I have wanted to create a website/blog for some time now, but I have never been able to dedicate the time necessary to create something worth actually looking at. This is mostly due to the fact that I'm almost always busy (school, music, work, getting outside...), but also because creating a website seems to be pretty complicated. I'm setting some time to finally get this done, as I'm off school for the semester, home for the holidays, and taking some time to recover. The motivation behind creating this space can be attributed to a bunch of different factors. I want a place where I can write down my thoughts and look back on them. I see myself as a pretty mediocre writer and imagine that only a handful of people will actually end up reading this. That being said, maybe someone reading this will feel inspired to get outside or find something I say useful. I personally find inspiration in many different forms, and this includes reading about my friends' endeavors in the mountains. I had a bunch of great days outside in 2017 and want to share some of those days with you.
Here is a little recap of some of my favorite days and moments from the year. (in no particular order)
Standing on top of Arrowhead Peak with Longs Peak standing tall in the background in Rocky Mountain National Park. The Spearhead and Chiefshead catching the early morning light on what seemed to be a perfect day up high. We didn't quite make the full Glacier Gorge traverse due to an incoming storm and ended up bailing after Pagoda (peak just right of center). Still, a very quality day in the alpine with Cordis Hall. The highlight being the outstanding traverse between Arrowhead Peak and McHenry's Peak (out of sight in this shot). (Photo: Cordis Hall)
Looking back towards Boulder and its local peaks from the top of Sunshine Canyon. Escaping the snowing trails for some 'real' running on the roads. 1hr 14min ascent from Boulder to Gold Hill. One of those days where you feel like a hero while running. 4/10/17
A few pictures from the many days logged scrambling around in Eldorado Canyon this past year. Left: Warming up on Wind Ridge, a 5.6 route located on the Wind Tower. Center: Hand Traversing off the summit of Tower One. Right: The classic hand traverse shot on the 4th pitch of Rewritten. (Photo: Austin Runyon)
From one of my trips up to Brainard Lake on the bike this past summer. My achilles was acting up late in the summer and so biking up high was the next best thing to tagging peaks on foot. Biking is a great way to cover lots of ground relatively quick and is low impact. Some of my favorite days from the year involved the bike in some aspect and I plan to implement it even more in 2018.
My favorite playground; the Flatirons. Left: looking towards the Third Flatiron from the summit of the First Flatiron. Upper Right: The many ridges of Skunk Canyon. Lower Right: The First Flatiron as seen from the summit of the Second Flatiron
My brother, Matthew, on the South Face of the Petit Grepon, high above the Sky Pond.
The sky pond cirque in all its glory. Catching first light while hiking up to the base of the Petit Grepon.
A quick stop to admire the diamond while running down from Longs Peak this summer. On this particular moody outing, I didn't see another soul on the mountain. Low hanging clouds and fog seemed to keep the crowds away. I nailed all the shortcuts and made a relatively snappy ascent before running it back down to the trailhead. I'm looking forward to carrying more fitness into the upcoming summer and hopefully chop away at my 1hr 32min ascent and 2hr 30min RT time. 7/25
Tony beginning the airy traverse on the second pitch of Super Slab in Eldorado Canyon
Cordis Hall and the Redgarden Wall on a chilly spring morning.
Rappeling off the Third Flatiron during Stage 2 of the Tour de Flatirons. (Photo - Eric Lee)
The stoke for TdF 2018 is already brewing!
The start of the classic Trifecta Stage. Super fun duking it out with Cordis Hall this past Fall. (Photo - Sheri Wright)
Chasing Cordis Hall along the North Arete of the First Flatiron. (Photo- Eric Lee)
Witnessing the total eclipse up near Teton Pass was a highlight of the year. One of the rare moments in my life that actually lived up to all the hype that was created around it... such a strange and unbelievable experience. There was complete darkness in the middle of the day. Being up above tree line with the Grand Teton off in the distance provided the ultimate setting for this otherworldly experience to take place. The following day I tagged the Grand Teton via the Upper Exum route.
During the Eclipse
Right after the Eclipse
I spent a lot time tagging Green Mountain in 2017. It's the closet 'real' mountain out my backdoor and provides close to 3,000ft of gain to its summit. The possibilities of ascending Green seem endless in my mind. Everything from gradually ascending single track to steep off-trail routes and scrambling up the Flatirons themselves. The diverse landscape that Green offers allows things to stay interesting and fresh. Although, repeating a route many times throughout the year allows one to really learn a place. This knowledge allows for a sort of a push and pull effect. It allows one to pace up the mountain and work with it, rather than constantly fighting it. The daily practice of running up a mountain allows for one to see value in a process and is the setting for improvement and growth. I finished the year off with 205 tags of Green and 100 of those came in the first 98 days. I wonder where 2018 will take me?
It's hard to think back on 2017 and not get excited about 2018. I feel like 2017 was the first year of my life that I have begun to tap into and explore my potential in the act of moving in the mountains and only hope to grow from here. I definitely have some goals for 2018 but probably will save that for a different post. Happy New Year.
Year end totals:
Time: 901 hours
Distance: 5,725 miles (2,040 on foot - 3,681 in the saddle)
Elevation: 1,116,156 ft (791,106 on foot - 325,079 in the saddle)