FKT: Paul Pomeroy - Longs Peak (CO) - 2003-07-04

Route variation
round trip from Boulder on foot
Gender category
Start date
Finish date
Total time
1d 4h 44m 0s

Paul Pomeroy was the first to run from Boulder to the summit of Longs Peak and back. He started at Old Chicago in downtown Boulder and used a carefully scouted, mostly trail route. He completed the trip in 28h44m on July 3-4, 2003. His complete report, which was posted on the BoulderTrailRunners Yahoo! e-group, is below. 


Here's Pomeroy's report:

I thought some of you would be interested in how things went over the weekend on my run. I would first like to express my gratitude and admiration for all who helped me out - both by running and crewing - and for the support of the BTR in general. I love you guys!

The Facts:
- Boulder to Long's Peak Summit and back
- Almost all trail (3-4 miles asphault each way)
- About 13,300' elevation gain
- About 115 miles
- Took 28 hrs. 44 min. to complete

Why I did it:
- You can see the summit from my kitchen window.
- There is a history of people attaining the summit from Boulder using bicycles and running but apparently no one had run the RT (although Legend Buzz Burrell came close, cycling only on the return).
- I love the "backyard ultrarun" and this particular combination of trails appealed to me.

The Blow by Blow:

Having envisioned the course and set the date I set out the weekend prior to ascertain conditions on the peak. It has been a snowy year in Rocky Mountain National Park and I was not surprised to find even the Keyhole Route, the standard and easiest method of ascending the mountain, buried in snow. Happily I arrived at the snow field in the early afternoon, found the going easy and was able to climb in my running shoes and slide comfortably back down.

My confidence thus bolstered I scheduled a 9:00 pm start in order to arrive at the snow field at roughly the same time in the early afternoon. This would also allow me to run the lower and hotter portions of the course at night when conditions would be cooler. The disadvantage of this schedule was that I would have to run all night the first night and then finish quite late the second night. "There will be plenty of time to sleep after the run." I told myself, (and so there was, while I drove home at 2:30 in the morning,only narrowly averting disaster several times). So I packed my waist pack, dropped food and water off where I could, and steeled my resolve for the venture. Incredibly, several friends, apparently suffering from a lack of common sense, offered to run with me. Peter Bakwin, making it sound trivial, signed up for 100 kilometers - from Boulder to the summit and back to the parking lot at the base of the mountain. Keith Pike (whose gaudy climbing resume includes numerous risky - and risque - free solos in the American West) was cajoled into the summit push from the parking lot. Stephanie Ehret, fresh off a fantastic 40 mile pacing effort at Western States, said she would be there for the critical leg from the Long's Peak parking lot to Hall Ranch. David Silberman was interested in the last leg - Heil Ranch to Boulder- but only because he wanted to check the late night party scene on 4th St. on the way in. So, after a pint of Sierra Nevada and a great sendoff from the boozy ranks of the Boulder Trail Runners, Peter and I hit the road. Temperatures in the 90's during the day had led to comfortable running conditions at night. Despite both of us knowing the trail well we took a few wrong turns, primarily due to grasses growing over the trail, yet we proceeded with no mishap along the foothills heading north. Dawn found us climbing steadily up towards the Peak to Peak highway. We took pleasure in our surroundings and each other's company, finally arriving at the renezvous point with Keith only slightly worse for wear. Here we ate and drank seemingly nonstop for half an hour or so. Bloated from this gluttony I was pleasantly surprised to be able to walk briskly along the trail occasionally breaking out in a modest trot. We negotiated the talus field on rubbery legs, arriving at the snow field to find it considerably icier than we had hoped. Warily assessing the possibility of surviving a high speed slide into the rocks below we found bits of stick and stone to use as impromptu ice axes and ascended the snow. After the summit slabs we relaxed and rested for the descent. It seemed impossible to me that I should only be halfway but that was the case. The three of us drifted back down the snow field, now softer and thus safer, and rallied in the parking lot along with Steph. There, after another sit down tuck in, I said goodbye to Keith and to Peter ( who didn't look nearly as tired as I felt) and set off with Steph into the heat of the day. Try as I might to keep the heat at bay I found myself periodically suffering from dehydration and nausea. I was able to maintain momentum except perhaps for an hour or two near the end of the day when walking seemed overwhelmingly preferable to running. Upon arriving at Hall Ranch and food and drink I felt much better. Steph seemed to know when to run and when to walk, and it seemed to me I just followed her back to Boulder. Chatting relieved the tedium and we were lucky enough to see a few fireworks from the high points of Heil Ranch. How pleasant and strange to find oneself on Fourth Street,on a summer evening, in the wee hours, amidst the parties winding down and the bars letting out, concluding such a nice little adventure. I feel very grateful indeed to have the good fortune to do this run in such good company and under such excellent circumstances. May the forces that govern our destinies be praised!
-- Paul Pomeroy