June was a decent training month for me. I am still trying to overcome some tendonitis in my left hamstring and because it is still nagging I have had to dial back my training more than I would have liked, but the good news is that seems to be working and I can tell that it is finally getting better. With just over two months to go until the Wasatch 100 I really need to amp up my miles and get in some good long training runs over the next two months. Hopefully my hammy will cooperate.
I was finally able to get some sweet Wasatch elevation in June tagging 7 11kers and doing some really fun runs/scrambles/climbs. Probably the best adventure of the month was climbing the South Ridge of Mt. Superior with Matt Van Horn and Craig Lloyd.
Mt. Superior South Ridge with Craig and MattVS:
I was up at 3:30 am to climb Mt. Superior via the South Ridge. The S. Ridge
is one of the best mountaineering scrambles in the Wasatch and this would be my
second time climbing Superior on this route. The route is very prominent from
Snowbird and Alta ski resorts and it starts off with some nice scrambling
followed by several exposed knife edges and ends with a loose scramble over a
pile of rocks at the summit of Superior. If you don't like heights this is not
the route for you. It is very exposed and requires several dodgy moves, but
there are ample hand holds and as long as you take your time with route finding
it never gets too bad (that is relative).
We started just before 5:00 am at Snowbird and it was cold (35ish) and I
forgot my gloves. Ahh Shite! We crossed the street and bushwhacked our way up to
the lower ridge where there are several ledges to work your way up. The first
several hundred feet aren't too bad, but there are a lot of loose rocks and you
have to take care and make sure of your hand and feet placements. I was a bit
behind the other guys most of the day and the downside was they kicked off some
rocks. Craig knocked off a few that I heard coming and I ducked below a bigger
rock and could hear them flying down right next to me. Nothing serious. After
about 5 pictures with my camera I realized that I didn't have the memory card
(shit again) so I would have to take pics with my iphone. Not good.
After about 40 minutes the fun really began as the ridge turns into a knife
edge and the scrambling becomes much tougher and a lot scarier. There is plenty
of exposure on both sides and I just tried to have good hand and foot placements
as I made my way across. About half way up there is a sign dedicated to Hartman
Rector, a man that lost his life climbing on this ridge several years back. It
is a good reminder of the seriousness of the terrain. I spent most of the
morning trying to catch up to the guys and they were nice enough to wait. The
serious scrambling went for about an hour although it seemed like we had been on
it for hours. There are 2-3 really scary sections and for the first time in a
long time I heard Jun say "That is scary" and he said it a few times. He doesn't
say that often.
After working our way around the crux section it is a scramble over some very
loose rocks up to the summit. The guys got ahead again and they made it to the
top and went over to tag Monte Cristo while they waited for me. We all arrived
back at Superior at about the same time and I realized I was out of water and my
energy was really low, so I took a gel. We took the East ridge back and it is
not one of my favorite places in the Wasatch. It is steep and very loose and you
have to take it easy with all of the slippery rocks. I hate it, but there aren't
many options up there. Again the guys got ahead and waited for me up on a small
peak just above Cardiff Pass.
At the pass I emptied several rocks out of my shoes and then we ran all the
way back down to the canyon road. Again they got ahead of me, but I wasn't going
to run fast with all of the rocks on that trail. The trail ends right at Alta
ski resort so I ran the canyon road back to Snowbird. The guys were out of sight
by now and just before I reached the parking area they came to pick me up. What
an awesome day and experience. The South Ridge is challenging and scary, but it
is incredible to work your way up that thing and finish it off. I give it 5
stars. Back down at the LCC park n ride Matt and I both had a dirtbag shower and
got ready for work laughing the whole time. It was a perfect morning.
Matt put together a sweet video of our climb. Check it out. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dwb7AGZYmNw&feature=colike