Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Seattle to Salt Lake and Back Again... for Orcas Island 50km

you ever seen a grown man in an inflatable cow suit bowl? didn't think so. jared campbell preparing for coyote two moon 100 mile ultra.

so i've moved from seattle to salt lake city once again for a girl. i call this my annual sojourn for love. it never really seems to work out.  it doesn't much matter however.  i'm here, at the foot of these amazing mountains, in a city filled with amazing people. honestly you can't throw a gel pack around here without hitting a bad ass. i love that. and it's finally started to snow!  i've been able to stay safe in the high avy conditions and find some seriously unbelievable backcountry skiing.  the access to the variable goods from salt lake city, up any of the canyons is unmatched.  it's no wonder the term "dawn patrol" originated here, although i prefer to patrol all day.

just when the slopes really start to fill in i'm headed back to the beautiful pacific northwest.  but not to move back.  i'm here in salt lake city for good now.  as i said, these mountains, these people.  it was not an easy decision to come by actually, seattle is also pretty special.  but i do in fact really enjoy the process of learning about a new place, and making new friends.  i'm buried in maps and guide books daily.  being a little uncomfortable for the short term isn't so bad either.  my endurance coaching business is blossoming.  i'm also going to start working with a local coaching business (more on that later ~ super excited).  so i'm settling in here.  the last piece is renting the seattle condo ~ need one?

in the last three days on skis, both alone and with friends, in the backcountry and front country, i've had this overwhelming feeling that i belong here.  as brigham young looked west into the valley in 1847 he said "this is the place".  i'm looking east into the mountains saying the same thing.

my new office with a view

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Luging the Night Away in the Wasatch

bonefires and luge runs in the snowy backcountry sounds just about right. as i'm off for the special winter or edition i thought i'd post some shots from the last go around of the karl meltzer fandango.

a couple weeks ago i tweeted some video from a night of bon fires and luging.  karl has been consumed with the goal of building the best secret squirrel luge in the world!  well now there is some proof.  karl drove while his buddy tom took this video chasing me down the luge.  enjoy.

.. and here are the rest of the photos tom took.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Running in Zion National Park - boy oh boy

after what has likely been the most shocking and depressing three weeks of my life an invite to what i knew to be a beautiful and inspiring place was an offer i could not refuse.  utah's first nation park: ZION ~ "Massive canyon walls ascend toward a brilliant blue sky. To experience Zion, you need to walk among the towering cliffs, or challenge your courage in a small narrow canyon. These unique sandstone cliffs range in color from cream, to pink, to red. They could be described as sand castles crowning desert canyons."

la sportiva and most recently nuun sponsored runner jared campbell (pictured above on observation point) has been to zion national park countless times in his life.  jared and christian johnson hold the FKT (fastest known time) for the 48 mile trans zion of 9hrs 08mins which they recently set on november 27, 2009. impressive stuff.  jared and mindy were great guides, pointing out every peak and trail. honestly i can't believe i've waited this long to go to zion. look at this place!

it's been a low snow year so although we had packed down snow everywhere we went, the trails were pretty much runnable... if not suffer-able.  with the hard pack and often icey conditions i wore yak tracks on most of our runs.

our first run was one jared told me adventure running legend buzz burrell calls the "best run on earth".  i don't have the breadth of trail beta that buzz does so i can't confirm that comment but it's certainly one of the coolest trails i've ever run.  it's just 2.5 miles up to the summit of angel's landing but the switchback trail ducks into a canyon and then spits you out on the ridge pictured below.  packed snow had turned to ice making the trail pretty dicey.  especially with death on either side if you had a misstep.  jared mentioned this was the first time he actually used the chain guard rail that is anchored in the rock.  we used it as a makeshift rappel rope on the way down.  apparently the fastest time up angel's landing is 26mins.  we ran up there in 34mins at a good steady pace.  well a good steady pace for me, jared had to wait for me periodically. the top of angel's landing is also visible in the lower right hand side of the top two photos of the virgin river. 

our second run was up observation point, which happens to be a possible wedding location for jared and mindy. it's the "best view in the park", as you can see from the top two photos and this video.

the last run / post hole we did was a good 16 miles out to cable mtn and back. the way back is the very end of zion traverse. which i'd like to run some day, so it was very cool to be on this route. the view from cable mtn is a different perspective of the valley and the virgin river. it's a sheer drop off as you can see in the video below... amazing.  nothing like a good bit of train running in a new and beautiful place to get your head straight.  thanks jared and mindy!