Andrea Nolans 2022 (female supported)
- Location Time Split Total Elapsed
- Blank Gulch 4:00 AM 0:00 0:00:00
- Shavano 5:56 AM 1:56 1:56:00
- Tabeguache 6:25 AM 0:29 2:25:00
- Antero 8:37 AM 2:12 4:37:00
- Baldwin Gulch 10:11 AM 1:34 6:11:00
- Princeton 12:45 PM 2:34 8:45:00
- Colorado Trail 1:55 PM 1:10 9:55:00
- Indian Flats 3:00 PM 1:05 11:00:00
- Avalanche TH 3:40 PM 0:40 11:40:00
- Yale 6:13 PM 2:33 14:13:00
- Trail 7:40 PM 1:27 15:40:00
- Columbia 9:42 PM 2:02 17:42:00
- Harvard 11:42 PM 2:00 19:42:00
- Pine Creek 1:00 AM 1:18 21:00:00
- Oxford 2:41 AM 1:41 22:41:00
- Belford 3:29 AM 0:48 23:29:00
- elkhead pass 4:00 AM 0:31 24:00:00
- Missouri 4:57 AM 0:57 24:57:00
- Clohesy Lake 6:24 AM 1:27 26:24:00
- Huron 8:24 AM 2:00 28:24:00
- Winfield TH 10:30 AM 2:06 30:30:00
- La Plata 1:11 PM 2:41 33:11:00
- Echo Canyon 3:20 PM 2:09 35:20:00
- Elbert 6:37 PM 3:17 38:37:00
- N Halfmoon 8:31 PM 1:54 40:31:00
- Massive 11:20 PM 2:49 43:20:00
- Fish Hatchery 1:52 AM 2:32 45:52:00
Deciding to go for Nolans
It was a big summer for me. In May after recovering from a broken foot I went to the Manitou Incline and surprised myself by completing 19 laps in 23:36. After that I had a lot of confidence in my fitness level and I decided to see how many Colorado 14ers I could climb in one day. After a lot of scouting and planning and with the help of my support crew I was able to climb 12 in 22:16. I thought I was finished with my record attempts for the year. I was prepared to relax, be free from the pressure of success, and take down those mental fortitude walls until next year.
Alas, I was wrong. On the way home after finishing 12 14ers in a day, Andrew excitedly suggested that I could take another shot at Nolans, this time with a full support crew. I really didn’t want to hear anything about it at the time.
In 2020, Andrew and I completed Nolans in 53:14, and continued to Holy Cross to complete what we call Holy Nolans. It was for a short time the fastest known time for a female to complete Nolans. However, within a short time Meghan Hicks and Sabrina Stanley put forth impressive Nolans runs and when the dust settled at the end of 2020 the FKT was lowered to 48:49, a time that seemed completely out of reach.
Andrew was persistent. He explained his reasoning. On our 2020 attempt we were self-supported, and he claimed that we wasted 3:08 supporting ourselves. He explained that with a dedicated support crew, we could nearly eliminate that wasted time and 50 hours would be within reach. But there was an equally important thing that had him excited. When we climbed Columbia through Missouri while climbing 12 14ers in a day, we took 5 hours off the time we needed for the same mountains back in 2020. Andrew said that with numbers like that, I could do Nolans in 45 hours, he joked that it would be a “piece of cake”. He realized that section would come at night and that I would already be tired after the first 5 mountains of Nolans, but he tried to convince me that if I could just take a couple of hours off our 2020 time on that section, that I could take a shot at becoming the first woman to finish Nolans in under 48 hours.
Me? I was just “yeah yeah yeah” you can talk your crazy talk, but I meant it when I said I was never going back to Nolan’s after we finished Nolans two years ago. I could not deny his logic but convincing me to try Nolans was not going to be easy. First, I struggle to handle my fear of failure and letting my supporters down. I lack confidence in my abilities, and it almost seems I feed off my own anxiety on these attempts. Also, the last month had been hard, and I mentally and physically did not feel like I was ready or prepared to take on the challenge of dropping Nolan’s to sub 48 for women. During some training hikes I was putting up times that were slow enough that I had no business even considering a successful Nolans attempt.
So, I convinced Andrew to do Nolans with me, that it would be so much more fun to do it together and I felt like the community wanted to see us out there together, and having a partner lifted some of the pressure I was feeling. The excitement lasted only a few days when less than a week before we were supposed to start a kidney stone put Andrew out of commission. He was still excited to support me but didn’t feel comfortable joining me after that ordeal. The emotional rollercoasters were incredible.
Back to Andrea doing Nolans. Despite putting out some horrible times in my training. I know in the past that when it comes down to it, when I need to perform, I find it in me and somehow, I “turn it on” and my legs remember how to move fast.
So now we needed a crew. Andrew with his experience on Nolans and other 14ers records was excited to take on the support role. Dan Hobbs – Self supported 14ers record holder, and his Dad Forrest joined the team to help with the complicated logistics, and we strategized on how to make this work. They wanted to line me up with pacers for the entire route so I could move a fast as possible, so we started asking around and with some luck we lined up some amazing friends to help. Joey Campanelli – overall Nolans FKT holder would help out for the first leg Shavano-Antero and later on Elbert. Dan would join me on Princeton and Yale. Andrew would take the night section Columbia, Harvard, Oxford, Belford, Missouri, Huron, and Massive. Jaime Bakeman – endurance athlete, would join me on La Plata. On Massive TJ Pitts and Josh Pater – endurance athletes, would be responsible to help me finish strong. Rounding out the team was Riley Hanlon – amazing photographer/videographer and finally “Beast”, Dan’s custom-built support vehicle. Woah! Top Notch crew here, pressure is on to be successful, because quitting and letting these guys down, there is no option for that.
Spread sheet after spread sheet, finally our splits were out on the table, our crew was lined up, and we were ready to start.
The night before Andrew and I drove out to the start at the Shavano Trailhead. A cold front was moving in, there was smoke in the air, and I was feeling the anxiety hard! Chris Tomer had been giving us weather and smoke updates for the weekend, so we were prepared for what we saw. Thankfully it cleared out more as the weekend progressed. We didn’t know this though and couldn’t stop the thought of quitting because the air quality was so poor from creeping into our thoughts.
There we met Joey and Riley. Up until that night, we really didn’t know if I was going to get Joey for these three peaks. He hasn’t been 100% for quite some time now related to health issues, so he didn’t know how he would hold up pacing. When it came down to it the text I received put a huge smile on my face. “I think I got you. I think a bunch of rest and caffeine, and I’ll just have to suck it up! There’s not much I can do but rest and be miserable, so I might as well! I said I would help, and I want to.” Wow, if that isn’t dedication, then I don’t know what is!
Nighttime came and went and soon enough it was 0300. I had taken some NyQuil that night in hopes it would help me sleep, I think it worked well, I seemed to have slept great! Riley was awake video rolling, Joey was getting ready, Andrew helping pack up my pack, Dan, Forrest with Beast to send me off, everything was lining up for an 0400 start.
This attempt was different for me because I have never used “pacers” in the past. So many of Andrew and I’s attempts are Self-Supported, and we work together to accomplish the goal, both tired, both having to deal with each other’s highs and lows.
So I wasn’t all that comfortable at first. I don’t talk much when I’m working hard, so I didn’t know if I should be talking, or feeling bad for not talking? My uncertainty and fears of being uncomfortable almost immediately dissipated when Joey and I left to head up. He was a great partner. He was able to talk to me the whole time, make me laugh and was always attentive to my calorie/hydration needs. I was feeling bad because usually I love deep conversations, we could have had some great conversations, but it was hard to talk and push hard at the same time. 1:56 up Shavano! Great time, and 4 minutes ahead of my splits. Always the best feeling, because staying ahead of my splits is what I feed off of, it’s exhilarating and makes me happy. It’s the determinant factor of what kind of energy I’ll be putting off. 30 minutes to Tabeguache and we are right on schedule, just a bit ahead. That made me so happy, because I didn’t want to make the mistake so many people do, and start off too hard, burn the legs out, and then be forced to quit due to burn out. Something Andrew has taught me well, is to know your pace, and stay with it. It’s the pace that will carry me through for days on end. The view was mind blowing. I’ve never seen a cloud inversion from 14k, and it was spectacular as the sun rose above the blanket of clouds in the am light. Down we go, on to Antero. We nailed the descent off Tab, and we were moving! Crappy terrain and all, didn’t stop us from gaining time! Crossing the river, Joey filled my bottle with water, while I continued the hike up to Antero. Joey had to push hard to catch back up to me. I wanted him to feel good for the descent off Antero, so I told him to wait at the saddle while I tagged the summit. On the way down from the summit, I passed Justin who was also giving Nolans a shot. He got a video of me coming down, and he caught the best view of the cloud inversion. It was an energetic video! Thanks Justin! Joey and I enjoyed the road off Antero, it was less bouldery than we remembered, and our pace was swift. We met our support crew at the bottom of Antero, at Baldwin Gulch Trailhead. We were ahead of our splits, I couldn’t believe it because, our first day of splits were not padded and I was only supposed to be meeting them, not beating them.
We were so ahead of our splits, Dan was not quite ready to meet me yet, but after some hustle, the transition to begin our hike up to Princeton was smooth. Here I was introduced to Jaime, who would be a key member to our support crew. Dan paced me for Princeton and Yale. It was nice to have these guys on this attempt who I had confidence in and who also knew these routes well, I trusted them. I am an overpreparer. I never want to be dependent on any one person for the route I’m on, but it sure was nice to let these guys lead so my brain didn’t have to waste energy on thinking too hard. I would say the hardest part of many of these routes is being down in the trees, where we are just trying to find the best lines out and up as quickly and efficiently as possible. I was lucky to have been done Antero earlier than expected because I didn’t have to deal with late afternoon heat for that peak, which is usually the case on a S-N Nolans. Everything was pretty smooth for Princeton, the route was direct. Dan is incredible, he flew from sea level just the day before to be here for me, and was still keeping up with me at 2500 ft/hour. Mind blowing! I suggested he wait at the saddle of Princeton while I tagged the summit, because I needed him to have energy for another huge peak after this one, Yale. Dan had a hard job, his leg was the leg I was most terrified of on day one. He helped keep my nerves at bay, and we just did what we knew how to do. That’s hike, and have good conversation. Kept my mind at ease, and soon enough we were on the Colorado trail, jogging down to meet the crew, before heading up Yale. Unfortunately, this one caught us in the heat of the day.
When we arrived at Indian Flats, to my surprise our awesome friend Sully and his mom Chloe greeted us with and unmatched energy. It certainly gave me a high when Andrew was like “You won’t believe who is here right now!” Sully walked with me 3 miles up the road to Avalanche TH while Dan hopped in the car and got to rest his legs for about 40 minutes. After a resupply of fluid nutrition, electrolytes, cookies, and some sport legs we were ready to go, embrace the heat, and head up this monster of a mountain. It was a pretty smooth hike, although I think Dan was hurting a bit. After we were clear of tree line, heading up Hughes gulch Dan started to fade and he started to suffer with stomach issues, fatigue and dry heaving, for me. I couldn’t believe he was still in this with me, willing to push himself so hard, for my success. If I didn’t know any better, I think flying to Denver the day before from sea level may have had something to do with his altitude sickness ;). We summited in the daylight, at 6:13 pm which was spectacular because this meant we could get down in the light, and I have never been 100% confident descending Yale, nailing the route, no matter how many times I’ve been up and down, I was sure glad to have Dan and daylight. The summit was exhilarating. Riley, TJ, Josh and Jaime hiked up to meet me. They replenished me on liquid calories and electrolyte drink, got some footage, and we were out of there. Off the summit Dan was still struggling with some nausea but he was able to keep moving. I was really excited for him to be able to get down and be done, and get some rest for the night, as he and Forrest were needed at Clohesy Lake for support the next morning. We nailed our line off Yale that we wanted to take, and at the perfect time, were heard Andrew at the river crossing as he let out a “woo!” He found us right where we were planning to cross. Dan’s leg was done, and it was time to join Andrew for the night.
Columbia, Harvard, Oxford, Belford, Missouri, Huron
Knowing I would have Andrew for the night leg gave me so much confidence. It was back to us, just hiking together, what we know and do best. I was so happy to see Andrew, not only here, but at the end of every leg, I craved seeing him, he is for sure my rock through all this. All day I stayed motivated knowing I just had to get up and over 5 mountains and then I would be hiking with him.
Unfortunately this leg was nothing like I thought it was going to be. In my previous 24 hour record attempts, the nights flew by for me, almost effortlessly with the occasional low. I thought that since I had such a great day, pulling well ahead of my projected splits, that this night was going to be great. It was still daunting of course, knowing that I would only be halfway done on Harvard, but I was with Andrew, feeling confident and comfortable. Downing the last sips of Ramen, fluids, and finishing up other crew duties with Forrest, off Andrew and I went, into the dark, to embrace the entire night. I didn’t plan this attempt around the full moon, it just happened to turn out that way, which was cool, but we honestly don’t know how much it really helped us out there. Starting up Columbia I felt pretty good, we had an amazing cloud inversion once again, but this time it was the full moon rising above the blanket of clouds. Unfortunately the good mood didn’t last long. With a cold wind blowing out of the north I soon got cold and realized I didn’t have my pants with me, so I would have to go through the night in my shorts. After our summit of Columbia, I started to dip into my low, which unbeknownst to either of us, would last pretty much until the summit of Huron, to where the rest of this adventure transitioned into a death march, with highs and lows in and of itself.
I was getting nervous for a few of the traverses and ridges in the dark, I was nervous for how big this night was going to be, and I was scared to feel the way I felt. It’s a skill to be able to handle your lows well, and I don’t think I have mastered that yet. I was so tired, I was so cold, I was so sad to be up there. It was as if I was telling myself I didn’t want this anymore, and the more the night progressed, the greater the intensity of those emotions. The great thing about my body is that even in the lows, my legs still know what to do. They still know how to hike and do what they need to do to get the job done, so I was still putting out some decent times, even though through the entirety of the night we were bleeding time on our projected splits. Andrew was hurting a little bit too, but his 5 hour energy worked for him, so unfortunately for him, he felt responsible to cheer me up. It was my nightmare all over again. In a failed attempt in July 2020, I had a horrible first night, and I was reliving the emotions all over again. We napped for a few minutes out of the wind and cold heading up Belford. Then I needed to just focus on one more summit to get through the night, getting off Missouri before sunrise, and then once the sun hits, hopefully I’d be out of this hellish low.
Andrew worked so hard to cheer me up this night, but nothing was working. I remember him saying, I am not the only one who has suffered out there like this before, I’ll get through it! The women before me experienced the exact same feeling, the men, and even myself in 2020.
I feel horrible, and almost like I was bringing the low on to myself. You have a choice out there, and the choice I made was to be tired and on the verge of miserable. At one point coming off Missouri Andrew couldn’t hold in his frustration at me and he had a brief moment of frustration. No one deserves that from me, especially Andrew and my crew, who is out there for me, for my success, in a sleep deprived state, consistently telling me how amazing I am, pushing me to be the best I can possibly be? I am humbled, and ever so thankful that Andrew and my team had confidence and faith in my success, that they were willing to carry me through my lowest of lows, the tears, the cussing, and the doubts.
We finally reached Clohesy Lake and before we reached Dan and Forrest who were waiting and ready for our arrival, I stopped Andrew, and told him I just needed to cry. I cried so hard to him. I told him I didn’t want to do this anymore, I didn’t care about Nolans, I told him how I was so frustrated that I had such a bad night, and that I wanted to quit and I was sorry for my attitude. He hugged me and let me cry. He told me Nolans didn’t matter, and if I wanted to quit I could. He told me what I needed to hear. He knew in my heart of hearts that I wasn’t going to quit. But he gave me the opportunity to. He also told me, that he knew I would regret it if I quit when I started to feel better in 3 hours. Because so much of this is psychological, my body will do what my mind tells it to do. Andrew told me a few key things. He kept telling me to imagine myself when this is all over, ill be sitting talking to so many people who have been inspired. That I can make a huge impact in this community. He told me to focus on the mountain I am climbing and nothing else. I don’t focus on the next peak, or the finish or how hot its going to be at noon, I just focus on the task in front of me.
After a long needed mental reset at our crew point, Andrew headed off with me for one more peak. Huron. It was Still. So. Hard. I remember asking Andrew how my pace was, and if I was hiking okay. Because I felt like I was going at a snail’s pace. We summited Huron at 8:24 am and to our surprise we were right on our projected split for this peak. This was an important one, because if we were slow and I already didn’t know how I was going to survive the rest of this, I would have called it, and thrown in the towel. To see evidence that I could still hike my pace, even when I am demoralized was a very important realization during this attempt. Andrew and I had a great descent off Huron. It was 10:30 AM, we arrived exactly when our splits said we would. Despite the bad night where we lost all of the time I had gained on the first day, this might have seemed like good news but we had lost all the time we had gained on the first day so it felt like I was falling behind.
After a quick crew transition, probably 5 minutes, Jaime Bakeman was my girl to take me on what felt like a death march up La Plata. I didn’t know her before this, so being in the state I was seemed a little odd at first. I was demoralized, hot, and not in a great mood. But it turns out, she was exactly who I needed with me on that peak. She hiked in front of me when I needed to focus on something other than the thousands of feet in front of me that I needed to ascend. She talked to me, ensured I was drinking and eating, and encouraged me when I didn’t know if I was going to make it. She kept me updated on our time, elevation, and splits. She put me first, I felt like I was her priority, I felt important to her, and I felt loved. There was something special about that mountain, it was loaded with some epic girl power. Andrew jokes and tells me I really needed some girl energy and it came at just the right time on this FKT attempt. Jaime was awesome she made sure I was taken care of in every way and more. She would spray me down with water, encourage me to get in the river and get wet, she felt she was successful because on her watch I drank all my water, I ate, I peed, and we were ahead of our splits. Thanks Jaime, for getting me through one of the hardest mountains for me on this adventure.
The reason this mountain was so hard, was because it was so hot, and I was so tired! Getting started is always the hardest. Once you’re up a couple thousand feet, you realize you’re doing it, and it’s not so bad.
The summit was the best feeling on this mountain, and the greatest surprise was yet to come! My good friend Evan surprised me up there and he couldn’t have picked a more perfect peak to lift my spirits. The effort, to climb La Plata, is not an easy one, it just seemed to perfectly match Evans character as Evan is always going out of his way to help me out, especially during my training hikes, when I needed a bail out. Down the three of us went, after hugs and squeals of excitement on my end. Thanks Evan, for being there with a smile, when I need the encouragement, and somehow knowing where I needed the extra energy!
It's hard being on this side of things, you don’t realize how incredibly hard your support crew works to keep things running smoothy, and efficiently. Lucky for me, I have supported so many of Andrews record attempts I absolutely know how hard crew works, and I am so appreciative of all the effort they put forth. What comes to mind? Specifically our route off La Plata, where I was able to cross the river to save some minutes, the boys were out there setting up boulders, moving logs, communicating on walkie talkies, just so I could have an easy pass through the river without having to take off my shoes. Incredible.
Elbert and Massive
Want to know what else? They brought Joey back into the picture to get me up and over Elbert! Originally, I told Andrew I needed him for Elbert, but as his legs were stiff from hiking all night they contacted and convinced Joey to join me for one more leg. I couldn’t have been more stoked to see him back. I thought (and so did he) that he was finished after the first three peaks, he could rest and celebrate with us at the end. Joey is by far one of the coolest people I know. He can talk to me for hours, and I didn’t even have to respond. His pace was on point, and as a bonus I learned a new route off Elbert. 3000’ /hour scree descent? I’ll take it! Joey somehow just knew exactly how to pace me. He would tell me everything I needed to hear, he provided constant encouragement, and he just makes me laugh. Some of my favorite quotes hiking with him “I’m off trail, but I’m on route. It’s a state of mind.” And “can you believe I got in the best shape of my life by walking, uphill?” He made sure I ate at least one waffle so he could say he took care of me. Ha! Joey said something that stuck in my head. When we were talking about my lows, and how I was almost ready to quit, but I didn’t want to let my crew down he said “well if you didn’t succeed, it meant I wasn’t successful at my part” and that was painful to hear, because I’m so protective over my crew, and I want them to know how incredible they all are, and despite my outcome, they will forever be on the throne of success in my book.
One more mountain. After the descent off Elbert Dan was waiting for us with some supplies. He had taken his motorcycle up the road, and I was so jealous he got to ride it down. I wish it was me on there. I was longing for Andrew, I just wanted to see him, I get anxious when I am away from him for a long time, and even though Elbert was not that long, I just wanted to see Andrew, I wanted a smooth transition over to Massive and that is just what I got. We ran into Andrew as he was hiking up the road to find us in the dark, and my anxiety about my final peak in the dark and my tired mental state faded when I convinced him to come with me along with TJ and Josh who were also ready to hike with me. Talk about two funny individuals, full of stories to just make you laugh. I was thankful for them and our conversations up massive. It gave me something to focus on, when the 4000’ ascent seemed to drag for hours, with no sign of the ridge line getting any closer as the minutes ticked by. I loved listening to the stories, and made Andrew tell a few of ours. One of the two hardest sections for me on this mountain was the summit ridgeline. It goes on forever, and ever, and ever. So much so I thought I was at the summit, so I hit my summit button on my tracker, only to look over and see one more towering hump, with the outline in the dark, it looked so big and so far away, I couldn’t believe I was not at the summit yet. 5 more minutes, and finally I reached the real summit, and all I had to do was descend, get down, and I could rest, lay down, sleep, whatever I wanted. The upper 2000 feet of the descent were slow, but once we got through to trail, that’s when the magic happened. I was in so much pain, tired, sad, grumpy, and felt no sense of empathy from my crew. Why? Andrew had done the math, they wanted me to come in at sub 46 hours. I told them I was happy with 46 hours, but they wouldn’t hear it. But we would have to run the ENTIRETY of the trail to the finish totaling 5 more miles. That might not sound like a lot, but in my state every step hurt, & they pushed me so hard. They let me walk the uphills, but then back to drill Sargent TJ and Josh. Go, Go, NOW, MOVE, FASTER, GIVE ME MORE. YOU CAN DO IT, only 25 more minutes, then its all done. I have never been pushed so hard by a group of men more in my life than at this very moment. It hurt, there were tears, and curse words, but I was thankful. I would say one of the moments where I was able to turn it on was when I realized my running pace, was TJs walking pace. I said, “damn it, if I’m going to trash my body and run, I better not be doing it at a walking pace!!!!” I picked it up after that. I trusted my hurt would numb out, like Andrew told me it would. It kind of did, but definitely not like I was hoping. I was dreaming of the end, and it was almost here. The last few yards, the boys took the back. Hearing the rest of our crew and seeing the lights at the fish hatchery, I could smell the end. It was so close. The yelling and cheering started, and I was so emotional. I finally did it. I reached the end. In 45 hours and 52 minutes, at 0152 am on Monday morning.
Its pretty spectacular that I didn’t personally know over half of our crew before this attempt started. Only through text messages and phone calls did most of the planning take place. We placed some blind faith in these people, and it was the best thing Andrew and I could have ever done. They are my family now, and forever. We have each other’s backs, and will go miles of suffering just to see each other succeed. I am indebted to them all and cannot wait to crew for them and return the favor. This record will forever be a special one, and I know, without my people, this feat would have been an impossible task. Thank you, to the best team any one person could have.
Bravo Andrea! I think we have our Female FKTOY!!!