Collegiate Peaks Weekend
|Almost a full moon|
|Dawn near the Yale summit|
|Sunrise on Yale|
Demoralized and exhausted, I borrowed the library's internet to research my options (there is no cell signal anywhere out there, for Sprint at least). I decided to part at Missouri Gulch Trailhead on the north side of the collegiate peaks area. I drove up there and slept in the car until 3am. The climb up Belford was pretty straightforward. The moon was so bright I was able to kill my headlamp for part of the way. While it was on, I did look to my left and see a very large pair of eyes reflecting the LED light. I've no idea what it was, but it was big. I was first to make the summit of Belford that day. I sat out of the wind for a bit then headed across the saddle to Oxford. Coming back from Oxford, I was actually able to do some running. My body definitely handled the elevation better the second day. I ran most of the way down from Belford. I find the scree is actually easier to navigate at a jog than a walk. The braking required to maintain a walk just causes you to slip.
|Looking back at Belford on the way to Oxford|
|The view from Oxford|
I ran out of gas at the base of Columbia but that could have been due to missing a night's sleep. The next day I felt much more energetic. To train, I ran the local trails, did hour stints on the stairclimber three days a week for 3 or 4 weeks, and the kettlebell swings described in an earlier post. I don't know that a 45 mile push was too ambitious had I had the camping gear.
The important thing is that this is totally doable. I live at 900 feet elevation. In this case, my flight and rental were covered, but the spend on those would have been $100 for plane ticket, $120 for 2 day rental, $20 for airport parking and $20 for gas. The only other money I spent was $20 for lunch in Leadville. I spent maybe $10 on Clif bars and $6 on water purification tablets. No hotels and few meals made it a ridiculously cheap adventure.