Thursday, March 25, 2010


Craig and I met at 5:45 this morning to climb South Peak (above Herriman). There is no trail, and we had to just go straight up bushwhacking our way over boulders, brush and snow. We were hiking really fast and made it to the summit in 46:00.

It was really cold on top and we had an amazing view of the sunrise and the Salt Lake Valley below. We took our obligatory peak jumping photos and then had some fun messing around on a radio tower that had blown over just below the summit. I added some pictures that you can see in the post below.

The hike down was much easier. We went down on a game trail that we found and it ended up being less of a bushwhack, but I did get tagged on the foot by a cactus... ouch!

We made it into work just after 8:00 and it was the perfect way to start the day. So far in 2010 I have climbed 8 peaks, so I need to get my butt in gear if I want to finish with 52 for the year.


I attempted to run my first ultra-marathon on 3/18/2010 with ultra runner Davy Crockett and Craig Lloyd. Davy is very well known in the ultra world and does several 100 mile races every year. Here is the trip report I posted on my exercise blog:

What a day! I went for a long run with Crockett and Jun out in the Cedar Valley this morning. I didn't sleep well at all last night, but when I woke up I was excited about the run and I was wide awake even though it was 2:15 AM.

I met Crockett and Jun at 3:00 and we headed out to the Cedar Valley west of Eagle Mountain. We planned on doing 4 loops with a total of 40 miles. My goal was to at least get a marathon, but I really wanted to get an ultra distance if my legs would allow it.

It was pretty cold out and I bundled up, and we were quickly off and running on the first loop. The time seemed to fly by and before I knew it we were in Eagle Mountain. I was only slightly paying attention to our exact route because I was enjoying the good conversation, and that would come back to haunt me later in the morning. Eventually, we ended up back on the dirt road where the cars were and a few minutes later we were there and Jun and I took a two minute break, while Crockett went ahead.

The next loop was pretty long, almost 10 miles. We ran out to Camp Floyd south of Cedar Fort. It was a lot of fun talking and the time really seemed to go quickly. I was feeling really good the whole way, but I did notice that my legs were getting a little tired. Cardio wise I felt really strong.

When we reached camp Floyd we took a quick break and used the bathroom that had to be the warmest public bathroom I have ever been in. It felt good to warm up for a minute.
On the way back to the cars my legs got progressively more tired and I slowly dropped behind Crockett, although I could see his light almost all the way back. Eventually, I came to where the road forks and I turned left and I could no longer see Crockett's light. After I passed the road that we took on the first loop I started to second guess myself because I couldn't see any headlamps. I traveled the right way for a few minutes, but still couldn't see the other guys lights, and then I started to wonder if I really was close to the cars or if I still had a mile or more to go. I went back and forth on whether I should stay on the road (going the right way) or go back to the road. I realized that I wasn't sure and now I was wishing that I had the map Jun had made for me, but I had neglected to get from him. I was confused and it was dark, and I couldn't see anything except for the lights of Eagle Mountain, and Cedar Fort. I just didn't know which way was right and I was confused, so I second guessed myself and went back to the road I had passed. I started to go down that road for a while and then I thought maybe I just wasn't as close to the cars as I had thought.

When the road started heading south again I knew exactly where I was, but this is where I made the worst decision of the day. I decided to just do the first loop over again instead of going back. I thought to myself that I could remember where we had gone, but when I made it into Eagle mountain I just couldn't remember exactly which road we had taken. I second guessed myself several times, and spent the next hour going up and down multiple roads searching in vain for anything that looked familiar.

This was the worst part of the day for me. It was VERY cold and my water hose was completely frozen. I was really needing some energy and the cold just sapped any reserves that I had. It got light and after searching and moving where I thought the road was, I finally ran into a guy that was outside and asked if he knew where the Pony Express road was. I explained where we had come in, and he knew exactly where I needed to go. I was less than a quarter of a mile from the road, and I was heading in the right direction. It was a great feeling and really lifted my spirits.

When I got back to the car I was sooooo COLD and shivering. I got in my car and turned the heater on high. After a few minutes Crockett showed up and said he had been looking all over for me for the last 40 minutes and I felt really bad that I had caused him to take more time out of his day. Thanks Crockett! It took me at least 30 minutes to warm up and that is when Jun showed up. We ate some snacks and laughed about me getting lost. I can't believe I did that.
I told Jun that my right ITB was a little sore and sitting there in the car for 50 minutes really made my joints and knees stiff. We decided to do the long loop out to Cedar Fort, and the first half mile was very painful for me because I was so stiff. Once I warmed up I got into a little groove, although it was slow and I tried my best to stay with Jun who was about a quarter of a mile ahead.

After about 2.5 miles I could see Jun stop to stretch his ITB and after a few minutes he started coming back to me, so I thought maybe it was really bothering him. I was right. We both decided that it would be best to turn around and not make things worse. Both of us were experiencing some pretty good ITB pain. We ran for a while, but eventually walked a good portion of the way back to the car. It was fun even though we were both sore. We decided that the Redneck beer of choice is Bud Light, with Natural light a close second followed by Busch. There were so many cans out there. What kind of slob just throws their trash on the ground? I don't understand.
We figured that I was at 24 miles and Jun was at 31, I really wanted to get a marathon distance in, so I told Jun I was heading straight for the treadmill, and I did. I did 3 of the most painful treadmill miles of my life. I went slow, but I felt good afterward for at least reaching that goal. I think I probably went at least another mile roaming around Eagle Mountain, but I am not sure exactly how far I went.

It was a really fun day, and I learned some good lessons and actually had a great time despite getting lost. Thanks again Jun and Crockett. Total miles for the day- 27

Pictures from Mt. Wire/Red Butte on 3/13


What a fantastic day! I met Craig and Matt Ricks at the trailhead for Mt. Wire (Big Beacon) at 6:00 am this morning. It wasn't very cold, but we did have to deal with some wind for the first hour. Twinkies and Jun were total mountain goats today, and I spent the whole time trying to catch them.

Mt. Wire is pretty steep, so we ran/hiked our way up, and enjoyed the best sunrise of the year so far about 3/4 of the way up. The sun was coming up over the Wasatch Mountains, and it was very impressive. I stopped for a minute to check out the sun, look at the SL Valley and once again I was reminded why I do this. You just can't beat those views.

We were all talking about cougars, and Jun kept calling "Here kitty kitty". On one of the saddles I noticed a few cougar tracks in the snow, and it kind of made me think for a few minutes about my situation. I was in last place and I seem to recall that cougars will usually go after the lame or slower animals, and since it was breakfast time, I had to keep looking back to make sure I wasn't being followed. I made it to the summit of Wire in about 53 minutes, give or take a minute. We were going pretty fast, especially Jun and Twinkies. After our obligatory summit jumps we headed over to the summit of Red Butte. I was trying to find a good song on the ipod, and I stopped for only a minute and I was waaaay behind.

I had a minor wardrobe malfunction coming down from Red Butte, and the boys were kind enough to wait for me. Once we got down to a saddle, Twinkies lead us down a pretty technical trail and I could not keep up with them. Wow, they were flying.

We headed over to do the Red Butte loop and there were more hills to climb. I was pretty tired by now, and I wasn't enjoying the hills at all. I mean I usually like hills, but these guys like to run fast up them. Feel the BURN! I finally stopped trying to keep up with Jun and Twinkies the last 1.5 miles. My legs were tired and they were still bounding along like they just started.
Finished in about 2:35 (Estimate) and just under 10 miles with about 1500 ft. of elevation gain. It was an amazing morning, and I can't wait to do it again. Thanks for pushing me this morning guys. I loved every minute of it.

Spring is here

3/12/2010- Took a lunch break and met Craig at the LCC park-n-ride to do a run. We ran to Bell Canyon trailhead, up to the reservoir, around the lake, and then back to LCC. It was fun, the sun was out and we both had our shirts off coming down the trail. It feels so good to have the sun on your skin after the long winter. Back at the PNR and Craig talked me into staying for some climbing. We hit the boulders and I did 3 easy problems, although I didn't finish the last one, a long traverse that required a lot of upper body strength. I got tired at the end because I had a big lifting session the night before, and my triceps were screaming, so I didn't make it over the final lip. I'll definitely go back and get that one when I am fresh. What a fun day!

Friday, March 12, 2010

2010 update

3/4/2010- I climbed Mt. Olympus before work this morning. The weather was perfect when we started and I didn’t put my jacket on at all until I reached the summit. The trail had quite a lot of snow/ice on it after the first stream crossing, and it really slowed me down. The last ¼ of a mile was a little sketchy because of the icy boulders, but nothing too serious. We just had to take care and take a few places kind of slow. Once on top it started to snow, so I put on my fleece jacket.

When we got back down to the saddle it cleared up, and it was warm the rest of the way down. I did slip and fall twice on the way down, and the last one was pretty bad. I had just taken off my gloves and pulled up my sleeves and I got some serious road rash on my arm, bruised my shoulder and took off all of the skin on my pinky knuckle. It was the only negative of the day though. I think that was my 6th time on top in the winter, and my 6th mountain in 2010.

3/6/2010- Had a really fun run this morning with Craig Lloyd and Matt Ricks. We started in City Creek canyon. Matt was running 33 miles and came from his home in Bountiful, so he had already done 8 when he met us at the Capitol building. The wind was really strong and it was cold when we started at 6:00 am, but after about 15 minutes I warmed up. Once we were on the BST trail it got steep really quick. The trail conditions were horrible with snow, ice and frozen slush. It was really tough on the legs.

Matt and Craig were faster than I was, and I spent the first hour and a half trying to catch them. We went up and over several small hills, and the trail was really steep at times, but it finally mellowed out about when we got to the Avenues Twin peaks. I was so tempted to bail on the run and climb up to the top because we were so close, but I kept going. At 8:00 I knew I had to turn around because of the time. I was almost to the base of Mount Van Cott above the U. I couldn’t see Matt or Craig, and I was hoping they weren’t waiting for me somewhere.

After about 20 minutes of running back Craig caught up to me and we ran together for a while before he took off ahead. I stopped with a few miles to go to take a few gels, and Matt caught up to me. We ran the rest of the way together, and he was really fast on the downhills, and it was tough keeping up with him, but I did. We finally got back to the car about 9:15. I had brought some food and Gatorade for Matt, so he took a nice break and refueled before doing the final 8 miles back home. I finished with 13 miles for the day. That was a tough 13, but a lot of fun, and it gave me 30 miles for the week.

Monday, March 8, 2010


I have always loved reading maps, and when I began to really have passion for climbing peaks I would always look for the marked mountains on any map that I looked at. Sometime in the mid-nineties I became interested in highpointing (climbing the highest peak in a state) and also climbing the Colorado 14ers (peaks in Colorado over 14,000 ft). Most of this interest started from seeing the peaks marked on maps, and then trying to find out as much information as I could about them. After setting some goals to climb these peaks, I discovered that there was an actual club dedicated to Highpointing, so I joined, and soon I started receiving their monthly newsletters, which really got me excited about the peaks. I have to say that I am not extremely interested in the highpoints outside of the Western U.S., although I can see myself climbing them one day when I am too old to get on the big stuff.
Kings Peak- I climbed my first Highpoint in the summer of 1997 with my friends Scott Thorstensen and Brad Rosenhan. I had wanted to climb Kings Peak for a long time because it was the highest point in Utah, and had my attention very early on after I started climbing mountains. I had a guide book “Hiking Utah” that had a description of the hike and had some drawn maps, and after reading this over and over for a few years I decided that I could definitely climb the peak. Early on I had heard some horror stories about how difficult it was, and that only experienced mountaineers should ever attempt it, so it did take some time to change my thinking and realize that I could do it.
My first attempt on Kings didn’t turn out so well. I was with my friends Scott Thostensen, Jackson Ferguson and Brett Weaver. We decided to do this as a three day/two night backpacking trip, and for the most part we had a great time. We spent the first night camping at Dollar Lake, and that is where everything took a turn for the worse. I had a restless night sleep, and woke up early in the morning with some of the worst stomach issues I have ever experienced. I was extremely sick, throwing up multiple times and there was no way I could make the summit climb. I told them to go on without me, and I spent the day in the fetal position in my tent. It was a terrible experience, and I thought that I had food poisoning, but I later discovered that I have a tendency to get altitude sickness when I camp at high elevations (above 10,000 feet) or climb too high without being properly acclimatized. The other three made the summit after waiting out a storm high on the mountain. I was upset, but motivated, so I returned with Scott and Brad, and this time I did make it to the top, even though I again suffered with some altitude issues. It was an amazing experience and I have been back to the summit 5 more times, and plan on doing it every year as long as I am physically able to do so.
Boundary Peak Nevada/ Mount Whitney California- In 1999 I took a trip with my good friends Brandon Nielsen, Curt Schoenfeld and his brother Greg to the summits of these two highpoints. You can read the trip report here:
Mt. Whitney is the highest point in the United States outside of Alaska, and it was a surreal experience to stand on the summit by myself in a snow storm in July, knowing that there was nobody in the lower 48 that was higher than I was.
In May 2001 I reached the summit of Humphreys Peak , the highest point in Arizona. It was a fun trip with Dustin Call and Adam Roddy, with a side trip to the Grand Canyon.
Gannett Peak, Wyoming- In July 2000 I made my first attempt to reach the summit of Gannett Peak. I fell in love with this peak a few years earlier after reading about it on the internet. No other peak has had a grip on my quite like this one. I love everything about it. My first attempt was filled with mishaps, mistakes, and my propensity for altitude issues ended up doing me in. After our hike to our first camp I became extremely sick, throwing up several times, and eventually throwing up blood, which scared everyone. We were in one of the most remote places in the country. We were 22 miles of rough hiking to the nearest trailhead without cell coverage, and I know my friends were very worried about me. On day two I felt somewhat better, but everyone decided I shouldn’t go up, so Jackson Ferguson gave up his summit attempt and hiked out with me. We ended up going almost 40 miles carrying 65 pound packs and saw some incredible scenery. The other three guys in our group Curt S., Greg S. and Adam R.) all made the summit on a bluebird day. My desire to summit Gannett only increased, and getting my first look at it from Scenic Pass was intimidating, awe inspiring and seared into my memory forever. What an incredible place.
I went back to Gannett in 2001 and finally reached the top. You can read a trip report here:
I have to say that Gannett is still my favorite peak.
Mt. Elbert, Colorado- The second highest peak in the lower 48 states, but definitely not one of the best. I also reached the summit in 2001 and you can read my trip report here:
This was the coldest summit I have ever had the privilege to stand on.
Mount Hood, Oregon- I have made two attempts to climb Mount Hood. The first time we got stuck in a massive storm, and tried to wait it out in one of the ski shacks high on the mountain, but the weather never let up. The wind and snow were blowing hard, and it looked like a movie from Everest. It was surreal for sure. The second attempt was also an incredible experience. There was a raging storm up until 8500 ft, where the cloud cap was. Everything below was atrocious, but above 8500 it was sunny with blue skies. It was one of the most impressive things I have ever seen. I stopped just before the final steep slope because I wasn’t comfortable with the avalanche conditions after talking to one of the climbing rangers. I still think about that decision all the time. My partners all made the summit while I was warming my feet back in the Timberline Lodge.
Mt. Rainier, Washington- I have wanted to climb Rainier for several years now, and in 2007 I was part of an 11 person expedition. The main issues we had (besides the weather) were trying to mesh all of the personalities of the group. It was not good. The hike up to Camp Muir was probably the most difficult day I have ever experienced in the mountains. We had to climb over 6,000 feet with 65 pound packs on the Muir snowfield. It was an exhausting experience. At one point I stopped to take a break on a steep slope and fell asleep within seconds. I woke up very chilled, and the only thing that kept me going was not wanting to spend the night there. One of our group members turned back because he was too tired and another barely made it before nightfall. Setting up our tent on the solid ice was a difficult proposition because of the wind and our exhaustion, so we ended up sleeping in the public climbers hut, where we witnessed a guy that was unconscious and looked like death after his summit push. His friends were very worried about him. A major storm moved in a few hours after we arrived and with high winds and snow I wasn’t going to risk going up on a few hours of sleep, especially because I was dehydrated and cramping. Some of our group tried to go for the summit, but came back within an hour because of the conditions. The storm raged and in the morning the climbing rangers offered to escort us back down and that is when I knew it was a bad storm. Most of our group panicked, and a few of the more vocal guys persuaded almost everyone else to go down. I wanted to wait out the storm because I had 3 days until my flight back to Utah, but only my brother-in-law would stay with me, and we needed one more for the rope team. The next morning I caught an early flight, and was absolutely sick when I saw Rainier completely clear of clouds above 8,000 feet. I’ll be back when I get the right group together. I definitely learned a lot on that trip.
Borah Peak, Idaho- In October 2001 I had major surgery to remove a tumor from my spinal cord. I didn’t do much physical activity for 6-8 months afterward, and I had a lot of physical therapy and pain to get over before I could get out into the mountains again. I wanted Borah to be the first major peak that I climbed because I knew it would be a challenge, and I had been eying it for a few years. You can read the trip report here:

Highpoints still on my list to climb:
Granite Peak, Montana
Wheeler Peak, New Mexico
Mt. Hood, Oregon
Mt. Rainier, Washington
I expect to climb these four peaks in the next 5 years at some point. I am also working on climbing all 54 Colorado 14ers. I have 8 so far, and hopefully I can get out to Colorado this year to add a few more.