Altitude Sickness

Life post-200 days on the ski hill

It’s a great view, looking from Sherburne Pass trail at the Pico overlook. One can see the mountains of five states and Canada from the top of the peak.

By Brady Crain

I stuck a pin in the ski season at 200 days, and it was a pretty great 200 days considering the season it was snow-wise. I still see the snowbank left on Superstar, and I really want to go ski it, but I am resisting, and moving on to other things.

For the first time since I think 1994, I went outdoor rock climbing at Deers Leap, which was great fun. I went with a bunch of great folks I met at the Green Mountain Climbing Gym in Rutland, and it was really fun. The rock there is very nubbly, easy to stick to, and there are some great easy routes, and some harder ones.

We hung three ropes (one of them mine), and I rappelled down mine so that I would be the one to test my anchoring skills and my rope (the rope, though inspected thoroughly and in fantastic shape, had been bagged in storage for quite some time, so I wanted to make sure and do the right thing and hang off it first). Needless to say it went fine.

I climbed Monkey Hang, almost made it through the crux of Monkey Direct, Center Crack and Standard Route (I think…not totally sure on this), and I think I did something on the Pit and the Pendulum. A couple of these were partials. As of right now, I am a 5.9+ climber outdoors.  Indoors I am a 5.10+ climber, but I think if I tackled the more difficult routes at Deers Leap first, I could get them. By the end of the summer I should be back where I used to be, a 5.11+-5.12 climber, which would be nice.

I also took my first real trail run of the season Monday morning, up Sherburne Pass to the trail overlook. Four-plus miles, 18 minutes/mile uphill, and about 13 downhill; a nice sedate pace to acclimate my ankles to being out of ski boots (my legs are in Iron Man shape, having climbed Superstar about 18 times in 20 days, with skis on my back and boots on my feet. The down-climbs from the last week also helped me get ready, acclimating me to the eccentric muscle contractions in my quads.

That’s all the news that is fit to print for now. I am still fantasizing about a Spartan hat trick weekend, and I dream of competing in the Barkley 100 in Tennessee, which very few people have completed, (it’s a 20-mile loop with 12,000 vertical feet on each lap for a total of 60,000 vertical feet.) The problem with the Barkley (in the Cumberland Range) is that there is no way I could complete it in the requisite 60 hours. The one guy who keeps finishing typically finishes at about 59.5 hours.

Stay tuned, readers, soon we will have an anniversary update on Pip the Impaler!

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