The Crestone Marathon will start at sunrise, Mon. Aug. 12. I'm not putting
the date on the website at http://mmahoney.teejay.net/crestone/
in order to
keep it off the regular running calendars so I don't get dummy calls about
what kind of drinks I'll be having at the aid stations and would this be a
good race for my first marathon because I'm raising money for Leukemia?
I know it would be better to have the race on a weekend but I am doing the
Leadville 100 bike on Sat. Aug. 10 and the run on Sat. Aug. 17. Also, there
is Tom Woodward's MTN RNR race at Crestone on Sun. Aug. 11, so this gives
you a chance to do both runs without a lot of driving in between. (I will
probably skip it, though. I won't finish the bike race until late and
probably won't feel like a 2-3 hour drive until after the awards and 10K
race in Leadville on Sunday). His race is 2 miles north of Crestone at the
pay campground (which was full when I ran it last year). Mine is 2 miles
east of Crestone in the national forest where you can camp for free (which
is where I ended up staying last year). There is only one store in
Crestone, and they are closed on Sunday and after 6PM weekdays. The nearest
big stores are probably in Alamosa or Salida. There are no motels in
Crestone but there are a bunch of retreats but I think you have to join a
cult to stay there.
Also, Monday should give you enough time to recover for Leadville and/or
Nolan's 14, even if the weather is bad and there are no finishers and we
invoke the tiebreaker rule and run it again on Tuesday. If it looks like
bad weather, I will probably retreat down Spanish Creek rather than climb
the Red Couloir on Crestone Peak. I am worried about precipitation
loosening rocks above us. Roach recommends crampons, ice axe, and a helmet,
but from the pictures I took last year about the same time, there were only
small patches of snow so it shouldn't be bad.
I had said on my website that "class 4" is the most difficult climbing you
can do without ropes, which isn't entirely accurate. I changed it to say
you don't need a rope to climb but you do need one to descend, which is
closer but isn't entirely right either. However, I think it applies to this
course. I watched two climbers come up the traverse to Crestone Needle
without ropes and it didn't look too hard, but when I tried to descend I
chickened out and went back up. Besides, it suddenly started hailing
without any warning just as I was above the crux move. In any case, the
crux is only about 10 feet and there is no good place to set protection
until you reach the top of the climb anyway.
That said, I admit I've chickened out on other class 4 routes like Elkhead
Pass to Missouri or the Snave route on Evans. (However I have climbed
unprotected 5.4 on the Longs Peak north face route. It is really just class
3 slabs at 30-45 deg. except for one move where you have to lunge over a
chest high overhang and grab into a crack). All of the people I know or
have seen climb these routes did not use ropes.
I haven't decided whether the Crestone Quad 100 in 2003 will be a loop
course or out and back. An out and back course would turn around at mile 13
at the shore of Cottonwood Lake, after climbing all 5 summits. This would
give you 40 summits in all (each one 8 times) and 68,000 ft. of climb. To
do the Needle, the first runner could run a rope through the slings and
carabiners at the top of the class 4 pitch (or around the knob if they're
missing), and then the last runner on the last lap could retrieve the rope
by untying the ends and pulling it through. Anyway, I'll let you give me
your opinions after this year's race.
-- Matt Mahoney, matmahoney@...