Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Tuesdays with Travis

Travis Madsen and I met up late Tuesday afternoon at Romero Canyon trailhead, the starting point for a hiking/climbing linkup I've wanted to do for a long time. As Travis and I racked up by the side of the road, amidst other hikers returning to their cars, we both realized that no one has ever, in all likelihood, EVER racked up climbing gear at Romero Canyon trail. This is because there is no climbing anywhere near the trailhead—which is exactly how I wanted it. The nearest climbable rock sits at the bottom of San Ysidro trailhead, several canyons (with super steep fire-roads bisecting them) to our north. The plan? Hike and run to San Ysidro, climb 5 pitches of decently physical climbing, then run back to Romero via San Ysidro trailhead, and then East Mountain Drive. All in all, 6 miles of very diverse terrain, ranging from sick steep and sunny, to shady and downhill, to flat pavement. All in all, a very engaging route, and a great way to see a lot of landscape in a short amount of time. We ran everything we could, barring the steepest terrain, which we hiked.

It's worth noting that Travis has the "suffer" gene. He knows how to put in long, physical days that slowly eat away at your core of strength and sanity. He's the kind of guy you want in the mountains, or on a failed expedition to the Antarctic. I can imagine him on Shakleton's epic in another life, a pipe hanging out the side of a big grin, and seven out of ten toes frostbitten in his boots. 98% of my climbing friends would NEVER consider training with me for this challenge, but Travis actually had a good time. Needless to say, you'll be hearing about him in the future.

Here's a little rundown of the afternoon:

4:45— Start hiking. Hit the notorious steep fireroad at power-hike pace
5:40— Arrived at San Ysidro and started climbing. Did the following routes:
-Vanishing Flakes, 5.11a (fun and short slab)
-Orangahang, 5.9 variation (I would've done something harder, but we didn't have any pro besides draws)
-Great Race, 5.10a (three laps)
6:40— Starting running back to the trailhead
7:25— Arrive back at our cars

I was pretty stoked with our effort. LESSONS OF THE DAY: running with rope on your back (I used a "rope backpack") makes you want to die after mile 5. I think I'm going to move to using a small, alpine-type backpack that accommodates a rope. Also, my Camelbak started leaking. That's crappy water bladder #576 for me. C'mon outdoor industry. You can do better than that.

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