Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Where’s Karl?

August 21, 2008

Karl Meltzer has let go of his AT Record attempt (for now) and is waiting for his injured shin to heal before continuing. I received this update from him this morning:

Well Buzz we have some issues. My Tendentious is coming around, and I hope to get back on the trail by Saturday or Sunday. This (trip) really is intense, nothing like going every day all day. It’s my next new step into the world of adventure running. I’m chalking this one up to a learning experience and it’s important to get it done no matter how long it takes, mostly to learn logistics for the 2009 assault number 2. I’m excited to start over next year already.
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AT Record – Day 7

August 11, 2008

 

Here’s the update at Day 7 of Karl’s attempt to break the AT record. 

The going has been tough.  A summer of torrential rain has left the trails sloppy and slow, and it’s been raining on them since they started.  A veteran New Englander told me:  “2008 is going to be a very tough year to break any record out here”.
However, Karl is in good spirits, continues to move well, and has great support.  His current crew chief, Marit from backcountry.com told me:
“Yesterday was the hardest day so far.  The boys got 47 miles, with almost 14,000′ of vert, and the last 13 miles were in a torrential downpour.  They got in the miles but it took 2.5 hours longer than expected.  The conditions are super horrible.  Last night was the first night Karl couldn’t smile. He’s looking gnarly.  He has on huge blister, as his feet haven’t been dry for 7 days.”
“Matt is going to stay with him thru Maine.  It’s better to have someone out there.  They are using every second of daylight, like you suggested.”
They are only 18 miles behind schedule, all from Day 4 when they didn’t take a ferry across the Kennebunk River; this is nothing considering the conditions, and Karl’s timetable thru the White Mountains was quick to begin with.  If the conditions dry out further south, 18 miles will not be a problem.
The whereskarl.com website is state-of-the-art, and the excellent blog Marit is doing includes photos, video, and more.
Karl is carrying a SPOT locater beacon that pings every 10 minutes, and is then plotted on the same website.  To find the tracking map, click “On the Trail” from the menu on the bottom left.  The forest cover is quite dense, which may have explained why the early days were not tracking well; the company sent the crew a new unit via Overnight Delivery last Thursday to make sure the problem wasn’t with the device.
A very good local story, worth reading, can be found here. 

The best background/overview of the AT Record attempt is found here.

Extra Mile Endurathon

June 2, 2008

 

     The “Extra Mile Endurathon” is sort of a bizarre event.  There’s one taking place in Boulder right now,  I just checked it out, so thought I’d share – – –
     A group of people start walking.  The group must stay together, walk at the same speed, and at pre-determined intervals they all stop together for a 10 minute break.  This goes on for DAYS, until only one person is left standing, and he or she must walk one more mile (thus the name), and is declared the winner.

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Hyper-Canyoneering in Zion National Park

May 26, 2008

In the hugely growing sport of high speed canyoneering (I think that there are probably 2 or 3 of us out there 🙂 ) I have a few potential records to throw out there. 

November 23, 2007

Long-time friend, climber extraordinaire, and extremely talented canyoneer Ryan McDermott and I were in Zion for another weekend of adventure.  When we arrived we had a spare hour so we thought we’d try to set a record on Pine Creek.  We know it fairly well after having done is a dozen times or so.  With a 60m rope, and a single 100′ line we took off from the small parking lot east of the Tunnel in high-speed mode.  We did 2 rappels in the main slot canyon and then the final long rappel at the end.  We touched down on the final rappel in 14 minutes 50 seconds.  We then ran out quite expeditiously to the normal exit from Pine Creek, hitting the road at 30 minutes and 50 seconds.  We were quite happy about this but concluded that through perfecting the rope work and getting the run out the drainage a bit more dialed we could get down to 25 minutes pavement to pavement.  In this sport I always take am moment at the end to be grateful for not breaking anything.  Good times!

FYI, The next day we did a winter descent of the full Kolob Canyon, which was quite exciting.  It involved icy pools and a long slog out through the Narrows….  Could Winter Canyoneering be the next big thing?  🙂

May 17, 2008

After going through Keyhole canyon with friends at a leisure pace I thought I’d try it in high-speed mode.  Armed with ONLY my trusty LaSportivaFireblades, running shorts, and 20′ of webbing, I left the car (parked at the end of Keyhole) running down the road, ripped up the sandstone wash to the hoodos and proceed to perform “controlled falling” down the root infested hill and through the intro canyon section.  I passed party of ~6 who were pulling on dry-suits, neoprene socks, gloves, sticky rubber boots, etc. gearing up for a “real” canyoneering experience.  I chucked my rope down the first drop, slid down the tree and went through the next few drops as quickly as possible.  I did use the 20′ of webbing for the only mandatory “rappel”, which I hand over handed down.  I jumped right in the last water section and swam through it, which was certainly faster than chimneying higher up.  Quite a thermal shock to the system but as long as your heart rate is about 190 you’re fine!  🙂  Once out of the water it’s less than 60 seconds to the car.  Good times!  I’ll be back down on June 6/7 and plan to do it again but with a head-mounted video camera on for those interested, it should provide a few good laughs and if I don’t break anything I’ll be pleased.

Up and Coming

On June 22, 2008 Buzz and I are going to try what I call the Zion Trifecta.  This will be a wicked cool day (and by “day” I mean all of 24 hrs) attempting to linkup the 3 big daddies of Zion: Heaps, Imlay, Kolob, in that order.  More to come on this….

Welcome to Canada

May 12, 2008

I read somewhere recently that the best trail to run on is the one that you are currently on.  That sort of stuck with me. 

Sara and I live in Ontario, Canada (between Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa) and always pore over the great pictures in Trail Runner and check out all the great websites and blogs showing amazing running trails.  Trail running in the west has us drooling to the point that we are planning a holiday to Colorado, just to run a whack of trails in the mountains and get a bit of a fix.

 

I guess wherever you live, you could tend to get a little bored with the same old routes. We actually are pretty fortunate here.  Right out our door we have a one mile dirt road “warm up” before we hook up with a whole network of trails to choose from.  We have a 104 km section of rail trail, lots of great single-track, ATV trails, jeep roads, and a huge network of snowmobile trails. 

 

Not only that, but we also live a very short drive from some of the best trail running in all of Ontario.  Frontenac Provincial Park features over 160km of beautiful single-track through rugged Canadian Shield.  From pine needle covered trails, to open meadows, to technical, rocky sections and beaver dams, the trails are constantly rolling as they wind around the clear blue lakes.  We affectionately refer to Frontenac as ‘our park’ as it was where we had our first date…a 30km trail run. 

 

The other great thing about Frontenac Park is that you can go for hours and very rarely see other people. However, there is a good chance that you will see some wildlife.  We have seen numerous deer, as well as foxes, wolves, coyotes, porcupines, raccoons, beavers, blue herons and even the occasional black bear.

 

Here are a few photos from our long run this weekend. We’re not sure we can make any Colorado trail runners jealous with our trails, but if you ever get sick of your same old routes through the same jaw-dropping mountain scenes, you can always plan a trip here! 

 

Derrick on Little Clear Lake

 Derrick on Little Clear Lake Loop

Lynch Lake

 Lynch Lake

Sara on Little Clear Lake Loop west shore

 Sara on the west shore of Little Clear Lake

Running through a Beaver Dam

Running through one of the many beaver dams

Ski Mountaineering Races

April 27, 2008

From November to March I turn my attention from mountain running to ski mountaineering racing, a budding sport in the US, with deep, deep roots in Europe. Since the WWII the Europeans have been hosting enormous and often very committing races climbing and descending on skis deep in the Alps. The races involve skinning up several thousand feet before ripping skins and descending steep faces and tight couloirs. Though strong downskiers can make up time on the descents–the race is won or lost in the climbs.

The sport is still in its nascent stages in the US where races are often shorter, but at higher elevation in colder temperatures. This last winter I had the great fortune of being a member of the US National team that competed at the World Championship in Champery Switzerland.Florent Triollet

The opportunity to compete at a World Championship level was tremendous, especially since this sport is dominated by the Europeans–who did not dissappoint with stellar performances.

I raced the team relay, which took place at night under flood lights with a huge core of spectators. This was a very short race involving two 7 minute laps on a skinning and booting course.

Early the next morning my teamate Steve Romeo and I raced the Teams event together, a crushing 3 hour event, with 6 climbs and 3 steep booting sections.

 

Teams Race

My last race was the vertical– a hill climb event.

on my way to the finish line

Over dinner and while roaming around town I met many competitors from around the world, including numerous members of the La Sportiva Teams of Europe.

Viva Sportiva!