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Tagged ‘grand traverse‘

Notes From The Elk Mountain Grand Traverse

by Ethan Linck and Peter Innes

Two weeks ago, we had the privilege of lining up to race the 20th annual Elk Mountain Grand Traverse. The “GT,” as it’s commonly known, is a 40 mile point-to-point backcountry ski race from Crested Butte to Aspen. Because of the stunning tableau of mountains en route, the unpredictable weather, and its midnight start, it’s hard to think of a more iconic ski mountaineering event in North America. As both of us have served as winter caretakers at the nearby Rocky Mountain Biological Lab, where daily life provides ample preparation for a long day of low-angle mountain travel at high elevation, the GT is near and dear to our hearts as a celebration of one of Colorado’s more beautiful landscapes.

Gothic Mountain and the East River Valley: home to the Rocky Mountain Biological Lab and yours truly, team Rocky Mountain Ski Lab. Photo (c) Ethan Linck

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The 2014 GoreTex Grand Traverse (Reverse)

For more than a week now, I’ve struggled against my keyboard to beat out a race report from the GoreTex Grand Traverse (GT), which Taylor and I raced on the night of march 28th and well into the day on the 29th. To encapsulate 15 hours of backcountry racing into a succinct blog post is nigh impossible given the spectral range of emotions and experiences that evolve and transpire during such a lengthy race. Nevertheless, inspired by a report from my friend and fellow racer Ethan Linck, I hope to bring you a few highlights. 

Expanding my sense of the possible is the biggest kick that I get from prolonged endurance events, and the GT was a new high for me. I’m a new convert to prolonged endurance, having only run my first Ultramarathon last summer. Nevertheless, it’s an addicting feeling to line up for a new challenge and to wait for the gun on a race that’s longer than you’ve ever done before. More addicting still is the confidence that, regardless of the duration, you are strong enough to finish– that feels good.

skinning crested butte

Skinning into the beautiful mountains of Crested Butte, headed to the sanctuary of Gothic.

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Gothic, CO

An update from the road:

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Taylor and I are holed up in Gothic, CO, a scant 4-mile ski from the town of Crested Butte. This is the summer home of the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory, but in winter, its many cabins are boarded up save for two, which house the winter caretakers.

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