Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Bear Peak - Blowin' in the Wind

A really good run to the summit of Boulder's Bear Peak, although I could have done without the fierce wind gusts blowing from the west.

Time: 1:18
Distance: 5.08
Effort: Moderate
Body: Good
Weather: Sunny, WINDY and cool

Late afternoon run from the Cragmore Cragmoor Trailhead to the summit of Bear Peak. I remember stepping out of the truck and immediately doing a quick body status check. Was this going to be a good run, or a not-so-good one? The answer was not immediate. 

I started out up the long series of step-ups from the trailhead sign feeling...OK. After 50 meters or so, the verdict was in.  I was feeling really good. I picked up the pace a bit and just went with it.  Steady.

Made a wrong turn at the first sign, corrected and climbed up to the singletrack that loops up past a huge rock slab to the mouth of Fern Canyon. I ran up Fern to the first major set of rocky stairs and started the power hiking.  Just felt great through the steep stuff. I could feel the leg muscles working and working hard, but the fatigue just never came. Hit the switchbacks below the saddle and started running. Gained the saddle with a smile.

Looked up at Bear to the left as the fierce winds from the west chilled my hands. Set out to finish the climb up the west ridge. 

Got to the summit sign and debated tagging the summit. The wind gusts were scary-strong. Got to within about 10 meters of the summit slab, paused to let a few seconds on the watch tick by, and called it a day. I already was keeping a low body profile, moving on all fours. Still felt like the wind could blow me off.

Returned down the west ridge, hit the saddle and started just cruising down Fern. Of all the rocky canyon descents around Boulder, this is my favorite. I felt in control the whole way. Step. Plant. Pivot. Go. Hit the mouth of Fern and turned it up a notch. On the gravel road sections I was running 5:40s and just feeling great. Hit the Cragmore Cragmoor turn-off and cruised down the steps, hit the pavement and immediately jumped in the truck to head home to pick up jP and CP.

Feeling it.

2,675 feet of elevation gain.

Saddle - 30 minutes
Summit - 45:19 (PR - second time on this route)


  1. You were on top of Bear yesterday? That's pretty hard core man. I bet you were getting 70 mph gusts up there - maybe stronger.

  2. I saw the wind chart on your blog. Cool graphic. What's it from? And, yeah, it was howling up there...the gusts were the killer. I stopped a bit from the summit rock. Too windy.

  3. Too windy indeed. Just on my trot up the creek path I darn near got taken out by a gust.

    Re: the graphic, that's from the NCAR Foothills lab over by the Boulder Airport.

  4. Impressed with the summit in these windy conditions. I damn near got blown over doing my normal lap around Wash Park last night.