Failure

When I left the Leadville Fish Hatchery at 2am on Monday morning—setting out on the Nolan’s 14 link-up—I suspect I thought I would have a much longer and more interesting story to tell about my journey than the tale I have in my head right now. The short of it is that I started out stupidly early in the morning, felt crappy already by the second peak (Mt. Elbert), and kept going for four more peaks and 10 more hours, but instead of things getting better they just kept getting worse and worse so I ultimately bailed after Mt. Belford (#6) and descended to the Missouri Gulch trailhead, in relief.

All photos: Matt Trappe.

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Nolan’s 14 Scouting

On the summit of Missouri Mt, I pointed out the rest of our day’s objectives to Joe. From our vantage point, the summits of Belford, Oxford, Harvard, Columbia, and Yale were all clearly visible. Joe and I both had linked up the first five summits before, but tacking on Yale at the end was uncharted territory for us, and the night before I’d even forgotten to peruse the internet for beta on its ascent.

The western basin of Missouri Mt, the day’s first climb.

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Zironman

 May 25-26, Zion National Park, Jared Campbell, Ryan McDermott, Buzz Burrell

Jared conceived of Zironman two years ago while studying Google Earth during one of his typical four-hours-of-sleep nights; it was an ingenious route, going from the west boundary of Zion National Park to past the east boundary via the most “interesting” terrain. “Zironman” was a fun way of saying the route involved climbing, running, and canyoneering, and it consisted of some iconic technical canyons as well as virgin country where apparently no one had been before. Now that the Trans Zion route seems crowded every weekend in May, these are the types of projects one dreams up.

We geared up for it on a hot day in back in June of 2011, but after spending 8 annoying hours shuttling a car in 100 degree temperatures, we wisely scaled our initial attempt back to 3/4 of the distance. That Zironman “fun run” went really well – we figured out that “No Man’s Land” had a viable route through it, we did all the hard parts, and were really keen to come back the next year and knock it off.

The following year I was injured, but Jared and his best friend Ryan very graciously offered to wait until I recovered, a relative term though that may be, so we were quite keen this year. But mere hours before we were to start, the project was in jeopardy.

Our plan was to start at 5:30 in the afternoon, knock off Icebox, the first technical canyon while it was still light, then do the entire middle section which is normally exposed to the blazing sun during the night, arriving at the start of Imlay, the most technical canyon in the park when the sun came up. An excellent plan. Except 5:30 wouldn’t come for another 4 hours. We were sitting around with nothing to do.

Could Jared handle doing nothing? I had seen him accomplish incredible projects, but never this. This might be the crux of the whole route.

How the pro’s hang out

Ryan ironing his running shirt – being totally prepared is key

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Only photo in existence of Jared Campbell not moving

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