Tag: altitude

Grays Peak Training Hike

Drove to the Stevens Gulch road, then up to the Grizzly Gulch junction and parked. Hiked about 2 miles to the trailhead, then about a mile up the trail. I was wearing old hiking boots I haven’t worn in two years, but my feet seemed to have changed shape in the meanwhile (probably from all the running) and they were cutting into my tendons above my toes. I ended up removing the insole to allow for more room, which helped a bit, but let me slide around some. I was planning on doing both summits (Grays and Torreys) but decided to just call it a good training hike and return to the car. I am training for the Aspen Backountry Marathon, and can’t afford to take a week off while my tendons heal.

On the way back to the car it started snowing, in spite of the beautiful sky just minutes before (see pics) and I-70 was really messy. Over the divide into Dillon it was still snowing. Sometimes you get get weather on one side of the Divide or the other. On my hike I’d gone from 10,300′ to 11,900′ in 1:09, so not bad overall – maintained about 3.0 mph average.

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Spike and Run My Hoka One One Mafate WP

Spiking the Mafate WP

So I decided to spike my Hoka One One Mafate WP. First of all I posted on their Facebook wall, asking if it would be okay, since I have no clue what the internal structure is, and I didn’t want to run into any air pockets. They replied quickly and said it would be fine. I went to a few stores trying to find #6 x 3/8 hex head sheet metal screws. Finally at the Ace Hardware in Silverthorne, CO, I found a box and got it. I charged up my drill and went to work. First you clean and mark the sole. You want to put in about 8 total screws, maybe more, balanced around the ball of the foot, and some on the heel and outside heel area. I marked mine on the larger lugs, though I don’t know if it matters too much.


I used a 1/16″ drill bit chucked way in, so that only about 1/2″ was sticking out, and drilled on the marks. Then I switched to a 3/8″ hex bit and sunk the screws until they felt tight. I set the drill clutch to #3, but it never clicked, so I don’t know if it would just keep stripping out the hole if you kept going – be careful.

Running Below Freezing pt 2

Today (blogging time) I had a chance to test them on a road I usually run a bit in the winter, so I could get a feel for them. Keystone Gulch Road connects a side road from Mountain House Base to North Peak and Outback Base at Keystone Resort. Snowmobiles, logging trucks, snowcats use the road regularly for work and rescue, and a variety of runners, snowshoers, pole hikers, and skiers use the road for training. The surface varies from gravel/snow/slush mixed, to hard ice, chopped ice, and soft and firm packed snow.

running along the keystone gulch road, overhead view
Running below freezing along a snowy road

Accuweather said it was 20 with a windchill of 10, and I figured I was pretty warm last time at 10, so I put on some Pearl Izumi windblocker tights, an Under Armour coldgear zip t-neck and boxer briefs, a Mountain Hardwear Superpower Hoodie, A TNF running beanie (discontinued model), and my First Ascent windpro gloves. On my feet I had the usual Injinji liners, and Smartwool PHD compression kneesocks. I decided to forego my TNF Better Than Naked wind jacket.

I put the shoes on at the door, so I wouldn’t scratch my floors, and then went out and did a warmup walk while waiting for the Garmin 305 to get a satellite lock. The sound of clicking on the pavement was a bit odd (even over my Kittie playlist), and I purposefully walked on some slicker ice sections to test it out, and had really good connection to it. Felt stable. I started the Garmin at the mouth of Keystone Gulch Road, and ran uphill for 3.04 miles to the base of North Peak area at Keystone.

looking down at feet in hoka one one mafate wp spiked running shoes
Hoka One One Mafate WP - spiked for winter traction

It was dang cold. I never really got warm. I kept the Superpower hood on almost the entire run. I was a bit slower than previously, but that might be because of my testing the modified Warrior Diet, or the altitude (9600′) getting me a bit more this trip, a bad night sleep – who knows? As far as dress goes, I did not get at all sweaty except for a few spots on my beanie, but then again, I did not ever feel warm. I think a windshell would be an absolute necessity this cold. The gloves were too cold, the Windpro was letting enough air in to keep me chilled. Perhaps something like Gore Windblocker would be better. I’ll dig around in my gloves to see what I have for next time.

looking up Santiago Express - Keystone Resort
North Peak Base - Santiago Express lift - Keystone Resort

Except for the deep looser snow (I did roll my ankle once – something people who fear Hoka shoes mention on the net a lot), the shoes ran quite well. I was pretty happy with them. I think I might add a couple screws to the midfoot area, since the Mafate seems to have a bit of rocker there. If you like the Hoka, and like to run in the winter, and might encounter firm snow or ice, I highly recommend you consider this relatively cheap and quick solution.


Video above is primarily to demonstrate the “clicking sound” on ice. 10:00 pace on very slippery hard packed snow.

Running below freezing can be fun

I’ve been wanting to get to Colorado for some high altitude cold training, since Utah has been so warm and dry so far this winter (aside from nice ice climbing I got in). Earlier today I got a chance to run at 5 degrees F on a dirt road for emergency and maintenance access to the back lifts at Keystone Resort.

running downhill Keystone Gulch Road
running down Keystone Gulch Road, sun at my back

The Keystone Gulch Road starts at about 9,240′ and at my 2.5 mile turnaround point was 9,850′ for a total of approximately 600′ of gain and loss. Enough stats though, and since a friend on the net asked me about layering for winter running, here’s how I approached running at 27 degrees below freezing.

clothed profile dressed to run at 5 degrees
clothing for running at 5 degrees F at nearly 10,000ft

First of all, the bottom layers. For undies I wore Under Armour Heatgear longsleeve tee, and Boxerjock series O. I also like the series T for hiking and skating, but haven’t tried running in them yet. For socks, I wore my favorite Injinji Toe Sock Crew Liners under Smartwool PHD Compression socks. This is a tough layer to get on right without bunching, since the compression socks fit me quite tightly.

smartwool and injinji sock combo
sock combo detail - smartwool phd compression and injinji crew liner

Over that I wore a pair of Salomon Windstopper tights. For shoes today I’m wearing Hoka One One Mafate WP (goretex) to test for snow traction and warmth with the goretex layer. I considered a midweight baselayer or thin softshell but having run at 10 degrees before and sweated quite a bit in a softshell, I opted instead for a TNF Windstopper Hybrid full zip jacket. It’s a very thin vest-like layer of thinly laminated windstopper with thin fleece back, sleeve, and side panels for ventilation.

For a hat, I wore a TNF Flight Series Beanie that I think is now discontinued, very thin and breathable. Finally, for gloves I wore a pair of Eddie Bauer First Ascent Wind Pro Gloves. I had good experiences with this glove in Alaska, so felt it would work good enough.

running at Keystone Colorado
creek and hills along my left side Breckenridge is way back there behind that ridge

So now, after all of that, how did it work out? I was cold most of the run up, and some of the run down. I prefer to run “dry” in the winter if possible, so I’d rather be a little bit cool and not sweat. This is a fine line to run, and I don’t really recommend it to new runners, or those who’ve never run below freezing before. If you get soaked and have something go wrong and end up sitting in the shade for a while you’ll be quite uncomfortable at the very least.

The Keystone Gulch Road I ran on curves along a creek bed between trees, cliffs, and hills, so you’re in and out of the sun frequently, so you warm in the sun, and cool in the shade. Overall I was quite happy, and never so cold as to feel like bailing. At one point I pulled out my earbuds (cheap Sony and the cables were very very stiff from the cold) and had to pull off my left glove to put them back in, and I ended up having to curl my hand up in the palm of my glove for a few minutes to rewarm my fingers.

sweat at ankles
beads of sweat built up on my ankles at 5 degrees F

Some interesting points I need to mention. With the Goretex shoes and Windstopper front panels on my tights, I got some nice balls of moisture condensed on my ankles. The Mafate shoe has unusually small lugs for a trail shoe (this is not news btw) and I did a small amount of slipping on icier portions of the road (they run trucks and snowmobiles up and down the road, but do not plow). I have asked Hoka One One about it, and they say it would be okay to spike them, so I might try that soon enough.

Finally, I think that without building up to it, without knowing your own body and how it reacts to cold, what you expect for pace and how that will affect your warmth, it would be hard for me to recommend you run with this few clothes on at that cold of a morning. Build up to it slowly, test it out on shorter runs very close to home, so you can bail to safety without hurting yourself. YMMV – enjoy!

Shopping List:

injinji Liner Crew Toesocks
Smartwool PhD Graduated Compression Ultra Light Bike Socks
Men’s HeatGear® Fitted Longsleeve Crew Tops by Under Armour
Men’s O Series Boxerjock® 6″ Bottoms by Under Armour
Hoka One One Mafate WP Trail Running Shoe – Men’s
Eddie Bauer First Ascent First Ascent Wind Pro Glove