Half a tank of gas

Ok just kidding, I’m back after a 26 year case of writers block. Despite the fact that adventures have actually been going on, I won’t even try to fill you in with some bullshit excuse. Quite frankly, I haven’t felt like writing. Perhaps and hopefully I’ve lost more readers and then we can get back to writing raw articles.  Race reports are cool and I love re-reading past exploits but the more I do the less I want to talk about it.  Instead I’ve started to become fixated with the reason of WHY?

Why the hell am I running for over 12 hours and putting myself through rigorous training cycles to accomplish the things I do? What drives some of us to just go completely beyond what most people are perfectly content with finishing…are we just masochists with deeper internal issues that have been left unresolved for way too long? These are always good questions to ask but lately I’ve been asking myself an even deeper question: If I really am doing all of this to find out who I am….Do I really want this journey to end? As in- what if I finish an Ultramarathon, or hypothetically: climb that mountain and figure “it” out….what then? Is there any purpose left?

It’s a hell of a question to ask yourselves but ponder this for a few minutes today.  So many of us want to figure life out, a sort of soul searching quest that we set on, but do you really want this to end? No way. There’s no reason why anyone should wish for it all to end with that “AH-HA” moment of clarity because guess what, I guarantee none of us would know what to do with this answer. Our minds are too scared to really find out what it is that we are meant to do here and we should be perfectly content with that. We use this as day to day motivation without realizing it and its so much more beneficial to us that it remains a mystery to keep us taking strides forward.

It’s no surprise to anyone that two of my biggest influences in training mentality and psychology are and will always be Henry Rollins and Mark Twight.  I fall into the same school of thought; that pain reminds us all that we are alive and I’m perfectly content with the idea of never figuring out what the hell I’m doing all of this for.  All I embrace, is that I enjoy the hell out of my life too much to waste time sitting here thinking of “is this ok? should I be doing these things?”. Who cares! Well maybe you…but I’m too busy living my life to think about why I shouldn’t be doing the shit I do today.  In recent weeks, my good friend Courtney has been interviewing me about Ultras and mindset of maybe why people do this kind of stuff. I don’t know if I’m really helping her out or confusing her more but it’s been a great 2 interviews so far and the more I open up about the nature of the ultra world, the more reassured I feel about the sense of being lost. The more comfortable I get with this idea, the deeper it drives me to push myself beyond what I think I am capable.

Am I scared? Of course, I think anyone neglecting the natural reaction of being scared is missing a major part of how our body and mind naturally works. The thing is, I’m not scared of the things I’m going to embark on, its much different than that. My only fear in life these days, is that I won’t have enough years in my life to accomplish everything I want to do. The list grows everyday and the drive to do these things gets stronger and stronger but eventually when will it all end? Will it be stopped short? I know I shouldn’t think of worst case scenarios and shouldn’t fixate on the phrase “he just had SO much life ahead of him…” but I don’t want this to be me. If I could find a way to stay young forever I would, at the end of the day we are not invincible and my only hope is that by the time I’m sitting on a rocking chair sipping a drink and reminiscing, that I won’t regret anything or EVER allow myself to say “I wish I could of done ______ back when I was your age”. Can I see myself in that chair? Honestly no, part of me thinks people with this similar mindset don’t just grow old and wither away. It’s a sad and really dark thought but maybe some day I won’t have that luxury of dreaming about telling my grand children of the wild stories of grandpops life.  I’m ok with it.  As long as I live, I will always seek out what my heart is set on, the self-discovery, and the endless pursuit of happiness*.

*what ever that may be

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Generation what?

What is the end goal? Is there a destination? Where are we all running towards in such a hurry?
It seems to me, every time I talk to friends about this topic a common thing rises: unknown future.
I’m mysteriously comfortable these thoughts. Almost at ease with the idea of not knowing what’s next. My other half is full of anxiety. To quote the mountaineering movie “Cold”- What the fuck am I doing here?
Does anyone who thinks they have it all figured out dare step up and admit they’re lost too? What if everything you believed ended up being wrong, you weren’t meant to be a doctor, a mechanic, or a pilot after all. Are you happy right now? What about ten years from now…
I’ve always applied the same amount of passion and heart into everything I am involved with, from friends/lovers to things I’ve built or even destroyed. There is no clear path, no easy solution. This isn’t a simple algebraic expression that can be figured out, it was never meant to be. You are guided by your senses, maybe feelings, emotions, past experiences, intuition. Walking or perhaps running to what could be the edge of a cliff into a huge open void. Maybe the endless crevasse is the end result after all? Free-fall.
Freeing mind and body, weightless conscience. There’s no reason to keep adding life’s stones to your ruck sack. Near everyone’s end, should be the ultimate goal of emptying all of these rocks and finally taking the actual back pack off.
No need to accumulate a lifetimes worth of bullshit to look back and realize:
Man…climbing this mountain without all of this shit would have been a whole lot smarter.

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Born To Run 100K

….it’s 11:45am on Monday morning, Dan Auerbach’s My Last Mistake is blaring on the radio and I’m still trying to piece this weekend together that’s left me feeling like I just got back from Vegas.

Although..what happens in Los Olivos definitely does not stay in Los Olivos. The festivities, newly met friends, and overall experience are one hell of a story to tell your grand kids staring at your sombrero tattoo with “Mas Locos” scribbled under it.photo

Shortly after we arrived at the ranch, and we set up our tent, my mom goes “you better go get your beers, they’re about to start!”. Oh you’ve never done a Beer Mile before? yeah me neither. We all set up our cans on the start line which mind you is the raddest Start/Finish line of any ultra I’ve ever run. When the shotgun goes off, the runner turns around chugs one beer and sprints down the trail to a cone making the distance a 1/4 mile…4 beers, I think you get the riff now. Started off strong until I finished my second modelo, rookie mistake I had two different containers: 2 cans & 2 bottles.Photo 2013-05-20 12.43.20 PMChuggability affected, I slowed down considerably on the last two runs, none the less probably the quickest way to feel buzzed after 4 beers.  I’m not going to bullshit anyone here, I almost saw my chipotle come back up, definitely tasted my last meal more than a couple times. When in  Rome, right?

Class of '13

Class of ’13

Next event of the day was the Tarahumara ball racing; if you haven’t read Born To Run yet (you should), this ball game consists of kicking a hand carved ball the size of a tennis ball down the trail and being the first one to cross the line with your ball. We went in heats of five runners at a time, and what better than a shotgun start? (get used to the shotguns because there’s plenty more to come). The best way to describe this was “trying to control something completely uncontrollable”. photo-2The ball goes wherever the hell it feels like going, and all you can do is hope you’re the fastest at fetching your ball from under a car or way off course. Luckily Pat Sweeney(Beer Mile champion, bolla veteran, and to top it off 50K winner, congrats brother) went in the heat before me and I picked up on a few tips while watching him. Everyone was turned away from their ball, and when the shotgun went off participants would turn and kick the ball. Pat horse kicked the bolla so far down that he was off and sprinting before half the people had even kicked theirs: that was the move. A lot of us were still recovering from the beer mile, which I think probably added to the chaos but made it way more fun. I won my heat and scored a certificate from Luna Sandals(thank you Scott), which is greatly appreciated since Ive been wanting a pair for a while. The rest of the afternoon was spent drinking a bit more, uh you know carbo loading pretty much. Another great mexican meal washed down by a few more modelo’s, followed by Pre-race meeting where the rules where derived from Micah True’s “If I get lost, hurt, or die, its my OWN damn fault!”.photo No course map, which in Luis’ defense would have made it so much more confusing, an empty bottle of Fireball lay on the stage with all of the different trail markings which were placed the day before while properly hydrating the whole time….with fireball whiskey.

Who needs an alarm clock when you have Luis Escobar, a shotgun, and Banda music blaring about Sinaloa cartels at 4:15 in the morning? Exactly, put that iphone away… ain’t no snooze button on this one.  Slept fairly well despite feeling like I had one too many, made coffee, had a banana, aaand who cares lets get to the race already. Temps were a little chilly but the greatest advice I have ever gotten on how to dress for a race start from Bel Monte race director Russell Gill “if you’re comfortable at the Start line, you’re wearing too much”, I ended up ditching my tank top after 10 miles so apparently even that was too much for what turned out to be a beautiful sunny day. Another quick race brief and we were lining up for a mass start of the 10miler, 50K, 100K, and 100 miler. Yep, you read that correctly, everyone started at 6 am. At this moment, I dont think I knew who Loic was anymore. I stepped up to the front of the pack and thought it would be fun to completely disregard “pacing myself”, who knows…

The shotgun went off, and we burst out of the gates like a pack of wild dogs. After a few miles, I had started to realize that no one was slowing down and later found out from a fellow runner that we were anywhere from 5:15 to 7min miles. The first 10 mile loop called the pink loop was the easier one, with long sloping hilly sections, cows, and nice stretches of flat dirt roads. Before I knew it I was back at my truck. The course mildly resembles a figure 8 with your tent and Start/Finish line in the middle. I felt great and had picked up a running partner for the next few laps. Tyler was running the 100miler and kept the same pace, so off we went burning through the first 2 laps. We both laughed at wether we’d be regretting this a few more miles into it. This was pretty much my attitude for the whole race, I laughed at how bad and when I would bonk horribly and hit a concrete wall. The second loop is the Yellow loop, a bit harder, more elevation climb but not too too rough…unless you’re doing it 2 more times or in the case of the 100milers running it in the dark. With some steep ridgeline running and barely there single track, I’m sure this was super tough on the guys doing it at night.  I welcomed the long sloping downhills after this which kept me at a steady pace. Learning from last year’s mistakes of spending too much time in aid stations I’d think about what to grab before hitting them up, grab and go. Aside from the normal regimen of water, some Heed, those kid apple sauce pouches, and tortilla chips, I didn’t change much…up until the 3rd lap. The heat definitely started to affect mood and thirst so I reached in the cooler and chugged a corona on the run. That beer tasted so good and felt so amazing that every time after that I came in and chugged another.Photo 2013-05-20 12.49.15 PM

With every lap getting a little slower I was still wondering when I’d just die on the trail and have to sit down, maybe start talking to one of the many cows seen on the course. I do remember waving to one on the last 1o miles, kinda gave her a “whats up” head nod and was on my way. Right before I headed out and did my usual run and gun approach through the Start/Finish line I remember Luis going “thata boy! thats the way to fuckn do it!”(excuse my lack of censorship, i’ve been on a ranch for the past 3 days).  About half-way through this last lap I started thinking..”yeah that is the way to do it…”.  Just go for it, let the mind shut off for a bit, let the legs do their thing and whatever happens happens.  So what if I burn out half-way through? ok cool, I just walk my ass back to the finish line and enjoy the post race festivities.  I’m glad I didn’t listen to that slightly more mature reasoning part of my brain on Saturday. I crossed the finish line accomplishing 2 things I’d set out to do; not have to run with a headlamp, and enjoy the hell out of this race. The rest was bonus; my finishing time was 12:03 and I placed 3rd overall but to me the most important part of this weekend was the people I met, and how much fun the whole event was.Photo 2013-05-20 12.49.36 PM

To top it all off, I met the coolest traveling duo, quite possibly the most opposite people you could find. John and Sam drove out here with Sam’s rad 1990′s Warrior winnebago. Yeah I bagged on her a bit for not being in a tent but by Sunday I was a little jealous of this obvious status symbol in society, blue fuzzy carpet and all haha. I met these two by the campfire after the race, where we all took swigs of mezcal and drank more beers and talked about the race(ps. who got to the worm?). John zonked out early, but Sam and I waited for Tyler to finish his first 100miler, which despite us going 99mph on our first 20 miles together I’d have to say he did a badass job of maintaining and finishing under 24 hours.photo-1

To wrap the weekend up, this was nothing short of the most memorable experience so far this year. Thank you Luis Escobar and all volunteers for making this race possible, thank you to all the wonderful new people I’ve met who I hope to race with in the near future. Micah True thank you for inspiring so many people to share your passion, your spirit lives on.

Ok so here’s my side post because this is amazing:

My mom’s first exposure to Ultras was 2 years ago on my first attempt at Leadville Trail 100. Shortly after last year’s attempt and whilst on our roadtrip To/From Colorado, my mom rediscovered herself in the form of trailrunning. In it she found the same things I felt, at peace, almost like a form of meditation. This year, she started signing up for races and her last race was the Bandit 30K, which left the both of us feeling wrecked.  Less than a month  ago or a little more, my mom clicked the Register button for her first ultramarathon. I’m so proud of her for coming out and finishing the 50km this weekend, it feels unreal to say “yeah my mom and I ran an ultra together last week!”.

Are we “Mas Locos” or what?photo-3

Running at sunrise

Waking up 4 hours after falling asleep can be quite a challenge when you’re a hibernating bear like me. Once in a while I am reminded how wonderful it can be to just suck it up and hit the trails when it’s still dark. Most of my earlier morning pictures came out very blurry and dim(go figure) so I only posted the keepers. This morning was full of wildlife and bizarre noises coming from every other bush, too much marine layer to see an actual sunrise but man it was well worth it. Enjoy the pics! (Side note: I am posting from phone so I hope quality of pictures isn’t that crappy)

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Perks of getting my run in early? Just in time for coffee ;)

Whiting Ranch and music and lions

I’ll be completely honest I bushwhacked the first 1/4 mile from the river gully because there was a big chain across the entrance with a sign that read: “Trail Closed- Trespassers will be CITED blah blah blah”.  This is pretty much how it all started, a slow walk pace for about 20 minutes through thick brush, a few creek crossings, some orienteering by yours truly and…Bingo, the sandy Borrego Canyon Trail popped out of the bushes and trees.  Screen shot 2013-01-30 at 8.41.05 PMContinuing on, trying to pick up my pace and get a faster foot turn over was a bit hard since this is one of those sections where you barely notice the continuous but slight elevation gain.  This first part of the run you are running up a wash inside the canyons. The last time I was here was last summer, hiking with my friends Ursula(Travel Mango) & Kiyomi. The heat was brutal and bounced off the canyon walls to create a nice little geothermal oven.  The latest rains have washed tons of sand down the trails and left new water patterns and grooves all over, luckily everything was mostly dry in this area.  Once you come up to the first trail intersection, hook a right; Mustard rd which is just that, a fire road full of mustard…just kidding but its a decent climb all the way to the Four Corners. Shortly after going on to Mustard trail you can see (before mile 2) I took a left, this is Billy Goat trail.  Its just as hard as it looks from the road unless your name is Tony K. and you run the Flatirons every day haha. With a steep elevation gain that brings you to roughly 1,100 ft within your first 2 miles, its a hoot and well worth it.  As with most rapidly inclining trails, you end up clear of the trees and can see straight down Borrego canyon and down the other valleys on the other side.  Billy Goat trail is single track at its purest, with one point narrowing down to ridge line running, super fun. photo-3After continuing uphill for a bit more you come down steeply via switchback, I promise it looks way worse than it actually is. If you were to do the reverse of what I did, that switchback wouldn’t be nearly as hard as coming up the ridge(this is mostly directed towards “Kiyomi6peaks”).  You run right past the water tower and end up at the Four Corners, which from here you decide wether you want to come back the way you came from, take Mustard rd, or three other trails. photo-2I wanted to see something new and gain a bit more elevation so I kept going on Water tank rd, and cut a sharp left up Dreaded Hill trail.  Alright so up here is a bench in memory of a mountain biker, Mark Reynolds, trust me this link reference will pop up very shortly.  The view from up here is amazing, you can see Santiago Peak looming in the near distance and look out to all of Orange County in the other direction. Dreaded Hill, would be totally dreaded if ran up the opposite way I was coming from.  This was a fairly long and medium grade downhill slope, not really my type of terrain as it was just a really really big grassy hill(almost looked groomed). I really picked up pace here, and finally got down to the last 2 miles.  As I flew by this last trail intersection, I jumped and paused for a split second. A super loud very low toned meow/growl came out from my left, I saw a yellowish blonde spot of fur not too far, leap away and take off. It took me about .0003645 seconds to realize it was most likely a mountain lion since this is prime cat territory and there is always sightings here with signs posted on the trail heads. Of course I did the worse thing you could do with these furry predators and took off at a full blown sprint uphill.Forrest_Gump_running_alabama_jenny

Prior to writing this post I researched mountain lion attacks, frequency, prevention and such, almost all websites of course say to stay put as the cats may think you are prey running away….oh….ok. I’m feeling pretty lucky since A. I actually encountered wildlife other than deer and rabbits in all my miles and hours spent in the wilderness, but B. most importantly I didn’t get pounced on. This event definitely prompted me to study these bad boys a little more, lucky for Californians there’s only been 14 attacks of which 6 were deadly in 123 years. Other wise read as; you’re more likely to get attacked by a shark, struck by lightning(twice), crash in an airline flight, or die in a car crash….sorry guys didn’t mean to kill the mood.

Here’s what some people do32fff49b

OK all kidding aside, here’s what you SHOULD do:

MountainLionAttackProtocol

Alright so after this little encounter, I finished up my run exiting on to Portola and running a little road…yes road because the park is shaped like a big ol’ upside down U so I couldn’t loop it all.  This is a great run if you want to get major hillwork in, don’t want to do too much distance, in essence: more bang for your miles! I’ll be heading to Whiting Ranch a bit more now since my race has a ton of elevation gain within the first few miles and this is the perfect place to do it. Don’t be deterred by the mountain lion sighting, this is very very rare. Just be aware of your surrounding, pay attention on narrow paths below rock formations and don’t run trails with music so loud you can’t hear other people or big cats growling at you (mountain lions haaaaaate being ignored! So rude.)

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So my second thought after reading Timothy Olson‘s blog was my short trail running music mix I always update or change. Here’s a little peek into what’s currently on it and a little reason why I have songs on there. I know a lot of you are going to be like “what the? this stuff is soft man!” but I switched over from putting punk or even some old-school hardcore for more mellow stuff. I found out that it helped 100x more with getting into a consistent breathing rhythm. For lifting? yeah sure I need something that gets me psyched, but for running especially in races for 10+ hours, I need to zone out and chill. I know Randy(the most metalhead trail grampa ever) is gonna laugh at this playlist:

“Fancy Claps” and “Shine A Light” by Wolf Parade: think the only reason its on there is nostalgic, and the song always comes on when i’m suffering uphill climbs…imagine that

“Ulvetid” by Kvelertak: ok just kidding this song is hard, like very hard, as in don’t Youtube this at work if your computer has speakers (Randy, you’ll like these guys). Thanks to good friend Emily for giving me this cd on my road trip across America, this Norwegian viking-metal band will knock your socks off and wake up the neighbors…I needed at LEAST one song that got me through really shi**y times. When feeling masochistic and going “death miles per hour”, I throw in the whole album.

“Lonely Boy” and “Run Right Back” by The Black Keys: black keys will forever be on this play list, I just keep rotating old and new songs, think there’s more than two or three constantly on here and yes I do dig the older albums but have over played them.

“Blue Orchid” and “Girl, You Have No Faith in Medicine” by The White Stripes: kind of like how I have black keys on rotation, I own all of their albums so I pick a few to rotate in to this mix. Great beats, and love how raw they sound some times.

“Home” by Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros: this songs gotten me out of some pretty dark holes during Bel Monte 50miler and just has an upbeat feel to it, helps me see the brighter side of things when I’m on the trail.

“Helena Beat”, “Miss You” and “Life On The Nickel” by Foster The People: no I didn’t just discover them, I just really dig the beats and saw them before they played sold out stadiums, I know…I’m so underground hahaha. Brings back good memories and times of my life.

“I Feel It All” by Feist: I have this crush on Leslie F. and maybe one day she’ll read this blog and be like “omg I love that ginger!” and realize we were meant for each other…haha ok no but her voice is dead sexy.

“Intraspettro” by Les Hommes: I HAVE NO IDEA WHERE I GOT THIS, but the album is called Pink Panther’s Penthouse Party. I don’t know WHERE this party is, but I def need to meet this pink panther and chill at his penthouse. The song always comes at a great time when I’m cruising down a trail at a great pace, just overall good vibes. Thanks Panther dude!

“I Love U So” by Cassius: I think my brother originally had this on a house mix but I didn’t think it fit well and instead threw it in this rotation, now it feels more at home. The song is melodic, a bit dramatic, almost dream like and this is about 90% of what my brain feels like on the trails. I’m not all there when running trails, hence the glazed-over-1000 mile stare in my eyes if you ever cross paths with me on a backcountry trail.

alright I think that’s all of for now, I’d love some feedback of what you listen to while running, maybe even what scares you the most about trails etc, any wild life encounters? Cheers guys and gals!

That’s cunning!

ashfoxandkylie

Definition of cunning

adjective

  • 1. having or showing skill in achieving one’s ends by deceit or evasion:a cunning look came into his eyes
  • ingenious:plants have evolved cunning defences
  • 2. North American attractive or quaint:Baby will look too cunning for anything in that pink print

noun

[mass noun]

  • skill in achieving one’s ends by deceit:a statesman to whom cunning had come as second nature
  • ingenuity:what resources of energy and cunning it took just to survive

2012 in review: Blog Stats

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 6,300 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 11 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

Running into 2013(part 1)

Take no prisoners, this is my year.

Tired of just “thinking” about doing epic things, I woke up on Dec 31st, hesitated for about 40 minutes…and off I went.  Like many of my trail runs, unplanned, unknown mileage, and last minute decisions of trail choice was the motto.  Driving to Blackstar canyon, I looked over at Santiago Peak looming in the near distance, “well…” I thought, “I’m here, so might as well end the year with a bang.”

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Fully knowing a summit attempt this late would probably find me running down the mountain in pitch black, I set off anyway around 1pm with one 20oz bottle of water, 4 gels and a kids clif bar. I knew it had rained hard for the last couple days so I parked my truck at the road entrance for fear of swollen river crossings and muddy roads. I figured the 2-3 miles of dirt road to the trailhead would be a great warm-up. After sucking wind for about 45 minutes I looked down at my GPS: 4.7 miles. Great I thought;  just smoked myself before running 8 miles straight up with roughly 4,000 feet of elevation gain. My brother had told me he saw some snow up on the top but with no recollection of seeing anything; off I went (super under dressed). Passed a few weekend hikers going to Holy Jim falls and so far so good, weather was a little chilly but sunny, and trails for the most part were dry. This first section is mildly technical with stream crossings and some rock hopping until you get to the switch backs, which were fully exposed to sun and not too steep of a gradient. This is where I would make up most of my time, as these are considered “runnable”.

Sidenote: I didn’t really understand why I was sucking wind until I looked at the data for the road section:

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shoesinsnow

Shout out to Salomon Running, maybe should have gone with Climashield though?

Snow started appearing 3 miles up the trail, this was a bit alarming. Slowly but surely, with each mile came more unmelted patches of snow until I found myself running through 3-10 inches of fresh powder.  With no prior experience of trail running in snow, my pace slowed down to the top until forced to just power hike the last half mile, carefully digging in each foot to make sure I had good footing. IMG_3374The weather was still sunny but temperatures had dropped to about 35 degres Fahrenheit, I tried quickening my pace but the soft snow kept slowing me down. The last 2 mile section was in the shade the whole time and with me not being able to run, my body temp dropped super fast.  At times like these your mind loves to start playing games; you start to think of the lightweight fleece you left in the vehicle, the nice thicker wool socks back at home, or how in colder weather you burn more calories…and you only have 200 calories of nutrition left.  Needless to say this was my toughest point of the trip, and being all too familiar with these lows, I went into ultra mode: shut the mind off for a minute, deep breath and one foot in front of the other-”Relentless forward progress”.  IMG_3383Hands and face numb, I finally reached the USGS summit mark in exactly 2:30.06.  The scene on the summit was super eery. Fresh snow and wind striations indicated it had been a super windy night up here. Dead silence except for the occasional ice cracking off the radio towers.  Clouds were rolling in quick so I snapped a few pictures before the beautiful panoramas would be covered.

Backside(side you can't see from Irvine/Orange County)

Backside(side you can’t see from Irvine/Orange County)

Looking out North-West

Looking out North-West

Frontside, Orange County would be down here.

Frontside, Orange County would be down here.

After these few shots, I could barely feel my fingers and had trouble putting on my jacket which I luckily had packed.  The rest of my nutrition went down the hatch which included a kids Clif Zbar and one final gel I would hang on too. After packing some snow in my bottle, I set off down the mountain.  This is why I truly love mountain running, all of that hard work and pain to get to the top, finally rewarded by being able to blaze down at a suicide pace. The time was now 4pm and if I wanted to be on time to work for NYE, I HAD to haul ass. I passed a couple hikers would were hoping to reach the top before sunset, which I’m not sure they did since the sun was already behind the mountain.  It’s funny how quick you can forget about pain and discontent once you’re flying down a mountain, hoot and haulering like a little kid. My main concern was getting off the trail before pitch black, because…yep of course my headlamp was in the truck. I slipped a few times and stubbed my toe on one too many rocks, but black toe nails eventually fall off and grow back….right? On the way down I ran into a couple hiking out who would later give me a ride back to my truck.  This turned out to be a blessing from the mountain gods because after contemplating running that road back out, the thought of running 5 more miles with no light, no food/water and working all night? no thanks!  The descent took me 1:15:00 on the dot, bringing the round trip from Holy Jim Trailhead to Summit in 3:45:06, but adding the extra 4.7 brought my total run time to 4:30:42. This was the only way for me to feel like 2012 was finally over.  With my first 50 miler, 70 miler and another trip to Leadville in the bag, running a winter summit was the cherry on top. My next goal, was to start the year off with 13 miles….

(to be continued)

not cold at all.....

not cold at all…..

Cold

…what the f am i doing here…

for the past 26 years 16 expeditions have tried and failed to climb one of pakistan’s 8,000 meter peaks in winter.

on february 2, 2011, simone moro, denis urubko and cory richards became the first. cory is now the only american to summit any 8,000 meter peak in winter.

the journey nearly killed them. cory carried a small camera and filmed the ordeal constantly.

this is their story, as seen from the raw, honest perspective of cory’s lens.
cinematography: cory richards
directed and edited: anson fogel
written: kelly cordes
produced: julie kennedy, david burden, forge motion pictures
in association with: the north face, the access fund, petzl

movie can be bought & downloaded here: Sender films