|11-ish miles. Low point of 10,300' or so, plenty of runnable miles through some spectacular meadows on the south side of Pikes.|
|The view of Elbert from the west. We shot straight up the gulley in the middle and then joined the rightmost ridge. Steep, but good footing.|
|Massive in the background|
|Top of Elbert, looking south. La Plata is the cool bowl-looking one just left of center.|
|Taking a break on our way up Massive. I love this trail.|
|Massive's summit, noonish.|
|Jake standing proud next to his makeshift shelter.|
Going down and up the east sides of these two mountains is a few miles longer than taking the western route. I get why people would want to take as many shortcuts as possible. We found the descent off of Massive's southwest slopes to be awful. Rocky, steep, and jarring. A few of those downhill miles averaged 30 minutes per mile...a pace we could do more quickly on most uphills. Elbert's west face is a nifty little route, but besides the first mile and a half, isn't runnable at all. I think that even though it's a bit longer, I'd prefer to take the "standard" routes and save the wear and tear on my legs that the western routes would cause.
There's a lot on my plate over the next couple of weeks. I'm excited for it all. The Nolan's run-through is coming up on the July 4th weekend. I feel confident in almost the entire route. The whole up-and-down Princeton part is probably the most problematic remaining, but I think we'll be able to figure that one out on the fly. I'll be running flat miles for the next few days due to a conference I'm attending in Denver, and then my old high school team comes into town for their annual Colorado 14er trip. When they leave on Wednesday, I'll stay in Lake City, climb a few peaks on Thursday, and get ready for a 50 mile fun run there on Saturday!