Aspen 4 pass loop, GTIS half marathon, and another 14er

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Three weeks ago I was fortunate to have a decent weather window, where the weekend before was stormy and wet. I invited two friends to backpack the aspen 4 pass loop with me, a hike I had heard a lot about, but have never been to the area to hike, backpack, or climb.

The route circles around the maroon bells for ~26 miles, going over; you guessed it, 4 passes as it completes the circuit. The trail it fairly rocky the entire way, and has some gorgeous overlooks. I think the view of the back side of the maroon bells from frigid air pass and the view of Capitol and Snowmass from buckskin pass were the two best moments of the trip. I found myself scouting the different lines of the 14ers, especially Snowmass for a climb next winter, and I’m excited to go back and climb all of them eventually.

Two weekends ago I ran my first half marathon. I finished in 2 hours 26 minutes, which isn’t exactly fast, but considering I was running at 8,000 feet and it was my first half marathon, I think I did pretty good.

Then last weekend another weather window opened up from the monsoon rains that have been hitting the mountains the last few weeks. I took advantage of it by climbing Mount of the Holy Cross with my old co-worker, Xavier. We hiked the halo route, which circles around the mountain, taking the notch mountain/holy cross ridge route up, and the north ridge down. We had perfect weather the entire day, and finished the route in less than 12 hours.

I also finished up the tubeless conversion of my Pugsley.  Overall, I lost over 2.5 pounds of rotating mass off the bike. Both tires are now tubeless running to 120tpi Surly Nates. I also upgraded my front rotor to a 180mm for better braking and upgraded my cassette to a XTR 11-34 cassette to cut a little more weight and give me a little better gearing for steep hills. I replaced the chain while I was at it, so the bike is all ready for getting down and dirty, or maybe sandy ;-).

Next for the bike will be building my own wheels and I’m considering switching my crankset to give me a 1×9 setup. I’ve always wanted to build a set of wheels from scratch, but I think I’ll wait till spring and see how the bike does in its current setup.

The Teton trip is coming into focus. I’ve figured out a way to self-shuttle from Flagg ranch to Teton pass, and I’ve taken the day after Labor Day off work to make it work. Just a week and a half till I drive up there.

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Posted in Alpine, Backpacking, Biking, Planning and Prep

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