Run fast ... fall down

Run fast ... fall down

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Storm Pass - Granite Pass loop in RMNP

Sixteen national park miles with a couple climbs peaking at 12k feet seemed like a pretty good idea. Actually I wanted to run this little loop months ago but it kept slipping by, so what better time than early October when the Aspens will be orange and yellow? Probably should have done it last week, but Jimmy said he'd like to go but was restricted to Oct 8.

The forecast said snow above 8500, so with some trepidation we rethought the gear list and decided to go check it out. There was only 1 or 2 cars in the Longs Peak Trailhead at 6:30AM on a Saturday, so this was no typical summer weekend. We headed off veering right at the first trail junction to hit Storm Pass first, hoping Granite might warm up a little later in the day. The trails were in great shape with an inch or 2 of padding.

First views of Estes Cone as the sky cleared a little
Jimmy running up Storm Pass

We cruised the 3 mile downhill into Glacier Point Trailhead to hit the lowest point on the course and then immediately turned up Boulder Brook trail which seemed the steepest.
One of the log crossings
The snow continued to fall and our pace dropped quite a bit once we hit the North Longs Peak trail towards Granite Pass. The wind picked up too and my hands got super cold. The final mile up to Granite Pass was slow going but eased off near the top and we returned to a jog in a near white out.

Zach and I trudging through the freshies near Granite Pass at 12,000 ft.
We regrouped at the pass and headed down the familiar Longs Peak trail with freezing hands and feet, trying not to trip on the hidden surface below 6 inches of fresh snow. Once down in the trees we saw 2 other parties for the first time today heading up. I'd say the loop would have been nicer in warmer weather, but I got one nice parting shot of fall Aspen colors near the parking lot.

Garmin Data

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