Never Summer training week twenty-one recap

Week twenty-one is done. The Never Summer 100k starts in twenty days. I'm reducing my training volume gradually in the last four weeks of my training program. Here are my running and hiking numbers from last week.

  • 19 hours, 12 minutes

  • 62 miles

  • 12,054 feet D+

Monday through Thursday I was backpacking in Rocky Mountain National Park with Ruth, Arabelle, and Bea. A heavy pack and family-friendly pace explains the relatively long time I spent on trails this week. We used two days to pack in to Lawn Lake and slept two nights at one of the three backcountry sites near the lake. Wednesday I left camp before breakfast to run up to a pass called "the Saddle" and hike from there to the summit of Fairchild Mountain (13,502 ft). Camping at 11,000 feet helped make this a quick trip.

Fairchild Mountain is named for Lucius Fairchild, U.S. Army general and Governor of Wisconsin from 1866-1872. According to Wikipedia, Fairchild believed Reconstruction of the South ended too soon and that Southern veterans shouldn't get back their captured battle flags. Imagine his surprise and anger if he could see the Confederate flag still flying in the United States today.

Below the saddle

Fairchild Mountain is not a complicated or difficult hike, but the route from the saddle is unmarked and variable. There are a few isolated cairns, but no clear network of them. You can scramble directly to the top over couch to car-sized rocks or follow less technical but more winding paths. I did a bit of each. At the top there is a crude windbreak made of stacked chunks of granite and a plastic bottle with a few notes.

Southwest to Ypsilon Mountain (13,520 ft), Gore Range in the far background

Looking to the west and northwest you can see the Never Summer and Rawah mountain ranges that Never Summer 100k participants will be traversing. Those peaks are nowhere near Fairchild's elevation; the highest point of the race is 11,852 feet on North Diamond Peak in the Rawah range.

Never Summer Range, Rawah Range on the right, and the Park Range in the distance

It is windy on top and with only a light thermal layer and a ripstop nylon jacket fifteen minutes may be all you can linger on the summit before you are chilled. The descent faces neighboring Hagues Peak, a more formidable mountain.

Northeast to Hagues Peak (13,560 ft)

Fairchild Mountain is remote, a twenty-mile round trip from the Lawn Lake trailhead. I was the only person to reach the summit on July 1.

Saturday I ran twenty-three miles at Lory and Horsetooth, the twenty-five mile Quad Rock route minus a few miles because I ran out of water in the heat. Today I ran twelve miles at Pineridge and Maxwell in warm conditions, again. These were my last back-to-back long training runs.