away from me right away.  I resolve to not let this bother me.  Same actions.  Climb, climb, stop, breathe.  I don't know what it is with this valley, but it doesn't agree with me.

The views agree with me though!

As it warms up, I can at least remove my mask and top layer of clothes.  It's still a slow slog up.

I DNF'd Hardrock 2012 at Grouse Gulch.  As I climb up, I reflect that was the best decision I could have made.  I would have probably been clocking a 60 minute mile, given my fatigue factor and health. I actually felt much better about that spot that I DNF'd in.

 First spot is American Basin, where it appears most hikers come from to ascend Handies.

Next landmark is Sloan Lake.

This was as far as I hiked back in 2012.  The rest of the climb up Handies is new territory for me!

Almost to the top here.

Summit photo!!

View from the other side of Handies, about two thousand feet down.

I could really feel the descent in my quads, despite only running downhill for  about four miles 24 hours previously.

Once you descend off Handies,  it's a nice piece of actual runnable trail! This is Grizzly Gulch Lake Trail.

The temperature warmed up as we got down to tree line.  I caught up to the guys at Burrows Park and told them I was going to bail on the rest of the course clearing.  I was moving much slower than they were, and the idea is to get the work done.
I walked the road section from Burrows Park to Sherman. It's all road here, the Cinnamon Pass Road, 5K in distance. I'm completely out of water! and pretty darn tired.

Now I will hop into our 4WD vehicle with our expert driver, Michelle, and take the road over  Cinnamon Pass!

I knew by dropping at Sherman that my ride would be over Cinnamon Pass. I had read up on this drive a bit, when we were trying to find a driver to go over the Pass. Despite  me being terrified on Bird Camp Road in 2012, I was not terrified on the drive over Cinnamon Pass.

Pic from
Just an photo example of Camp Bird Road.

I have to admit that Cinnamon Pass was kinda fun.  It didn't hurt that Michelle gave us a beer before we started, so that helped to relax me!

Views from Cinnamon Pass

Michelle drops me off in town, and I am happy to get back to the hostel and take a shower. After some food, I just crashed- the lack of sleep, HR miles and lack of altitude acclimatization just cooked me-I slept twelve hours that night!

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